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Doris Duke Foundation Announces $6M Effort to Change the Face of Hollywood at Sundance Film Festival

Funding Aims to Propel U.S. Muslim Creators, Expand Access to the Entertainment Industry and Amplify Diverse Narratives

Park City, UT — Jan. 22, 2024 - At a time when hate crimes are skyrocketing, Doris Duke Foundation announces $6M in grants to innovative efforts to counter hate and engender mutual understanding by uplifting Muslim storytellers in the U.S. arts and entertainment industry. The $6M in new funding underscores the power of creative stories and compelling storytellers in combating ongoing hate against U.S. Muslims, Asians, communities of color and Jewish people.

The grantees are:

  • The Muslim House™ activations and convenings at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW and Tribeca Festival via The Muslim Public Affairs Council, Hollywood Bureau (MPAC), with $1.425M over three years to create meeting places for U.S. Muslim creators and cross-community entertainment industry professionals;
  • Launching the U.S. Muslim Documentary Fund through the Center for Asian American Media with $4.5M over three years;
  • A new Fellowship Program that includes experiential learning about the entertainment industry to prepare emerging U.S. Muslim creatives to succeed, piloted by The Islamic Scholarship Fund with a $100,000 grant.

“We can't change what we think until Hollywood changes who and what we see. These grants will spotlight the underlying causes of intolerance, and challenge them by bringing new and diverse stories, voices and perspectives into the entertainment industry that shapes our culture,” said Sam Gill, president and CEO of Doris Duke Foundation.

Launched in 2007 to counter hate directed at U.S. Muslim communities in the United States in the aftermath of 9/11 and to promote mutual understanding, Doris Duke Foundation’s Building Bridges Program is the largest U.S. funding program of its kind. Through this program the foundation has allocated over $46M in grants to date aimed at creating understanding about and forming connections with U.S. Muslim communities.

Over recent years, Doris Duke Foundation has begun to focus on the role of entertainment and popular culture to bring diverse communities together. This has included support for the 2023 Oscar-nominated film Strangers at the Gate, the Pulitzer Prize-winning folk opera Omar, the Secret Life of Muslims, a Peabody-nominated web series that has been viewed 45 million times, and the 1979 Revolution game by Navid Khonsari, which won a BAFTA, a Facebook award and recommended by UNESCO as a solution for conflict.

About Doris Duke Foundation
The mission of Doris Duke Foundation is to build a more creative, equitable and sustainable future by investing in artists and the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research, child well-being and greater mutual understanding among diverse communities.

About Building Bridges Program
Through the Building Bridges Program, Doris Duke Foundation supports national efforts, working with U.S. Muslims, to increase mutual understanding and well-being among diverse populations for the benefit of building stronger, inclusive communities. The program is anchored in the conviction that strategic use of the arts and media can help provide an effective social prescription for achieving this vision.

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