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Funded Projects Query Form
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Program: Media Projects Production*
Date range: 2017-2019
Sort order: Award year, descending

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TR-264492-19

Catticus Corporation (Berkeley, CA 94710-2597)
Jason Cohn (Project Director: August 2018 to present)

Modernism, Inc.

Production of a one-hour film exploring the life and work of architect and industrial designer Eliot Noyes’ (1910­–77) corporate work.

Modernism, Inc. is a one-hour documentary intended for public television and other outlets that tells the story of Eliot Noyes, the iconic midcentury architect and designer who built the design programs for some of America’s most powerful postwar corporations. The film weaves Noyes’ story with the broader context of corporate America’s fulsome embrace of modernism during the period of postwar economic expansion and culminates in the under-documented backlash against Noyes and his generation of modernists during the countercultural upheaval of the Vietnam era. The life and work of Eliot Noyes in our telling is a vehicle to explore the much larger story of the intersection of postwar business, technology and design, a story that continues to resonate in the contemporary context.

Project fields:
Architecture; Cultural History; U.S. History

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$500,000 (approved)
$500,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2019 – 12/31/2020


TR-264564-19

Smarthistory, Inc. (Pleasantville, NY 10570-2511)
Beth Harris (Project Director: August 2018 to present)

Smarthistory: At Risk Cultural Heritage Education Series, Phase 2

Production of twenty videos and five framing essays about the preservation, destruction, and re-creation of art.

ARCHES: At Risk Cultural Heritage Education Series brings the public to museums, temples, and excavations both remote and close to home to discuss dangers facing our shared cultural heritage. ARCHES brings together art historians, archaeologists, preservationists, and other experts to share their knowledge so that the public can go beyond the headlines to investigate the complex issues at stake at a time when our monuments, architecture, antiquities, and artworks—are under threat from war, looting, neglect, development, and civil unrest, and all at an unprecedented scale. Leaders across the field of cultural heritage preservation have urged Smarthistory to build on the success of ARCHES. Phase 2 will expand on the geographic breadth of the project and provide a richer intellectual framework so that viewers can explore how the destruction of heritage has been treated through history and across the cultural spectrum from Hollywood to the studios of contemporary artists.

Project fields:
Archaeology; Art History and Criticism; History, General

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$260,740 (approved)
$260,740 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2019 – 3/31/2020


TR-261087-18

Filmmakers Collaborative, Inc. (Melrose, MA 02176-3933)
Kathryn P. Dietz (Project Director: January 2018 to present)

Cartooning America: The Fleischer Brothers Story

Production of a sixty-minute documentary film about the family of animators who created such iconic early cartoon characters as Koko the Clown, Popeye the Sailor Man, and Betty Boop.

Project fields:
Film History and Criticism; Media Studies; U.S. History

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$500,000 (approved)
$500,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 9/30/2020


TR-261094-18

Inside Out Media (Oakland, CA 94610-1839)
Marc Shaffer (Project Director: January 2018 to present)

Splitting the Second: The Brilliant, Eccentric Life of Eadweard Muybridge

Production of a ninety-minute documentary chronicling the life and work of the nineteenth-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge.

This is a request for an NEH production grant to support an unprecedented multi-platform documentary film and public education project on Eadweard Muybridge, the 19th century photographer who was the first to photograph an object moving faster than the eye can see, fundamentally changing our world. The documentary will reach a broad audience via festivals, theatrical release, domestic and international broadcast and/or streaming, and special public screenings, including at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, the Kingston Museum, and the Yosemite Conservancy, which will present a special event in the park. An interactive website will provide viewers with 4D experiences, ample resources on Muybridge and his technological context, and bonus interviews. An educational symposium at Stanford and an exhibit to mark the 150th anniversary of Muybridge’s Alaska photographs are planned to build excitement and engage key audiences.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
American Studies; History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine; Media Studies

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$500,000 (approved)
$500,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2018 – 4/30/2020


TR-261123-18

Public Radio International, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN 55401-2097)
Melinda Ward (Project Director: January 2018 to present)

American Oral History Project: LBJ's Great Society & Richard Nixon's War

Production of two radio documentaries and twelve podcasts exploring the Johnson and Nixon presidencies from 1963 to mid-1975.

Project fields:
Political History; U.S. History

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$301,331 (approved)
$301,331 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2018 – 6/30/2020


TR-261049-18

Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. (St. Paul, MN 55101-1492)
Michael Rosenfeld (Project Director: January 2018 to present)

Laura Ingalls Wilder: Prairie Legend

Production of a ninety-minute documentary film chronicling the life, work, and cultural impact of Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867–1957).

Project fields:
American Literature; American Studies

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$500,000 (approved)
$500,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 3/31/2021


TR-259189-18

Women in Film & Video, Inc. (Washington, DC 20016-1851)
Leola Calzolai-Stewart (Project Director: August 2017 to present)

Changing State: Black Diplomats, Civil Rights, and the Cold War

Production of a one-hour documentary about three African American men who broke the color line at the U.S. State Department in the years following World War II.

Changing State: Black Diplomats, Civil Rights, and the Cold War (working title) is a one-hour documentary about three African-American men who broke the color line at the U.S. State Department in the years following World War II. Our characters (Edward R. Dudley, Carl T. Rowan, and Terence Todman) helped dismantle long-standing color barriers in the Foreign Service yet were caught in the crossfire of the civil rights movement, Cold War politics and international public relations. Their diplomatic careers reveal the struggles inherent in representing a country that didn’t represent them. As African-American envoys of a segregated America, could they ignore the wrongs in their own country—and should they? They were pioneers, but pioneers with a problem: as they broke new ground, they were stepping into quicksand. Changing State is intended for national public television broadcast, with a strong educational tie-in and curriculum package.

Project fields:
African American History; Diplomatic History; U.S. History

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$450,000 (approved)
$450,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 10/31/2020


TR-259353-18

WNET (New York, NY 10019-7416)
Michael Kantor (Project Director: August 2017 to present)

American Masters—Mae West: I'm No Angel

Production of a documentary film about the writer and actress Mae West (1893–1980).

WNET is seeking a production grant from the NEH for a multi-platform project about the writer and actress Mae West, her extraordinary career and her untold impact on American entertainment and culture. The centerpiece of the project is a documentary biography of Mae West titled Mae West: I’m No Angel that will be broadcast in late 2019 or early 2020 as part of WNET’s American Masters series. Among the many entertainers who defined 20th century American show business, Mae West occupied a unique place. Over the course of an 80-year career that saw great acclaim in every major popular entertainment medium, West constantly challenged social norms with her unconventional female characters. Taking the full measure of her life and career reveals a singular artist who served as a kind of fever chart of changing social mores in 20th century America. Mae West: I’m No Angel will explore the life and legacy of this complex cultural figure who left an indelible imprint on American entertainment.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$500,000 (approved)
$500,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2018 – 4/30/2021


TR-259194-18

Latino Public Broadcasting (Burbank, CA 91505-5025)
Sandie Viquez Pedlow (Project Director: August 2017 to present)

José Lezama Lima: Letters to Eloísa

Production of a sixty-minute documentary about the Cuban writer José Lezama Lima (1910–76).

An hour-long documentary film biography of one of Cuba’s greatest writers of the twentieth century, and a major figure in the mid-century Latin American literary Boom. Relying on Lezama’s remarkable correspondence with his exiled sister in the U.S. as dramatic armature, the film features Lezama’s own readings of his poetry, striking photography of Havana, dramatizations; as well as archival material and interviews; it weaves together the public and the private, the literary and the political, to show how Lezama’s eventful life was enmeshed in Cuba’s complicated history including its 1959 Revolution and the struggle between government and intellectuals for artistic freedom. A dual tragic love story—between a loving brother and his sister in exile, and between a patriotic, homosexual writer and his roiling nation—the film arrives at a critical time as it opens a window onto a changing Cuba and holds important lessons for the global struggle for freedom and tolerance.

Project fields:
Intellectual History; Latin American Literature

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$450,000 (approved)
$450,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2018 – 9/30/2019


TR-259360-18

Radio Diaries (Brooklyn, NY 11201-8319)
Joe Kirk Richman (Project Director: August 2017 to present)

The History of Now

The production of eighteen radio documentaries, for broadcast and online distribution, exploring a wide range of events in U.S. history.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Journalism; U.S. History

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$350,000 (approved)
$250,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2018 – 4/30/2020


TR-259293-18

University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA 22903-4833)
Kevin McFadden (Project Director: August 2017 to April 2018)
David Stenhouse (Project Director: April 2018 to January 2019)
Kevin McFadden (Project Director: January 2019 to present)

Classroom Connections

Production of fifty-two radio episodes accompanied by an educational outreach campaign.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History, General; U.S. History

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$460,000 (approved)
$460,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2018 – 6/30/2020


TR-256300-17

Independent Feature Project, Inc. (Brooklyn, NY 11201-1122)
Alison Chernick (Project Director: January 2017 to present)

Itzhak

Production of a 90-minute documentary about the Israeli-American violinist, conductor, and educator Itzhak Perlman.

If there’s anyone who personifies the resilience,the vision and ultimately the contribution of the Jewish people, it’s Itzhak Perlman. The violin is the chosen instrument of Perlman, the vehicle he has used to overcome his own challenges and express himself to the world. In Perlman and his music, we hear the story of obstacles and survival, we see the comfort of home and family and witness how humor and talent combine with discipline and drive. As we unravel the love story between Itzhak and his wife Toby, we see how their union has shaped his success.

Project fields:
Arts, Other; Jewish Studies

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$200,000 (approved)
$200,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2017 – 7/31/2018


TR-254097-17

Tulane University (New Orleans, LA 70118-5698)
Nicholas R. Spitzer (Project Director: August 2016 to present)

American Routes: Exploring & Expressing the Vernacular Humanities in Story & Song

American Routes is the weekly, two-hour nationally-distributed public radio program devoted to songs and stories, humanist and artist narratives, that explore humanities and aesthetic issues in American society and culture through the expression of vernacular music and culture. Produced in New Orleans and produced and hosted by folklorist and documentary producer Nick Spitzer. Our current proposal, American Routes: Exploring & Expressing the Vernacular Humanities in Story & Song, seeks support of $225,795 to create 10 new, highly researched two-hour programs featuring in-depth humanities content in 2017-18.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Folklore and Folklife; Music History and Criticism

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$100,000 (approved)
$100,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2017 – 12/31/2018


TR-255996-17

City Lore: NY Center for Urban Folk Culture (New York, NY 10003-9345)
Amanda Pollak (Project Director: January 2017 to August 2019)
Michelle Marie Ferrari (Project Director: August 2019 to present)

The 19th Amendment

Production of a four-hour documentary film about the efforts to pass the Nineteenth Amendment for women’s voting rights (1909–20).

The 19th Amendment is a new two-part, four-hour film about the final phase of the struggle for the Nineteenth Amendment (1909-1920), which removed discrimination at the polls on the basis of sex, and led to the largest expansion of voting rights in American history. The film is planned for broadcast in 2020, and has the opportunity to provide important engagement, broad educational outreach, and critical discussion for the Amendment’s centennial. The film explores the culmination story—as well as the stark limitations—of one of the nation’s most important social, political, and cultural movements. It addresses broad themes about the nature of American democracy, the relationship between the franchise and civic identity, the shape of social movements, the influence of transnational exchange and global politics, and the role of race and gender in public life.

Project fields:
Political History; U.S. History; Women's History

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$350,000 (approved)
$350,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 5/31/2020


TR-256166-17

GWETA, Inc. (Arlington, VA 22206-3440)
Anne Harrington (Project Director: January 2017 to present)

College Behind Bars

Production of a two-hour documentary that chronicles the intellectual and personal journeys of men and women who participate in a rigorous liberal arts college program as inmates of New York state prisons.

College Behind Bars is a two-hour documentary directed by Lynn Novick and produced by Sarah Botstein, which brings to life the practice of liberal arts education among inmates in American prisons. The project is a co-production of WETA, the leading public broadcasting station in the nation’s capital and the second-largest producing station of PBS programming, and Skiff Mountain Films, a documentary production company based in New York City. Novick and Botstein are longtime filmmaking partners of documentarian Ken Burns, who is serving as Executive Producer. The project is produced in association with Burns’ production company, Florentine Films. Slated for national broadcast on PBS in 2018, College Behind Bars will be accompanied by a multi-platform digital media campaign.

Project fields:
Social Sciences, Other

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$200,000 (approved)
$200,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2017 – 1/31/2020


TR-254137-17

Southern Documentary Fund (Durham, NC 27702-3622)
Ashley Blair York (Project Director: August 2016 to present)

Appalachia in the Media

This documentary examines representations of Appalachia in the media as constructed over the past century. The film uncovers the origins of the American “hillbilly” archetype, explores the impact of these representations in Appalachia and beyond, reveals how this shape-shifting icon reflects the evolution of America’s aspirational self-image over the decades, and asks critical questions about our roles as journalists and storytellers in representing Appalachian communities and citizens. In addition, this story offers an urgent exploration of how we see and think about elements of poor, rural America that extends far beyond the region. This is a contemporary story about hope and how media can be used as a tool for change.

Project fields:
Film History and Criticism; Media Studies

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$300,000 (approved)
$300,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2017 – 1/31/2019


TR-254017-17

Public Radio International, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN 55401-2097)
Melinda Ward (Project Director: August 2016 to May 2019)
John Barth (Project Director: May 2019 to present)

American Icons IV on Studio 360

American Icons IV will be a fresh new series of specially produced programs and stories to be broadcast within Studio 360, PRI's one-hour public radio show about the arts, ideas, and humanities which is co-produced with New York Public Radio and aired nationally to over 600,000 listeners. Each week, on-air host Kurt Andersen leads an exploration of creativity and the arts, through feature stories and lively conversations with artists, critics and thought leaders. The goal of the American Icon series is to examine time-tested works of literature, music, film, design, or visual art that have had significant and enduring impact on American culture and society. Consultation and close collaboration with humanities scholars enables the production team to offer general audiences an informative, enlightening, and entertaining exploration of humanities subjects and themes central to our diverse and evolving American culture.

Project fields:
American Studies; History, Criticism, and Theory of the Arts; Journalism

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$300,000 (approved)
$300,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2017 – 11/30/2019


TR-253996-17

WeOwnTV (San Francisco, CA 94110-4615)
Edward Banker White (Project Director: August 2016 to present)

Survivors

Through the eyes of Sierra Leonean filmmakers, Survivors presents a heart-connected portrait of their country during the Ebola outbreak, exposing the complexity of the epidemic and the socio-political turmoil that lies in its wake. The film interweaves the heroic stories of Mohamed Bangura, the senior ambulance driver at the country's main ambulance dispatch location and Margaret Sesay, a nurse who works at the EMERGENCY Ebola treatment center in Freetown caring for some of the sickest patients. Through intimate verite footage of these characters’ daily lives, the film not only explores how the epidemic ravaged families and communities, but also exposed broken infrastructures, deep misunderstandings between international aid organizations and the communities they serve, as well as unresolved political tensions after the decade-long civil war. In this way, Survivors profoundly wrestles with what it means to be Sierra Leonean at this critical juncture in the country’s history.

Project fields:
African Studies; Journalism; Sociology

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$400,000 (approved)
$400,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2017 – 12/31/2018


TR-254072-17

Ciesla Foundation, Inc. (Washington, DC 20008-2042)
Rachel S. Engleberg (Project Director: August 2016 to present)

The Adventures of Saul Bellow

The Adventures of Saul Bellow is a documentary film and companion website that examine the life and work of one of the 20th century’s most celebrated writers. Saul Bellow (1915-2005) won the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Medal of Arts, and three National Book Awards. He wrote over 40 novels and novellas, stories, non-fiction works, and plays, breaking literary norms and influencing at least generation of writers. In the name of intellectual freedom, he also frequently offended those closest to him, and challenged the sensibilities of his readers. Yet remarkably, there has never been a substantive film made about him. With unprecedented support from the Bellow Estate, from biographers and scholars, and from those who knew him best, our film and website will introduce Saul Bellow and his writing to a new generation.

Project fields:
American Literature; American Studies; English

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$300,000 (approved)
$300,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2017 – 5/31/2019


TR-254082-17

SUNY Research Foundation, College at Oneonta (Oneonta, NY 13820-2685)
Gretchen S. Sorin (Project Director: August 2016 to present)

African Americans on the Road in the Era of Jim Crow

The feature documentary Driving While Black will chronicle the history of African Americans on the road from the 1930s to the 1960s. From the Depression to the Civil Rights movement, this crucial and transformative period in American history commenced as black Americans navigated the brave new world of the automobile and the highway in the last decades of Jim Crow America, seizing opportunities for mobility while confronting challenges unknown to white travelers. In today’s society, there is a clear gaping disparity between black and white Americans in their beliefs about the treatment of black citizens by law enforcement. Driving While Black will use the history of African American automobile travel as a window into the complex nature of freedom, mobility, and race in America, in the hope that the insights it affords can help inform our collective understanding of race relationships today, and be a catalyst for discussion about race and equality. [Project work period: 7/1/15-3/31/17]

Project fields:
African American History

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$300,000 (approved)
$300,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2017 – 4/30/2019


TR-254085-17

University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA 22903-4833)
Kevin McFadden (Project Director: August 2016 to present)

Voices of Vietnam: Vietnam War Public Radio Series

More than 50 years after the United States first put troops on the ground in Vietnam, combatants and witnesses are coming forward to share their experiences. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities’ widely carried public radio show, With Good Reason (WGR), is requesting a production grant in support of a ten-part radio series on the people who lived the Vietnam conflict from many sides and perspectives, on a selection of themes, in their own words. The ten half-hour documentaries will be created by a team of award-winning radio producers over two years and will air on our network of more than 75 public radio stations. The series will be offered free to hundreds of other radio stations and made available online through iTunes and other podcast applications as well as the WGR website. Beyond those broadcasts, WGR will distribute via podcast in partnership with organizations that have veteran audiences and will create a teacher’s guide for use of this audio material in classrooms.

Project fields:
East Asian History; History, General

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$180,000 (approved)
$180,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2017 – 12/31/2019


TR-253959-17

Smarthistory, Inc. (Pleasantville, NY 10570-2511)
Steven Zucker (Project Director: August 2016 to present)

At Risk Cultural Heritage Education Series (ARCHES)

The monuments, sites, and objects that define our shared humanity are being lost at an unprecedented rate. And while news headlines regularly mark the most dramatic acts of destruction, there is currently little high quality, engaging, and in-depth information reaching the general public. As the center of a network of more than two hundred humanities scholars and professionals, and a resource serving a growing audience numbering in the millions, Smarthistory is the leading online provider of learning resources for art and cultural history and is perfectly positioned to bring the public into the discussions surrounding endangered cultural heritage. Smarthistory is requesting $650,000 to complete the At Risk Cultural Heritage Education Series (ARCHES), a new collection of online content tracing a comprehensive introduction to the preservation of cultural heritage worldwide.

Project fields:
Archaeology; Art History and Criticism; Cultural History

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$250,000 (approved)
$250,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2017 – 3/31/2018


TR-254000-17

Katahdin Foundation (Berkeley, CA 94710-1713)
Roberta Grossman (Project Director: August 2016 to present)

Who Will Write Our History

Katahdin Productions requests $407,450 for completion of Who Will Write Our History, a 90-minute documentary film about historian Emanuel Ringelblum and the secret archive he created in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. The film is based on the book of the same name by historian Samuel Kassow. Ringelblum’s Oyneg Shabes Archive is regarded among historians as an extraordinary achievement of scholarly self-study in the very depths of hell. The 30,000+ pages of documents including diaries, essays, poems, paintings, photographs, letters, underground newspapers, Judenrat records, and Nazi artifacts, are considered the most important cache of in-the-moment, eyewitness accounts to survive the Holocaust. Despite its power and importance for historians of the Warsaw Ghetto, to this day the Archive remains largely unknown outside academic circles. This film will change that, in the way that only a film can do, by making the story accessible to millions of people around the world.

Project fields:
European History; History, General; Jewish Studies

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$250,000 (approved)
$250,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
3/1/2017 – 3/31/2018


TR-254023-17

Public Radio International, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN 55401-2097)
Patrick Cox (Project Director: August 2016 to present)

The World in Words

PRI is seeking renewed support for The World in Words, our distinctive online and on-air feature focused on entertaining and informative stories of language around the globe. NEH funding would support 26 original podcasts (15-30 minutes in length) examining a broad range of language-related topics, along with 26 related shorter segments (3-7 minutes) to be broadcast within the award-winning daily global news program, PRI’s The World. In addition, NEH funding will support The World in Words’ expanding online presence, multimedia content including 6 short videos, and a live event, all designed to encourage greater listener engagement, interactivity, and social media sharing.

Project fields:
Journalism; Languages, General

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$180,000 (approved)
$180,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2017 – 5/31/2018


TR-256290-17

Firelight Media, Inc. (New York, NY 10031-6300)
Stanley Nelson (Project Director: January 2017 to present)

The Slave Trade: Creating A New World

Production of a four-hour documentary examining the Atlantic slave trade as an agent of momentous demographic, economic, and moral transformations.

Firelight Media requests a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the production of a major four-part television series on the Atlantic slave trade, to be produced by acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Nelson, for national broadcast on PBS. The series, with the working title The Slave Trade: Creating A New World, covers four centuries of the Atlantic trade, the largest forced long-distance migration in history, and one of the most momentous and transformative events of the past millennium. In four one-hour programs, each covering a defined historical period and featuring a specific voyage as its narrative spine, the series explores crucial aspects of a vast and hugely profitable enterprise that peopled continents, transformed economies, and shaped the modern world, and one that had at is core a concerted and highly effective effort to turn millions of human beings into commodities that could be bought and sold.

Project fields:
African American History; African History; European History

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$800,000 (approved)
$800,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2017 – 10/31/2020


TR-255914-17

Filmmakers Collaborative, Inc. (Melrose, MA 02176-3933)
Sharon Naomi Grimberg (Project Director: January 2017 to present)

The Circus

Production of a four-hour documentary film series chronicling the history of the traveling circus, an American institution, from the late 18th century to the middle of the 20th century.

The Circus is the first in-depth look at one of the most influential forms of entertainment in American history. The two-part mini-series tells the story of the American circus from the first one-ring show at the end of the eighteenth century, through the creation of gigantic, three-ring tented railroad circuses at the end of the nineteenth century, ending in 1956 with the decision to pull down the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey big top for the very last time. The film demonstrates that the railroad circus was a uniquely American entertainment created by a rapidly expanding and industrializing nation; that it embraced and was made possible by Western imperialism; that its history was shaped by a tension between its unconventional entertainments and prevailing standards of respectability; that its promise for ordinary people was the possibility for personal reinvention; and that over the course of its history it reflected the limits imposed on African Americans and other minorities.

Project fields:
Cultural History

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$200,000 (approved)
$200,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2017 – 4/30/2018