The Better Angels Society, the Library of Congress, and the Crimson Lion/Lavine Family Foundation have opened entries for the second annual Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film.
Established in 2019, the award recognizes a filmmaker whose documentary uses original research and compelling narrative to tell stories that touch on some aspect of American history.
The winner receives a US$200,000 finishing grant to help with the final production and distribution of the film. The deadline to submit for this year’s prize, which will be presented during a gala at the Library of Congress this fall, is May 1.
Ken Burns (pictured) — who has earned 16 Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations during his more than 40-year career — has directed and produced acclaimed documentary films such as The Civil War, The War, Baseball and The Dust Bowl, among many others.
His most recent, Country Music, premiered on American pubcaster PBS in September 2019.
“I’ve been very fortunate to spend my career focused on our country’s history,” Burns said in a statement. “While each film is different, they all ask the same question about who we are as a people. History is of course fraught with complexity and is often divisive. But somehow by confronting this history together, and the many stories that make it up, we become closer.”
In the competition’s inaugural year, 80 films were submitted for consideration. The winning entry, Elizabeth Coffman and Mark Bosco’s feature-length documentary Flannery, explored the life and writings of Flannery O’Connor.
In addition to the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, The Better Angels has partnered with National History Day to award the Next Generation Angels Awards recognizing six individual documentary filmmakers in the junior and senior high school divisions.
For more information about the awards and requirements, visit the Better Angels Society website.