LEF Foundation Announces $190,000 in Production and Post-production Grants to New England Documentary Filmmakers

LEF and the Harvard Film Study Center have also announced that Khary Saeed Jones has been awarded the FSC-LEF Fellowship for 2021-22.

The LEF Foundation has awarded 10 Moving Image Fund grants totaling $190,000 in support of feature-length documentary works by New England-based filmmakers.

The LEF Moving Image Fund invests in feature-length documentary films that demonstrate excellence in technique, strong storytelling ability, and originality of artistic vision and voice. The most recent round of awards includes six grants of $15,000 to projects at the Production stage, and four grants of $25,000 to projects at the Post-production stage.

“Considering the increased challenges that independent filmmakers continue to face in 2021,” said LEF Executive Director Lyda Kuth, “we are unwavering in our commitment to the Moving Image Fund, as a longstanding and unique regional grant program for New England-based filmmakers, which offers early and ongoing funding for feature documentaries through a peer review evaluation process. ”

At LEF’s January 2021 deadline for Production and Post-production, 72 eligible letters of inquiry were evaluated by a group of three New England-based filmmakers serving as peer readers, in addition to LEF staff. Of these initial inquiries, 30 projects that most aligned with LEF’s funding criteria were invited by LEF staff to submit a full application, including 22 finalists in Production and 8 finalists in Post-production. All 30 full applications were then evaluated by a peer review panel made up of filmmakers and professionals from across the U.S. who represent a diversity of perspectives on documentary. Peer reviewers remain anonymous, and change at every round. While LEF typically convenes each year’s Moving Image Fund panelists for an in-person review meeting each May, LEF altered its plans for a second consecutive year due to the COVID-19 pandemic by convening an all-virtual panel review process.

About the most recent round of Production and Post-production grants awarded, LEF Program Officer Gen Carmel shared, “The projects supported at this stage represent only a glimpse of the visionary filmmakers and artists who live and work in New England, working across archival, experimental, hybrid, observational, personal, and political filmmaking traditions in documentary film. While not all applicants were able to be supported, we were honored to learn about every project shared with LEF, and to invite feedback from a group of thoughtful and talented peer reviewers, which we will make available for applicants to hear by phone. We hope that all of the filmmakers

who applied at this stage will continue to stay in touch with LEF as not only a potential funder, but also a resource for information and encouragement, to make the filmmaking process a little less isolating through these difficult times.”

In addition to this group of grantees, LEF also awarded $50,000 to 12 projects in Early Development and Pre-production earlier in the fiscal year. In total, LEF will be distributing $240,000 in funding to documentary productions over the course of its 2021 fiscal year.

Additionally, earlier today, LEF joined the Harvard Film Study Center in announcing that Khary Saeed Jones has been selected as the 2021-22 recipient of the Film Study Center-LEF Foundation Fellowship with his project “Night Fight”. The FSC-LEF Fellowship, open to Boston-area nonfiction directors who are not currently affiliated with Harvard, aims to foster connections between Harvard filmmakers and those in the surrounding filmmaker community. One filmmaker per academic year receives a $10,000 grant (jointly funded by FSC and LEF Foundation), access to FSC production and post-production equipment, and the opportunity to participate in the Harvard FSC community through work-in-progress screenings, workshops, and other activities. Fellowship applications are accepted in the January round of the LEF Moving Image Fund Production and Post-production grant cycle and the final recipient of the FSC-LEF Fellowship is selected by the Film Study Center. See the full announcement here.

See the full MIF announcement.

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