I love this poster that Colombian artist Hansel Obando made for the Alliance in 2020. It reminds me of what we’ve been through since then, the stories we’ve told, the struggles we’ve managed, the collective spirit we’ve held constant. As we design a new poster illuminating our intrepid member organizations and artists and the work they do in communities around the world, I am reminded that celebrating milestones and breakthroughs is important even in the darkest of times. As the basic human rights of women are on the chopping block across this country, and NYC is back on COVID “high alert,” the devastation of the war in Ukraine continues, American troops are being redeployed to Somalia, innocent people in Buffalo recently gunned down at the grocery store – I keep Toni Morrison with me to help make it through:
“Make up a story. For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.”
Coming up next month: I’ll be meeting with Alliance members and partners in the Bay Area the first week in June, then, COVID permitting, connecting with filmmakers at the Tribeca Film Festival, and building Arts2Work opportunities in NY State before landing in Burbank to join my colleague Shawn Jackson presenting at the AME Institute Shock of the Now conference (apparently, the place to be for California teaching artists + media arts educators), and finally heading back to Spokane where the Alliance is exploring alternative funding models for a new BIPOC-centered community media lab to support training in storytelling, video and audio production, animation, game design + development, VR/AR and live performance.
All in a month’s work. Meeting and visioning with our members and partners is a daily virtual practice for me and Alliance staff – and now that it can happen in person a little more frequently —please do not hesitate to reach out!
Join the Alliance, take that leap…
Notes from the Field
Firelight Media to Host Beyond Resilience Masterclass: Black filmmakers on owning and telling our history
Join Firelight Media on Friday, June 10th, for an intimate conversation between a group of established black documentarians on what it means to archive their own history. The conversation will include filmmakersStanley Nelson, Sam Pollard, Dawn Porter, and Roger Ross Williams, moderated by Executive Producer of PBS American Experience: Cameo George. Beyond Resilience will be conducted remotely over zoom with the audience encouraged to participate in an extended Q&A session.
Deadline Approaching for NeXt DOC Fellowship
Documentary filmmakers of color ages 20-25 are invited to submit applications for Youth FX’s intensive mentorship program this fall, September 29th – October 5th. The program will provide “one-on-one mentorship, peer-mentorship, skill-shares, online masterclasses, access to film festivals and key industry convenings, and one-of-a-kind access to the diverse community and offerings brought forth by Youth FX.” In an effort to ensure that the fellowship is accessible to all interested, participants will attend at no cost to themselves with housing and food provided. The deadline for applications is Friday, June 10th.
LAST CALL: DEADLINE JUNE 1!
The Alliance is celebrating June, July and August as a Summer of Storytelling and will be sharing out a national calendar of youth and adult media career training and creative exploration opportunities, camps, programs – some are free, some are paid, some are low-cost – all are being offered by Alliance member organizations and partners across the country. If you are offering a summer media training program, please send us a one-paragraph description, a pdf flyer, and/or website application link so we can celebrate you and your impact in your community! Upload information here.
Media Policy Watch
Last Thursday, two Senate bills aiming to secure safe working conditions on film sets were blocked — bills 831 and 829. Both bills were introduced following the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins last fall on the set of Rust, after she was shot by actor and producer Alec Baldwin. An investigation from LA Times last year revealed that the producers had ordered union members to leave the set and be replaced by nonunion workers as tensions around working conditions escalated. The introduced Bill 829 would have “establish[ed] needed safety protocols for the use of firearms on film production” and 831 would have introduced a broad range of safety protocols including requiring “a motion picture production employer to hire a qualified set safety supervisor for all motion picture productions” and intensive restrictions on use of firearms and ammunition. Senator Cortese, who drafted Bill 831 was quoted in a LA Times article stating “First the industry killed Halyna. Then they killed the bill that would’ve made people like her safe […] Despite setbacks, I’m committed to real reforms that will protect our workers.”
As Cannes Film Festival gets underway, some seek to use the venue to express concern about injustice. Last Friday, a woman stormed the red carpet in an effort to bring attention to violence against Ukrainian women at the hands of Russian soldiers. This Sunday, a collective of women interrupted festival proceedings again to perform a funeral procession. Clad in black, releasing black smoke, the group carried a long banner with the names of victims of femicide in France since the last festival. It was unclear what at Cannes the later demonstration was tied to, with Variety reporting that it might be to protest the premier of a film based on the story of a man who murdered 16 women in Iran titled Holy Spider, or in support of the feminist documentary Riposte.
Executive Director, Images Cinema, Williamstown, MA
MVFF Operations Manager, CFI, San Rafael, CA
Art Mentoring Program Manager, Venice Arts, Venice, CA
Executive Director, Media Alliance, NY Capital Region
Director of Finance, Open Signal, Portland, OR
Grants and Calls
Outfest Screenwriting Lab
Emerging LGBTQ storytellers are invited to submit to Outfest’s Fall Screenwriting Lab. Ten screenwriters will be chosen to receive guidance from Outfest staff and Mentors.
Deadline: May 31st
LEF Moving Image Fund (Early Development & Pre-Production
LEF New England’s Moving Image Fund is looking for long form film submissions from New England filmmakers that feature a “Quality of cinematic form and technique.” Four to six filmmakers will selected to receive grants of $5,000.
Deadline: June 3rd
Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film: Historical Documentary Filmmaking
Documentary filmmakers creating feature length chronicles of U.S History in the tradition of Ken Burns are encouraged to submit to the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Fund. Finishing funds of $200,000 are available to winners as well as outreach and marketing support.
Deadline: June 3rd
Sundance Documentary Fund (Fall Cycle)
Sundance Institute is seeking nonfiction filmmakers globally, with a focus on independent filmmakers operating on a budget below $1M. Priority is given to projects lead by and/or focused on underrepresented communities.
Deadline: June 6th
Film Independent Fast Track
Film Independent will be choosing up to ten feature and five non-fiction film teams for their four day “fast track” finance market this November. The market will introduce participants to a wide range of industry professionals with the goal of building lasting relationships to propel projects further.
Deadline: June 21st
Workshops, Festivals, Convenings
New Media Film Festival – June 1st-2nd, Los Angeles, CA
The Outfronts – June 3rd-6th, Los Angeles, CA
Tribeca Film Festival – June 8th-19th, Tribeca, NY
Cine Las America – June 8th-12th, Austin, TX
Provincetown Film Festival – June 15th-19th, Provincetown MA
Nantucket Film Festival – June 22nd-27th, Nantucket, MA
Bentonville Film Festival – June 22nd-July 3rd, Bentonville, AR
Oak Cliff Film Festival – June 23rd-26th, Dallas, TX