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Library of Congress Lavine | Ken Burns Prize for Film

Documentary Post Production Funds

The Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film supports filmmakers dedicated to producing American historical documentaries. This prestigious award aims to highlight significant stories through thorough research and diverse perspectives.


- Financial support for production. 
- Access to prestigious networks and recognition in the documentary community. 
- Inclusion in the Library of Congress' permanent collection.

Expanded Eligibility

- Must be the director or producer authorized to submit. 
- Films focused on American historical subjects at least 20 years old. 
- Key personnel must not have conflicts of interest with jury members.

Detailed Submission Process

Applicants must follow these steps:

  • Eligibility Confirmation: Confirm you are the director/producer and have secured necessary permissions from all involved parties.
  • Focus: Film must present a historical subject or figure grounded in thorough research.
  • Key Personnel List: Submit a complete list of all key personnel involved in the project.
  • Conflict of Interest Disclosure: Disclose any actual or potential conflicts of interest during the application process.
  • Completion Status: Confirm that research and principal photography are complete with a rough or fine cut available.
  • Video Submission: Provide a minimum of a 20-minute intact section of the film via a private online video link.
  • Budget Submission: Include a detailed budget showing total production costs and anticipated funding sources.
  • Type of Film: Ensure the film is not industrial, promotional, or instructional.
  • Finalist Agreement: Agree to provide a copy of the completed film if selected as a finalist and allow usage of clips for promotion.
  • Re-Submission: Films may be re-submitted if substantially changed since last submission.
  • Citizenship Information: Indicate citizenship and country of residence.


The Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film is a valuable opportunity for filmmakers committed to exploring American history through documentary filmmaking. By adhering to eligibility requirements and submission processes, applicants can gain not only funding but also national recognition for their important work.

Here are tips for a successful application:

  • Ensure all permissions are secured from involved parties.
  • Conduct extensive research to support the historical narrative.
  • Prepare a comprehensive budget and funding plan.
  • Be transparent about any potential conflicts of interest.
  • Submit high-quality video segments that represent the film's vision.

How to Apply

See Opening Dates and Deadlines, Detailed Project Requirements, Submission Process and Selection Criteria. Click to Apply.

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