Living Earth Television (LETV)

LETV is a nonprofit organization [501(c)(3)] based in the USA. LETV locates, licenses and adapts existing documentaries for international broadcast and education. Our focus is on finding documentaries made by filmmakers who are part of the communities and cultures they document, offering an insiders’ perspective to viewers around the world.

We work with the original filmmakers to adapt their films for new audiences internationally, through culturally-sensitive translations that make the films accessible for the audiences. LETV’s first national broadcast on the PBS World Channel was in May of 2017. The film, One Child, was created by Sichuan native Mu Zijian when he was a graduate student at New York University, and won the Student Academy Award for Short Documentary. Three additional documentaries from Chinese filmmakers have been accepted by the World Channel, and will be broadcast in the coming months on the World Channel program DocWorld. These films come from a variety of sources, including a provincial TV station in Wuhan, China Central Television (CCTV), and a professor from Guangzhou.  All are world-class, award-winning productions.


Project Partners


The Center for the Study of Global Change at Indiana University is a collaborating organization focused on the development, with LETV, of educational materials for the classroom built around videos by local filmmakers from all regions of the world about their own cultures.



The PBS World Channel is a national sister channel to the main PBS channel, and is currently available to over 60% of American households.  PBS World will broadcast LETV's new English-language versions of four award-winning Chinese documentaries in the coming months.



Founder, President/CEO

Martha Foster is an anthropologist and film curator who has worked in all aspects of documentary film production and distribution.  She is the founder and President/CEO of Living Earth Television (LETV), a nonprofit organization based in the USA dedicated to intercultural education through documentary film and television.  LETV is currently working with PBS World to adapt Chinese documentaries for national broadcast, with PBS station WTIU as co-producer. 

Martha has traveled extensively in China since 1999, working with documentary production staffs at major television stations around the country and lecturing at many universities, as well participating in festivals and screening American documentaries for live audiences in several cities.  In 2010, she led the American Documentary Showcase’s first delegation to China, as a documentary expert for the US Department of State, and secured Fulbright funding for LETV from the American Embassy in Beijing to continue its work on documentary exchange with China.

As a staff producer for WTTW Public Television in Chicago, Martha won five Emmy awards and an additional fifteen nominations for her work on the documentary series Chicago Stories.  She is a Senior Consultant to the Western Branch of the Documentary Television Academic Committee of the China Television Artists Association.  She has programmed intercultural documentary series for the Smithsonian Institution and the Field Museum of Chicago, as well as for numerous film festivals, and founded and directed the Windy City International Documentary Festival in Chicago.  


Dr. Nancy Jervis

Director of China Programming

Nancy is a leader in the field of cross-cultural education, with extensive professional contacts and experience in China and the U.S.. Experience includes senior management positions in the U.S., with twenty years of progressive responsibility in education, event management, program development, and grantwriting at the China Institute of New York, a medium sized, not-for-profit, cultural institution, and several years of teaching and administrative experience in Chinese and U.S. universities.


Board of Directors

Earon S. Davis

Board Chair

Part of the Living Earth Television vision since 2003, Earon has traveled the U.S. and China on behalf of the organization.   He has been instrumental in developing the vision and structure of LETV and is passionate about the organization’s mission.  Davis says "It is a thrill to be associated with LETV’s inspirational and talented group of non-profit and broadcast professionals."

In addition to degrees in Law, Public Health, and Sociology, Earon was named as a consultant to the Western Branch of the Documentary Films Academic Committee of the China TV Artists Association.   With his experience as an advocate, attorney, journalist, healthcare practitioner, media advisor, professor and publisher, Davis brings a truly rich perspective to LETV and its board.   He has received awards for his work on environmental health and the rights of people with disabilities and has numerous publications to his credit.

Barry Benson

Board Member

Barry Benson, board member, is Vice President for Development and Communications for ProLiteracy Worldwide, a leading international adult literacy organization based in Syracuse, NY.  His past positions have included as Executive Director of Literacy Chicago, where he directed a staff of 15 and volunteer corp of several hundred, and was responsible for development, programming, financial, HR, communications and marketing facets.  He led a successful turnaround of Literacy Chicago, growing grant revenue by over 500% in 18 months. 

Prior to his work in adult literacy, Benson served as Director of Corporate Relations for Columbia College Chicago, and as Corporate Foundations Officer for St. Bonaventure University in Olean, NY.  He also established, owned and directed a group of art galleries in St. Augustine, FL. 

A gifted communicator and artist himself, Benson received his BA in World Politics and International Economics from the University of Michigan, and his MA in Psychology from Norwich University/Vermont College.  He has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including The Incurable Theater Company, Chicago, the Center for Asian Arts and Media, Chicago, and Story Week Festival of Writers, Chicago. 



Steering Committee: Senior Advisers


Sharon and Dan Wiseman

Sara Laughlin

Diane Legomsky

Rosemary Hart

Heidi Gealt


Production Team

Martha Foster, Producer/Writer

Martin O’Neill, Broadcast Editor

Jane Hu, Narrator and China Central TV liaison

Xiaozhuo Lyu, Volunteer Coordinator

Allen Zhu, Video Editing and Production Assistance

Ryan Dolan, Production Assistance

Gabriel Xu, Production Assistance


Education Development

Alan Backler, PhD


Development and Marketing

Michael Rhodes, Corporate Underwriting

Min Qi, Development and Marketing Assistant


IT Director

Orion Day


Website Design

Yuanhan Wang


Honorary Board

Arun Gandi


MK Gandhi Institute for



Adlai Stevenson III

Former US Senator from



Jerome McDonnell

Host of Worldview

WBEZ Chicago Public Radio



Betsy McLane, PhD


American Documentary


He Suliu


Communication University

of China


Nancy Roof

Editor and Publisher

Kosmos Journal


Rick Ulfik

Executive Director

We the World



Charles Benton

Chairman, CEO and Trustee,

Benton Foundation


Earon S. Davis

Senior Advisor and Board




 Ren Yuan


LETV Founding Member


M.A. Partha Sarathy

UN Environmental


Global 500 Award


Brother Wayne Teasdale


LETV Founding Member