The Documentary Focus Grants are designed to stimulate discussion and raise awareness of topical issues that we feel support The Rogovy FoundationIdeals and Values.Below are several topic ideas that we wish to support with a $10,000-$15,000 development funding grant. Grants will be awarded to the filmmaker we select as best suited to further the project goal.We seek a balanced approach to thoughtful and fact-based content. We avoid agenda-based or preaching to the choir arguments. Once a grant has been awarded for a particular topic, we will add it to our list of grantees. Winning submissions will be invited to apply for further funding (up to $25,000) during the bi-annualMiller / Packan DocumentaryOpen Calls.Winners of the Focus Grant retain all rights to the film project.
Topics posted on 07/12/2018:
The Politics of Fear
Whether it’s terrorism, crime, immigration or inequality, politicians on both sides have weaponized Fear as a means to gain power.
For decades (and beyond) party strategists have used fear to drive voters toward their political ends. Using demagoguery, a strong, rational democracy is undermined, if not threatened outright. In the name of patriotism, these activities are anything but patriotic. They weaken the foundation of any country based upon the ideals of democratic virtues. Can the politics of Hope overcome the politics of Fear?
Civics is often not one of the ‘required’ subjects for which students are tested. Yet understanding civics is crucial toward the ongoing needs of citizens to be informed and engaged. Can educators and organizations fight back, using educational tools, legislative initiatives and outreach campaigns to raise civics awareness and knowledge with today’s students?
Gateway prescriptions for painkillers have fueled the current opioid addiction crisis. Cannabis is effective at treating chronic pain yet is significantly less addictive and carries no risk of overdose. Can legalizing medical marijuana help solve what has been called “the FDA’s biggest crisis” and a “public health emergency?”What are the effects (both beneficial and harmful) of each drug? How do users of both drugs compare their experiences with each to manage pain?In regions that have legalized cannabis, what have been the effects on opioid usage?Who benefits from the suppression of legal cannabis? Pharmaceutical companies? The alcohol industry?
The Ark of Taste is an international movement to preserve endangered heritage foods. The Ark preserves edibles that are sustainably produced, unique in taste and from a specific region. Since 1996, 4610 products (as of November 2017) from over 50 countries have been included in this list of foods that are culturally or historically linked to a specific region, locality, ethnicity or traditional production practice. As the inexorable effect of Globalization touches more and more of the planet, are we doomed to live in a world of fast-food burgers, pizza and fried chicken chains? What are some of the at-risk food items being saved by this movement? How is humanity diminished when edibles with a long cultural heritage and unique flavor experience disappear?
Universities and colleges have been engaged in a decades-long spending spree. In 1971 the tuition for a public 4-year college was $2,499 (adjusted for inflation) per year. By 2015 tuition had risen to $9,420 per year, a 276% (adjusted for inflation) increase. Incomes have barely increased during the same period. Easily available student loans helped fuel a dramatic rise in tuition costs. Now an entire generation has been saddled with the bill, and faces years of consequential higher education debt.What are the factors that have allowed higher education costs rise four times faster than overall inflation? How are expenditure decisions made which increase education costs? Do the amenities provided by universities benefit educational outcomes, or the school’s reputation? Who’s benefited from this extreme rise in costs? How are graduates dealing with 6-figure debt burdens?
In the 21st Century, the idea of a public hero has become out of fashion. The book A Call to Heroism, by Peter H. Gibbon, recalls a time when public heroes held a prominent place in society. Not to be confused with ‘celebrity,’ heroes give us needed values, standards and ideals by which we can shape our lives. The absence of common public heroes leaves us without the helpful moral compass extraordinary lives bring to our culture. Why have these heroes disappeared and how can we get them back? What role does the media play in how heroes are portrayed? Is there profit both in building up and tearing down heroes?Has society changed fundamentally, making us more cynical and individualistic so that we are less compelled to sincerely honor larger than life figures?
Social scientists evaluate the latest landscape of psycho-behavioral research and whether one can be born with an “evil” gene. They have found that some may have a genetic design that leads to less empathetic behavior. New studies around “compassion training” could create a more benevolent world.
Driven by huge profits, organizations supported by industry groups exert massive influence on public opinion and government policies. Similar campaigns are run by Big Oil, Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. How can citizens effectively compete for the public good without the resources derived from profit-driven lobbyist groups? The Gun Lobby outspends Gun Control advocates by 5.64 to 1.How can the people marshal the resources to compete against big business, who can pay for its lobbying from increased profits?Which organizations actually do advocate for the people? How are they funded?
In America, healthcare costs are double that of other countries, with no demonstrated additional benefit. In fact, surveys rank the quality of healthcare coverage at #35 globally. In the world of business, you look at your competition to learn from them, such as what works, and what doesn’t work. For many, employers pay for or subsidize medical coverage. Individuals often pay for their insurance out of pocket. If those costs were eliminated entirely and instead paid into a universal coverage system, would the overall costs go down?Who profits from America’s current system? Insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, big hospitals among others profit enormously from this system.Is it time to cut out the middle man, and to match the social contract of universal health coverage offered by other countries?What can we learn from the countries that provide universal coverage? How can we improve our healthcare ranking?
From Internet browser tracking to self-driving cars, the potential to intrude upon our privacy grows with each technological advancement. What can be tracked today? What will be tracked tomorrow? What standards and safeguards should be in place to ensure the privacy of citizens is not abused?
If you would like to submit a proposal for development funding for a topic that is not listed above, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for an approval to submit. If your film topic qualifies you will then be invited to apply for a Focus Grant ($10,000-$15,000) and we will ask that you submit your Request for Proposal using our online submission page.