Chicago-based Media Burn Independent Video Archive receives $500K grant to launch new national project

ByZach Ben-Amots WLS logo
Saturday, April 10, 2021
Chicago-based video archive receives $500K grant
Media Burn Archive was created 20 years ago as one of the first ever online video archives; now it's using a massive $500,000 grant to launch a new national project with other video collections.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Media Burn Independent Video Archive recently received a grant of nearly $500,000 from the Council on Library Resources to kickstart a new national initiative.

"It's a partnership with six different institutions, and together we are going to be digitizing more than 1,000 video tapes," said executive director Sara Chapman.

Media Burn was founded around 20 years ago as one of the first ever online video archives. Since their founding, they've digitized 8,000 hours of analog video. The collection highlights independent documentaries and videos that focus on social and political causes.

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The South Side Home Movie Project is collaborating with Chicago musicians to give new life to archival films from the 20th century for a series called "Spinning Home Movie."

"Our collection begins with the invention of videotape. So it starts around 1967 or so, and it goes through the present," Chapman said.

To view the Media Burn archives, visit their website: The collaborate work from their new grant will be called the Guerrilla Television Network, and that work will eventually be displayed on a different website.

In addition to that project, Media Burn recently announced a video reuse contest in collaboration with the South Side Home Movie Project and the Studs Terkel Radio Archive, giving the public an opportunity to create something new with Chicago's archival treasures.