Application Deadline: May 1, 2020

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film is a $200,000 cash award to be presented annually to an independent filmmaker for post-production and finishing costs, including outreach and marketing, associated with an original, feature-length historical documentary in the tradition of Ken Burns.

The prize also includes the opportunity for engagement and consultation with Ken Burns and Florentine Films.

The awarded film must reflect the highest standards of historical research, balance, accuracy, and dramatic storytelling.


1. Project must be late stage documentary film with running time 60 minutes or more.

2. Subject matter of film must be American History.

3. Submissions must be received by May 1st, 2020.

4. Applicant must have previously produced or directed at least one long form documentary for broadcast or online distribution.

5. Applicant must submit 20 minutes of a rough or fine cut AND a script of a full-length rough or fine cut at time of submission of application. (Note: Upon request, applicant will need to be able to provide a full-length rough or fine cut for review.)

6. Industrial, promotional, branded content, or instructional films are not eligible.

All submissions meeting the eligibility requirement will be carefully reviewed and considered, with the finalists selected by a national jury comprised of leading documentary filmmakers and historians.

The winner will be selected by the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, in consultation with Ken Burns.

On September 30, 2020, the Library of Congress will host the Award Ceremony and Dinner at the Jefferson Building in Washington, D.C.

Apply by May 1, 2020

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