The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation will be awarding $5.7M in grant money to seven organizations to “support professional nonfiction media makers from diverse backgrounds.” The organization says that $2.25M of that will be re-granted directly to independent film projects over three years, with remaining funds providing support for fellowships, workshops, training programs, and professional development.
The grants will support to both interactive and feature documentary projects through the Sundance Documentary Fund’s New Frontier and Native Programs. It will also enable black filmmakers to experiment with non-linear digital storytelling through Black Public Media’s 360 Incubator + Lab as well as to provide a new stream of grant funds specifically for filmmakers in the U.S. South through the Southern Documentary Fund. In addition, it will help equip social movements with nonfiction short films created by filmmakers representing and accountable to affected communities through the Docs in Action project at Working Films.
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“Together, these seven organizations deepen the pool of people who tell the nation’s stories through documentary, including new media storytelling platforms, formats, and technologies,” said Kathy Im, Director of Journalism and Media at MacArthur.
These organizations join eight other nonfiction multimedia storytelling institutions already supported by MacArthur, including Firelight Media, American Documentary, ITVS, Kartemquin, Tribeca, AIR, Chicken & Egg, and the recently launched IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund.
Over the last two years, the Foundation has been steadily growing its investment in the documentary community through new partnerships with organizations that can provide comprehensive support to a growing number of filmmakers and new media artists. The following organizations will receive grants:
The Sundance Institute will receive $1.25M in support for the Institute’s Documentary Fund, which provides grants to short and feature-length film projects, its consultation and mentorship program, and its New Frontier Program and Native Program supporting Native American filmmakers.
Bay Area Video Coalition will receive $900K to support the National MediaMaker Fellowship Program, a ten-month program designed for diverse filmmakers who are working on social issues and journalistic documentary projects and in need of support and professional development opportunities.
Southern Documentary Fund will also receive $900K to expand its documentary programs and launch a new fund to support projects made exclusively by filmmakers who currently work and live in the American South, with direct connection to the stories they tell.
National Black Programming Consortium will receive $750K to support WOKE! Broadening Access to Black Public Media, which will support nonfiction projects on new media platforms and strengthen the consortium’s network of media makers, technologists, and social justice organizations.
Working Films will also receive $900K to support Docs In Action, a new initiative funding and distributing short films that explore issues of social and environmental justice in communities across the United States. Working Films will also provide early impact campaign planning for social issue documentary filmmakers with a special focus on serving filmmakers of color and other underrepresented artists.
Center for Asian American Media will receive $600K to support the CAAM Future Fund to provide development, production, and outreach grants for projects produced by Asian American directors and producers, and work with an Asian American filmmaker network to provide mentoring and professional development opportunities for emerging filmmakers.
Latino Public Broadcasting will receive $450K to launch a Current Issues Content Fund, which will provide project support for Latino filmmakers producing impactful media about current events as they unfold;
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