December 2022 Newsletter

LEF Moving Image Fund Grantee News
Image descriptions: Two images, left/top to right/bottom: In this still from Sierra Urich's JOONAM, two figures stand beneath an arbor, one on a ladder tending to a grapevine, while a third person sits in the sun with a walker in the background; In this still from David Redmon and Ashley Sabin's KIM'S VIDEO, Mr. Kim looks to the side wearing a trench coat and a fedora as his shadow is cast on the white wall behind him.
Sundance announced the program for its 2023 festival, running January 19-29, and the selected films include two LEF-supported projects: JOONAM, directed by Sierra Urich, about Urich's Iranian grandmother and mother, will be premiering in the U.S. Documentary Competition; and KIM'S VIDEO, directed by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin, about the legendary lost East Village video collection, will be premiering as part of the NEXT lineup.

In Sundance's Nonfiction Short Films program is BIGGER ON THE INSIDE, a work by prior LEF grantee Angelo Madsen Minax (NORTH BY CURRENT), and LIFE WITHOUT DREAMS, a project directed by Jessica Bardsley that participated in the 2020 North Shorts Fellowship supported by LEF. The Animation Short Films program includes BY WATER, a film by prior LEF grantee Iyabo Kwayana.

LEF-supported project THE ORDER OF THINGS, directed by Ramona Badescu and Jeff Silva, about a 90-year-old horologist who is one of the last survivors of the Romanian forced labor camps, premiered at Traces de Vie Festival in Clermont-Ferrand, France earlier this month.

RIOTSVILLE, USA, a history of U.S. police’s militarization directed by prior LEF grantee Sierra Pettengill (THE REAGAN SHOW) and produced by former LEF Program Director Sara Archambault, was awarded the ABC News VideoSource Award at the IDA Documentary Awards. The film is also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in the Best Documentary category. The awards ceremony will be held on March 4, 2023.
Are you a LEF grantee or fellow with news to share about your film?

Moving Image Fund LOIs Due January 20
There is just over one month left to submit a letter of inquiry for your project in production or post-production to LEF's Moving Image Fund.

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 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.

More information about this opportunity is available on the Guidelines and How to Apply pages of LEF's website.
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.

MIF Info Session Recording
For those of you that attended the virtual info session on December 6, thanks for joining us! If you missed the session, the recording is available to watch.

All letters of inquiry are due on
Friday, January 20 at 11:59pm ET.

Upcoming Film Opportunities
Image Description: ITVS Logo
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.

Image Description: Big Sky Pitch Logo
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.

Image Description: Hot Docs Logo
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: BAVC Media Logo
BAVC MediaMaker Fellowship (Deadline: January 3)
This ten-month-long program for eight fellows (half from Bay-area, half from elsewhere in the U.S.) supports the development of documentary projects that are nearing post-production, and includes: $10,000 over the course of the Fellowship, professional mentorship and strategy sessions, two San Francisco (travel paid) convenings, and all-access pass, round trip flight, accommodations, and a customized itinerary for the Camden International Film Festival in Maine and the New Orleans Film Festival in Louisiana.

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.

A4A has also announced its Winter/Spring program for free artist workshops.
Image Description: Points North Institute Logo
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.

Image Description: Jewish Story Partners Logo
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.

Image Description: Film Independent Logo
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

Image Description: The Whickers Logo
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: Vermont Arts Council Logo
Vermont Artist Development Grants (Deadline: January 31)
Artist Development Grants support Vermont artists at all stages of their careers. Grants can fund activities that enhance mastery of an artist’s craft or skills or that increase the viability of an artist's business. Funding may also support aspects of the creation of new work when the activity allows the grantee to accept a rare and important opportunity.

Image Description: Sundance Institute Logo
Sundance 2023 Documentary Film Producers Track (Deadline: February 15)
Applicants to the Documentary Film Producers Track will be considered for two opportunities: the Producers Lab and Fellowship, a yearlong program commencing in July 2023 for emerging producers to receive project-specific support; and the Producers Intensive, a two-day workshop in Fall 2023 providing creative, strategic, and professional development support for 10 fiction and nonfiction producers from traditionally underrepresented communities. The Documentary Producers Lab is part of the Producers Track, which also includes the Producers Intensive.

What We're Reading
Image Description: Over a geometric light blue background, The Lens Reflected title and subtitle appear in yellow and white text.

Last week, the Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI) released a study entitled The Lens Reflected: What Stories & Storytellers Get the Green Light in Documentary's Streaming Streaming Age, an attempt to reveal through data "who is telling whose stories" and how these stories are being accessed by audiences. A careful collecting of data on a total of 1,232 documentary films revealed that BIPOC filmmakers and protagonists are still underrepresented in the documentary streaming landscape, as are the voices of women and nonbinary people, despite what the study identifies are meaningful shifts toward centering these perspectives within the industry. 

As the report makes clear: "[T]his study centers the trends--not the mythos--behind nonfiction storytelling in the contemporary media age.” While there has been a robust call within the industry for programs that support BIPOC, women, and nonbinary filmmakers, these initiatives are clearly falling behind when it comes to avenues for programming and distribution. For the authors of the report, this is an issue of access to wider audiences which, although not unique to the "streaming age," is just as in need of restructuring as the systems that provide resources and funding to making a film in the first place. The Lens Reflected provides a valuable reminder about the gaps, oversights, and half-measures that need to be continually revisited by practitioners, makers, and particularly gate-keepers of nonfiction film.
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.