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TR-266384-19

International Documentary Association (Los Angeles, CA 90010-2207)
Ben Loeterman (Project Director: January 2019 to present)
Winchelldom: The World that Walter Winchell Built

Production of a sixty-minute documentary film about the prominent newspaper columnist and radio commentator Walter Winchell (1897–1972).

This is a request for a grant of $650,000 to produce a 60-minute documentary film about the lasting cultural impact of gossip columnist cum political commentator Walter Winchell. Winchelldom: The World that Walter Winchell Built (w.t.) traces this flawed protagonist, who at the height of his career had a combined print and radio audience of fifty million, two out of three American adults. In addition, it explores the phenomenon Winchell pioneered: celebrity, gossip, politics and news all rolled into one. It was, concluded the New Yorker in a 1940 six-part profile, nothing less than a, “new form of journalism.” A friend eulogized him saying, “Winchell’s primary objective is to explain the 20th century to his millions of readers. The fact is, however, that historians will be unable to explain the 20th century without understanding Winchell.”

Project fields:
Cultural History; Journalism

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Totals:
$650,000 (approved)
$650,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 10/31/2020