Nonprofit American Documentary (AmDoc), which was behind the PBS series POV, has kickstarted a COVID-19 Artist Emergency Fund to support the independent documentary community.
This fund is valued at over $100,000 and will provide grants of up to $500 to assist doccers with their basic needs, including food, immediate health concerns and insurance. Applications are now open and will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the fund is expired.
“Last year when we ran the pilot, the need for a fund of this kind was already substantial. During this pandemic, the need is critical,” said Justine Nagan, executive producer/executive director of POV / American Documentary. “We are just beginning to see how COVID-19 is affecting filmmakers, especially those from marginalized communities. Canceled premieres, halted production and broader systemic issues are profoundly affecting filmmakers from healthcare to housing security. This adapted COVID AEF is designed for quick turnaround grants to support filmmakers and their families’ physical health.”
“In the face of COVID-19, we are seeing artists, especially artists-of-color at the forefront of innovative interventions and leading vital community responses to bring about mutual aid groups, joy and a sense of togetherness as we center ourselves inside our homes,” added Asad Muhammad, VP of Impact and Engagement Strategy, who will oversee the fund through the POV Engage department. “The hope is that these small grants can provide documentary filmmakers with some immediate support in sustaining their groceries, doctor visits and health insurance during this intense, confusing time.”
The decision to offer one-time grants comes as a direct response to concerns about sustainability in the documentary field, with overall lack of adequate healthcare cited as a concern alongside loss of livelihood due to canceled production, festivals and theatricals. In its pilot year, the fund distributed more than $20,000 to docmakers in need.
The Artist Emergency Fund is made possible with support from Open Society Foundations, Shizuka Asakawa, the Chicago Media Project, Genuine Article Pictures and a number of other generous individuals.