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  • Writer's pictureLiz Hill

Vision Maker Media announces open call for 2021 public media project proposals

LINCOLN, Neb., Jan. 4, 2021 — Today, Vision Maker Media (VMM) announced an open call for 2021 public media broadcast proposals. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. CST on Friday, February 12, 2021. Project awards will be announced in spring 2021.

VMM seeks public media film and television projects that are intended and appropriate for Public Media Television Broadcasting, including Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) digital and streaming platforms that represent the cultures, experiences and perspectives of Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

“At Vision Maker Media, we believe that Native people play a vital role in the story and cultural fabric of this country,” says VMM Executive Director Francene Blythe-Lewis (Diné, Sisseton-Wahpeton, Eastern Cherokee). “Our affiliation with many public television distributors ensures that our content reaches more than 90 million Americans annually on public television series, such as Independent Lens, POV, America ReFramed, American Masters and others.”

Proposed film and television projects should appeal to a broad audience, be intended for public media broadcast and its digital and streaming platforms, and have effective outreach/community engagement activities to reach audiences beyond a public television broadcast.

“In addition to general and broad audience appeal, we also welcome and encourage projects that foster dialogue about contemporary, critical social issues in Native country,” says Blythe-Lewis. “Some of the themes that VMM has supported in the past include women’s empowerment, activism, tribal sovereignty, environment, history, self-determination, youth topics, home, community and LGBQT2S+.”

Funding is available in two genres for public television broadcasting: Broadcast Documentary and Broadcast Episodic Programming. Project funding is available in three areas: Research and Development: $5,000–$25,000; Production: Up to $150,000; and Post-Production: Up to $100,000.

Who is Eligible:

• Independent and Public Television producers, film and digital makers. Applicants must hold artistic, budgetary and editorial control and own the copyright of the proposed film or television project.

• Applicant's submitted work must be cleared for broadcast, digital and streaming rights for a minimum of four years.

• Applicants must be able to provide an effective community outreach plan with a foundation in online engagement through social media and the creation of a website.

• Applicants must be 21 years of age and a U.S. citizen.

• Applicants must be able to show significant Native American involvement on their project, whether Above the Line, Below the Line or both.

• Eligible production projects should meet Vision Maker Media’s mission to empower and engage Native people to share their stories.


• Commercial Projects.

• Industrial or promotional films and videos.

• Student productions of any sort, such as thesis films.

• Projects for which four-year exclusive Public Television broadcast rights are not available.

• Projects intended solely for theatrical release.

• Filmmakers or production entities that are foreign-based, owned or controlled.

• Projects funded in part by a government entity or group featured in the content of the project.

For proposal guidelines and more details, visit: For more information: or (402) 472-3522.

About Vision Maker Media

Vision Maker Media (VMM) has a mission to empower and engage Native people to share stories. The organization — which is celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2021 — envisions a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate. VMM works with VMM-funded producers to develop, produce and distribute programs for all media. VMM supports training to increase the number of American Indians and Alaska Natives producing public broadcasting programs. A key strategy for this work is reciprocating partnerships with Native nations, organizations and communities. Reaching the general public and the global market is the ultimate goal for the dissemination of Native-produced media that shares Native perspectives with the world.

VMM is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). For more information, visit

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