National Endowment for the Humanities: Media Projects – Production Grants
The Media Projects – Production Grants program supports the production and distribution of radio, podcast, television, and long-form documentary film projects that engage general audiences with humanities ideas in creative and appealing ways. All projects must be grounded in humanities scholarship. Projects must also demonstrate an approach that is thoughtful, balanced, and analytical. The approach to the subject matter must go beyond the mere presentation of factual information to explore its larger significance and stimulate reflection.
Media projects that promote a deeper understanding of American history and culture and advance civic education are encouraged, as are media projects that examine international themes and subjects in the humanities. Film and television production projects may be single programs or a series addressing significant figures, events, or ideas. Programs may be intended for regional or national distribution, via traditional carriage or online distribution. Films must be longer than thirty minutes. Radio and podcast production projects may involve single programs, limited series, or segments within an ongoing series. Programs receiving production grants may be either broadcast or disseminated online. They may be intended for national or regional distribution. Projects that engage public audiences through multiple formats are encouraged. Proposed projects might include supplementary components to a film, television, radio, or podcast project: for example, book/film discussion programs, supplemental educational websites, or museum exhibitions.
To be competitive, applicants must have clear central ideas and a solid command of the major humanities scholarship on their subject, and they must have consulted with a team of scholarly advisers to work out the intellectual issues that the program will explore. The scholars must represent major fields relevant to the subject matter, have a strong record of research and scholarship in the humanities, and offer diverse perspectives and approaches.
All projects applying to the Media Projects program should:
- Build on sound humanities scholarship
- Deepen public understanding of significant humanities questions
- Approach a subject analytically, presenting a variety of perspectives
- Involve humanities scholars in all phases of development and production
- Involve appropriate media professionals
- Employ appealing and accessible program formats that will actively engage the general public in learning
Production grants support the production and distribution of documentary films, television programs, radio programs, and podcasts. Chairman’s Special Awards are offered for projects of exceptional significance, audience reach, and complexity. A Chairman’s Special Award project should examine important humanities ideas in new ways and demonstrate the potential to reach especially large audiences. These goals can often be accomplished through combining a variety of program formats, forming creative collaborations among diverse institutions, and significantly expanding the scope and reach of the project. Note that Chairman’s Special Awards are offered only at the production stage—not at the development stage. Chairman’s Special Awards are rare; typically no more than one Chairman’s Special Award is made per year.
Media Projects – Production Grants may support activities such as:
- Meeting with scholars
- Script refinement
- Production and distribution of films, television programs, radio programs, and podcasts
- Resources related to the proposed media project that help students and teachers explore the humanities content and themes central to the project
- Outreach activities and public engagement related to the proposed media project
Amount: Six awards will be made for a project period of 12-36 months. Production Grants range from $100,000-$650,000, and Chairman’s Special Awards range up to $1,000,000.
Eligibility: U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, state and local governmental agencies, federally recognized Native American tribal governments, and accredited public and 501(c)(3) institutions of higher education.
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