At your service – management of Independent Television Service – Brief Article

ITVS celebrates 10 years of giving voice to gay and lesbian people and issues

The Independent Television Service is “a beacon in public media,” says Sally Jo Fifer, who takes over as ITVS’s executive director on August 1, “What they’ve done for the past 10 years is fund programs for public television that really speak to unrepresented voices and controversial views that you don’t find anywhere except in public media,”

Fifer will be taking the reins of a nonprofit service with a solid track record of boosting gay and lesbian visibility on public TV, The recent documentary on the Boy Scouts’ antigay policy, Scout’s Honor, was supported by ITVS, as were such high-profile films as Marlon Riggs’s Black Is … Black Ain’t, Su Friedrich’s Hide and Seek, the Audre Lorde documentary A Litany for Survival, and the multipart history of gay rights A Question of Equality.

Founded in 1991 and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, ITVS is celebrating its 10th birthday with a number of retrospectives, including screenings throughout July at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

For lesbian and gay viewers, there’s more to come, ITVS is working on Daddies, a documentary about gay fathers, as well as films about gay rights pioneers Harry Hay and Bayard Rustin.

Since Congress holds the purse strings, does Fifer feel like ITVS supports too many queer projects for comfort, what with a president who’s keen on private, “faith-based” nonprofits? “I would say that we don’t do enough [gay and lesbian programming],” Fifer says, “If you want to look at how many outlets there are for, say, Christian programming, [the number for] gay programming looks miniscule. But everybody can turn on their television and find their public television station.”

COPYRIGHT 2001 Liberation Publications, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

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