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The 2012 MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant Recipients

News of the 2012 MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant winners has leaked early, showing that 23 fellows will be awarded $500,000 over the next five years to use as they see fit. Among this year’s names are authors Junot Diaz, who recently published the short story collection This Is How You Lose Her, and Dinaw Mengestu — who was named one of The New Yorker’s 20 under 40 in 2010, the same year his novel How to Read the Air was published.

The coveted prize is shared with several documentary filmmakers, including Natalia Almada. She maintains dual citizenship between Brooklyn and Mexico City, and PBS described her El General as a “poetic meditation” linking the story of her family with present-day Mexican politics and culture. New York documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras also appears on the list. Her soon-to-be released film The Program was recently highlighted by the New York Times and tells the story of a United States National Security Agency vet who became a whistleblower. Conceptual photographers An-My Le and Uta Barth join them.

Check out a few works and trailers from those mentioned after the jump, then head to the LA Times for the full list of fellows. The official announcement is expected to be posted tomorrow.

El General by Natalia Almada

The Program by Laura Poitras


Uta Barth, … and to draw a bright white line with light (Untitled 11.3), 2011


An-My Le, Untitled, Small Wars, 2001

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