Academy Announces 2019-20 FilmCraft and FilmWatch Grant Recipients

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today the 47 recipients of its 2019 FilmCraft and FilmWatch grants.
“The Academy’s Grants Committee is honored to continue to provide support and inspire generations of filmmakers new and old to connect the world through motion pictures,” said Marcus Hu, chair of the Academy’s grants committee. “We are confident the 47 organizations chosen to receive this year’s grants will leave a lasting impact on our society through their diverse and fresh perspectives.”
The Academy’s FilmCraft and FilmWatch grants were established to identify and empower future filmmakers from nontraditional backgrounds, cultivate new and diverse talent, promote motion pictures as an art form, and provide a platform for underrepresented artists. Grants range from $5,000-$20,000, and a total of $500,000 was awarded for the 2019-2020 grants year.
The grant recipient institutions and programs are as follows:
FilmCraft Grants
Bard College (New York, NY) Creative Process in Dialogue: Art and the Public
  • Program will include a master class hosted by leading black American filmmakers Charles Burnett, Julie Dash, and Bradford Young, followed by a public dialogue featuring the filmmakers.
California State University, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA) Women Making Film
  • Supports collaboration with Cal State LA’s Television, Film and Media Studies Department and the Canon Burbank facility where 10-12 female students will participate in a series of workshops and classes held at the Canon facility in which students receive hands-on experience and instruction.
Camden International Film Festival (Camden, ME) Points North Institute Artist Programs
  • The 2019 Artist Programs, which include a fellowship, two residencies, an industry marketplace and conference, bring hundreds of documentary filmmakers and film professionals from diverse backgrounds to rural towns on the coast of Maine, providing unique opportunities for mentorship, education, networking and artistic inspiration.
Cine Qua Non Lab (Morelia, Mexico)  CQNL’s Script Revision Lab
  • Supports CQNL’s 2019 Script Revision Lab in English: a two-week intensive residency that will give 12 independent screenwriters from around the world the opportunity to develop their feature-length narrative scripts within a guided and supportive environment.
Creative Capital Foundation (New York, NY) 2019 Creative Capital Artist Retreat
  • The Artist Retreat is a multi-day convening that provides career development and mentorship for a diverse group of Creative Capital artists, including powerful filmmakers, and pitch sessions for artists to present their projects to an audience of 200+ cultural influencers poised to advance their work.
Dreaming Tree Foundation (Rock Island, IL) Fresh Films Career Path
  • Fresh Films Career Path engages diverse at-risk teens in Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles and the Quad Cities in an eight-month filmmaking program that builds creative and technical skills through working on a film series.
Educational Video Center (New York, NY) Youth Documentary Workshop
  • Youth Documentary Workshop (YDW) program is an afterschool and summer program that provides workshops for at-risk youth to shoot, edit, and produce short documentaries, followed by paid internships that provide opportunities to pursue careers in the film and television industry.
Film Independent (Los Angeles, CA) Film Independent Producing Lab
  • The Lab is a high-caliber artist development program that supports up to eight diverse, innovative independent producers annually. Producers develop strategies and action plans to bring their selected narrative feature to fruition.
Independent Filmmaker Project (New York, NY) Independent Filmmaker Labs
  • This unique, year-long free program provides education, mentoring, and essential industry connections to filmmakers throughout the country through completion, marketing, and distribution of their first feature films.
Indie Memphis (Memphis, TN) Black Creators Forum
  • A program of the Indie Memphis Film Festival that is designed to build a supportive community, provide educational opportunities, and new productions for black filmmakers.
Inner-City Arts (Los Angeles, CA) Inner-City Arts’ Animation & Filmmaking Workshops
  • The Animation and Filmmaking Workshops will provide 90 underserved high school students with 20 hours of high-quality arts instruction. Workshops will take place in our fully equipped media arts studio and will be taught by professional Teaching Artists, practicing artists who have experience working in the creative industry.
Jacob Burns Film Center (Pleasantville, NY) Creative Culture Artists-in-Residence Program
  • Creative Culture is a fellowship and residency program that fosters a diverse community for emerging and established filmmakers in the region, across the country and around the globe. Funds will support two JBFC series-focused Artists-in-Residence, such as Global Watch, REMIX (The Black Experience in Film), Contemporary Arab Cinema.
Leap, Inc. (Brooklyn, NY)  Production Assistant and Post Production Training Programs
  • Program seeks to bridge the skills gap for underrepresented individuals from low-income communities, increasing their access to careers in the television and film production industry.
Maysles Institute (New York, NY) Community Producers Program 
  • The Community Producers Program (CPP) is a 16-week hands-on documentary production and outreach program for justice-involved young adults, ages 18-24, who are interested in building community, engaging in personal development, and gaining healing and leadership practices through documentary filmmaking.
Montclair State University Foundation (Montclair, NJ) Intensive Craft Seminars
  • The seminars, focusing on below-the-line crafts like sound design, foley artistry, production design, and camera work, will give students from underserved communities access to and experience with professionals in the industry that they otherwise would have difficulty accessing.
San Francisco Film Society (San Francisco, CA) SFFILM Doc Talks
  • Doc Talk workshops provide documentary filmmakers with artistic guidance and build practical filmmaking skills.
Scribe Video Center (Philadelphia, PA) Film Scholars
  • Film Scholars is a series of documentary filmmaking courses focusing on planning/scripting, production management, production and editing that will provide a cohort of emerging and mid-level artists from groups traditionally not represented in commercial media with the skills to complete new documentary works.
Southern Documentary Fund (Durham, NC) 2019 SDF Artists Convening
  • The Artists Convening is a three-day gathering that offers workshops, mentorship, networking, and other opportunities for Southern media-makers to develop their craft and build vocational infrastructure for film in the South.
Toronto International Film Festival (Toronto, Canada) Filmmaker Lab 2019
  • The Filmmaker Lab program provides intensive professional development, including workshops, networking and coaching opportunities with internationally acclaimed filmmakers, for emerging and diverse directors during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.
UnionDocs, Inc. (Brooklyn, NY) Union Docs Labs
  • The labs enhance artistic vision, offer practical knowledge of the field, provide significant professional development, bolster writing and technical skills, and ultimately advance the participants’ creative documentary projects for 36 emerging and mid-career filmmakers.
Visual Communications (Los Angeles, CA) Armed with a Camera Fellowship
  • Program helps emerging Asian American Pacific Islander filmmakers to create new and original work.
Youth FX, Inc. (Albany, NY) NeXt Doc
  • The NeXt Doc program amplifies the voices of emerging nonfiction filmmakers of color by providing access to training from established documentarians in the field.
FilmWatch Grants
African Film Festival (New York, NY) 50 Years of FESPACO
  • Program is a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the venerated Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO). We will present a series of five events examining the legacy of this landmark festival.
American Museum of Natural History (New York, NY) 2019 Margaret Mead Film Festival
  • Funds will support community outreach and support participation by documentary filmmakers and film subjects.
Anthology Film Archives (New York, NY) The Cinema of Gender Transgression
  • Supports an ongoing series that explores the ways cinema has intersected with the experiences, struggles, and ideas within the transgender community by showcasing historical films that have explored the concept of gender transgression, and contemporary works emerging from the transgender community.
Ashland Independent Film Festival (Ashland, OR) The Pride Award Series: Queer Intersectionality
  • The “Pride Award Series: Queer Intersectionality” will be programmed by internationally renowned film critic B. Ruby Rich, recipient of our 2019 Pride Award. The series of screenings and conversations will call attention to artists and films that highlight productive and combustible intersections of race, class, gender, and sexual preference.
Asian American International Film Festival (Brooklyn, NY) Beyond Representation
  • “Beyond Representation” is a 10-day series of screenings, panel discussions and readings, analyzing the impact of Asian-led films, exploring the relationship between Asian Americans and other communities, dissecting the impact of recent immigration restrictions, and forging visions for the future.
Azubuike African American Council for the Arts (Davenport, IA) Film and Conversation Series: The LA Rebellion
  • The series will feature 12 L.A. Rebellion films, including on-site presentations by filmmakers Charles Burnett, Julie Dash, Haile Gerima and Zeinabu Irene Davis.
Big Sky Film Institute (Missoula, MT) Native Filmmaker Initiative
  • The Native Filmmaker Initiative (NFI) elevates Indigenous artists, brings Native stories to diverse audiences, and educates youth about contemporary and historical Indigenous issues through nonfiction film. The initiative includes the Native Filmmaker Fellowship, Native Voices festival programming, and educational outreach.
Black Harvest Film Festival (Chicago, IL) Spotlight on Emerging Filmmakers
  • Spotlight on Emerging Filmmakers will focus on acknowledging first-time filmmakers of African descent or those who have created no more than three films (shorts or feature-length). 
Brooklyn Academy of Music (Brooklyn, NY) Expanding the Frame
  • Expanding the Frame is designed to amplify marginalized voices within the dominant cinematic narrative. This year-long program will challenge hegemonic perspectives by highlighting important, though often overlooked, artists in American and international film.
California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, CA) Jack H. Skirball Screening Series at REDCAT
  • The Jack H. Skirball Screening Series will feature today’s most adventurous independent filmmakers, rarely seen cinematic landmarks, and festivals devoted to topics in world cinema during the 2019/20 season.
Canyon Cinema Foundation (San Francisco, CA) Canyon Cinema Discovered
  • Canyon Cinema Discovered is a platform for engaging new audiences in experimental cinema. A diverse group of curators will be selected to explore Canyon Cinema’s unique collection, resulting in a nationwide programming initiative.
Chicago International Film Festival (Chicago, IL) Spotlight: Architecture+Space+Design
  • The Spotlight: Architecture+Space+Design Program will showcase the less visible craft of production design by highlighting the work of a diversity of designers and by examining how world-building in film reflects and informs real-world architectural and social structures.
Chicago Latino Film Festival (Chicago, IL) Educational & Outreach Programs
  • Educational & Outreach programming during the 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival will include Q & A sessions with filmmakers; free student matinees; and film screenings at community venue partners
Cleveland International Film Festival (Cleveland, OH) To Be Continued: Focus on Women Filmmakers
  • To Be Continued supports and encourages the female voice in film and aims to create more equity and diversity in the film industry.
Facets Multi-Media, Inc. (Chicago, IL) Reels on Wheels
  • Reels on Wheels will present award-winning films from the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival to the West and South sides of Chicago – urban, low-income areas which are virtual movie deserts. A primary focus is to re-establish the concept of a neighborhood movie house as a platform for community engagement.
Film Forum (New York, NY) Decolonize the Screen, 1964-1979
  • This 2-3-week May 2019 series will present 25-30 rarely screened, 16mm and 35mm documentaries and narratives – produced primarily in Africa and Latin America – that chronicle liberation struggles, explore colonial legacies and eschew Western cinematic conventions.
The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul (Minneapolis, MN) Cine Latino 
  • Cine Latino, the Upper Midwest’s only showcase of Spanish-language cinema, puts a spotlight on and gives voice to the stories of Minnesota’s largest immigrant group – native Spanish-speakers from many cultures and countries.
GALA Inc. (Grupo de Artistas LatinoAmericanos) (Washington, DC) Community Engagement: From the Street to the Screen
  • Support for GALA Theatre’s international film festival featuring contemporary Latin American films with provocative content and innovative techniques. Funding will allow for expanded community programming to engage audiences in vibrant cross-cultural exchanges with emerging Latin American film directors, producers, and actors.
Indigenous Showcase (Seattle, WA) Indigenous Showcase
  • Indigenous Showcase provides community screenings of Indigenous-made films and educational opportunities in filmmaking.
International Children’s Media Center (Chicago, IL) Global Girls & WorldScene Film Immersion Residencies
  • The Global Girls/WorldScene Residency & Film Festival is an immersive 16-week curating and filmmaking program for at-risk youth that culminates in a high-profile festival of top-tier independent films. By jurying high-quality international films, participants in jails, shelters and care agencies gain important job skills, self-esteem and personal agency.
International Film Seminars (New York, NY) Flaherty Seminar
  • The Flaherty Seminar, held every June, brings together filmmakers, curators, educators, students, and film lovers to participate in an intensive, intimate experience that obliterates traditional barriers between makers and audiences. 
Morelia International Film Festival (Morelia, Mexico) First Nations Forum 
  • The First Nations Forum 2019 will consist of a four-day workshop, a panel, and two programs of shorts showcasing the work of eight Indigenous women directors from different regions of Mexico.
ReelAbilities International Film Festival (Multiple Cities) Enhancing Accessibility Options
  • Support provides open captioning and audio description for approx. 30-35 films that will screen to 30,000+ audience members attending 19 ReelAbilities Film Festivals throughout North America
Roger Ebert’s Film Festival (Urbana, IL) Diversity in Film
  • The Diversity in Film Program will strengthen our commitment to show a series rooted in inclusivity and that expands and extends conversations about understanding, tolerance, and diversity with an underserved community rarely exposed to such films.
San Diego Latino Film Festival (CA) ¡Que Viva La Raza! Chicano Legacies in Film, Then and Now
  • A multidisciplinary and dynamic celebration of Chicano cinema. Through this showcase, a road map (and preservation initiative) of Chicano history will be created using films released during the height of the Chicano Movement and the present.
The Academy’s Grants program provides financial support to qualifying film festivals, educational institutions and film scholars and supports the Academy’s overall mission to recognize and uphold excellence in the motion picture arts and sciences, inspire imagination and connect the world through the medium of motion pictures. The Academy Grants program has awarded more than $12,000,000 to non-profit institutions and film festivals. 


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