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April 2020

LEF New England News

Congratulations to Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger, whose LEF-funded film APART is an official selection of the 2020 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival! The festival was originally scheduled to take place from April 2-5 in downtown Durham, North Carolina before it was cancelled due to COVID-19. Follow the festival in the coming months for more developments about their programming. 

Congratulations to past LEF grantees  Chico Colvard  and  Eric Gottesman , who were both awarded 2020 Guggenheim Fellowships!  See the full list here.  

On April 21 at 8 PM EST, the broadcast edition of the LEF-funded film DAWNLAND, directed by Adam Mazo and Ben Pender-Cudlip, will be presented in a live online screening following the world premiere of the team's related short film DEAR GEORGINA. Following the films, join the live online Q&A with filmmaker Adam Mazo, producer Tracy Rector (Choctaw/Seminole), senior adviser Christopher Newell (Passamaquoddy), and Upstander Project learning director Mishy Lesser, moderated by Claudia Fox Tree (Arawak/Yurumein). Learn more and register here

The LEF-funded film, WHERE THE PAVEMENT ENDS, produced by Jane Gillooly, Aparna Agrawal, and Khary S. Jones will have its broadcast premiere on May 5, 2020 on PBS World Channel's America ReFramed. This artful exploration of the historical context of injustice in Ferguson, Missouri depicts a micro-history of race relations in America.  Watch the trailer here 

LEF Pre-Production and Early Development Deadlines

The LEF Moving Image Fund is now accepting applications for our annual $5,000 Pre-production grant opportunity in addition to a NEW $2,500 Early Development grant opportunity, both with a deadline of June 5, 2020 at 11:59pm (midnight). Up to 6 grants will be awarded to projects in each of these two funding phases. 

LEF grants are open to New England-based filmmakers seeking funding for feature-length (40+ minute) non-fiction film projects. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to read the LEF New England Moving Image Fund guidelines and frequently asked questions to determine if your project is eligible and a good fit for LEF's funding priorities before beginning an application. 

Learn more below, and please contact Gen Carmel at gen@lef-foundation.org if you have any questions about your project's eligibility or the application process. 

Visit the LEF website for more information | Begin an application

The DocYard

The DocYard's screening of CRESTONE has gone online! 

CRESTONE will be available to stream  from April 24 - April 27.  On Monday, April 27 at 8PM, a virtual Q&A will be held between director Marnie Ellen Hertzler and DocYard Spring 2020 Guest Curator Abby Sun. The link to the Q&A will be sent out via e-mail.  All revenue from virtual sales will go to the Brattle Theatre, longtime venue partner of the DocYard.

New England Filmmaker Support During COVID-19

This is a select list of New England filmmaker/artist support opportunities and local online film resources that have been organized in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. LEF New England will continue to research and compile this list in the coming months, with a focus on how the pandemic is affecting New England-based filmmakers and organizations. Let us know if you're aware of other resources that are not listed here!

Relief/Funding/Loan Opportunities
  • The Boston Artist Relief Fund will award grants of $500 and $1,000 to individual artists who live in Boston whose creative practices and incomes are being adversely impacted by Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Boston Artist Relief Fund will be open on a rolling basis and will replace the Opportunity Fund through June 30, 2020. The Opportunity Fund will reopen for applications after July 1. Opportunity Fund applications that were already received in this application cycle will still be considered for funding. Boston, MA
    • Next Tuesday April 21st at 11:30 AM, The Boston Mayor's Office of Arts & Culture will be holding a Zoom Individual Artists Resource Update. During this meeting Julia Ryan, Artist Resource Manager for the City of Boston, will be discussing the Boston Artist Relief Fund and other Relief Funds artists can apply to. Luke Blackadar from the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts will also be on the call to explain their Unemployment resources and what to expect in terms of Unemployment. Additionally, artist Paloma Valenzuela will speak about her experience during this time. There will be time at the end of the meeting to ask questions regarding Relief Funds, Unemployment and any other questions you may have. Please click here for the Zoom link to join the meeting. Boston, MA
  • Creative Portland has created the Portland Artist Relief Fund for artists in Portland, Maine. They will be accepting applications from March 30 to April 30 for a one-time grant of $500 for local artists affected by COVID-19. Portland, ME
  • The Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) launched two relief funds as part of their Creative County Initiative (CCI). The Essex County Artist Fund aims to support the legions of individuals who are experiencing an unprecedented loss of income in the creative industries. The Essex County Creative Nonprofit Resiliency Grant Program aims to provide direct support to cultural organizations and venues across Essex County so they can stay afloat, pay staff, and support their communities during this crisis. Essex County, MA 
  • Mass Cultural Council relief fund for "individual artists + teaching artists/humanists/scientists" has an application deadline of April 22. Grants of up to $1000 are available for those who've lost income directly related to their art work or art/humanities/science teach work. Massachusetts
  • The Maine Artist Relief Fund will award grants to individual artists who live in Maine and whose creative practices and incomes are being adversely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). Maine
  • Relief funding details for New Hampshire-based artists is expected to be posted soon on the state arts council's website, after NEFA announced it would be providing individual artist relief funding to each of the New England state arts councils. New Hampshire
  • The Vermont Rapid Response Artist Relief Grant provides grants to artists who have lost income due to the loss of a job or cancellation of a specific, scheduled gig or opportunity (e.g., commissions, performances, contracts, workshops, classes, etc.) because of COVID-19. Vermont 
  • For any alums of the Tribeca Film Institute, they have set up an Emergency FundNational
  • CERF+ will provide emergency relief grants for any artist infected by COVID-19 that required intensive medical care. National
  • Artist Relief is awarding $5,000 grants to artists facing dire economic hardship due to COVID-19. National
  • Field of Vision and Topic have created a $250,000 fund to support documentary filmmakers during COVID-19. Due to the large volume of submission, the application is currently closed by will reopen on May 6International
General Resources
  • Here are resources from the arts councils in ME, MA, NH, RICT, and VT.
  • All Boston-area arts/cultural organizations are invited to attend a weekly Zoom call with Kara Elliot-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture in the Mayor's Office of Art and Culture. The Zoom calls will take place every Friday from 3:00 - 4:30 PM. Learn More
  • See MASSCreative's call for state lawmakers to include nonprofit arts, culture, and creative sector in COVID-19 disaster response.
  • The Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts on Massachusetts has shared a list of legal resources for artists + arts/culture workers and organizations, and has assembled an emergency response panel of large law firms able to advise artists and arts organizations on contracts, insurance, and labor and employment issues that are particularly relevant and concerning during this unprecedented time. The VLA is also waiving its service fees for artists and organizations suffering financial hardship due to the coronavirus. 
  • The PRX Podcast Garage have compiled this Podcaster Toolbox - a crowd-sourced guide for independent, DIY, and/or early-stage podcasters working from home. 
  • DOC NYC has put together a list of filmmaker resources and online classes. 
  • Sundance Collab has assembled a number of COVID-19 resources specifically for filmmakers and other artists. They will be updating the list continuously. 
  • Desktop Documentaries has put together a "virtual care package" that includes free software downloads. 
  • Jenie Gaoa full-time artist based in Wisconsin, has put together a guide to help artists and arts foundations understand SBA Disaster Loans and Emergency Grants. Read it here  
Local Online Streaming Festivals / Resources

  • New Day Films , a cooperative distribution company with many New England-based members, has decided to open up free online streaming for a number of its films in response to COVID-19, in order to help educators and community groups trying to work from home.  Browse New Day's list of available films  to watch for free before June 1.
  • Globe Docs is holding a free, virtual screening and discussion of the short doc, IN LOVE WITH YOU. The film discussion will take place on Monday, April 20 from 12:00 PM to 12:30 PM. Learn more and RSVP
  • Take this survey from Americans For the Arts on the coronavirus impact on artists and organizations around the country.  
  • In an effort to adapt their programs and resources for Latinx & diverse creatives and industry professionals, NALIP wants to hear from you. Fill out their survey here
  • Firelight Media has launched a Needs Assessment Survey for POC Filmmakers. Fill out their survey here
Local Film/Arts Journalism
What We're Reading/Listening To

  • NYWIFT and The D-Word co-hosted a panel discussion to explore what lessons can be learned from this pivotal moment to create a mind-shift in the industry. View the recording of the webinar here. 
  • Inventing the New Reality, a series of blog posts from Brian Newman of Sub-Genre about how the film field can respond to this moment. 
  • Art Became the Oxygen: An Artistic Response Guide from the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, a people-powered department-a grassroots action network inciting creativity and social imagination to shape a culture of empathy, equity, and belonging.  
  • Recording during the Coronavirus Pandemic, is a guide from Transom on to how to record audio and interviews remotely (and how to clean and sanitize microphones if recording in person in the future).  
  • Check out regular arts + culture job postings compiled by HireCulture, a service of the Mass Cultural Council. 
  • The New England Foundation for the Arts is seeking a Program Officer of NEFA's Creative Economy program. This is a full-time position with a minimum starting salary of $55,000. Deadline to apply: April 17. Learn more and apply.
Grants and Funding Opportunities for Filmmakers

  • For Boston-based artists: Check out the Opportunity Fund: A New Grant for Artists. As of right now, the Opportunity Fund is serving as an Artist Relief Fund during the COVID-19 Outbreak. More info
  • New England-based artists: Learn more about upcoming state-level arts funding and fellowship deadlines in CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, and VT.
  • In 2018, AmDoc launched the Artist Emergency fund to provide financial assistance to US-based non-fiction filmmakers facing unexpected crisis. During the pilot year, AmDoc disbursed nearly $22,000 and directly supported 25 filmmakers in need. As AmDoc evaluates its impact, they will be temporarily closing down the application portal and plan to reopen the fund later this year based on their  learnings. Learn more and about this and other opportunities from AmDoc 
  • The Sundance Documentary Film Fund is now accepting applications. Deadline: Rolling More info
  • The Ford Foundation's JustFilms supports artist-driven film and new media storytelling projects that explore aspects of inequality, as well as the organizations and networks that support these projects. Deadline: Rolling. More info 
  • Catapult Film Fund provides development funding to documentary filmmakers who have a compelling story to tell, have secured access to their story and are ready to shoot and edit a piece for production fundraising purposes. Deadline: Rolling. More info
  • Cinereach develops, produces, finances, and supports feature-length fiction, nonfiction and hybrid films crafted for the big screen. Deadline: Rolling. More info
  • The Fledgling Fund focuses its grant support  on outreach and audience engagement, through their Engagement Lab, funding partnerships and special initiatives that examine and support emerging trends in the field. Deadline: Rolling. More info
  • Meredith Vieira Productions (MVP)  has partnered with This Is Just A Test (TIJAT) on a new initiative to fund the development of documentary features and series directed by women. This is not a grant or a fund, but the possibility of having MVP come on board as possible executive producers / producers. If you are interested in applying, e-mail Amy Rapp, Producer and Executive Vice President at MVP, to request an application form. Deadline: Rolling
  • The Perspective Fund provides grant support to independently-produced documentary films that highlight social justice and human rights issues, and that align with their priority areas. Currently, grant proposals for funding are accepted by invitation only, but filmmakers are welcome to complete Perspective's inquiry form. Deadline: Rolling
  • The ITVS Open Call application will open in July, Open Call gives independent producers up to $350,000 to complete production for a standalone broadcast length documentary to air on public television. Open Call is not a grant. You will receive funding in the form of a production agreement that assigns ITVS certain rights over your project during the term of the contract. Deadline: Reopens July 2020
  • SFF Documentary Film Fund awards grants once a year to documentary feature projects and are open to filmmakers internationally. Regular deadline is April 6. Final deadline is April 30. Learn more.
  • The New England Foundation for the Arts has a new grant opportunity! New Work New England provides grants of $7,500-$15,000 to New England-based artists in dance, film, interdisciplinary work, music, musical theater, opera, poetry, storytelling and theater to support the creation and production of new work that has the potential to engage multiple New England communities. Deadline to apply: June 24, 2020. Learn more.  
  • Open City Documentary Festival has just re-opened their applications for their 2020 documentary development lab. They are looking to add six projects from first and second time feature filmmakers and award one of them 10,000 euros. Deadline: May 15, 2020. Learn more
  • The Hot Docs CrossCurrents International Documentary Fund supports interactive, short, or feature-length doc projects made by filmmakers telling the stories of the underrepresented and marginalized communities to which they belong. Eligibility requirements and guidelines can be found here. Deadline: May 27, 2020
Screening and Exhibition Opportunities
  • POV, public television's premier showcase for independent, nonfiction film, is now accepting and evaluating films on a rolling basis, year-round! For both feature or short-form projects, learn more here.
  • Woods Hole Film Festival is accepting submissions.  Late Deadline: May 1, 2020. Festival dates: July 25 - August 1. 
  • New Orleans Film Festival is accepting submissions. Late Deadline: May 8, 2020. Extended deadline: June 19, 2020. Festival Dates: October 14 to 21, 2020
  • Camden International Film Festival is now accepting submissions. Deadline: April 27, 2020 (Regular), May 26, 2020 (Late) June 29, 2020 (Extended). Festival Dates: October 1-4, 2020
Fellowships, Labs, Residencies, Pitch Opportunities
  • Center for Independent Documentary will be holding it's 15th annual Kopkind/CID Film Camp from August 2-9, 2020 in Vermont. Applications open in April. Learn more.
  • The MacDowell Colony, in Peterborough, NH, accepts residency applications at three deadlines each year: September 15, January 15, April 15. Learn more.
  • Yaddo, in Saratoga Springs, NY, accepts applications at two deadlines each year: Next Deadline:  August 1Learn more.
  • The Vermont Studio Center, in Johnson, VT, offers fellowships/financial aid to support artists who are awarded a visual art or writing residency. Filmmakers are eligible to apply. Annual deadlines: February 15, June 15, October 1. Learn more.
  • White River Indie Films is hosting a freedom & Unity Young Filmmakers Contest. Residents of New Hampshire and Vermont who are between the ages of 10 to 30 are invited to create films exploring the life and culture of the Green Mountain and Granite States. Final submission deadline is May 15. Learn More
Education / Classes / Workshops

  • Center for Independent Documentary is hosting a webinar on April 23 with David Weinstein, the senior program officer for the Natoinal Endowment for the Humanities Media Grants. More info
  • Backstage has multiple webinars on fundraising, acting, directing, producing, etc as well as yoga and mental health sessions. 
Community-Building Opportunities
  • The  Brown Girls Doc Mafia is an international grassroots filmmaking collective with over 2000 members worldwide that was launched in 2015 to address issues of diversity in documentary.  Learn more and join/share the  Facebook group.
  • If you are looking for another online documentary filmmaking community, check out The D-Word, an online platform for conversation within the documentary film world.
  • Check out the PRX Podcast Garage website for updates on how the local audio community is adapting to going virtual during the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Next week, check out the Boston-based organization Arts Equity International's Virtual Arts Equity Summit (April 24-26), an online convening for arts and culture leaders committed to building equity. 

Warm wishes and stay healthy,    

Lyda & Gen
LEF Foundation
PO Box 382066
Cambridge, MA 02238


Do you have some news you'd like to share in an upcoming newsletter? The LEF New England newsletter is released monthly. Please send your information on LEF-funded film achievements, opportunities for filmmakers, and upcoming documentary film/video events in Boston and greater New England. Newsletter contact: gen@lef-foundation.org


A pri LEF Logo vate family foundation dedicated to the support of contemporary arts, LEF was established in 1985 with office s 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 supported over 300 independent filmmaker projects with approximately $4,000,000 in funding. The goal of LEF New England is to fund the work of independent film and video artists in the region and broaden recognition and support for their work locally and nationally.
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