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Funding Group For Independent Documentaries Ends Operations

July 30, 1986|CLARKE TAYLOR

NEW YORK — The Film Fund, a primary source of support for independent documentary film makers for nearly a decade, has abruptly ceased operations and closed its New York headquarters.

"This is a very serious blow to independent film makers, especially to those who deal with social and political issues," said Lawrence Sapadin, executive director of the Assn. of Independent Video and Filmmakers.

The Film Fund announcement cited "the present conservative political climate and the federal budget cuts imposed by the Reagan Administration" for making it increasingly difficult for film makers to secure funds for their projects, particularly those of a liberal bent.

"Foundations and individual donors are more than ever being inundated with proposals from organizations such as the Film Fund . . ." the release said. "Unfortunately, our (own) donor base has not increased."

The release implied that the organization lacked the funds to maintain its office. Founded in 1977 by a group of young philanthropists, the Film Fund has provided more than $3 million in direct grants to film projects, including three Oscar-winning documentaries, "Harlan County U.S.A.," "The Times of Harvey Milk" and "Witness to War."

"The end of the Film Fund perhaps has more historical than practical significance," said Sapadin, noting the relatively modest amounts provided in direct grants. "It's an institution that we thought would always be there," he said.

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