Television Entertainment Product

Program Office:                                   Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia
Funding Opportunity Title:                Television Entertainment Product
Funding Opportunity Number:          DOS-GEO-18-CA-001-060618
Deadline for Applications:                 July 20, 2018
CFDA Number:                                   19.900
Total Amount Available:                    $490,000

A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Executive Summary

The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia is pleased to announce an open competition to create a television entertainment product.  The desired genre is a drama or mini-series produced in the single-camera setup with versatile videography.  The project aims to promote/popularize western values in support of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration through pop culture.  Potential themes may include, but are not limited to diversity, inclusion, tolerance, EU integration, NATO integration, and democratic principles.  Georgian television companies, independent media, and film production studios are invited to submit proposals for the creation of a television entertainment product.  The Embassy is particularly interested in a program targeted to audiences skeptical of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration and Georgia’s ethnic minority populations.

Background

Media play a central role in informing the public about what happens in the world and has the ability to focus public interest and shape public discourse on particular subjects.  According to NDI’s May 2018 opinion poll, 72 percent of the Georgian public turns to television as its main source of information.  U.S. Embassy Tbilisi seeks to harness the power of television to accelerate popular support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration through the creation of a televised entertainment product that promotes values such as diversity, inclusion, tolerance, and democratic principles.

Geographically, economically, and linguistically isolated communities generally express lower levels of support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration.  This project seeks to target audiences vulnerable to misinformation and disinformation about the benefits of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration.

Program Objectives:

  • The television entertainment product aims to promote/popularize western values in support of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration through pop culture;
  • Replace negative narratives about the West with the reliable information provided in a language and form understandable to the ordinary citizen;
  • Increase the knowledge of local communities on the economic and social benefits of integration with the West;
  • Popularize and promote western values in support of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration including, but not limited to:  diversity, inclusion, tolerance, and democratic principles;
  • Increase viewership of Georgian language programming among Georgia’s ethnic minorities in regions dominated by foreign content;
  • Generate and sustain momentum for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration among audiences traditionally skeptical of integration with the West; and
  • Promote a positive association with the United States and West.

Program Overview/Design

PAS will award approximately $490,000 to manage an eighteen-month long project to develop a television entertainment product with a guaranteed primetime placement on a national television network.  Georgian television companies, independent media, and film production studios should submit proposals that include:  a core concept, a script synopsis with the main storyline, script blueprints for a minimum of two episodes, a 15-minute pilot video (demo), and confirmation of guaranteed placement on a national television channel.  PAS anticipates the selected grantee to produce approximately 40 episodes split between two seasons.  A mutually agreeable placement schedule and start date will be determined once the grantee is selected.

PAS welcomes the applicants’ ingenuity and creativity in proposing a product that will cater to the interests and tastes of multiple, diverse audiences in Georgia including ethnic minorities.  The grantee should work closely with the Public Affairs Section throughout the grant period to shape the concept and develop the plot of the product to ensure that the television entertainment product resonates with the desired demographic and is commensurate with U.S. policy.

The selected grantee will retain copyright of the television entertainment product.  PAS reserves the right to distribute the product to Georgia’s regional television stations free of charge upon the completion of its broadcast on the host channel.  PAS retains the right to dub or subtitle the television entertainment product into Armenian, Azerbaijani, Turkish, and/or Russian.

B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION

Length of performance period: 18 months
Number of awards anticipated: 1 award
Total available funding: $490,000 (with a possible expansion of the program activities in 2019-2020, subject to the availability of funds and the concurrence of PAS.)
Anticipated program start date:  October 1, 2018

Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative Agreement

In a cooperative agreement, the U.S. Embassy is substantially involved in program activities above and beyond routine monitoring.  The U.S. Embassy activities and responsibilities for this program include, but are not limited to the following:

• Active participation or collaboration with the recipient in award implementation.
• Review and approval of one stage of work before another can begin.
• Joint preparation and/or presentation of results with the recipient.
• Review and approval of substantive provisions of proposed subawards or contracts.
• Involvement where the Department’s program office requires specific programmatic oversight over the award beyond normal monitoring.

C. ELIGILIBITY INFORMATION

1.      Eligible Applicants

Eligibility is limited to Georgian television companies, independent media, and film production studios.

2.      Funding Priorities

The Department encourages organizations that have not previously received international program funding from the U.S. Government to apply under this announcement.  Applicants must have a demonstrated professional expertise and achievement in creating and producing broadcast entertainment programs acclaimed by different ethnic, gender, and age groups of Georgian citizens.  Expertise, prior experience, and successful implementation of similar products will be considered favorably.  The Grantee is expected to coordinate the creative process of the program with the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Diversification of placement channels including online, social media platforms and Youtube channels will be considered favorably.

3.      Cost Sharing or Matching

Applicants are not required to include funding from other donors.  However, applications that include additional in-kind and/or cash contributions from non-U.S. Government sources will be more competitive, since cost-sharing demonstrates a strong commitment to the planned activities and will be considered to show great cost effectiveness.

4.      Other Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a unique entity identifier (Data Universal Numbering System/DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet), as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations.

D. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

1.      Address to Request Application Package

Application forms required below are available at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/forms/sf-424-mandatory-family.html#sortby=1

2.      Content and Form of Application Submission

Please follow all instructions below carefully.  Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.

Content of Application

Please ensure:

  • The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity
  • All documents are in English
  • All budgets are in U.S. dollars
  • All pages are numbered
  • The format of any attachments must be in Microsoft Word, Excel or PDF
  • All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

The following documents are required: 

1. Mandatory application forms

2. Summary Page (2 pages maximum):  Cover sheet stating the applicant name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief summary of the identified need, proposed activities and expected results.

3. Proposal (10 pages maximum): 

The applicant must specify the goals and objectives of the project, relative to the announced project statement. The proposed activities should be described in sufficient details to show how objectives and goals will be met. This section should include a structured monitoring and evaluation plan or matrix that will demonstrate how success will be measured via performance indicators by defining objectively verifiable indicators. The matrix should also include: sources/means for verification, risks and assumptions for goals and objectives, and expected results and activities. Finally, this section must include a time-task plan that clearly identifies the objectives and major activities including dates, times, and locations.

4. Organizational Capability: (2 pages Maximum)

Names, titles, roles and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program and what proportion of their time will be used in support of this program. Description of the team’s expertise, prior experience and successful implementation of similar products is required.

5. Budget Justification Narrative:  After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail.  See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.

6.  Attachments

  • 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program.
  • Letters of Intent (if applicable) – Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia recommends that the applicants identify in advance the partners and requires including the letters of intent with the proposal. The letters must identify the type of relationship to be entered into (formal or informal), the roles and responsibilities of each partner in relation to the proposed project activities, and the expected result of the partnership.  Please note that these are not letters of support, and should only be included for those organizations that will play an active role in the project, including those that receive financial support through the project budget. The individual letters cannot exceed 1 page in length.
  • Confirmation letter of the placement from the national television channel;
  • A core concept of the final product and a script synopsis with the main storyline;
  • The script blueprints for one or two episodes and 15-minute pilot video (demo)

3.      Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov) (NOTE:  This section is required and not optional, except for NOFOs targeting applications from individuals instead of organizations)

Required Registrations:

Any applicant listed on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) in the System for Award Management (SAM) is not eligible to apply for an assistance award in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 CFR 180 that implement Executive Orders 12549 (3 CFR, 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension.” Additionally, no entity listed on the EPLS can participate in any activities under an award.  All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the EPLS in SAM to ensure that no ineligible entity is included.

All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations.  All are free of charge:

  • Unique entity identifier from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
  • NCAGE/CAGE code
  • www.SAM.gov registration

Step 1:  Apply for a DUNS number and an NCAGE number (these can be completed simultaneously)

DUNS application: Organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet. If your organization does not have one already, you may obtain one by calling 1-866-705-5711 or visiting http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform

NCAGE application:
Application page here: https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx

Instructions for the NCAGE application process:

https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/Docs/US%20Instructions%20for%20NSPA%20NCAGE.pdf  (PDF 1 MB)

For NCAGE help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423

For NCAGE help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766

Email NCAGE@dlis.dla.mil for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.

Step 2: After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM.gov by logging onto: https://www.sam.gov.  SAM registration must be renewed annually.

3.      Submission Dates and Times

All applications must be submitted on or before July 20, 2018, 11:59 p.m. eastern time.  Applications submitted after 11:59 p.m. will be ineligible for consideration.  Begin the application process early, as this will allow time to address any technical difficulties that may arise in advance of the deadline.  There will be no exceptions to this application deadline.

4.      Other Submission Requirements

All application materials must be submitted by email to TbilisiGrants@state.gov. Please, note the funding opportunity title – TEP program – in the Subject line of the e-mail. The format of any attachments must be in Microsoft Word, Excel or PDF.

E. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

1.      Criteria

Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below.

Project goals and implementation plan stated in a proposal (50 points):  Applicant well describes what they propose to do and how they will carry all activities out. The proposed activities directly relate to meeting the goals and objectives of the program. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline. The review panel will be viewing proposed activities in terms how well they address the problem statement, relevance of the goals and objectives, feasibility of the proposed activities and the extent to which the impact of the project will continue beyond the conclusion of the funding period.

Organizational Capacity (35 points):  Proposal demonstrates the ability to develop and implement the program. Applicant demonstrates how their resources, capabilities and experience will enable them to achieve the stated goals and objectives.  The organization has expertise in its stated field and has the internal controls in place to manage federal funds. This includes a financial management system and a bank account. The panel will also review the letters to determine the willingness of local organizations to participate in the effort, and that all parties have an understanding of their unique roles and responsibilities in terms of the proposed project.

Budget Outline (15 points):  The budget justification is detailed. Costs are reasonable, allowable and allocable to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.

F. FEDERAL AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

a.       Federal Award Notices

The cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.

If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.

Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.

b.      Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Terms and Conditions: Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply.  These include:

2 CFR 200, 2 CFR 600, Certifications and Assurances, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, all of which are available at:  https://www.state.gov/m/a/ope/index.htm

Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions. 

c.       Reporting

Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports.  The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.

G.  FEDERAL AWARDING AGENCY CONTACTS

On program requirements of this solicitation, please contact Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, at E-mail: TbilisiGrants@state.gov

Please, note the funding opportunity title – TEP program – in the Subject line of the e-mail.

H.  OTHER INFORMATION

Guidelines for Budget Justification

Personnel and Fringe Benefits: Describe the wages, salaries, and benefits of temporary or permanent staff who will be working directly for the applicant on the program, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the program.

Travel: Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this program, for program staff, consultants or speakers, and participants/beneficiaries. If the program involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.

Equipment: Describe any machinery, furniture, or other personal property that is required for the program, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the program), and costs at least $5,000 per unit.

Supplies: List and describe all the items and materials, including any computer devices, that are needed for the program. If an item costs more than $5,000 per unit, then put it in the budget under Equipment.

Contractual: Describe goods and services that the applicant plans to acquire through a contract with a vendor.  Also describe any sub-awards to non-profit partners that will help carry out the program activities.

Other Direct Costs: Describe other costs directly associated with the program, which do not fit in the other categories. For example, shipping costs for materials and equipment or applicable taxes. All “Other” or “Miscellaneous” expenses must be itemized and explained.

Indirect Costs:  These are costs that cannot be linked directly to the program activities, such as overhead costs needed to help keep the organization operating.

“Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy.   It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.