Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film

Eligibility and Application Requirements

  1. Applicant must be the director and/or a producer of the film and be authorized to submit the application without the consent or approval of any other person or entity. Applicants will be required to confirm that they have informed and secured the necessary permissions from all involved parties. Distribution partners are not authorized to apply on behalf of filmmakers.
  1. The film must focus on an American historical subject, issue, or person within a time frame occurring at least twenty years prior to submission and must present a variety of perspectives grounded in extensive and thorough research. The majority of the film must be historically focused to qualify.
  1. Applicant must submit a complete list of all producers, executive producers, directors and other “above-the-line” personnel involved with the applicant’s film, i.e., those individuals responsible for the creative development, production, and direction of the film and/or with a financial interest in any commercial benefit to be derived from the film (“Key Persons”). A film shall be deemed ineligible if any Key Person (i) is a member of the National Jury or the Internal Review Committee; (ii) has a close professional or personal relationship with Ken Burns, the Librarian of Congress, any member of the Internal Review Committee, the National Jury, the Prize funders, or any other person or entity in a decision-making role related to the Prize; or (iii) is now, or at any time in the past three years, has been employed or contracted by Florentine Films or The Better Angels Society, or is now currently employed or contracted by the Library of Congress. Applicants shall disclose all actual or potential conflicts of interest in the space provided for in the application, and shall update any disclosure if potential conflicts arise following submission of the application. Resolution of potential conflicts of interest will be made at the sole discretion of The Better Angels Society and the Library of Congress, in consultation with Florentine Films.
  1. At the time of submission, research and principal photography for the film must be completed, with editing and post-production in progress, and a full rough or fine cut completed. The film may not be distributed (including theatrically, streamed, made available through video on demand, or broadcast) before the award event. Limited screenings, such as at film festivals, are acceptable.
  1. The applicant must submit a minimum of a 20-minute intact section of a rough cut or fine cut with the application via a private online video link. Upon request, the applicant must be able to provide a full-length rough or fine cut for review.
  1. The applicant must submit a budget showing total production costs required for U.S. distribution (including post-production expenses and the projected cost of third-party rights, such as archival footage), as well as funds received to date or anticipated (including source). Films need not be fully funded or financed in order to be eligible for the Prize.
  1. Industrial, promotional, branded content, and instructional films are ineligible.
  1. Applicant must agree that, in the event that they become a finalist, they will provide the Library of Congress and The Better Angels Society with a copy of the completed film, and authorize the Library and The Society to use limited clips of the film in connection with the promotion of the Prize or otherwise to further their missions. The completed film will be included in the Library or Congress’ permanent collection and made available to researchers at the Moving Image Research Center.
  1. A film previously submitted to the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film may be re-submitted for consideration if the film is substantially changed since the last submission.
  1. Films previously supported by The Better Angels Society, financially or otherwise, are eligible to submit, if all other eligibility requirements are met.
  1. Applicants shall indicate their citizenship and country of residence in the application. Prizes are conditional on payment eligibility.
  1. Submissions must be received by May 1, 2024, by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. No exceptions will be made. Applicants will not receive feedback on their submissions.