Diversity Development Fund

Get seed funding and support to develop your single nonfiction program for broadcast on public television. Filmmakers of color are welcome to apply.

Reopens June 6, 2022 9:00 AM PDT

The Application Process


Diversity Development Fund has one funding round per year, with a deadline in September.

We’re looking for exceptional stories by filmmakers from diverse backgrounds: stories that take creative risks, inspire dialogue, and are rarely seen on public media. We are committed to supporting producers of color and creating public media programming that is truly inclusive

Diversity Development Fund gives producers of color up to $25,000 in research and development funding so you can develop your documentary for public media. The documentary can be on any subject, viewpoint or style as long as it is in development or pre-production. For films further along productions, see Open Call.

ITVS has adopted the Documentary Core standards as a foundation for our funding applications. Much of the Diversity Development Fund application has been aligned with this model, however, there are additional details required specific to creating a documentary for public television. On average, applicants spend 2 weeks completing their applications.

Diversity Development Fund is not a grant. You will receive funding in the form of a development agreement that assigns ITVS certain rights over your project during the term of the contract.

Who We Fund

Diversity Development Fund supports:

  • Projects that have not yet begun production.

  • Single nonfiction programs of standard broadcast length (30, 60 or 90 minutes). 


You are eligible to apply if you:

  • Identify as a person of color.
  • Own the copyright of your production and maintain editorial control of the story.
  • Are not employed as a producer or director by a broadcast entity or film studio.
  • Have previous film or television production experience in a principal role: director, producer.
  • Graduate thesis are eligible as previously completed work. Undergraduate student work will not be reviewed.

  • Are only applying to this ITVS funding initiative at this time – projects under consideration in other ITVS funding calls will need to wait for that process to be completed.
  • A citizen or legal resident of the U.S. or its external territories age 18 or older.
  • Individuals can only submit one application per round. However, an applicant can be a member of the key creative personnel on multiple projects.
  • Submitting a project that is in development or early production.

You are not eligible to apply if you are:

  • Currently enrolled student.
  • Current signatory of any ITVS production contracts that has not yet completed delivery.
  • Producers representing foreign-based production entities.
  • Organizations including universities, foundations, and nonprofit organizations.
  • Former employees who have worked for ITVS within the past 12 months.

What to Expect

The Application

Elements of the application include a four page treatment, previously completed work link to a film publicly exhibited or distributed, resume with filmography, and development budget. There is an optional field for sample footage to the current project, however it is not required to apply to this fund.

The Review Process

After you submit your application, you will receive notification of your status within three months. If you are among the group of finalists that advance to panel review, you will be asked to submit additional materials about your project, including a more detailed budget.

Decisions are final and may not be appealed.  Applicants are welcome to re-apply in the future. Reviewer feedback will only be provided to those applicants that make it to panel review.

Production and Distribution

ITVS doesn’t just fund your film, we provide you with creative development and feedback that will help you develop a program treatment, work sample, and project plan – materials that will prepare you to apply for production funding. You own copyright and maintain full editorial, creative, and financial control.

Funded projects will be expected to acknowledge ITVS’s development support in all film and publicity materials; cooperate with ITVS’ publicity protocols; provide timely information to ITVS about project activities, including notification of and request for approval of any major changes to the project; and submit contract deliverables.

FAQ: Diversity Development Fund