Out On Film, Atlanta’s LGBTQ film festival, was recently approved for a $10,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The grant will support the organization’s 33rd annual film festival.

Overall, the NEA approved 1,187 grants for 2020 to support arts projects in every state, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Twenty-three organizations in Georgia, including 14 in the Metro Atlanta area, received grants from the NEA.

The NEA was established by Congress in 1965 and is the independent federal agency whose funding and support provides opportunities to participate in the arts, exercise imagination, and develop creative capacities, according to the NEA website.

The Art Works funding category supports projects that focus on public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation; creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence; learning in the arts at all stages of life; and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life.

“The arts are at the heart of our communities, connecting people through shared experiences and artistic expression,” said Arts Endowment chairman Mary Anne Carter. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support projects like Out On Film.”

Out On Film started in 1987 and has grown into an 11-day event that takes place over three venues. Last year, over 125 films were a part of the festival and were a combination of narrative films, documentaries, and short films.

Out On Film has applied for this grant before but this year marks the first time the organization has received a grant from the NEA, making it the only LGBTQ organization to receive a grant this year.

“The grant is really going to help us support our festival. It’s going to help us continue to have a platform, to screen all these films, to pay for these films, to have a venue for these films. More importantly, it’s going to help us hopefully enhance all the visiting filmmakers that were able to get,” said Jim Farmer, festival director of Out On Film.

“The grant is important to Out On Film because grants make a difference in whether festivals can produce or not,” Farmer said.

“To get a grant like this, especially one on a national level is just very affirming for us because I think we do really great work and it’s nice to see us get recognized on a national level,” he added.

Farmer also hopes the grant will lead to continued support from the NEA as well as other national organizations.

Around the same time the NEA grants were announced, Farmer also found out that Out On Film will now be an Oscar-qualifying film festival.

“Recipients of Out On Film’s Drama Shorts award will be eligible for consideration for the Best Live Action Short category of the Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules,” Farmer said in an email.

Farmer said the organization is excited for this year as it will be busy with almost every month and the film festival, which will be held Sept. 24 through Oct. 4.

“Money is always nice to be able to allow us to do more,” Farmer said. “To be able to hopefully have more filmmakers, reach more people, do more outreach, and find some of those underrepresented audiences and voices that are out there. But just as important as the money, it’s just a recognition on a national level that what we’re doing is vital and important.”

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