November 2022 Newsletter
LEF's Moving Image Fund is now accepting letters of inquiry for projects in Production and Post-production.

The Moving Image Fund’s Production and Post-production grants have a two-part application process. Filmmakers interested in applying for project support must first submit a letter of inquiry. From these initial inquiries, a smaller pool of applicants is notified in early March about whether they are invited to submit a full application. Should the project be invited forward in March, these LOI elements can be updated, as needed, and comprise roughly half of what is required at the Full Application stage.

A maximum of seven (7) grants of $15,000 each will be awarded to projects in the Production phase, and a maximum of four (4) grants of $25,000 each will be awarded to projects in the Post-production phase during LEF’s major grants review. Please note that in order to be eligible for Post-production support, the project for which you are applying must have received previous LEF support.

  • Production funds may be used for shooting picture and sound, early stage editing, equipment costs, materials, travel, and staffing (creative, technical, or otherwise)

  • Post-production funds may be used for editing costs, rights, online, sound mix, color correction, transfers and distribution strategy. To be awarded Post-production funding, the project must have already been supported by LEF at a previous stage (Early Development, Pre-production, or Production)

More information about this opportunity is available on the Guidelines and How to Apply pages of LEF's website.
The Moving Image Fund’s updated eligibility criteria are:

  • Projects must be long format with projected running times of 40 minutes or more.

  • Primary creative personnel (director and/or producer) must reside in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont).

  • Projects with directors or producers enrolled in high school, undergraduate or master’s degree programs at the time of application are ineligible for consideration.

  • Multi-channel or installation work will not be considered.

Still not sure if you're eligible? Take a look at our FAQ page.
All letters of inquiry are due on
Friday, January 20 at 11:59pm ET.
Virtual Info Session

To learn more about these upcoming opportunities, join LEF staff for a virtual info session hosted via Zoom from 1:00 - 2:00pm ET on Monday, December 5.
Please let us know by Monday, November 28 if you'd like to request any accessibility accommodations for this meeting (closed captioning, ASL interpretation, etc.).
An Update to MIF Applications
This year, in a continued effort to standardize the application process for filmmakers who may be applying to multiple funds, LEF has used the latest Nonfiction Core Application as a template to update the Moving Image Fund LOI and Full Application forms. The LEF letter of inquiry form now includes an additional 2022 question drawn from the updated Nonfiction Core Application and clarifying language about existing LEF questions. The MIF full application will further reflect updated and added questions, for which you can get an initial sense by visiting the Nonfiction Core Application website.

Our hope is that any updates and additional questions in our forms will provide the opportunity for applicants to expand upon their approaches to access, accountability, and community care in their projects.

Harvard FSC-LEF Fellowship
Submitting a MIF letter of inquiry is also an opportunity to express interest in being considered for the Harvard FSC-LEF Fellowship, an opportunity for Boston-area filmmakers to receive a jointly-funded $10,000 grant, access to FSC’s pool of production and post-production equipment, and participation in the Harvard FSC community through work-in-progress screenings, workshops, and other activities.

Announcing LEF's Fall Grant Cycle

LEF is excited to announce that our grant cycle to support projects in Pre-production and Early Development, which historically included a deadline in mid-June and a decision in late July, is shifting to slightly later in the year.

The next grant cycle will have a deadline on August 7, 2023 with a decision in early October.

Mark your calendars!

LEF Moving Image Fund Grantee News
Image description: Two images, left/top to right/bottom: A black-and-white headshot of Georden West, a person with light skin, a buzz cut, and a hoop nose piercing; A headshot of Alex Morelli, a person with light skin, dark hair and a dark beard, wearing a black and white striped T-shirt.
Last month, Filmmaker Magazine announced its 25 New Faces of Documentary Film for 2022, and included on the list are two prior LEF grantees: Georden West (PLAYLAND) and Alex Morelli (UNTITLED DEATH ROW MEMORY FILM). The "25 New Faces" is described as "a kind of geological survey, a dig into the new impulses, ideas and forces that will bring both new stories and new forms of storytelling to the surface in the years ahead." Read more about Georden, Alex, and the other honorees.

DOC NYC began last week on November 9 and runs through November 27. Included in this year's lineup are a few works by prior LEF grantees:
  • RIOTSVILLE, USA, a history of U.S. police’s militarization directed by Sierra Pettengill (THE REAGAN SHOW) and produced by former LEF Program Director Sara Archambault. The film was also nominated for two Critics Choice Documentary Awards in the Best Narration and Best Archival Documentary categories, and it received the ABC News VideoSource Award, a sponsored award through the International Documentary Association that recognizes a feature documentary using news footage as an integral component of the storytelling.

  • THE PANOLA PROJECT, co-directed by 2022 LEF/CIFF Fellows Jeremy S. Levine and Rachael DeCruz (NINE), following the heroic efforts of Dorothy Oliver to keep her small town of Panola, AL safe during the pandemic.

THE RECIPROCITY PROJECT, a short film series embracing indigenous values that includes the work of prior LEF grantees Adam Mazo (DAWNLAND), Kavita Pillay (STALIN, LENIN, AND OTHER TALES FROM SOUTH INDIA), and Ben Severance (THE MOUNTAIN AND THE MAGIC CITY), is nominated for Best Short-Form Series at the IDA Awards. One of the films, ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (What They’ve Been Taught), which is co-produced by Mazo and Pillay, is nominated for Best Short Documentary. The entire Reciprocity series will also be part of the Cucalorus program this weekend, and is available to stream online.

LEF-supported project MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY, a portrait of an ongoing crisis on the U.S./Mexico border co-directed by Jeff Bemiss and Lisa Molomot, has been named a finalist for the 2023 duPont-Columbia Awards, which honor excellence in broadcast and digital journalism in the public service. An awards ceremony will be held on February 7.

NO ONE TOLD ME, a LEF-supported project about the postpartum experience directed by Zulilah Merry, was awarded the Jury Award at the Central Scotland Documentary Festival.

Kathryn Ramey just completed a multi-week Atelier 105 post-production residency at Light Cone in Paris to work on her LEF-funded project EL SIGNO VACÍO. Light Cone is currently accepting applications for its next post-production residency.
Are you a LEF grantee or fellow with news to share about your film?

Local Connections
WQ: Docs 202
Image Description: Wicked Queer logo.
From November 18 - 21, Wicked Queer, Boston's LGBTQ+ Film Festival, will be presenting its first annual mini festival celebrating documentary films by and about members of the queer community. The seven screenings (beginning tonight!) will take place at either the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge.

Upcoming Film Opportunities
Image Description: MDOCS Storytellers' Institute at Skidmore College Logo
MDOCS Storytellers’ Institute Residency (Deadline: November 20)
The MDOCS Storytellers’ Institute is a non-fiction arts residency on the Skidmore College campus in Saratoga Springs, NY every June. The institute is a fully funded opportunity that offers fellows time to work on personal non-fiction arts projects, networking opportunities, access to a creative community of critique and nurture, a platform to publicly display work, and an intellectual community to engage with the year’s selected theme.

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Dunamis 2023 Emerging Artist Fellowship (Deadline: November 28)
The Dunamis Spring 2023 EAF program provides professional development training for emerging artists of color. Over the course of a year, artists will have access to workshops, masterclasses, social events and one-on-one coaching to help develop their artistic lens and kickstart their careers as creative entrepreneurs.

Image Description: Nia Tero Logo
4th World Media Lab (Deadline: November 30)
The 4th World Media Lab is a year-long fellowship for emerging and mid-career Indigenous filmmakers, providing opportunities to develop filmmaking skills and networks through festival participation, hands-on training, masterclasses, workshopping projects in development, pitch activities, and meetings with funders and other industry decision-makers. Fellowship activities take place February through September 2023 at three film festivals: Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Camden International Film Festival. The selected fellows will receive a $10,000 artist development grant from the Nia Tero Foundation and benefits for each festival visit.

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Studio IX Mother Project Grant (Deadline: December 3)
Studio IX is now accepting applications for their Mother Project Grant for parents working on a documentary film project. Grantees will receive $1,000 to help cover the cost of childcare when filmmakers need to go on a shoot, focus on an edit, or anything else to advance their film. Grantees will also receive a complimentary 1-year Adobe Creative Cloud All Access subscription.

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Pacific Islanders in Communications Media Fund (Deadline: December 5)
The Media Fund is PIC's longest standing funding initiative, which provides funds for single non-fiction projects of half an hour or an hour in length about the indigenous Pacific Islander experience, in production or post-production. Projects applying to the Media Fund must be intended for national public television broadcast, and therefore must be able to enter into a production agreement. 

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ITVS Open Call (Deadline: December 16)
Open Call gives independent producers up to $350,000 to complete production for a standalone broadcast length documentary to air on public television. The documentary can be on any subject, viewpoint or style as long as it is in active production already, as evidenced via a ten to fifteen minute work in progress sample. Open Call is not a grant, and funding is received in the form of a co-production agreement that assigns ITVS certain broadcast and streaming rights to the project during the term of the contract.

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Big Sky Pitch (Deadline: December 31)
The Big Sky Pitch is an opportunity for filmmaking teams to "pitch" their documentary work-in-progress to a panel of the top commissioning editors and funders for documentary film. Documentary features of all forms and subjects are eligible to submit. A maximum of 10 projects are accepted to pitch in this session.

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Hot Docs Forum and Deal Maker Open Call (Deadline: January 2)
Hot Docs Forum is a dynamic live event where pre-selected projects are pitched for co-production financing to a roundtable of leading commissioning editors, film fund representatives, financiers, programming executives, angel investors, and delegates from around the globe. Partnered with the Forum is Hot Docs Deal Maker, a one-on-one pitch meeting program for producers seeking development or production financing from the international marketplace. New this year, Deal Maker will also serve producers seeking sales and distribution opportunities. Hot Docs Forum and Deal Maker are the same application process.

Image Description: Assets for Artists Logo
Studios at MASS MoCA Residency (Deadline: January 8)
The Studios is MASS MoCA’s artist and writers residency program situated within the museum’s factory campus and surrounded by the beautiful Berkshire Mountains. Operated by MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists department, the residency runs year-round and hosts up to 10 artists at a time. Artists of any nationality can apply for stays of 2 or 4 weeks.

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Diane Weyerman Fellowship (Deadline: January 13)
Up to three original, feature-length documentaries in production from global filmmaking teams will be selected to participate in an 18-month collaborative Fellowship. Resources provided to Fellows include $100,000 in unrestricted, non-recoupable grants per project, mentorship from veteran filmmakers and industry leaders, two festival-based creative retreats, and ongoing professional development – all designed to support the completion of their films and the advancement of sustainable careers as artists.

A virtual info session will be held at 1pm on December 13.

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Jewish Story Partners (Deadline: January 13)
Jewish Story Partners funds U.S. documentary feature-length independently-produced film projects that provide insight into some aspect of Jewish experience—contemporary or historical—with an expansive and inclusive range of what this can mean. Filmmakers need not be Jewish but must be 18 years or older.

Image Description: Chicken & Egg Pictures Logo
Project: Hatched (Deadline: January 17)
Project: Hatched provides grants to support filmmakers from around the world who have premiered or have a confirmed world premiere of a short, medium, or feature-length documentary film taking place between April 2022 and March 2023. Filmmakers must have plans to strategize, build, and launch an impact campaign. The grant funds can be applied towards expenses related to project completion and impact strategy.

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Film Independent Documentary Lab (Deadline: January 27)
Through a series of meetings and workshops, the Documentary Lab provides creative feedback and story notes to participating filmmakers, while helping them strategize for the completion, distribution and marketing of their films. Over the course of two weeks in May, Fellows are paired with a Creative Advisor for one-on-one support and attend multiple workshops and sessions. The Lab culminates in a final pitch event that offers further opportunity for individualized feedback and discussion with industry executives.

Member extended Deadline: February 10

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The Whickers Film & TV Funding Award (Deadline: January 31)
The Film & TV Funding Award is awarded annually by The Whickers to an emerging filmmaker from anywhere in the world for a director-led 50+ minute documentary in late development to early production with an Executive Producer attached. The main award is worth £100,000 and the runner-up receives £20,000. Should they be shortlisted, applicants must be available to travel to the UK in June 2023 to pitch their project at Sheffield Doc/Fest (reasonable travel and accommodation covered by The Whickers).

Image Description: Color Congress Logo
Color Congress Fall Membership Enrollment (Ongoing)
Eligible applicants will join the Congress in the Fall. Color Congress members are organizations based in the U.S. or territories that offer programming or free services to support storytellers and leaders of color working in the documentary field or nurturing audiences of color for documentaries, wherein the majority of the leadership team identifies as people of color.

What We're Reading
Image Description: Collective Wisdom graphic featuring a hot air balloon that is a cross-section of a mechanical eyeball on which a person with a video camera crouches and another climbs a ladder to engage with, all over a teal background with clouds.

Earlier this month, MIT Press released Collective Wisdom: Co-Creating Media for Equity and Justice, a coauthored investigation into the ways co-creation methods contain the potential for more ethical media production as well as challenges to how makers approach storytelling, knowledge formation, and even perceptions of time. Much of the work in this book is reflected in an existing online publication, Collective Wisdom: Co-Creating within Communities, across Disciplines, and with Algorithms, a field study with roots in the MIT Open Doc Lab that sees a coalescing around expanding ideas of co-creation by an assortment of documentarians, journalists, artists, designers, media scholars, and researchers.

One of the imperatives of the study is to explore alternatives to individual creative authorship, something particularly prevalent in the field of nonfiction filmmaking. A Eurocentric methodology of media production has prioritized "top-down production, meaning-making, and media that privilege the idea of a singular author, and by extension a singular authority." In an attempt to understand and propose solutions to the often harmful practices this type of system engenders, the coauthors have constructed an interdisciplinary analysis of the varied fruits and pitfalls of co-creation with the online, seven-part Collective Wisdom, which is open for community review and discussion. "In co-creation," the field study reports, "projects emerge from a process, and evolve from within communities and with people, rather than for or about them."
Thanks for reading and 'til next time,

The LEF New England team
Lyda, Gen, & Matthew

LEF Foundation
PO Box 382066
Cambridge, MA 02238
A private family foundation dedicated to the support of contemporary arts, LEF was established in 1985 with offices in Massachusetts and California. The Moving Image Fund was launched in 2001 through the LEF office in Cambridge, MA to support independent film and video artists. Since its inception, the Moving Image Fund has awarded over 400 grants to New England-based independent filmmakers with approximately $4.2 million in funding. The goal of LEF New England is to fund the work of independent documentary film and video artists in the region and to broaden recognition and support for their work locally and nationally. It also supports programs that highlight the rich history and ongoing legacy of innovation within New England's independent film community. The overarching goal of LEF New England's philanthropic investment is to help build a sustainable and strong community of support for artists and their work.