Diversity Development Fund

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

Reopens 2024

The Application Process


Diversity Development Fund has one funding round per year. 

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 directors of color and creating public media programming that is truly inclusive.

Diversity Development Fund gives directors of color up to $35,000 in research and development funding to develop a 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 in production, see Open Call. 

ITVS has adopted the Non-Fiction 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 media. On average, applicants spend two weeks completing their applications. 

The 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 begun research of a concept (i.e. initial interviews, relationship building, archival, etc.) with access to key materials.
  • 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.

  • Are submitting a project that is in development or early production.

  • Own the copyright of your production and maintain editorial control of the story.

  • Are at least 18 years of age, and a citizen or legal resident of the U.S. and its external territories.

  • 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.

  • Previously completed work may include a graduate thesis. Undergraduate student work will not be reviewed.

  • Do not have other projects currently under consideration for ITVS funding.

  • Individuals can only submit one application per round. However, an applicant can be a member of the key creative personnel on multiple projects.

You are not eligible to apply if you are:

  • Currently enrolled as a student.

  • The current signatory of any ITVS production contracts that have 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

Key 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. Please review the application in its entirety to get the full scope of materials required.

For any accessibility needs, please see FAQs for contact information.

The Review Process

After you submit your application, you will receive notification of your status within 12 to 15 weeks. If you are among the group of finalists that advance to panel review, you will be asked to submit additional materials, including a more detailed development budget, for a feasibility review.

Decisions are final and may not be appealed.  Applicants are welcome to reapply 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 editorial feedback that will help you develop a proposal, 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 the development support from ITVS 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