December 2021 Newsletter
LEF Moving Image Fund Grantee News
Image Description: In this still from Sierra Urich's work-in-progress, "Joonam", a black and white multimedia image depicts two figures of different generations embracing, one with covered hair, and the other with long, lustrous hair flowing out of frame. (Learn more about image descriptions)
LEF-supported project, JOONAM (work-in-progress), directed by Sierra Urich, was selected as one of the 2021 American Stories Documentary Fund recipients. The Fund is a collaboration between Points North and CNN Films, and provides production grants to support five feature documentaries in production with directors from underrepresented backgrounds. JOONAM follows Urich as she unearths the forces behind her fractured Iranian identity, her family’s deep-seated fears, and her need to confront them. Check out the full list of selected projects.

RIOTSVILLE, USA, directed by LEF grantee Sierra Pettengill (producer of THE REAGAN SHOW) and produced by former LEF Program Director Sara Archambault and Jamila Wignot, will be premiering at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival in January as part of the NEXT program. See the full Sundance lineup.

Prior LEF grantee Keely Kernan’s (UNDER THE VALLEY) interactive documentary THE MISSISSIPPI has been nominated for three awards at Rio Webfest 2021, and has also been selected for the 2022 SlamDance Film Festival. The film explores the often overlooked relationship between the Mississippi River and the lives and livelihoods of Americans along its shores. Read the complete SlamDance lineup.

MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY (81 min), a LEF-supported project co-directed by Jeff Bemis and Lisa Molomot, and produced by Bemis, Molomot, and Jacob Bricca, is being presented by the Maysles Documentary Center. The film about two families searching for their loved ones who went missing in the fields of Brooks County, Texas after crossing from Mexico is available to stream through Maysles' Virtual Cinema through December 30. Reserve your tickets.

BOUNTY (9 min), a short film made by the same team behind the LEF-funded films DAWNLAND (86 min) and UNTITLED MARGARET MOXA FILM (work-in-progress), is free to stream online. The short, which premiered in November, is a filmic testimony of the immeasurable resistance and survivance of Indigenous Peoples. Read more about this and other Upstander Project films.
Are you a LEF grantee with news to share about your film?
Now Accepting MIF Letters of Inquiry!
Image Description: In this still from Ashley Sabin and David Redmon's work-in-progress, "Island of Lost Treasures", Yongman Kim, the owner of Kim's Video & Music, appears dressed in a shirt and tie, jacket, and fedora standing in front of a white wall with his shadow cast dramatically behind him. (Learn more about image descriptions)
As of today, LEF is accepting Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) for Production and Post-production funding through the Moving Image Fund.

Is part of your film's team based in New England? Are you working on a long-format documentary that will be in production or post-production after May 2022? Now might be the time for you to submit an LOI!

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.

A maximum of six grants of $15,000 each will be awarded to projects in the Production phase, and a maximum of four grants of $25,000 each will be awarded to projects in the Post-production phase during LEF’s major grants review.

  • 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)

Not sure if you're eligible? Take a look at our guidelines.

All letters of inquiry are due Friday, January 21 at 11:59pm.
Upcoming Film Opportunities
Image Description: Logan Nonfiction Program Logo
Logan Nonfiction Hybrid Fellowship
(Deadline: December 15)
The Logan Nonfiction Program is a hybrid fellowship for nonfiction writers, documentary filmmakers, photojournalists, podcasters and multimedia creators. The fellowship combines virtual and in-person programming in two classes per year with 10-12 fellows per class. Applicants must be working on a long-form nonfiction project relying on in-depth interviews and original research in order to apply.

Image Description: The Firelight Media Logo, reading: Changing the Story
The Spark Fund (Open Call: November 1 - December 29)
The Spark Fund offers support to established independent documentary filmmakers who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color. This one-time opportunity will provide 36 stipends of $50,000 to selected filmmakers over the period of one year, for their use in alleviating financial hardship and disruptions of humanities-themed projects by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image Description: The Assets for Artists / Mass Moca Logo
MASS MoCA Residency Fellowships
(Deadline: January 8)
Applications are now open for The Studios at MASS MoCA's Summer-Fall 2022 residency season. Selected residency fellows will receive studio space, housing, meals, and access to MASS MoCA's facilities and workshops through the Assets for Artists program. The A4A online workshops are free to artists who currently live in the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or Connecticut, and are being offered November 29 to February 16.

Image Description: Points North Institute Logo
TV5MONDE Maine Heritage Film Grant
(Deadline: January 10)
The TV5MONDE Maine Heritage Film Grant is a $15,000 grant supporting the production of a documentary short filmed in Maine and to premiere at the Camden International Film Festival. Preference is given to projects highlighting Francophone culture in Maine and/or French-speaking populations, but all Maine heritage-focused projects will be considered.

Image Description: Chicken and Egg Pictures Logo
Project: Hatched 2022 Open Call (Deadline: January 17)
Chicken & Egg Pictures is now accepting applications to their Project: Hatched 2022 fund for documentary projects of all lengths. Project: Hatched supports U.S. based women and gender nonconforming filmmakers who are nearing completion or have recently completed a documentary film and who plan to strategize, build, and launch an impact campaign.

Image Description: The Loop Lab Logo
The Loop Lab is Hiring
(Start Date: February 1)
The Loop Lab, a BIPOC-led nonprofit social enterprise specializing in media arts internships and digital storytelling, is hiring four new full-time positions: Senior Instructor, Instructor, Production Manager, and Administrative Manager. The mission of the Loop Lab is to empower Womxn and People of Color in the media arts to develop careers in audio/video through job training and job placement.

Image Description: MacDowell Logo
MacDowell Fall 2022 - Winter 2023 Fellowships (Deadline: February 10)
MacDowell provides time, space, and an inspiring environment to over 300 artists of exceptional talent each year. A MacDowell Fellowship, or residency, consists of exclusive use of a studio, accommodations, and three prepared meals a day for up to six weeks at its location in Peterborough, NH. MacDowell encourages artists from all backgrounds and all countries in the following disciplines: architecture, film/video arts, interdisciplinary arts, literature, music composition, theatre, and visual arts. There are no residency fees. Travel grants as well as need-based stipends are available. Reference letters are also no longer required for this round.

Image Description: Sundance Institute Logo
Sundance Documentary Producers Lab and Fellowship (Deadline: February 10)
The Documentary Film Program’s Producers Lab and Fellowship is a yearlong program designed to nurture emerging producers with project-specific support, Producers Summit attendance, industry mentorship, and ongoing support from Sundance Institute staff. Documentary Film Producing Fellows each receive a grant that may be applied to personal expenses and unsupported costs for project advancement.

Image Description: Osmosis Films Logo
Osmosis Films Open Call for Submissions (Rolling deadline: February 28)
Osmosis Films is looking to collaborate with documentary filmmakers and producers on creative development, production services, further financing, and the distribution of projects in development or early stages of production. In 2022, they will set aside up to $100,000 to be distributed across 2-3 selected projects that feature artist-led stories with a strong creative vision, character-driven documentaries with access to rarely seen worlds, and approaches in non-traditional storytelling with a strong point of view. Osmosis is open to features, docuseries, and projects that challenge form.

Image Description: Brown Girls Doc Mafia Logo
Brown Girls Mafia Monthly Ally Listserve (Ongoing)
Brown Girls Doc Mafia is launching a monthly allies listserve to share information about their initiatives and new opportunities to support the diverse future of documentary through hiring, event partnerships, program sponsorships, and more. BGDM is an initiative advocating for over 5,000+ women and non-binary people of color working in the documentary film industry around the world. They have also just released a Jobs Board for employers interested in hiring BGDM members.


What We're Reading/Listening To
The Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab, in collaboration with human rights, video, and technology network WITNESS, has just released a report about ethical uses of synthetic media in satire called JUST JOKING!: Deepfakery, Satire, and the Politics of Synthetic Media. The report, which takes into account over seventy recent examples, asks: Who decides what's funny, what's fair, and what's accountable, especially when vulnerable people are not "in on the joke"? JUST JOKING! is part of a continuing collaboration between Co-Creation Studio and WITNESS, whose Prepare, Don’t Panic initiative pursues a globally inclusive human rights lead approach to deepfakes and media manipulation generally. The report raises ongoing questions about authenticity, subjugation, and the dizzying results of applying democratic attitudes to a space as unmediated as the digital world.
Thanks for reading and till next time,

The LEF New England team
Lyda, Gen, & Matthew

LEF Foundation
PO Box 382066
Cambridge, MA 02238
t.617.492.5333
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.