Since 2006, Project Twenty1 has coordinated screenings, festivals, and educational & career-building programs in the Greater Philadelphia area that attract international participants. On March 12, 2010, Project Twenty1 received its 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status. Over five years, Project Twenty1 has inspired the creation of 197 original short films and animations, exhibited over 500 shorts and features, and connected over 24,000 emerging media artists with career advancement opportunities. After launching their career through Project Twenty1, multiple members of the community have won Emmy® Awards, received and created paying jobs, and formed new production companies that pump thousands of dollars into local economies.
Project Twenty1′s programs have steadily expanded in participation and support. The 21-Day Filmmaking Competition has grown from 21 Teams of 170 participants (2006) to 62 teams of 903 participants (2011), making it by far the largest filmmaking competition in Philadelphia. Project Twenty1′s curated exhibition, The Philadelphia Film and Animation Festival, started as a one-venue showcase of seven films with 250 attendees. In 2011, the four-day, multiple venue festival was named one of the top 5 film festivals in Philadelphia by Where.com, screening 135 films to over 3,000 attendees. Anthony Griffin, a filmmaker and the festival organizer of Thriller! Chiller! in Grand Rapids, MI stated, “If you’re a film maker then you owe yourself the opportunity Project Twenty1 offers to raise your profile – and your game – to an international level by being a part of their programs.”
Project Twenty1 believes that partnership is essential for the health of arts programs. The organization has partnered with local educational institutions including the Philadelphia University of the Arts, Drexel University, and Temple University for college-accredited internships, co-ops, and volunteerism programs. Project Twenty1 has also built a network of support, cross-promotion, and exhibition through partners including Slamdance, the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, and the Bronzeville Cultural Festival.
Financial and in-kind support has grown from both public and private donors and sponsors including the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts, Department of Community and Economic Development, Wells Fargo, and PECO. Thanks to strong partnerships and the diligence of Project Twenty1 staff and volunteers, programs are continuing to expanded to better serve the independent media artist community. In a statement of support, State Senator Daylin Leach stated, “Organizations like Project Twenty1 are critical to the survival of independent artists and filmmakers…Cultural assets such as Project Twenty1 are essential to encourage and attract strong economic development.”