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National Endowment for the Humanities: Media Projects Program

Deadline: August 11, 2021

The National Endowment for the Humanities Media Projects Program supports the development, production, and distribution of radio programs, podcasts, long-form documentary films, and documentary film series that engage general audiences with humanities ideas in creative and appealing ways. Projects must be grounded in humanities scholarship and demonstrate an approach that is thoughtful, balanced, and analytical. Media Projects offers two levels of funding: Development and Production.

The Development Grants program supports the collaboration of media producers and scholars to develop humanities content and to prepare documentary film, television, radio, and podcast projects that engage public audiences with humanities ideas in creative and appealing ways. Awards should result in a script (for documentary film or television programs) or a detailed treatment (for radio programs or podcasts) and may also yield a plan for outreach and public engagement. All projects must be grounded in humanities scholarship. Development awards may support activities such as:

* meetings with scholars
* research and preliminary interviews (including scholarly research and development of humanities themes)
* preparation of program treatments and/or scripts
* production of a work-in-progress or trailer
* creation of partnerships for outreach activities and public engagement

The 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. Production awards may support activities such as:

* archival research and rights clearances
* meetings with scholars
* script refinement
* production and distribution of films, television programs, radio programs, and podcasts
* development of resources related to the proposed media project, such as websites, that explore the humanities content and themes central to the project
* outreach and public engagement

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

Chairman’s Special Awards are occasionally 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.

Amount: Development Grants are made for up to $75,000 each. Production Grants range from $100,000-$700,000, and Chairman’s Special Awards range up to $1,000,000. An expected 12-15 awards are anticipated.

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.

Link: https://www.neh.gov/program/media-projects

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