BSFI Native Filmmaker Initiative Receives FilmWatch Grant From Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

The Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today recipients of its 2018 FilmCraft and FilmWatch grants. Included in these awards is $5,000 in FilmWatch grant funding for the Big Sky Film Institute to continue the Native Filmmaker Initiative

The Native Filmmaker Initiative was designed to bring more Indigenous stories to the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, support and engage the American Indian media arts community and have a greater impact on community youth. The program includes special festival programming, educational outreach, a digital toolkit curated for Native filmmakers, and a fellowship program.

“This year the [Academy] Grants are proud to support 51 organizations whose innovative programs reach broad audiences, underserved high school and college students, support mid-career and emerging filmmakers, and engage and enrich their local communities. The Grants also reached out to support several film archives devastated by recent climate events. It is the Grants’ privilege and responsibility to fund organizations, rising and established, that reflect both The Academy’s values and its leadership role in the arts,” said Buffy Shutt, chair of the Academy’s grants committee.

The Academy’s FilmCraft and FilmWatch grants were established to identify and empower future filmmakers from nontraditional backgrounds, cultivate new and diverse talent, promote motion pictures as an art form, and provide a platform for underrepresented artists. The BSFI Native Filmmaker Initiative also received funding from Humanities Montana for the educational outreach component, and BSFI worked closely with Vision Maker Media, Longhouse Media and ITVS in 2017 to bring the program to life. This is the second year Big Sky has received funding from the FilmWatch grant for the Native Filmmaker Initiative.

"The first year of the Native Filmmaker Initiative was a great success," reflected Rachel Gregg, Executive Director of the Big Sky Film Institute. "We were proud to host four Native Filmmaker Fellows who attended BSDFF 2018 for screenings, DocShop, a private seminar and valuable industry immersion network available at the fest. Eight Native-directed documentaries were selected in the Native Filmmaker category and featured at the festival, and we took three Native-directed films into schools around Montana in partnership with the Montana Office of Public Instruction and Inspired Classroom. We are honored to receive a second FilmWatch grant to continue this exciting program and elevate stories from Indian Country and expressions of Native filmmakers."

FilmWatch and FilmCraft Grants range from $5,000-$15,000, and a total of $500,000 was awarded for the 2018-2019 grants year. A full list of recipients can be foud at

Apr 12, 2018 | permalink