New Grants Program Will Fund Student Reproductive Rights Films : NPR


Student filmmakers can apply for funding for work on reproductive rights.

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New Grants Program Will Fund Student Reproductive Rights Films : NPR

Student filmmakers can apply for funding for work on reproductive rights.

bjones27/Getty Images

A new grant program announced Wednesday by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, a University of Southern California-based think tank that studies diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry, aims to support undergraduate filmmakers whose work focuses on reproductive rights.

According to a statement shared with NPR, the “Reproductive Rights Accelerator” program will provide a minimum of three students with funding of $25,000 each to support script development and the production of short films.

“There are too few stories focused on these topics, and they rarely come from young people,” the initiative’s founder, Stacy Smith, wrote in an email. “We want the generation that will be most affected by current reproductive health policies to have the chance to shine a light on how these policies affect them.”

Smith said his organization plans to reach students through social media and educate film schools. She added that any senior film student in the United States can apply for a grant. Nominations will open in September and winners will be selected later in the fall.

“Undergraduates have important stories to tell, but often have limited opportunities to tell them,” Smith said. “This program should help change that.”

Films dealing with abortion are not a new phenomenon. For example, the silent film where are my children dealt with the subject in 1916. But the genre has exploded lately. The Sundance Film Festival has identified films about reproductive rights as “a clear theme” in 2022, with films such as Event, Midwives and The Janes appearing on this year’s festival lineup. And the organization released a statement on social media presaging more such films in response to the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the federal abortion law.

Proponents of the grant program stress the importance of the entertainment industry as a tool to highlight important human rights issues.

“The entertainment community plays a vital role in educating people about their sexual and reproductive health and rights, including abortion,” said Caren Spruch, National Director of Arts and Entertainment Engagement for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement. “With Roe v. Wade overturned and birth control, LGBQT+ and other rights under threat, this new Annenberg Inclusion Initiative project will provide an invaluable tool to ensure the public is reached with medically and legislatively accurate storytelling about these Questions.”


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