THE LAVINE FELLOWSHIP

The Better Angels Lavine Fellowship Program was established in 2021 as a component of the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film. The Lavine Fellowship is made possible by The Better Angels Society and Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine through the Crimson Lion Lavine Family Foundation. The fellowship is for promising filmmakers whose films are not selected as finalists for the Lavine Prize, but demonstrate the potential for excellence. With a special emphasis on film projects telling the stories of America’s diversity, the filmmakers receive mentorship, guidance, and advice from a panel of expert filmmakers on the film projects they submitted to the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film. 

In 2021, the Fellowship film Fannie Lou Hamer’s America went from late-stage production to broadcast on PBS in less than one year, and the filmmakers credited this Fellowship with a significant impact in the project’s success.

The Better Angels Lavine Fellowship provides mentorship for 5-6 filmmakers per year. All applicants to the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film will be considered automatically for the fellowship. No additional application materials are necessary.

Learn more about how to apply for this year’s Prize here.

2022 Lavine Fellow Films

A LONG MARCH

Three Filipino-American veterans trace their paths from war to erasure by the U.S. Government, marching from an obscured history to the Federal courts, right up to the steps of Congress in search of promises denied.

BUFFALO SOLDIERS: FIGHTING ON THE TWO FRONTS

This film recounts the history of Black men seeking better lives in the U.S. Army after the Civil War. Their service during the Western expansion and ensuing wars created a laudatory yet complex legacy as they battled wars on two fronts –– the enemy and the racism of the country they served.

THE PHILADELPHIA ELEVEN

When eleven women became Episcopal priests against the rules in 1974, they challenged two thousand years of patriarchal Christianity. The media catches on, and they find themselves leading a movement. In a largely archival journey, with parallels to today, we meet the women who create a blueprint for institutional change.

GARDEN CITY KANSAS

On the High Plains of the US a secret bomb plot, led by militant white supremacists, threatens a small thriving town in Kansas, sustained for decades by immigration from around the world. As we follow the lives of this pluralistic success story, the menacing conspiracy is ultimately foiled by FBI. Animated courtroom testimony interwoven with inspiring stories of survival and unity, Garden City is a vivid history of life in America during one of its most challenging times.

THE LAST PHILADELPHIA

Award-winning film director John Carstarphen’s The Last Philadelphia explores racial violence, the MOVE bombings and the power of the Black family in this dramatic memoir about the Eastwick neighborhood in Southwest Philadelphia in the 1960s and 1970s. Told primarily through the POV, experiences and voices of Black mothers, The Last Philadelphia shows us that Black History is everyone’s history, and that ultimately, one American’s story is every American’s story.

A TASTE OF HEAVEN: THE ECSTATIC SONG & GOSPEL OF MAESTRO RAYMOND ANTHONY MYLES

This film follows Raymond from the everyday violence of the housing projects in New Orleans; to the public schools where he steered countless students away from gangs and drugs; to the Southern churches where he mesmerized the faithful; to the Telluride Bluegrass and Newport Folk festivals where he made new, wonderstruck fans — until his shocking murder, in 1998, on the cusp of music stardom, in the projects he could not leave behind.

2021 Lavine Fellow Films

Fannie Lou Hamer's America

FANNIE LOU HAMER’S AMERICA

Mississippi sharecropper-turned-civil-rights-activist, Fannie Lou Hamer, is known for her  powerful speeches, soul-stirring songs and impassioned pleas for equal rights. In this film, she tells her own story – in her own words – through archival audio footage & rarely seen television  appearances recorded throughout her political and humanitarian career.
Kansas City Dreamin'

KANSAS CITY DREAMIN’

From the evolution of jazz in the 1930’s, to present day popular music. This film shows Kansas  City’s importance to American music. Featuring interviews with Kansas City natives: Bobby Watson, Janelle Monáe and Tech N9ne. With segments on area legends like Charlie Parker,  Count Basie, Big Joe Turner, and others.

Soul Sisters

SOUL SISTERS

Patti Henley & Brenda Lee Eager are two talented singers from the golden age of rock/soul and  R&B. Soul Sisters is about their lives: first working for Martin Luther King/Jesse Jackson’s  Operation Breadbasket. They become the “Voice of the Movement”. Now they bring powerful  messages about Black History to schoolchildren.

Home from School

HOME FROM SCHOOL: THE CHILDREN OF CARLISLE

In 2017, a delegation of Northern Arapaho tribal members travels from Wyoming to  Pennsylvania to retrieve remains of three children who died at Carlisle Indian Industrial school in  the 1880s. It’s a journey into the troubled history of Indian boarding schools, and a quest to heal  generational wounds.

Invisible Warriors

INVISIBLE WARRIORS: AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN IN WORLD WAR II

During World War II, 600,000 African American “Rosie the Riveters” work in industry and  government for the first time. These “Greatest Generation” heroines overcome racism and sexism  to create employment opportunities for future generations of Black women.