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ITVS CEO Sally Jo Fifer to Depart Independent Television Service HP NEWS

The Independent Television Service president and CEO Sally Jo Fifer has announced her imminent departure, the org announced Tuesday. Fifer will remain in her role until a replacement has been onboarded.

“What a gift it has been these past 22 years to serve film artists who engage and transform our hearts and minds — make us more empathetic, more just, more wise,” Fifer said in an ITVS press release. “They give us hope for a better future.”

The nonprofit organization is an incubator for indie filmmakers that both co-produces documentary films and raises funding for production. During her tenure, Fifer tripled the organization’s operating budget from $7.7 to $23 million and executive produced over 1,000 films and docuseries, including director Raoul Peck’s “I Am Not Your Negro” and Bing Liu’s feature directorial debut, “Minding the Gap.”

Fifer’s work has resulted in her association with 16 Oscar nominations, 37 Emmy wins and 35 Peabody Award recipients. In 2017, Fifer also accepted the Peabody Institutional Award from “13th” director Ava Duvernay, who credited ITVS as “a foundational place in the flourishing of documentary film [and public discourse] over the past generation.” The same year, ITVS was recognized by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with the Governors Award for the organization’s commitment to showcasing diversity on and off-screen.

Under Fifer’s leadership, ITVS launched initiatives like the Global Perspectives Project and Women & Girls Lead, which were intended to reduce disinformation surrounding topics like post-9/11 racism and the #MeToo movement, respectively. ITVS also partnered with PBS for the Stories for Justice Initiative to brainstorm community-based solutions for minimizing the harms of the criminal justice system.

Most recently, Fifer signed a three-year agreement with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting intended to protect independent creators’ legal rights to their own content.

“Sally’s combination of integrity, strategic acuity, fierce commitment to supporting media makers, and kindness will be simply impossible to replace,” said ITVS board chair Garry Denny. “I know the documentary field deeply appreciates her for driving ITVS’ programmatic expansion grounded in diversity and inclusion and its innovation mindset. The board looks forward to building on everything we have accomplished under Sally’s visionary leadership and vows to ensure ITVS’ continuity of service to filmmakers,” he added. “I am incredibly energized by the opportunities ahead.”

Denny will work alongside the ITVS board and Russell Reynolds Associates, an executive search firm, to recruit the new CEO and president.



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