The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced grants totaling $2.3 million in support of documentary film projects that examine public health, social, and political issues in the United States and abroad.
In response to a June call for documentary film proposals, the foundation, which has supported independently produced film and video for more than thirty years, received nearly four hundred proposals; fifteen were selected to receive grants. They include 3 1/2 Minutes, which examines the 2012 shooting death of Jordan Davis in Jacksonville, Florida, and the state's so-called Stand Your Ground laws ($300,000); Ask the Sexpert, about a longtime Indian sex advice columnist who gains popularity against the backdrop of a ban on comprehensive sex education in schools in several Indian states ($50,000); Command and Control, a film based on journalist Eric Schlosser's book about the safety of America's nuclear weapons arsenal ($200,000); Count Me In, about the participatory budgeting process in Chicago ($150,000); and Death by Design, about the environmental and public health consequences of digital devices ($150,000).
"Documentaries play an increasingly important role in informing the American public," said Elspeth Revere, MacArthur's vice president of media, culture, and special initiatives. "This year's films examine serious, timely issues all over the world in creative, engaging ways."