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Academy Announces 2017-18 FilmCraft and FilmWatch Grant Recipients

Press News

The Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today 44 recipients of its 2017 FilmCraft and FilmWatch grants. "This year, the grants will support non–profit organizations in 24 communities across the country, reach underserved high school students, support emerging and mid–career filmmakers of all ages, and will provide unique opportunities for enrichment and engagement with the cinematic community and its artists," said Buffy Shutt, chair of the Academy's grants committee. 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 2017–2018 grants year.

The grant recipient institutions and programs are as follows:


American Film Institute (Los Angeles, CA) – Directing Workshop for Women
– A tuition–free, year–long program that provides hands–on training and mentorship to increase the number of women working professionally in screen directing.

Association of Moving Image Archivists (Online) – Resources for Oral History Collections
– A collaboration with the Oral History Association (OHA), and with the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) to bring in–person and online resources to those working with oral history collections.

Austin Film Festival (Austin,TX) – The Diversity Focus Program
– A series of panels and screenings featuring underrepresented storytellers with a goal of challenging the narrative that minority voices are shrinking.

California State University, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA) – Urban Stories Film Incubator
– A year–long experience where students will be guided through pre–production, production, and post-production to create short films or documentaries that tell their diverse community stories while developing their long–term filmmaking skills.

Chicken & Egg Pictures (New York, NY) – 2017 Accelerator Lab for First and Second-Time Filmmakers
– Program supports diverse women documentary filmmakers in completing their first or second film while laying the groundwork for sustainable long–term careers.

Docs In Progress (Silver Spring, MD) – Docs In Progress Fellowship Program
– Enhances the Docs in Progress Fellowship Program (for underserved emerging documentary filmmakers) by adding a series of weekend master classes with top documentary filmmakers who showcase the range and diversity of documentary film approaches.

Echo Park Film Center (Los Angeles, CA) – ACTION! A Visiting Artist Residency Program
– A year–long series of visiting artist weekend residencies that invites documentary filmmakers of color to share their work, skills and experience with diverse audiences and the next generation of cinematic activists.

Educational Video Center (New York, NY) – Youth Documentary Workshop
– An award–winning after school and summer program that provides intensive workshops for at–risk youth to shoot, edit, and produce short documentaries.

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (Durham, NC) – School of Doc
– An intensive five–week summer program that teaches a diverse group of public high school students all elements of filmmaking, and how to work as a crew to produce a documentary film.

Hollywood CPR (Los Angeles, CA) – Entertainment Artist, Craft and Technicians Certificate Program
– Program provides under–represented students a unique opportunity to learn specialized craft and trade skills from IATSE industry professionals who are masters in their trade.

Inner-City Filmmakers (Los Angeles, CA) – Arts Education, Pre-Professional Training, Career Counseling and Jobs Placement Program
– Program provides under–represented students a unique opportunity to learn specialized craft and trade skills from IATSE industry professionals who are masters in their trade.

International Documentary Association (Los Angeles, CA) – Educational and Cultural Public Programs
– Programs showcase the insights of accomplished documentarians, offer high quality professional development opportunities, and deliver engaging content for diverse nonfiction filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts in multiple cities across the country.

Kartemquin Educational Films (Chicago, IL) – Diverse Voices in Documentary
– A six month, intensive program designed to help diverse filmmakers increase their skill set, build their network, and move their documentary film projects forward to completion.

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Foundation (Los Angeles, CA) – Cinematic Arts Program Artists–in–Residence
– Will allow up to three year–long visiting artists in the Cinematic Arts Program to teach courses in screenwriting and sound design.

Maysles Institute (New York, NY) – Community Producers Program 2017
– A six-month, hands-on documentary production and outreach program for justice–involved youth, ages 16-24, interested in building community, engaging in personal development, and gaining healing and leadership practices through filmmaking.

Montclair State University (Montclair, NJ) – Intensive Craft Workshops
– Focused on below-the-line disciplines, the workshops will supplement the academic program and serve to elucidate at a high level what the below-the-line disciplines do, how they interact, and how important they are to the final product.

National Association of Latino Independent Producers (Los Angeles, CA) – Latino Lens Incubator
– An all-encompassing training and bridge program that helps participating filmmakers deliver a short film while working with the filmmakers to develop strategies, networking, and aim for film distribution.

New Orleans Film Society (New Orleans, LA) – Emerging Voices Mentorship Program
– Program serves indigenous Louisiana filmmakers of color through mentorship, professional feedback and industry connections.

Reel Works Teen Filmmaking (New York, NY) – Filmmaking Workshops and Workforce Development Initiatives
– Program aims to train a new generation of filmmakers from nontraditional backgrounds by bridging the gap between the talents and abilities of low-income youth and the educational and professional opportunities available to them.

San Francisco Film Society (San Francisco, CA) – Doc Talks at SFFS FilmHouse
– Program will be made up of six workshops, each of which will provide documentary filmmakers from a wide variety of backgrounds with guidance, mentorship, and practical filmmaking skills.

Scribe Video Center (Philadelphia, PA) – Community Filmmakers: Write, Produce, Mobilize
– A series of short form documentary filmmaking training courses which will provide emerging and mid-level artists from groups traditionally not represented in commercial media with the skills required to raise funds and to plan, produce and complete new documentary works.

Silver Bullet Productions (Santa Fe, NM) – Lights Camera Learning: Writing and Acting Workshop for Pueblo and Tribal Students
– Program will provide filmmaking skills, storytelling, and equipment to six adults and fifteen tribal students in New Mexico's Native American communities to empower them to create films relevant to their culture and their community's heritage.

Streetlights (Los Angeles, CA) – Job Training and Placement Program
– Program delivers skilled workers from underserved communities to the entertainment industry by providing training that is industry-designed, industry-approved and Industry-taught.

Sundance Institute (Park City, UT) – 2017 Native Filmmakers Lab
– Program will identify and nurture two Native American or other indigenous film storytellers through an intensive three-day Lab focused on the craft, technical expertise, and direct financial support needed to produce their short film projects.

The Ghetto Film School (New York, NY) – The Fellows Program
– A narrative filmmaking educational program that engages diverse high school students from the Bronx, New York with rigorous instruction in cinematic storytelling and media production training and practice, equipping them with the skills to pursue sustainable careers in film.

UNAM Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA) – Tomorrow's Filmmakers, Today's Professional Development Program
– In collaboration with Hola Mexico Film Festival, is a ten-day professional development program for emerging Hispanic filmmakers in Los Angeles.

UnionDocs (New York, NY) – Production Assistance Program: Training & Mentorship
– Labs are for mid and early career filmmakers and are designed to enhance artistic vision, offer practical knowledge of the field and professional development, and provide an environment for the successful creation of original documentary projects.

Visual Communications (Los Angeles, CA) – Armed With a Camera Fellowship Program
– A seven-month program that gives 10 emerging Asian Pacific American filmmakers the support to create new and original work.

Women Make Movies (New York, NY) – Production Assistance Program: Training & Mentorship
– Program provides women directors and producers with a tailored suite of services, including non-profit tax exempt status, mentorship and consultations, along with a series of skill-building workshops, seminars and "Meet the Industry" events.


Arabian Sights Film Festival (Washington, D.C.) – Voices and Images from Today's Arab World
– Increasing the number of Arab filmmakers at the festival to introduce their work, participate in panels, and visit area cultural institutions.

Asian American International Film Festival (New York, NY) – "We're Here: Not Going Away!" Industry gathering
– A gathering of media industry professionals, festival programmers, media activists, and thought leaders discussing the changing topography of media making and forging visions for the future of moving image work by and about people of Asian descent.

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (Atlanta, GA) – "Life in Israel" program
– A program of films and panels that will further explore issues surrounding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Israeli Defense Force, immigration, sports, history, culture, and life in Israel.

Big Sky Film Institute (Missoula, MT) – Native Filmmaker Initiative
– A new program of curated screenings, a fellowship program and educational outreach that looks to bring more indigenous stories to Missoula, support and engage the Native American community on a local scale, and have a greater impact on the community's youth.

Chicago International Film Festival (Chicago, IL) – Education Screenings for Chicago Public Schools
– Program gives under-served Chicago Public School students the opportunity to experience and engage with international and independent films and the filmmakers behind them in an educational environment.

Cleveland International Film Festival (Cleveland,OH) – Focus on Filmmakers of the African Diaspora
– Program showcases the works of underrepresented African-American filmmakers while simultaneously creating more opportunities for their work to be impactful.

Frameline's San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival (San Francisco, CA) – Barriers & Breakthroughs in Identity & Culture: Has the Needle Shifted for Filmmakers of Color?
– A series of film screenings and panel discussions designed to examine the intersectionality of sexuality, ethnicity, gender and gender identity, and cultural authenticity primarily among queer and trans filmmakers of color.

George Eastman House (Rochester, NY) – Silent Cinema Tuesdays
– A series of 24 curated programs with live musical accompaniment that will explore the vibrant history of world cinema from its beginnings to the entrance of sound.

Indie Grits (Columbia, SC) – Visiones
– Program will celebrate Latino arts and culture, explore Latino influence on Southern culture, and empower Latino artists to define their evolving identity through film and art.

Indigenous Film & Arts Festival (Denver, CO) – Accessing the Arts
– Program will make the festival more accessible to under-served segments of the community, in particular, the lower-income segment of the American Indian community.

International Children's Media Center (Chicago, IL) – Global Girls/Women's View Film Festival & Residency
– An immersive 14-week film aesthetics and curating program for at-risk female youth ages 15–24 that culminates in a high profile festival of top-tier independent films made for, by, and about girls and young women.

Mill Valley Film Festival (San Rafael, CA) – Mind the Gap: Women | Film | Tech
– A festival-wide program that will engage professionals across the film and technology landscapes through a series of networking events, discussions, screenings, and workshops, with a goal of moving the needle on gender equity in the film industry.

ReelAbilities Film Festival (various locations) – Enhancing Accessibility Options for Film Screenings
– Will provide enhanced accessibility options (captioning and audio description) for 35–40 films screened at 14 regional ReelAbilities film festivals throughout North America.

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (San Francisco, CA) – Immigration Nation program
– A two-week sidebar program in five Bay Area venues that will explore the experiences of refugees and new immigrants in today's rising climate of xenophobia, nationalism and authoritarianism.

True/False Film Fest (Columbia, MO) – Neither/Nor Series
– A repertory film series spotlighting film movements that challenge traditional documentary form.

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 a total of $11,694,000 to non-profit institutions and film festivals.