Chicago Digital Media Production Fund: New Grants Program for Local Artists

The Chicago Instructional Technology Foundation and Chicago Filmmakers are pleased to announce the creation of the “Chicago Digital Media Production Fund,” a grants program that will offer significant and much-needed support to Chicago area film and video makers.

The fund is a new project of the Chicago Instructional Technology Foundation and will be administered by Chicago Filmmakers. Grants ranging between $500 and $10,000 will be awarded to Chicago-area media artists to produce and complete a short video to be made available on the web. The total amount to be awarded is $50,000, and at least 5 projects will receive grants.

Part of the fund’s goal is to close the funding gap for innovative digital media that wouldn’t otherwise be produced. With the proliferation of new technology and new distribution strategies for content, media artists are experiencing a sea change in production methods and strategies for finding an audience. The fund hopes to take advantage of the current trend of streaming video on the web by identifying talented media makers with creative projects and by providing a means for them to more fully realize their vision, with the aim of reaching a wide web-based audience.

The fund also intends to raise awareness about important social issues, either explicitly or implicitly, through the work that is produced. Both style and substance count in these awards, and emphasis will be on provocative and innovative work.

Though short productions are preferred, features will also be considered. All genres are welcome (narrative, documentary, animation, and experimental), but the content must address advancing progressive social change in some form, and be appropriate for youth (though not necessarily intended exclusively for youth). All finished videos are required to be made available on the web for free within one year of the grant award. The artists retain all rights to their own work, and are free to use non-web distribution strategies as well.

Individual applicants can be established, emerging, or youth (under 18 years old), but must reside in Cook County. Non-profit organizations are also eligible to apply as long as they are based in Cook County. The deadline for applications is March 19, 2012, and the winning projects will be announced in mid-April, 2012. There is no application fee.

The complete guidelines and application forms will be posted on Chicago Filmmakers’ website http://www.chicagofilmmakers.org on January 3, 2012.

For more information, call Chicago Filmmakers at 773-293-1447.