Gift from Rhode Island PBS will support independent films by URI students

KINGSTON, R.I. – Sept. 6, 2022 – A gift from Rhode Island PBS to the University of Rhode Island’s Harrington School of Communication and Media will help undergraduate students to pursue independent film projects.

The $10,000 gift will be used to provide stipends for any Harrington student working on a documentary, narrative fiction film, video journalism project or other type of visual content.

“On behalf of the Rhode Island PBS Foundation Board, I am pleased to make this gift of $10,000 to students of the Harrington School,” said David W. Piccerelli, president of Rhode Island PBS. “Aligned with our mission to support the education needs in our community, these scholarships will make a difference to these students now, and help prepare a future corps of journalists and broadcasters to lead the way in the evolving media landscape.”

Ammina Kothari, a professor of journalism and director of the Harrington School, said the funding will help to foster inclusion in visual storytelling and encourage creativity among Harrington students.

“One of the challenges of creating visual content is that it can be expensive,” Kothari said. “We provide students with the equipment they need, but there can be additional costs associated with shooting on location or hiring additional crew members. The vision here is to encourage any of our students to take on independent projects by helping to offset some of those additional costs.”

All Harrington students already have access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. A media equipment center provides cameras, microphones, and other equipment. There are several editing suites on campus with the latest computers and software for digital video editing. The Film Production Lab serves as a teaching sound stage with space for three complete walled sets. Kothari hopes the additional funding will encourage students to further expand their creative visions.

“We want our students to be ambitious with their projects and this will help them to do that—whether that means hiring professional actors or musicians, traveling to do interviews, or something else,” Kothari said.

The funding will not be limited to students in Harrington’s robust film media program. Students in journalism, sports media, communication studies or any other Harrington program will be eligible. Kothari anticipates that much of the funding will go to students who are completing senior capstones or other advanced film projects, which can be critical assets for students about to enter the job market.

“The students who really stand out when applying for jobs are the ones who have been able to establish a strong portfolio to show prospective employers,” Kothari said. “This funding will help more of our students to be ready for a career beyond URI.”

Kothari is working with Harrington faculty and staff to establish an application system for the funding. The aim is to make funding available to all students in the fall 2022 semester.

“We’re grateful to Rhode Island PBS for the investment they’ve made in our students,” Kothari said. “We’re looking forward to seeing the creative projects that will result.”