GW’s Documentary Center received a $400,000 grant from the State Department that will allow 10 emerging international filmmakers to participate in a six-week fellowship.
The program is being offered to artists in Uzbekistan and the Gaza Strip, among other “priority” areas of the world as defined by the State Department.
“These filmmakers will come from developing countries to engage in the elevation of documentary amongst other filmmakers,” said Nina Gilden Seavey, founder and director of the Documentary Center. “I think it is going to broaden the way documentaries are viewed throughout the world, and this is a powerful tool to give voice to underserved filmmakers.”
Together with the Documentary Center, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the State Department is seeking applicants from Algeria, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Morocco, Nepal, Somalia, Tunisia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
“These are countries that the State Department has determined they want increased international exchanges with,” Seavey said.
Participants will produce three films in six weeks, and they will attend a documentary festival.
“These filmmakers will be actively engaged here and will add to an international voice,” Seavey said.
The fellowship will occur this upcoming May and June. The intensive program will encourage the filmmakers to develop their own voice and become part of an international dialogue about documentary film, Seavey said.
She said the individuals who will be chosen for the fellowship will be emerging, not established, filmmakers. The Documentary Center is looking for promise, not previous achievement, among these international applicants.
“We are taking individuals who are at a certain stage in their careers where something like a fellowship can really bring them to the next level,” she said. “We’re taking ten people who can really benefit from this.”
The Documentary Center, part of the School of Media and Public Affairs, specializes in the theory and practice of creating documentary films.
Lee Huebner, director of SMPA, said he is optimistic about what the filmmakers can learn and accomplish at the fellowship.
“It will teach them real skills and will help them hone their already developed skills. The fellowship will give them a new perspective on what they do from this Washington, D.C. setting and this University setting. It will also help them make contacts and network in the documentary world.”