April 2022 Newsletter
IFFBoston Opening Next Week!
In this still image from GIRL TALK directed by Lucia Small, Gaby, a teenage girl with light skin, brown hair pulled back in a pony tail, and wearing a black blazer practices speaking with a pen between her teeth in a classroom while several other teenagers do the same in the background. (Learn more about image descriptions)
Independent Film Festival Boston begins next week on April 27, and we’re thrilled to see some LEF-associated films in the lineup. 

Image Description: Independent Film Festival Boston promotional graphic on a bright red background featuring a sun behind a cloud and buildings forming the letters IFF.
LEF-supported project GIRL TALK (91 min), directed by Lucia Small, follows five girls on a Massachusetts high school debate team and will be having its world premiere on Sunday, May 1 at 1pm at the Somerville Theatre as IFFBoston’s Centerpiece: Documentary Spotlight. Tickets here.

RIOTSVILLE, USA (91 min), a history of U.S. police’s militarization directed by LEF grantee Sierra Pettengill (THE REAGAN SHOW) and produced by former LEF Program Director Sara Archambault will be screening on Saturday, April 30 at 1pm at the Somerville Theatre. Tickets here.

A DECENT HOME (86 min), directed by Sara Terry and co-produced by Alysa Nahmias and Sara Archambault, addresses urgent issues of class and economic (im)mobility through the lives of mobile home park residents and screens on Sunday, May 1 at 4pm at the Somerville Theatre. Tickets here.

Following a screening at the Ashland Independent Film Festival, THE HOUSE WE LIVED IN (83 min), directed by LEF grantee Tim O’Donnell (LIFE WITHOUT BASKETBALL) in the long wake of his father’s brain injury, will be showing on Saturday, April 30 at 4pm at the Somerville Theatre. Tickets here.

THE RECIPROCITY PROJECT, a short film series embracing indigenous values that includes WECKUWAPOK (THE APPROACHING DAWN), co-directed by a group of filmmakers including 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 playing on Sunday, May 1 at 3pm at the Brattle Theatre. Tickets here.

Short films UNITY MOSQUE by LEF grantee Nicole Teeny (BULLETPROOF STOCKINGS FOR WOMEN ONLY), NEVER AGAIN PARA NADIE by LEF grantee Dan Frank (UNDER THE VALLEY), and SHATTERING STARS by LEF grantee Peter Galison (CONTAINMENT; SECRECY) are also screening at the festival.
LEF Filmmaker Reception

Saturday, April 30
5pm - 7pm
Crystal Ballroom (Somerville Theatre)

Enjoy free appetizers & drinks available for purchase the bar.

RSVP by 4/28 at 10am
Another event during IFFBoston that is open to filmmaker and producers in the LEF community is the Documentary Producers Alliance IFFBoston Reception. This reception is taking place Sunday, May 1 at the Crystal Ballroom from 5pm to 7pm.
LEF Moving Image Fund Grantee News
The 2022 Guggenehim Fellows were announced earlier this month, and this year’s fellows include: LEF-grantee Angelo Madsen Minax (NORTH BY CURRENT) for Film-Video; LEF-grantee, LEF/CIFF and FSC-LEF Fellow Kathryn Ramey (EL SIGNO VACÍO) for Film-Video; and LEF Flaherty Fellow Colin Brant for Fine Art. Read the full list of fellows.

LEF-supported project FARM AND RED MOON (78 min) co-directed and co-produced by Audrey Kali and David Tamés, had its first public screening on Thursday, April 21 at the Dwight Performing Arts Center at Framingham State University, followed by a panel discussion. The film follows Audrey as she visits farms and slaughterhouses in a personal exploration of the complexities of humane animal slaughter for human consumption. See more about the event.

JOONAM (work-in-progress), a LEF-supprted project directed by Sierra Urich and produced by Ken Wilson was selected as one of 2022’s Chicken & Egg Pictures (Egg)celerator Lab grantees. Urich’s film is about uncovering her family’s lost Iranian past, and with it the complex relationships between mother and daughter, Iran and America, and displacement and identity. HUMMINGBIRDS (work-in-progress), co-directed by former LEF/CIFF fellow Sylvia Castaños and Estefanía Contrera, was a finalist. The lab offers $40,000 in grant funding, mentorship, and other support for self-identifying women and gender nonconforming directors working on their first or second feature-length documentaries. For the first time, finalists also received $15,000 (Egg)celerator Lab Finalist Grants. Take a look at the full list of grantees.

ZEKI MÜREN HOTLINE, an interactive documentary by LEF grantee Beyza Boyacioglu, has been honored for Best Websites and Mobile Sites - NetArt in the 26th Webby Awards. The film, which composites voice messages to Zeki Müren, Turkey’s pop star and queer icon, with Müren’s archives and a recent history of Turkey, was selected amongst the top 20% of the 13,500 works entered in this year’s Webbys. See the other Webby nominees and honorees. 

LEF-supported project SCHOOL DISTRICT (work-in-progress) directed by Jason Morfoot and Leigh Morfoot, which observes Connecticut's Stamford Public Schools navigating educational needs during Covid-19, was named a New Work New England awardee. Former LEF grantee Margo Guernsey (COUNCILWOMAN) and former LEF Program Director Sara Archambault's work-in-progress, NO TIME TO FAIL, is also one of the New Work New England-awarded projects. The program through New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) awards grants ranging from $7,500 to $15,000 to artists whose work will be shared with multiple New England communities. Check out the full list of awardees.
Hot Docs Festival (April 28 - May 8)

New York Times Op-Doc short, MY DISABILITY ROADMAP (22 min), directed by Dan Habib and Samuel Habib, will be having its world festival premiere at Hot Docs Festival in Toronto on May 1. The film, which is associated with the LEF-supported feature work-in-progress of the same name, follows co-director Samuel Habib, a twenty-one year-old college student with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, as he seeks guidance from America’s most rebellious disability advocates. 
LIFE WITHOUT DREAMS (14 min), a short by Jessica Bardsley that participated in the 2020 North Shorts Fellowship supported by LEF, charts the edges of consciousness through an exploration of 24/7 capitalism and insomnia, and it is also playing at Hot Docs. 
The Hot Docs lineup also includes Sierra Pettengill’s RIOTSVILLE, USA as well as the world premiere of LEF Program Officer Matthew LaPaglia's short about distance and closeness in art-making, FROM A SPACELESS WITHIN (20 min). See all of what’s on at Hot Docs. 
Are you a LEF grantee or fellow with news to share about your film?
Apply to the Moving Image Fund!
LEF New England is now welcoming applications for Pre-production and Early Development grants through the Moving Image Fund.
Image Description: Over a blue and gray diamond background, blue text announces: Now accepting applications for Pre-production and Early Development, with a deadline of Friday, June 3.

A maximum of (6) grants of $5,000 each will be awarded to projects in the Pre-production phase, and a maximum of (6) grants of $2,500 each will be awarded to projects in the Early Development phase.

Appropriate uses of funds include:
  • Research
  • Travel
  • Location scouting
  • Script or storyboard development
  • Experimentation with shooting picture and sound
  • Distribution planning
  • Fundraising
  • Creating a trailer
  • Schedule and budget development

Applications for both phases require a written proposal and a full line-item budget. Pre-production applications require a current work sample of up to 10 minutes from the project being proposed for funding. Early Development applications require two past work samples, and current work samples are not accepted.
Deadline to Apply:
Friday, June 3 at 11:59pm

Please review the Moving Image Fund guidelines and take a look at our frequently asked questions.
You can also reach out to LEF Program Officer Matthew LaPaglia and LEF Program Director Gen Carmel with any questions about eligibility.
Upcoming Film Opportunities
LEF/CIFF Fellowship (Extended Deadline: May 16)
Image Description: A promotional graphic for the LEF/CIFF Fellowship featuring a pink-filtered still image from former LEF/CIFF-fellow Amy Jenkin's work-in-progress ADAM'S APPLE where a teenaged boy looks at himself in a vanity mirror with framed photos.

Now in its 5th year, the LEF/CIFF Fellowship is an opportunity for 5 New England-based filmmaker teams to attend the 2022 Camden International Film Festival and connect with other filmmakers and industry leaders through a series of mentor-led project development workshops, networking events, and curated 1:1 meetings taking place both in-person during the festival and virtually in the weeks following. In recent years, LEF/CIFF Fellows have had opportunities to build relationships with dozens of major funders, sales agents, streaming platforms, broadcasters, theatrical distributors, and more.

This program supports career sustainability for regional filmmakers by providing a unique point of access to potential industry supporters, peer mentorship opportunities with fellow filmmakers, and connections to the broader documentary community.

The Fellowship is open to feature documentary projects in production or post-production with directors who have established their primary residence in New England.

Image Description: Brown Girls Doc Mafia Logo
Brown Girls Doc Mafia Fellowships
(Deadline: April 24)
The BGDM fellowships include grantmaking, mentorship, and curated industry connections with an emphasis on community building. The BGDM Sustainable Artist Fellowship will support 5 members who are working as directors, producers, editors, and/or cinematographers at any career level. The BGDM Directors Fellowship will support 5 projects directed by Black BGDM members at any career level working on documentary films at any stage and any length. Hybrid doc/fiction projects, unscripted series, and nonfiction podcasts, video art, or new media will also be considered. All Fellows will receive $10,000 in unrestricted funds as well as professional development opportunities. **Applicants must have been a member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia for at least six months at the application due date.

Image Description: Cucalorus Logo
The Cucalorus Works-in-Progress Lab (Deadline: April 27)
The Cucalorus Works-in-Progress (WiP) Lab supports social justice documentaries being made by Black filmmakers. Co-designed and coordinated by Working Films, participating artists will receive feedback on their work-in-progress and explore audience engagement strategies through workshops, consultations, and community screenings during a residency at Cucalorus’ campus September 25 - October 2, 2022. Films may be shorts or features, and may be in any stage of development, but films in production or post-production are recommended.

Image Description: Chicago Media Project, Catapult Film Fund, and True/False Film Fest Logos
Rough Cut Retreat
(Deadline: April 29)
Launched in 2016 by Catapult Film Fund & the True/False Film Fest, RCR unites nonfiction filmmakers and mentors in a creative, supportive, and engaged atmosphere. The Retreat prioritizes work that displays an ambitious, idiosyncratic approach to nonfiction storytelling with a focus on filmmakers without established feedback networks. The retreat will take place July 23-28 at The Carey Institute for Global Good in Rensselaerville, New York.

Image Description: Points North Institute Logo
Points North Institute Fellowship
(Extended Deadline: May 3)
The Points North Fellowship invites six teams of early- and mid-career filmmakers to Maine to accelerate the development of their feature documentary in production or post-production. The fellowship culminates in the public presentation of works-in-progress at the Points North Pitch, and aims to strengthen filmmakers’ artistic voices and propel their careers forward by facilitating new relationships with mentors, collaborators and funders.

Image Description: The Gotham Logo
The Gotham Week Project Market: Spotlight on Documentaries
(Early Deadline: May 5; Final Deadline: May 24)
Designed to support emerging and established documentarians, the Spotlight on Documentaries program connects 60+ work-in-progress, non-fiction features and series at all stages of production with financiers, distributors, broadcasters, sales companies, and festival programmers. The Gotham Week Project Market will take place September 17-23. To submit your project, you must be a member of The Gotham. Use the code GWPM22 for 25% off of your annual membership fee when you join at the Pro or Essential level.

Image Description: SFFilm Logo
SFFilm Documentary Film Fund (Regular Deadline: May 6; Final Deadline: May 20)
The SFFILM Documentary Film Fund (DFF) supports engaging feature documentaries in post-production which exhibit compelling stories, intriguing characters, and an original, innovative visual approach. The DFF grants its support to approximately 3 projects each year with grants of $20,000. As with all SFFILM grants, in addition to the cash awards, recipients will gain access to numerous benefits through the comprehensive and dynamic SFFILM Makers artist development program.

Image Description: Ji.hlava New Visions Forum: US Docs Logo
Ji.hlava New Visions Forum: U.S.Docs (Deadline: May 15)
This platform aims at linking the U.S. producers with potential co-producers, distributors, sales representatives and film festivals from Europe. Up to sixteen selected projects in development or production / post-production stages will have a chance to address over 1,200 industry professionals attending the 26th Ji.hlava IDFF at the end of October. The platform is designed not only for documentary films but also diverse audiovisual formats such as fiction with documentary aspects, hybrid, experimental, short films, docu and web series, cinema expanded projects, games with documentary aspects and VR / AR / Live documentaries.

Image Description: Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film Logo
Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film
(Deadline: June 1)
This annual national prize is designed to provide finishing funds, including outreach and marketing, for feature-length U.S. historical documentaries in the tradition of Ken Burns. As ever more Americans learn history watching historical documentary films, the Crimson Lion/Lavine Family Foundation makes possible this Library of Congress national prize with The Better Angels Society.

Image Description: Sundance Institute Logo
2022 Sundance Documentary Fund (Deadline: June 6)
The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program (DFP) prioritizes support for independent nonfiction films at any production phase from development through post-production with budgets under $1,000,000 USD. For United States productions, the DFP prioritizes films led by artists from historically underrepresented communities with a key creative from the community or with deep ties to the community in a power-holding position represented on the team. This application is also used for consideration for the Gucci, Kendeda, Luminate, and Sandbox funds.

Image Description: Firelight Media Logo
Firelight Media Documentary Lab (Deadline: June 13)
The Documentary Lab develops emerging nonfiction filmmakers of color who make artful and innovative documentary films that focus on underrepresented communities and provide new narratives about the most pressing issues of our time. The 18-month program provides filmmakers with a $25,000 grant toward their projects as well as customized mentorship from prominent leaders in the documentary world, professional development workshops, and networking opportunities. All types of long-form documentary projects – historical, investigative, personal, vérité, and experimental will be considered. Applications open May 2.

Image Description: Assets for Artists Logo
A4A Online Artist Workshops (Summer 2022)
The free Assets for Artists online workshops are open to artists who currently live in the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or Connecticut, or are current/recent Studios at MASS MoCA artists-in-residence. Virtual attendance space is limited to maximize participation and peer support, but those registered will be able to view the Zoom recordings after the sessions. Summer 2022 workshop topics include grant building, financial strategies, creative sustainability, and more. Workshops begin May 10.

Image Description: National Endowment for the Arts Logo
NEA Media Arts Grant Reviewers Needed (Ongoing)
The National Endowment for the Arts Media Arts program is currently recruiting film/media arts professionals and persons knowledgeable about film/media arts but not engaged in the arts as a profession either full- or part-time. Participating as a grant review panelist is a great way to get a birds eye view of the field and see the grant process from the other side. NEA panelists are provided with an honorarium for their time. Interested in volunteering or nominating someone? 

Learn more, or send the Media Arts team a message at mediaarts[at]arts.gov.
Image Description: Kickstarter, Creative Capital, and Skoll Logos
Creative Capital x Skoll Creator Fund (Ongoing)
Kickstarter, Creative Capital, and Skoll Foundation have partnered to launch a $500,000 Creative Capital x Skoll Foundation Fund that backs projects by Asian, Black, Indigenous, and Latinx creators on the crowdfunding platform. Effective immediately, funds will be awarded on an ongoing basis to creators with active projects across all of Kickstarter’s categories: Arts, Comics & Illustration, Design & Tech, Film, Food & Craft, Games, Music, and Publishing.

What We're Reading
Image Description: Documentary Workers United Logo

We at LEF were heartened to see that the International Documentary Association (IDA) management voluntarily recognized the Documentary Workers United (DWU) earlier this month. 

After several staff resignations from IDA beginning in December 2021, remaining staff unanimously voted in favor of guaranteeing a "safe workplace with transparency, equity, and fairness while providing the staff with opportunities to participate and have a voice in IDA’s management and vision. DWU was formed so staff could fight for IDA to stay true to its mission, reduce employee turnover, and resist the erasure of institutional memory,” according to the DWU website.

LEF values these voices. The recognition of the DWU is a profound first step in acknowledging that the creation of a conscientious, thriving, diverse, and equitable international documentary community relies upon the collective work of many individuals whose safety and well-being in their jobs is paramount. 

A Community Conversation for IDA members is being scheduled by the IDA board for mid-May. 

You can read more about the unionization effort in Deadline and the Hollywood Reporter.
Thanks for reading and till 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.