Virginia Film Festival Receives Rare Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Grant

October 29, 2007

Oct. 29, 2007 — The Virginia Film Festival announced today that it is one of only two festivals chosen to receive a three-year grant of $75,000 from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences The festival will receive the funds over a three-year period to help develop long-term community outreach projects.

"The Virginia Film Festival has been honored with two grants from the Motion Picture Academy since the Festival Grants program began in 1999," said Richard Herskowitz, the Virginia Film Festival’s artistic director.

"Only a handful of festivals have been given large, multi-year grants by the academy in all that time, and it is wonderful recognition of the national stature of our festival to be in this select group. The grant is going to enable us to expand our community outreach and audiences in the years ahead, and make us an even stronger bridge between the University and the larger community."

The academy grant will allow the festival to provide programs targeting younger and minority audiences and the wider community and to hire a community outreach coordinator to oversee several new initiatives.

The first initiative will introduce a Festival in the Schools program that will include in-school presentations by three of the festival's guest filmmakers and provide reserved seating for younger students at classic film screenings during the festival.

The second will support the development of Family Day, a new program introduced in this year's festival that features demonstrations of film production along with screenings of international short films targeted to 4- to 8-year-old and 9- to 12-year-old children.

The grant will also facilitate scholarships for young filmmakers and film students to attend the Virginia Film Festival "Shot by Shot" workshop in which a director, editor or critic conducts an in depth exploration of a film.

Finally, the funding will allow greater outreach to churches, synagogues, social justice and other community organizations to bring attention to multicultural strains within the film festival theme.

The Virginia Film Festival is among 20 film festivals in the United States that the Academy Foundation selected to receive grants totaling $450,000 this year. The other festival chosen to receive a multi-year grant is the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in North Carolina.

Since its establishment in 1999, the academy's Festival Grants Program has distributed 143 grants totaling more than $2.85 million in funding. This year the academy instituted its $75,000, three-year grants and selected festivals were invited to present proposals. 

Herskowitz believes that the Virginia Film Festival was invited to apply for a rare multi-year grant because of its strong supporters in the motion picture industry.

"Our board members, who have helped us attract major players in the film business to Charlottesville for two decades, plus our reputation for having the richest film discussions of any festival in the world, have given us unusually high visibility in Hollywood," Herskowitz said.