" If the professionalism and dedication of the ITVS production staff is universally praised, the reputation of ITVS’s legal team is another story. Much of the ill will that exists between the organization and filmmakers begins during the actual contract negotiations. Many of the sources who agreed to speak with The Independent demanded anonymity; they said they feared they would be sued by ITVS for speaking publicly, or that they were loath to offend a potential source of future funding. Much of their criticism concerned the way deals are put together. ITVS, they say, often plays hardball during funding negotiations, pushing inexperienced filmmakers to sign a lengthy and complex contract without the benefit of time to review it or to run it by a lawyer.
One person who was willing to go on the record was Gail Silva, an independent film consultant who serves on the National Coalition of Independent Public Television Producers, which selected members of the ITVS’s board of directors through this year. “The lawyers they have are not the nicest people around—they do not have a good bedside matter,” says Silva. “They’re like bulldogs. They don’t go into it with a partnership kind of tactic, they just go in with a ‘sign the fucking contract’ tactic.” "
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