Call for Environmental Films

Indiana Humanities seeks proposals for the creation of high-quality short films (5-15 minutes) that explore Hoosiers’ relationships to our state’s land, specifically looking at the sustenance we both derive from…

Indiana Humanities seeks proposals for the creation of high-quality short films (5-15 minutes) that explore Hoosiers’ relationships to our state’s land, specifically looking at the sustenance we both derive from and create for the land. We plan to award 2-3 proposals that explore new stories about Hoosiers and their relationship to the earth we occupy.

Our goal is to support the production of documentaries that invite Hoosiers to think, read and talk about the past, present and future of Indiana lands, environments and gardens, through an educational, humanistic lens. We plan to use these films in 2024 and beyond in two ways: 1) on our website and social media for audiences to view and learn on their own; 2) pending review of the final products, at public screenings we organize across the state.  

It is important to Indiana Humanities to have a diverse set of voices and perspectives included in this project. We know that who is behind the camera affects the kinds of stories that are told and how they are told. We hope to receive applications from diverse filmmakers in regard to race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, national origin and veteran status. 

Over the next few years, Indiana Humanities will continue to support a variety of programming to encourage Hoosiers to consider the ways their lives are shaped by the environment, and how they in turn shape the land, air and water of Indiana. A particular focus in 2024 will be on Hoosiers’ relationships to Indiana land and gardens and the sustenance they produce. 

This film project builds on past projects, such as the White River films we funded in 2018-2019, as well as our 2020-2022 Waterways Film Project. Film is a special medium that allows for storytelling that complements the other ways we are inviting Hoosiers to think, read and talk about Indiana’s environment, including our Campfires program. We are also eager to create more opportunities for Hoosiers to have their own experiences documented and reflected back to them on screen, as well as to support the burgeoning community of filmmakers based in and telling stories about Indiana.  

This project is made possible with the support of generous individual donors. 


Gardens, farms, yards and parks are places both real and metaphorical, where nature and culture meet and the physical conditions of their creation and care often reveal something of humanity’s ideas about what land is for and how it should be treated. Gardens and parks can be controlled or “wild,” but are almost always managed by human ideas of use, beauty, design and conservation. Farms are often developed for efficiency and sustenance, while yards are places where the public and private bump against each other, where neighbors are joined and ideas of land as property are made and tested. In all this, however, there is a question of human-centeredness–is there a different way to understand these spaces that goes beyond human uses and values?

We’re looking for Indiana stories that intrigue and surprise us, that are worth talking about with our friends and neighbors. Though these are short 5-to-15 minute films, we hope to introduce viewers to memorable people and big ideas. We expect all information presented in the film to be factually accurate and encourage the use of historical sources, authoritative experts and fact-checkers as part of the process. We are equally open to documentaries that trace history or focus on a key historical moment, “essayistic” films that reflect an individual’s point of view, or films that take an idea and explore its complexity through a variety of stories or experiences.

As stated above, while we will consider all proposals, we are especially eager to support films that explore new territory from the ones that have previously been made about Hoosiers’ relationships to the land. Possible topics include but are not limited to: 

  • BIPOC experiences in and relationship to Indiana land, including questions of access and social and environmental justice;  
  • a closer look at farmers and the role of agriculture in shaping the overall health of Indiana’s land, particularly as it relates to the history or culture of Indiana;  
  • the efforts to imagine and create gardens as subversive, reparative, or sustainable spaces;
  • ideas of ownership—historical or contemporary—as they relate to concepts of public vs. private lands;
  • the historical moments, decisions or individuals/organizations that have impacted the health of specific Indiana lands and gardens over time; 
  • how pollution, overuse and/or climate change is affecting Indiana land and how communities are grappling with these changes; 
  • the significance of particular gardens and/or parks to the history and development of Indiana communities; 
  • the lived, intimate experiences of Hoosiers or Hoosier communities in relation to gardens, parks and other natural areas.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Only nonfiction/documentary film proposals will be considered; please do not submit a fictional film proposal.