MacArthur doc grants include public media projects

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The MacArthur Foundation announced Thursday its largest single-year investment in documentary projects, several of which have ties to public media.

The 19 grants totaling almost $2.5 million were selected from nearly 500 proposals, according to the foundation.

Those include:

  • Finding America, headed up by Sue Schardt, Teresa Gorman and Adriana Gallardo of the Association of Independents in Radio, received $200,000.The multiplatform project, part of the CPB-backed Localore initiative, helps new and diverse audiences tell their stories.
  • The Oakland Police Project, directed by Peter Nicks of Open’hood, gets $120,000. It’s also supported by the Independent Television Service. The documentary follows police in Oakland, Calif., as they rebuilds trust within their community in the wake of budget cuts and accusations of violence by officers.
  • Tribal Justice director Anne Makepeace receives $75,000. She profiles two tribal-court judges working to cut incarceration rates through restorative justice practices. The film is also supported by Vision Maker Media, part of public broadcasting’s National Minority Consortia.
  • The Unafraid, directed by Heather Courtney and Anayansi Prado of ¡Presente! Films, gets $125,000. It tells the stories of four friends who hope to graduate from college after Georgia has prohibited undocumented students from attending top universities. The film is also supported by Latino Public Broadcasting.
  • The Whiteness Project, a multiplatform interactive initiative exploring white racial identity, receives $100,000. It’s directed by Whitney D. Dow of Feral Films Inc.

“MacArthur remains committed to deep and insightful journalism and media in the public interest; supporting documentary films is one way we support excellent and original nonfiction storytelling on issues that matter to our society,” Kathy Im, MacArthur’s director of journalism and media, said in the announcement. “The projects selected for funding include a mix of documentary forms, underscoring the importance of supporting both proven and new ways to tell stories that engage audiences and spark conversations.”

Read the full list of recipients.