Film Academy Issues $2.5 Million in Grants, Many to Small Film Fests Hit Hard by Pandemic

Grants ranging from $5,000 to $200,000 were awarded based on "current need," with priority given to those "most impacted by the current global crisis."
David Livingston/Getty Images

Ninety-six film organizations on Tuesday received bright news in a dark time when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the recipients of its 2020 Film Craft and Film Watch grants.

Grants totaling $2.5 million — ranging from $5,000 to $200,000 each — were awarded based on "current need" to organizations that support filmmakers and reach audiences from underserved communities. Among them: film festivals (including some biggies like the Toronto International Film Festival, and many with lower profiles like the International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management/Indigenous Film & Arts Festival), universities (like the American Film Institute), production companies (Kartemquin Films) and other organizations (like Film Independent).

"The Academy's first priority remains to help those in our film community most impacted by the current global crisis," Academy governor and Education and Outreach Committee chair Nancy Utley said in a statement. "Our contribution of $2 million in emergency funds to the Academy Foundation, along with the grants we bestow on an annual basis, will surely benefit struggling organizations so they may continue to encourage diverse storytelling and enrich cinema and its artists."

Added Marcus Hu, chair of the Grants committee, "The Academy's Grants committee is honored to continue to provide much-needed support to these 96 worthy organizations — their impact on the world of film is truly immeasurable."

The Academy grants program has awarded more than $15 million since 1968.

This year's recipient institutions and programs are as follows:

African Diaspora Film Festival, Inc. (New York, NY)

African Film Festival (New York, NY)

American Museum of Natural History/Margaret Mead Film Festival (New York, NY)

American Film Institute (Los Angeles, CA)

Arabian Sights Film Festival/Filmfest DC (Washington, D.C.)

Art-House America Campaign (Ann Arbor, MI)

Asian CineVision/43rd Asian American International Film Festival (Brooklyn, NY)

Asian Culture and Media Alliance (San Diego, CA)

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (Atlanta, GA)

Austin Film Society (Austin, TX)

Barnard College/Athena Film Festival (New York, NY)

Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA)

Berkshire International Film Festival (Great Barrington, MA)

Big Sky Film Institute/Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (Missoula, MT)

BlackStar Film Festival (Philadelphia, PA)

California Institute of the Arts (Santa Clarita, CA)

Center for Asian American Media/CAAMFest (San Francisco, CA)

Center for Documentary Studies/Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (Durham, NC)

Chicago Filmmakers (Chicago, IL)

Chicago International Film Festival/Cinema/Chicago (Chicago, IL)

Chicago Latino Film Festival (Chicago, IL)

Chicken & Egg Pictures (Brooklyn, NY, and San Francisco, CA)

Cinema Tropical (New York, NY)

Cine Qua Non Lab (Morelia, Mexico)

Columbia Film Society (Columbia, SC)

Dance Theatre Etcetera (Brooklyn, NY)

Diamond in the Raw (Culver City, CA)

Documental Ambulante AC (Mexico City, Mexico)

Dreaming Tree Foundation (Rock Island, IL)

Echo Park Film Center (Los Angeles, CA)

Educational Video Center (New York, NY)

Exceptional Minds (Sherman Oaks, CA)

Facets/Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (Chicago, IL)

Film Independent (Los Angeles, CA)

Film Society of Lincoln Center (New York, NY)

Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul (Minneapolis, MN)

Firelight Media (New York, NY)

Flaherty Film Seminar/International Film Seminars Inc. (Brooklyn, NY)

Frameline (San Francisco, CA)

GALA Inc. (Grupo de Artistas LatinoAmericanos) (Washington, DC)

George Eastman Museum (Rochester, NY)

Ghetto Film School (Bronx, NY, and Los Angeles, CA)

GLAS Animation/GLAS Animation Festival (Berkeley, CA)

Hamilton College (Clinton, NY)

Independent Feature Project (Brooklyn, NY)

Indie Memphis (Memphis, TN)

Indigenous Showcase (Seattle, WA)

Inner-City Arts (Los Angeles, CA)

Inner-City Filmmakers (Santa Monica, CA)

International Documentary Association (Los Angeles, CA)

International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management/Indigenous Film & Arts Festival (Denver, CO)

Internews Network/FilmAid (Arcata, CA; Washington, D.C.; London; and Paris)

Jacob Burns Film Center (Pleasantville, NY)

Jewish Film Institute/San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (San Francisco, CA)

Kartemquin Films (Chicago, IL)

Los Angeles Filmforum (Los Angeles, CA)

Maysles Institute (New York, NY)

Media Arts Center San Diego (San Diego, CA)

Media City Film Festival (Windsor, Ontario)

Mizna’s Twin Cities Arab Film Festival (St. Paul, MN)

Montclair State University Foundation (Montclair, NJ)

Museum of the Moving Image (Astoria, NY)

Muslim Public Affairs Council (Washington, DC)

National Association of Latino Independent Producers (Culver City, CA)

New Orleans Film Society (New Orleans, LA)

New York Asian Film Foundation/New York Asian Film Festival (New York, NY)

New York Women in Film & Television (New York, NY)

Newfest (New York, NY)

Northwest Film Forum (Seattle, WA)

Outfest (Los Angeles, CA)

Pan African Film Festival (Los Angeles, CA)

Points North Institute/Camden International Film Festival (Camden, ME)

Portland Community Media (Portland, OR)

Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (San Francisco, CA)

Ragtag Film Society/True/False Film Fest (Columbia, MO)

Raw Art Works’ Real to Reel (R2R) Film School (Lynn, MA)

Reel Abilities NY (New York, NY)

Reel Works (Brooklyn, NY)

Rosendale Theatre Collective: Women in Experiment Schneemann/Hammer (Rosendale, NY)

SFFILM (San Francisco, CA)

SIFF (Seattle, WA)

San Francisco Cinematheque (San Francisco, CA)

San Francisco Silent Film Festival (San Francisco, CA)

Scribe Video Center (Philadelphia, PA)

Sedona International Film Festival (Sedona, AZ)

Silver Bullet Productions (Santa Fe, NM)

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian/Native Cinema Showcase (New York, NY, and Santa Fe, NM)

Streetlights (Los Angeles, CA)

Sundance Institute (Los Angeles, CA, and Park City, Utah)

Toronto International Film Festival (Toronto, ON)

UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art (Brooklyn, NY)

Utah Film Center/Damn These Heels Queer Film Festival (Salt Lake City, UT)

Venice Arts (Marina del Rey, CA)

Visual Communications Media/Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (Los Angeles, CA)

Women in Film (Los Angeles, CA)

Women Make Movies (New York, NY)