The U.S. government is seeking proposals from organizations with film management experience to oversee a $700,000 grant that will fund screenings of selected independent American films at foreign outlets.
On April 21, 2011, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) posted a notice on the Federal Register seeking requests for grant proposals to administer the program “American Film Showcase; Contemporary Voices in Documentary and Fiction Film.” The application deadline is May 25, 2011.
ECA plans to select a single organization to administer the program globally in up to 25 countries, according to the notice. The selected organization will “select a collection of contemporary American documentary and narrative films that offer a broad overview of the best in current American independent filmmaking,” the notice says.
Documentaries are the priority focus of the showcase because they can inspire critical discussion of difficult topics, help foster mutual understanding and demonstrate the importance of free speech in bringing about public discourse to effect change, the notice says. The documentaries should address a variety of compelling themes and reflect contemporary American society as seen by independent documentary filmmakers. Those themes should include, but not be limited to, human rights, ethnic diversity, immigration, democratic processes, women and families, civil society, the environment, science and technology, education and other subjects reflecting contemporary life, it says.
The showcase should include at least 15, but no more than 20 documentaries and narrative films, with documentaries comprising more than 50 percent of the total number, the notice says. In addition, about five animated shorts should be included. The shorts should demonstrate the latest in American animation techniques and increase programming interest, especially for younger audiences.
Once the films have been selected, the grant recipient is then expected to “showcase and promote contemporary American independent documentaries and narrative films and their filmmakers at a variety of international venues, including U.S. Embassy-organized events and U.S. Embassy-supported documentary film festivals, as well as at universities, museums, bi-national centers and elsewhere,” the notice says.
Those events and festivals are to “help engage audiences overseas that have access to few if any American independent documentaries and narrative films,” and “provide opportunities for international audiences to become exposed to American viewpoints on socially relevant issues as presented in these films; gain an understanding of the role of filmmaking as a catalyst for dialogue and for exploring solutions to contemporary problems; and allow American filmmakers to learn about life and culture in the foreign host countries.”
The filmmakers and film experts selected will be expected to conduct or participate in master classes, lectures and workshops on a variety of subjects, including filmmaking, story-telling, and cinematography; marketing, distribution and funding; animation techniques and computer animation; digital technology, cell- phone and YouTube filmmaking; other forms of emergent media, as well as creative use of social networking.
For additional information, contact Susan Cohen, U.S. Department of State, Cultural Programs Division, ECA/PE/C/CU, SA-5, Third Floor, ref: ECA/PE/C/CU-11-46, 2200 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037 (202) 632-6424 or CohenSL@state.gov.