The Better Angels Society has named the six finalists for the third annual Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film.
The 2021 finalists are: Bonnie Blue: James Cotton’s Life in the Blues (pictured), directed by Bestor Cram, about harmonica powerhouse James Cotton; Phil Bertelsen’s Double Exposure (w/t), which unravels the life of photojournalist Ernest Withers; and Exposing Muybridge, directed by Marc Shaffer, about 19th century photographer Eadweard Muybridge.
Additional finalists are Greta Schiller’s The Five Demands, which tells the story of when Black and Puerto Rican students locked the gates of The City College of New York with five demands for increasing diversity and access to education in 1969; Free Chol Soo Lee, directed by Julie Ha and Eugene Yi, which tells the story of a Korean immigrant wrongly convicted of a 1973 San Francisco Chinatown gang murder; and Gradually, then Suddenly: The Bankruptcy of Detriot, from directors Sam Katz and James McGovern, about the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Established in 2019, the annual award recognizes filmmakers whose documentaries use original research and compelling narrative to tell stories that touch on some aspect of American history.
The winning filmmaker will receive a US$200,000 grant to finish the in-production film and to help with outreach and marketing.
Additionally, the runner-up will receive a $50,000 grant, and up to four finalists will each receive a $25,000 grant.
Winners will be announced on Oct. 26 during a virtual event.