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Academy Announces 2018-19 FilmCraft and FilmWatch Grant Recipients

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences




Additional Support Awarded to Film Archives Impacted by Natural Disasters: Cinemateca de Cuba, Permanencia Voluntaria and Archivo de Imagenes en Movimiento

The Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today recipients of its 2018 FilmCraft and FilmWatch grants.  In addition to the 51 FilmCraft and FilmWatch grants awarded, the grants committee set aside $15,000 to help with the recovery efforts at three international archives devastated by hurricanes and earthquakes in 2017.  Those archives are Cinemateca de Cuba in Cuba, Permanencia Voluntaria in Mexico and Archivo de Imagenes en Movimiento in Puerto Rico.  This funding is in addition to support and expertise that is already being provided by the Academy Film Archive.

“This year the Grants are proud to support 51 organizations whose innovative programs reach broad audiences, underserved high school and college students, support mid-career and emerging filmmakers, and engage and enrich their local communities. The Grants also reached out to support several film archives devastated by recent climate events.  It is the Grants’ privilege and responsibility to fund organizations, rising and established, that reflect both The Academy’s values and its leadership role in the arts,” 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-$15,000, and a total of $500,000 was awarded for the 2018-2019 grants year.

The grant recipient institutions and programs are as follows:

FilmCraft Grants

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.A series of panels and screenings featuring underrepresented storytellers with a goal of challenging the narrative that minority voices are shrinking.Program aims to advance the careers of practicing film composers, prepare students as film scoring professionals, diversify the pipeline of professional talent to the film industry, and increase public awareness of the significance of the film scoring craft.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.Program supports diverse women documentary filmmakers in completing their first or second film while laying the groundwork for sustainable long-term careers.A new co-curricular program designed to encourage MFA film students to incorporate a range of races, ethnicities, and gender identity in their films to better reflect the diversity encountered in daily life.A year-long series of visiting artist weekend residencies that invites activist filmmakers of color to share their work, skills and experience with diverse audiences and the next generation of cinematic visionaries.An award-winning after school and summer program that provides intensive workshops for at-risk youth to shoot, edit, and produce short documentaries. A series of master classes and mentorships led by eminent filmmakers, and involving all Chicago-area high school students enrolled in media or media production classes.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.A year-long program that provides education, mentorship, and training to filmmakers through the completion, marketing, and distribution of their first feature films.Program provides free year-round arts education, pre-professional hands-on training with highly qualified instructors, and award winning industry professionals as mentors and job providers for diverse disadvantaged high school graduates.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.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.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.Program serves indigenous Louisiana filmmakers of color through mentorship, professional feedback and industry connections. Program provides creative development, career advancement, and mentorship to historically underserved and early-career screenwriters and directors.Program provides artistically rigorous, professional instruction, and coaching, equipment, and resources to equip queer women of color, and gender variant and transgender people of color with the technical skills, artistic knowledge, and leadership tools to create new films.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.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.  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.Program delivers skilled workers from underserved communities to the entertainment industry by providing training that is industry-designed, industry-approved and Industry-taught.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.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.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.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.Program’s goal is to ensure that a group of highly talented, accomplished women directors, from a variety of underrepresented demographics and backgrounds, gain access and exposure to key networks and decision-makers.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.Assist with the cost of programming films focusing on cultural diversity and multicultural artistic expression in their SHOUT film category (which showcases films with LGBTQ content), their Life & Liberty category (which showcases human rights issues), and their Black Lens category (which highlights film directed and produced by African-Americans).A national screening series that uses the power of nonfiction film to spark civil, civic dialogue among local residents, community leaders and institutional partners including museums, libraries and public media stations.Supports community outreach in order to reach a broad and diverse audience of festival-goers, as well as travel expenses to bring in documentary filmmakers and film subjects to participate in screenings and related educational events.Supports the next installment of an ongoing screening series surveying representations of transgender people and transgender culture in cinema.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. A new, year-long initiative designed to bring visibility to the work of artists from under-represented groups in American and international film.CAAMFest programs that provide greater access to minority and less visible filmmakers, make new and historically significant works accessible to the general public, and strengthen connections between filmmakers and audiences.The CineLatino Mini-Fest is a 4-day cultural celebration of Latino Cinema. The Sidebar is part of the 41st Denver Film Festival that provides attendees with additional opportunities to view Latino films and documentaries and to celebrate Latin culture.A series of film screenings, panel discussions, and a master class, focusing on the representation of queer, trans, and gender-expansive women in cinema, both on-screen and behind the scenes.Support screenings of rare 35mm nitrate prints and lectures at the Nitrate Picture Show, the museum's own Festival of Film Conservation.An immersive 14-week film aesthetics and curating program for at-risk female youth that culminates in a high profile festival of top-tier independent films made for, by, and about girls.Support for their ongoing screening series of non-commercial, artist-driven experimental film, documentaries, and animation.An annual showcase within the Milwaukee Film Festival of fiction and documentary films that exemplify outstanding cinematic work by contemporary African-American filmmakers.Support for travel and lodging expenses for up to 12 filmmakers and actors to participate in NCS-related public programs and to network with industry professionals.Support for the festival’s annual program of films, discussions and educational programs that highlight the unique perspectives of girls from around the world.A weeklong festival dedicated to the empowerment and visibility of LGBTQ communities of color.Support for an expanded program of features and shorts focusing on LGBTQ issues during the festival.A repertory film series of the True/False Film Fest spotlighting groundbreaking work in the field of nonfiction filmmakingWill provide enhanced accessibility options (captioning and audio description) for 35-40 films screened at 14 regional ReelAbilities film festivals throughout North America.Supports a four-program series of historic and contemporary films by queer and transgender filmmakers.Supports a sidebar featuring 4-5 narrative and documentary films, Q&As, and a panel with filmmakers, thought leaders, activists and scholars to address the current reports of sexual misconduct and abuse of power in Hollywood.Support for the educational components of the festival, which include Amazing Tales from the Archives – a program on film restoration and preservation – and Silent Era Diversity devoted to exploring cultural and economic diversity in the silent era.# # #


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 8,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles.




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The Annual Academy Awards presentation has been held every year since 1929.

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