🎙️Your media arts & culture news 📷 ALLIANCE eBulletin April 2024

🎙️Your media arts & culture news 📷 ALLIANCE eBulletin April 2024

Works by Wangechi Mutu, moma.org

Last month, in this column, I wrote about service, and today, I’m thinking about connections. I feel connected to the student protests across this country, remembering my days protesting apartheid in South Africa and demanding Oberlin’s divestment. I believe this time is about freedom and survival. I believe that human connection, and even the intention of connection, heals. I am also inspired today by the bold, connective work of Wangechi Mutu and her words, “I believe art is a connection, like passing on a flame.”

For more on Wangechi Mutu, check out this thoughtful, poetic video by DaeQuan Collier.

Some highlights this month as we keep our heads inside the work (but our hearts in this precarious present):

A fantastic article was published in Smithsonian Folklife Magazine this month about Alliance partner organization Wide Angle Youth Media in Baltimore. Don’t miss it. It is a beautiful thing when an article that focuses on workforce development notes that “storytelling is a sanctuary for those who seek to capture the essence of life through the lens of a camera.”

WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation) had a Creative Vitality Summit that was eye-opening. I really recommend checking out the recordings of some of the sessions, in particular Immersive Realities, AI and the Creative Economy, and Transforming Investments in Artists, Creative Workers and Communities.

The Arts2Work Conversations podcast is now live on Spotify! Check out the first season here. Arts2Work Conversations is a podcast about building your dream job in the media industry, facing the challenges, acknowledging the ancestors, and becoming your true self. Hosted by Saki Bowman, the very first Arts2Work Apprentice.

Please join the Alliance and take part in Communities of Practice, Arts2Work programs, the Open Archive Initiative, our Youth Media Network, the Innovation Studio, our Power of Storytelling grants, and so much more. 

~ Wendy


Notes from the Field

Ryse Center to Host Juries for Justice
Judging Juries, directed by Abby Ginzberg, will premiere at the RYSE Center in Richmond, California. The film highlights the necessity of diverse juries as attorneys use the systemic barriers keeping people of color from serving on juries to their advantage in the trials where they would be most needed. After the free screening, a panel discussion with legal experts, including District Attorney Diana Becton and Public Defender Ellen McDonnell, will explore these issues and community solutions to combat them.

Ghetto Film School Fellow Program Deadline Approaching
High school students interested in jump-starting a career in film are invited to apply for Ghetto Film School’s Fellow Programs. The deadline of May 14th for the New York Fellowship is fast approaching. Participants will receive over 1,000 hours of in-depth, college-level education spanning 30 months. The curriculum, offered at no cost to students, provides expert guidance in commercial and creative elements of film production and will equip students to continue their careers at prestigious universities.

US premiere of Skylight’s new film Borderland
This week, Friday, May 3rd, marks the US premiere of Skylight’s Borderland at New York’s Firehouse theater, following the world premiere in Rio de Janeiro earlier in the month. The film looks at the horror of not just the policing of the southern border but also the full-scale, militarized surveillance apparatus that touches the lives of every immigrant, as well as the carceral system that imprisons and deports immigrants. The film follows a trio of immigrant digital humanists in an effort to not just reveal the bare cruelty of the border industrial complex but also to tell “the stories of immigrant heroines and heroes forge a way forward, intent on building a movement claiming their human rights in the shadow of this behemoth.” Firehouse is hosting three screening dates, the first two of which, May 3rd and 8th, are sold out, with tickets still remaining for the May 20th screening, featuring a Q&A with Director Pamela Yates and Producer Pablo de Onís.

Grants and Calls

Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film
The Library of Congress, in partnership with The Better Angels Society, will be awarding three cash prizes through the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film. The prize supports documentary films that tell compelling stories about American history. Applicants have the opportunity to receive up to $200,000 in prizes.
Deadline: May 1st

Firelight Documentary Lab
The Firelight Lab’s 18-month fellowship is available to budding nonfiction filmmakers working on their first or second film. The lab provides an array of professional development opportunities as well as a grant of $25,000.
Deadline: May 13th

Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship
Assistant, associate, and emerging documentary film editors from historically underrepresented backgrounds and experiences are invited to apply for the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship. The fellowship offers monthly group meetings with experienced documentary editor mentors who will offer them guidance in their development as artists.Deadline: May 21st

The Lumen Prize
Artists whose practice centers on the use of technology are invited to apply for the Lumen Awards. Nine participants creating work within five categories—Still Image, Moving Image, Interactive Immersive, Futures, and Impact—will receive a prize of $1,500.
Deadline: May 25, 2024

Job Bank

Part-Time Chief Financial & Administrative Officer, The Better Angels Society, Remote

Executive Producer, Special Projects

StoryCorps, Remote
Chief Development Officer, Sarasota Performing Arts Center, Sarasota, FL

Executive Director of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Troy, NY

more jobs on the Job Bank

Media Policy Watch

by Priscilla Genet

Last week, PEN America announced it cancelled its yearly Literary Awards Ceremony amidst criticism of its response to the crisis in Gaza. An open letter with 500 signatures criticized the organization for a slow response that included a “lack of proportional empathy […] laced with ahistorical Zionist propaganda under the claim of neutrality,” according to the letter. The letter goes on to call for the organization leaders’ resignations, highlighting the positions of PEN CEO Suzanne Nossel. As a result, PEN President Jennifer Finney Boylan, in her own letter, called for the organization to “self-reflect” and announced the creation of a “working group of authors and scholars to review PEN’s work.”

Prior to her position at PEN, Nossel faced criticism for her stance on US military intervention as a result of her support for the war in Afghanistan during her time as Executive Director for Amnesty International. In a March 2003 article for The National Interest, Nossel called for former President George W. Bush to “complete an attack [in the Middle East] before warm spring weather arrives.” Journalist Chris Hedges, who in a recent article for Scheerpost called PEN a “propaganda arm of the state,” withdrew from the organization following Nossel’s appointment in 2013.

The awards are still being distributed despite the ceremony’s cancellation, but in light of the letter, over half of the recipients have withdrawn. Those funds that are being awarded, however, are going to an array of causes in support of Palestinians. Tony Kushner, recipient of the PEN/Mike Nichols Writing for Performance Award, told NPR he was donating the $25,000 he received to Jewish Voice for Peace and UNRWA, while the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award will be donating their unawarded $75,000 fund to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, stating that Stein was a “passionate advocate for Palestinian rights,” according to NPR.

Workshops, Festivals, Convenings

Lighthouse International Film Festival , June 5th-9th, Long Beach Island, NJ

New Media Film Festival, June 5th-6th, Los Angeles, CA

Tribeca Film Festival ,June 5th-16th, New York, NY

Provincetown International Film Festival, June 12th-16th, Provincetown, MA

Palm Springs International ShortFest, June 18th-24th, Palm Springs, CA