Call for Applications: Rural Cinema Environmental Justice Film Series

Opportunity Type: Other

What: Rural Cinema Environmental Justice Film Series Call for Applications!

Deadline: Monday, January 17, 2022.

Description: As rural areas across the US are increasingly devastated by the cascading crises of a global pandemic, stronger and more frequent climate-fueled disasters, and environmental racism – all compounded by the breakdown of civil discourse and community connections – face to face dialogue, whether in-person or virtual, is critical for civic engagement. The coming year will be a time when organizers, particularly those in rural areas and small towns with fewer resources, will need to exercise everything in their toolbox to gather their community and move them to action. With this in mind, we are excited to announce the next round of Rural Cinema.

Rural Cinema is a training institute and community engagement program aimed at supporting leaders from rural areas and small towns across the United States in using films as a resource in their work for environmental justice and protection. In 2022, we will be selecting individuals and organizations in five locations that are directly affected by polluting industries or climate disasters, as well as areas transitioning from being economically fueled by extractive energy industries to adopting more sustainable approaches. 

The program will support participants in holding live community film screenings that engage their communities and advance their environmental justice goals over the course of one year. These events will create spaces for residents to come together (in-person or virtually), discuss issues affecting their communities, learn and be inspired by the visual content and one another’s experiences, and generate solutions that address their needs and priorities. Each individual or organization selected to participate will receive virtual trainings, technical assistance, film screening equipment, a $2,500 honorarium, and additional monetary support to hold film screenings in their community to support their goals throughout 2022.

Eligibility: Individuals and organizations working in a rural area or small town that can be described in at least one if the ways below, are eligible to apply:

  • An area directly affected by polluting industries or climate disasters
  • An area abandoned by extractive energy industries
  • An area transitioning from, or trying to transition from, extractive energy industries to more sustainable approaches

Commitment: Applicants must commit to assigning two individuals to lead their participation in Rural Cinema. These two individuals must attend each of the four, two hour virtual training sessions to be held throughout the spring. The individuals will also be the primary liaison with Working Films’ staff as we support the community leader/organization in planning and implementing screening events over the course of the year. This does not preclude participation by other individuals/staff members.

Selection Process: Applications will be reviewed by a team of nonprofit and organizing leaders and selections will be made based on the following criteria:

  • Alignment of an individual’s/organization’s mission with the stated focus area of addressing environmental issues in their community.
  • An individual’s/organization’s demonstrated enthusiasm and interest in using film in their work (Previous use of film is not a requirement).
  • The extent to which an individual/organization has been able to come up with a vision and clear goals for their series.
  • Capacity to attend the training and devote time to organizing a series in their community.
  • The extent to which an individual/organization reflects and/or shows accountability to the communities they organize and work with.

Applicants will be notified as to the outcome of the selection process in early February. Five community leaders and/or organizations will be selected through a competitive application process. For a full timeline of the trainings and program see the FAQ

Apply: We strongly suggest you first check out this document of frequently asked questions, and then complete our online application using Submittable. You’ll create a quick login so that you can work on your application and have your information saved. Before you get started you can find a preview of the application questions in this PDF. If you have any additional questions, check out the webinar we hosted below. 

Question? Please email