NEA grants boost public media groups, filmmakers

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Reel South / PBS

"That's Wild," a 2021 documentary film presented on PBS by "Reel South."

NPR, Black Public Media and American Documentary, which produces public television’s independent film series POV, are among recipients of grants announced Wednesday by the National Endowment for Arts.

NEA awarded grants totalling $91 million to more than 1,000 projects in the arts. Public media organizations and other nonprofits that produce or fund public media programs or support independent filmmakers and audio producers received nearly $880,000 for ongoing or new projects at various stages of research and production.

“The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson in a news release, which lists the grant winners. “The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”

The grantees and funding amounts are:

  • American Documentary — $84,500 to support the PBS series POV and partner with national and local community organizations, schools and libraries to organize free community screenings and online access to POV films.
  • American Documentary — $35,000 to support the documentary anthology series America ReFramed, a co-production with World Channel, and distribution of its films on the PBS and World Channel websites alongside additional exclusive content.
  • NPR — $40,000 to boost production and distribution of NPR’s music programming.
  • NPR — $40,000 to pay for staff salaries and content acquisition costs for NPR’s books and literary content on-air and online.
  • Black Public Media — $35,000 to support its fellowship and residency program.
  • Center for Asian American Media $35,000 to support an initiative to strengthen regional networks and address career sustainability needs for Asian-American documentary filmmakers in the Midwest.
  • Firelight Media $25,000 to boost Groundwork Regional Filmmaker Labs, a professional development program for early-career nonfiction filmmakers, and commission short films for public broadcast.
  • Hawaii Women in Filmmaking — $20,000 for production of Reel Wahine of Hawai’i, a documentary short film series presented by PBS Hawaii that focuses on Hawaii women working in the film industry.
  • Pacific Islanders in Communications — $25,000 to curate, acquire, distribute and promote films for Pacific Heartbeat, a public television series, and Pacific Pulse, a digital short series.
  • PRX — $20,000 to provide free and low-cost access to facilities and training programs for media artists working online and at PRX’s Podcast Garage locations in Boston and San Francisco.
  • KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif. — $45,000 to support the Independent Producer Project, which helps audio artists create programs for broadcast and streaming.
  • WETA in Washington, D.C. — $20,000 to cover production costs for a series of segments that will appear on PBS NewsHour. The segments will focus on the arts and its role on mental health.
  • New York Public Radio — $40,000 to help its classical radio station WQXR and host Terrance McKnight tell stories about overlooked artists in classical music.
  • The WNET Group in New York — $20,000 to support production of American Masters
  • PBS North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. —  $40,000 to support Reel South, a regional public television series featuring short and feature-length films.
  • WHYY in Philadelphia — $25,000 to cover personnel costs for WHYY Media Labs, a free media arts training and career program.
  • Minnesota Public Radio —  $15,000 to support a series of hour-long radio programs curated by YourClassical MPR for broadcast and streaming.
  • Minnesota Public Radio — $15,000 to support production and distribution of The Slowdown, a poetry program hosted by Ada Limón.
  • WBGO in Newark, N.J. — $20,000 to support production for Jazz Night in America, a weekly jazz performance and video series hosted by Christian McBride.
  • American Film Institute — $20,000 to support the AFI Documentary Showcase program in conjunction with the 2022 AFI Fest.
  • International Documentary Association — $20,000 to support Getting Real, a virtual and in-person conference on nonfiction filmmaking and storytelling.
  • Chicken & Egg Pictures — $50,000 for its (Egg)celerator Lab program, where participating filmmakers receive support for their projects.
  • Radio Diaries $20,000 to help produce The Audio History Project, an audio documentary series focussing on 20th century America that will be distributed nationally by NPR.
  • StoryCorps — $70,000 to produce and distribute StoryCorps radio segments for national public media broadcasts.
  • Sundance Institute — $40,000 to provide artistic and professional development resources and incubator labs for independent nonfiction filmmakers through its Documentary Film Program.
  • Sundance Institute — $40,000 to support independent filmmakers through its Feature Film Program, which includes director and screenwriting labs and a lab that specifically supports Native American and Indigenous producers.

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