NEA Chairman Landesman announces Challenge America Fast-Track grants


NEA Chairman Landesman announces Challenge America Fast-Track grants

Martha’s Vineyard Film Society one of only 162 grantees nationwide

VINEYARD HAVEN, MA– Saturday, December 10, 2011-As National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman has noted, “Art works everywhere,” which is why the NEA’s Challenge America Fast-Track (CAFT) program supports projects from primarily small and mid-sized arts organizations that extend the reach of the arts to underserved audiences-those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society (MVFS) was selected to receive $10,000 for one of the 162 grants to organizations in 46 states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Taken together, these Challenge America Fast-Track grants provide an extraordinary sampling of the work that arts organizations do to reach underserved communities,” said Chairman Landesman. “With these grants, we are helping to ensure that art works for all Americans.”

The MVFS’s Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival is four days filled with the best feature and short films from over 20 countries of the world, plus evening events, provocative forums, and live world music. The recurring theme of the annual Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival is “Other Places”; the festival’s purpose is to encourage attendees to think broadly (about how huge the world of film is) and deeply (about the universal concerns and desires that unite all people). About 90% of all film selections are non-US productions, helping to fulfill the festival mission of promoting cross-cultural understanding through film.

“Being recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts for our film festival is a high honor,” said Executive Director Richard Paradise. “We’ve strived to achieve a balance of artistic merit, cultural exchange, and cultural tourism for our community in presenting this annual festival each September for our island residents and visitors.”

The program is called Fast-Track because of its expedited review time line. The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society was notified approximately six months after applying. Also, with 375 eligible applications submitted from across the country, there was significant competition for funding for these grants. The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society’s grant award is evidence of the artistic excellence and artistic merit of its Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival.

The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society was established in February 2002 and is a member-funded 501 (c)(3) non-profit arts organization dedicated to screening the best in independent films, movie classics, documentaries, and world cinema for diverse audiences of all ages throughout the calendar year. In 2011, the society has presented over 80 films, to over 12,500 patrons at various screening venues around the island. __

Although offering an enriched film program is the primary reason we exist, the Society also presents film-related speakers, educational programs and special events to enhance this main mission and increase the public’s appreciation of fine cinema in all its forms.

In 2006, the Film Society established the Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival, a 4 days/nights festival of world film and events. More than 2500 people attended last year’s festival, bringing together film lovers, artists, writers, and those who make movies. This has become an anticipated Island event each September.

The National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

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