National Endowment for the Humanities: Short Documentaries
The Short Documentaries program supports documentary films up to 30 minutes long that engage audiences with humanities ideas in appealing ways. The program aims to extend the humanities to new audiences through the medium of short documentary films. Films must be grounded in humanities scholarship. The Short Documentaries program can support single films or a series of thematically-related short films addressing significant figures, events, or ideas. Programs may be intended for regional or national distribution, via broadcast, festivals, and/or online distribution.
Applications must present clear central ideas in the humanities and must demonstrate a solid command of the humanities scholarship on their subject. Applicants must have consulted with a team of scholarly advisers to develop the intellectual ideas that the program will explore. The scholars must represent fields relevant to the subject matter, have a strong record of research and scholarship in the humanities, and offer diverse perspectives and approaches. Projects must also demonstrate an approach that is thoughtful, balanced, and analytical. Short Documentaries may explore any humanities topic.
Examples of subjects that could be explored in this program include:
- Military history
- Regional Native American histories
- Portraits of regional artists, folk artists, or artists tied to an exhibition
- Humanistic biographies of regional authors
- Biographies of civic leaders and other figures whose stories illuminate broader humanities themes regarding civic education
- Significant local or regional historical events that resonated nationally or internationally
- Behind-the scenes explorations of museum collections
- Historical vignettes on regional businesses and industries
- Explorations of America’s founding principles
- Histories of significant social and intellectual movements
All proposed projects should:
- Employ appealing formats that will engage the general public in learning
- 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
Amount: Up to nine awards will be made, ranging up to $60,000 for a single film and up to $250,000 for a series of films.
Eligibility: U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, state and local governmental agencies, federally recognized Native American tribal governments, and institutions of higher education.
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