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The MacDowell Colony Announces New Support for Filmmakers

Press Release - January 15, 2009

Type: Press Releases, Artist News, Fellowships

Grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences supports residencies.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 15, 2009 – The MacDowell Colony is pleased to announce new filmmaker support from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

A $10,000 grant from the Academy Foundation will help provide residencies for 25 filmmakers to work at the Colony in 2008. The nation’s leading multidisciplinary artist residency program, MacDowell awards Fellowships to more than 250 composers, writers, visual artists, architects, playwrights, filmmakers, and interdisciplinary artists from the United States and abroad each year. Residencies provided through MacDowell Fellowships include use of a private studio, living arrangements, meals, and the benefits of working within a dynamic community of artists on the Colony’s 450 woodland acres in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent film organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. Although best known for its annual Oscar telecast, the Academy is involved in a wide array of education, outreach, preservation and research activities, providing more than one million dollars annually to film festivals, arts organizations, and educational programs.

“This support from the Academy Foundation comes at a critical time both for MacDowell, which is serving more filmmakers than ever before, and for the filmmakers themselves as they navigate these challenging economic times,” says MacDowell’s Executive Director Cheryl Young.

Annual filmmaking residencies at MacDowell have quadrupled over the past decade, increasing by more than half since 2003. These artists are engaged in some of the most exciting projects, from experimental indie shorts to feature-length blockbusters. Last year brought the releases of Married Life by Ira Sachs and Sugar by the filmmaking team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who also directed the 2006 box-office hit Half Nelson. Tamara Jenkins, another Colony Fellow, received two Academy Award nominations for her film The Savages, starring Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman. In 2009, a Peter Jackson-scripted and -directed adaptation of Colony Fellow Alice Sebold’s best-selling novel The Lovely Bones is scheduled for a December release.

Vicky Funari, whose documentary Maquilapolis premiered on PBS, found the creative support and community at MacDowell comforting. “MacDowell gave me the first chance in many years to allow the creative process to happen without interruption and stress,” Funari said. “It's amazing what happens when you're not answering the phone, the door, e-mails, not washing clothes or cooking, and the only distraction is getting to know the other artists and their work. What a blessing. What a gift!”

In 1971, MacDowell became one of the first residency programs to recognize filmmaking as a separate discipline deserving its own Fellowship program. Since then, more than 240 directors, screenwriters, and cinematographers have worked at the Colony. Among the exceptionally talented filmmakers who have held MacDowell Fellowships are Michael Almereyda, Donna Cameron, L.M. Kit Carson, Aviva Kempner, Jennie Livingston, Anne Makepeace, Joshua Marston, Christopher Munch, David Petersen, Ira Sachs, Mark Salzman, Christopher Wilcha, and Jessica Yu.