Arts Engine to cease operations

Citing financial challenges, the non-profit media organization behind such programs as the Media that Matters Film Festival and DocuClub will wind down at the end of this month.
September 26, 2012

Arts Engine, the New York City-based non-profit organization behind such programs as the Media that Matters Film Festival and DocuClub, is ceasing operations on September 30, it was announced yesterday.

According to a statement issued by the organization, its flagship programs and projects will be transferred to other non-profit organizations “to ensure their continued impact.”

“We are grateful to [Arts Engine executive director] Steve Mendelsohn and Arts Engine’s current staff for all of their efforts to sustain the organization in a very difficult economic environment,” said board chair Eliza Byard. “In the end, the board felt we had to close down and allow Arts Engine’s legacy projects to start new lives in more stable organizational homes.”

Arts Engine was founded in 2000 by filmmakers Katy Chevigny and Julia Pimsleur to support, produce and distribute what its mission statement called “independent media of consequence,” and also promoted the use of such media amongst educators, advocates and everyday citizens. Programs developed and launched by Arts Engine include the Media that Matters Film Festival;, an online database regarding social-issue media and documentaries; and DocuClub, a screening series for work-in-progress documentaries.

The Media that Matters festival and will now be managed by Reel Lives, a non-profit filmmaking program dedicated to teaching aspects of the medium of film to marginalized, refugee and war-affected youth.

New York-based non-profit Women Make Movies (WMM) will take over Arts Engine’s fiscal sponsorship program. “Arts Engine’s powerful mission has broadened and enriched the landscape of documentary filmmaking with their commitment to urgent social justice topics and to creating change,” said WMM executive director Debra Zimmerman. “We are thrilled to welcome so many impressive and influential Arts Engine filmmakers to our PA [production assistance] program and include their works in our roster of award-winning films.”

Meanwhile, DocuClub founder Susan Kaplan and members of the club are determining “the next incarnation of this vital and important organization,” according to the statement.

Chevigny’s Big Mouth Productions, which served as the production arm for Arts Engine and created 10 feature-length docs since 1997 as part of that relationship, will continue, and will take over the filmmaker consulting services previously handled by Arts Engine.


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