LEF Foundation

July 14, 2016

Moving Image Fund Summer 2016 Pre-Production Grants

LEF has just announced 6 grants totaling $30,000 in pre-production funding to New England-based independent documentary filmmakers!

The newest Moving Image Fund grantees are: 

Jeff Bemiss & Lisa Molomot - Missing in Brooks County ($5,000)
MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY portrays a small town in South Texas at the epicenter of a growing refugee crisis. As undocumented Latin Americans fleeing violence attempt a 30-mile trek around a federal checkpoint in Falfurrias, TX, scores are dying on vast, private ranches. Thousands have been buried anonymously on American soil and forgotten. But three female forensic scientists are exhuming them, on a mission to name every missing migrant in Brooks County.

Ellen Brodsky - Bringing it Home
Texan history students, including many Mexican-Americans and US vets, embark on a 1,000 mile field trip from the Alamo to the Military Museum in Springfield, Illinois in a wild bid to repatriate the wooden leg of Mexico's infamous President Santa Anna. The plot is an epic road trip; the film's real story examines what we bring home from war - as individuals and nations - and how history can unexpectedly be healing.


Laurie Kahn - Y2Y: A Bold Experiment ($5,000) 
22-bed homeless shelter for young adults - completely run by young adults - has just opened in Harvard Square. Y2Y: A BOLD EXPERIMENT will document obstacles, hard choices, and triumphs over the next three years as homeless young adults and idealistic university students work together to create a safe environment for an extremely vulnerable population, and explore the possibility of replicating their efforts in other cities.

Alex Morelli - The White Pine Project ($5,000)
Founded as a stagecoach stop and mining town hundreds of miles from the nearest major city, Ely has always attracted wandering souls. But since the construction of Nevada's maximum security prison, the community has played host to a different sort of traveller-the families and loved ones of those condemned to lifetimes behind bars. THE WHITE PINE PROJECT takes us down lonely highways, through ghost towns, and across long distance phone calls, glimpsing Ely through the eyes of its outsiders.

Ben Pender-Cudlip - Tethys ($5,000)
Bob Schuler's opus is a gallery at the bottom of the sea, a collection of art sunk into the ooze and muck. It is an undersea necklace encircling the earth, composed of granite cubes and designed to last at least least 50 million years. Tethys is an experimental documentary essay about Schuler's quixotic "around the world ocean burial."

Soon-Mi Yoo & Haden Guest - Traveling Gods ($5,000) 
TRAVELING GODS is an essay film exploring the strikingly different paths taken by Christianity in Korea and Japan and examining how Korea became the most Christian nation in Asia today while Japan remains the least evangelized country in the world. Traveling through the intertwined histories of Christianity in these neighboring countries, the film examines the complex role played by Buddhism, Confucianism and Western imperialism in both countries' different receptions of a foreign God.

In addition to this group of grantees, LEF will award another $165,000 to films in the production and post-production stages later in the year. In total, LEF will be distributing $195,000 in funding to documentary production over the course of our 2017 fiscal year. 

The next grant deadline is 27 January 2017 for projects seeking production or post-production support. Please check www.lef-foundation.org for details regarding LEF Moving Image Fund guidelines and eligibility. For more information on the Foundation or its funded projects, please contact Program Director Sara Archambault: 617.492.5333 or sara@lef-foundation.org.

We extend our warmest congratulations to this group of grantees and our best wishes for success to all the projects reviewed for this deadline! 

LEF News
  • This week, LEF Executive Director Lyda Kuth was recognized as a HUBweek Change Maker! In this interview, Lyda shares a bit about her work with LEF and the New England Moving Image Fund. 
  • The Camden International Film Festival has just announced the launch of the Points North Institute! LEF Executive Director Lyda Kuth and Program Director Sara Archambault were present for the launch at the CIFF summer preview on July 6. LEF is thrilled to see the growth of this vital New England organization to further its support of non-fiction filmmaking. Read the announcement and see our Filmmaker Opportunities section below for more details on Points North deadlines.  
  • This summer, several LEF-funded films will be shown as part of a free screening series at the Harvard Art Museums called "Sensory Ethnography Lab: Experiments in Cinema". On July 17, the series presents SWEETGRASS (Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor), followed by LEVIATHAN (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel) on July 31. More info
  • LEF grantees have been showing work at the Maine International Film Festival! This Saturday, July 16, don't miss the final screening of Ben Pender-Cudlip & Adam Mazo's short film FIRST LIGHT (based on their LEF-funded feature DAWNLAND). Amy Geller and Allie Humenuk's LEF-funded film THE GUYS NEXT DOOR also screened at the festival on July 8-9. More.
  • Amy Geller and Allie Humenuk's LEF-funded film THE GUYS NEXT DOOR will screen on August 3 at the 25th annual Woods Hole Film Festival
Notes from the Flaherty Seminar


Since 2009, LEF has supported fellowships for New England-based nonfiction filmmakers to attend the Flaherty Seminar. This year's Seminar took place from June 18-24 at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, and the 2016 LEF New England Fellows were (pictured, left to right:) Gerald Peary, Amber Bemak, Daniel Hui, and Thorsten Trimpop. 

This week, we share some notes from two of the Fellows.   
Gerald Peary writes: 
Thanks to the LEF Foundation for getting me up to Colgate University. What has taken me so long? I was by far the oldest of the 31 Flaherty Fellows this year, and what we had in common was that we were all Flaherty virgins. And thus, whatever our age, extremely vulnerable and raw, almost like college freshmen. I thought before I went that, if I ate well and got enough sleep, all should be OK. Wrong. I did eat well, stuffing myself on not-so-bad cafeteria food; and I probably slept more than anyone, getting back to my dorm room by 11:30 pm, when most were off drinking and dancing.  Even so, I was broken down with exhaustion each night after films starting at 9 AM and discussions ending at 11 pm. Fourteen hours of watching movies, thinking about them, talking about them. Insane! ... Read more from Gerald.  

Thorsten Trimpop writes: 

"To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees." This idea, frequently attributed to Paul Valéry, kept coming to mind during this year's Flaherty, while watching film after film from the amazing program, Play, curated by the exceptionally gifted David Pendleton.

The amount of stimulation during this week is astonishing. Three full film programs a day, followed by discussions, collective meals, and conversations over drinks and dance. The next morning you return to the darkness of the cinema. ...  Read more from Thorsten .  

Local Non-Fiction Screenings and Events
  • TONIGHT, July 14 at sunset (8:35pm) at Newport Shipyard, newportFILM presents a FREE outdoor screening of THE WEEKEND SAILOR followed by conversation with Jerry Kirby and other world champion sailors. Pre-film live music by Julio Amaro. Then on July 21, following film will be LIFE, ANIMATED on the lawn of St. Michael's Country Day School. More
  • TONIGHT, July 14 at the Somerville Growing Center, Somerville Community Access Television (SCATV) presents THE HITCHHIKER as a part of its Cinema Somerville Outdoor Movies series. More
  • This summer, the Harvard Art Museums present "Sensory Ethnography Lab: Experiments in Cinema", a free screening program that highlights contemporary works produced at the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab (SEL), exploring the intersection of cinema and anthropology. Upcoming dates: July 17: SWEETGRASS (Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor), July 24: Sound Program featuring MORNING AND OTHER TIMES (2014) and SWISS MOUNTAIN TRANSPORT SYSTEMS (2011), July 31: LEVIATHAN (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel) and many more. Screenings take place each Sunday. See the full schedule.
  • The Boston French Film Festival runs July 7-24 at the MFA, Boston. More.
  • July 28-August 6, NUTS! by director Penny Lane (OUR NIXON) comes to the MFA Boston! Note: While the filmmaker won't be present for these summer screenings, The DocYard will be bringing the film back to Boston on October 10 with Penny Lane in person!
Opportunities for Filmmakers
  • See POV's Calendar for Filmmakers, which includes deadlined and rolling application calls for film festivals and funders.
  • From July 21-July 23 in Bucksport, Maine, the rich amateur and non-theatrical moving image history of New England will be the focus of the 2016 Northeast Historic Film Summer Symposium, hosted by Northeast Historic Film. The Symposium is a congenial multi-disciplinary gathering devoted to the history, theory, and preservation of amateur and nontheatrical moving images.   Learn more and register.

AS220 has one affordable live studio available August 1, 2016 on the communal floor at 115 Empire Street in Providence. The current vacancy is Unit 306, which is 258 square feet and rents for $360 /month, plus a $10 / month kitty contribution for cleaning supplies and various other communal expenses. Applications due July 14th at 5 PM. More.


POV and the New York Times are seeking a documentary filmmaker, a creator, or a creative technologist rooted in documentary storytelling to work for 20 weeks at The New York Times alongside some of its most creative journalists. You'll create new forms of documentary and interactive content with a team of Times writers, editors and visual storytellers involved in Race/Related, a newsletter and reporting project exploring race as it is lived today. You must also be available in New York City in August 2016 for interviews and orientation. Meetings to take place in New York City, NY, but your stories and ideas can come from anywhere. Deadline: July 25 at 5pm ET. More

RAW Art Works, which runs the Real to Reel Film School in Lynn, Massachusetts, is seeking a Full-Time Office Manager. Deadline: July 15

  • The Redford Center is now accepting applications from filmmakers with early-stage, feature-length film projects focused on increasing environmental awareness and action. Five $15,000 grants are available, along with additional project support. Deadline: August 10. More.
  • Brookline Interactive Group is now accepting applications for its annual Community Production Grants from individuals or organizations based in Brookline or with collaborative partnerships in Brookline. Three grants totaling $5000 will be made to the production of short fiction or documentary works. An additional $2000 grant is available for an interactive media project. Residents of Brookline and elsewhere in the greater Boston area can apply to receive the funding and training to create an interactive short video in 360 video, VR or augmented reality that best represents the community of Brookline. More. Deadline: July 15.
  • The Rogovy Foundation is now accepting applications for the inaugural granting year of the Miller / Packan Documentary Film Fund. The first round of awards will be announced in July 2016. Deadline: May 15 (applications received after this date will be considered for the next deadline). More info.
  • The International Documentary Association is now accepting applications for the Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund. Deadline: Rolling through July 31, 2017. More info.
  • The Sundance Documentary Film Fund is now accepting applications. 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
  • Bertha BRITDOC Journalism Fund looks for films that break the important stories of our time, expose injustice, bring attention to unreported issues and cameras into regions previously unseen. Deadline: Rolling. More info
  • In a 2nd year of partnership with the Conservation Media Group, the Points North Institute is now accepting submissions for the CMG Action Grant, providing filmmakers and organizations an opportunity to win up to $10,000 to produce a short film related to Healthy Oceans or Renewable Energy Solutions. Three CMG Action Grant finalists will be selected to attend CIFF, where the winner will be announced. Travel, accommodations, and a festival pass will be provided for all finalists. Deadline: July 31, 2016. More.
  • The 16th annual Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition is now accepting entries for outstanding new audio stories produced around the world. Deadline: July 13 (late). More info.
  • The 2016 Vermont Filmmakers' Showcase is now accepting entries. The 2016 Showcase will take place Oct 21-22 and features cash awards honor the outstanding achievement of Vermont filmmakers. Deadline: July 23. More info
  • On August 10th at 6:30pm, Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) will host a Work-In-Progress screening where members will have a chance to show projects they are currently working on, and have an opportunity to receive feedback from others. Regardless of how far along you may be in your project, you are welcome to join us If you aren't currently working on a project and just want to come view others' work and give feedback, that's great too! There will be popcorn! This will be a monthly event with the next session happening September 7th at 6:30pm.
  • DOC NYC is seeking filmmakers to submit work-in-progress documentaries to a new programming initiative - Pitch Perfect! The program aims to provide a nurturing environment for emerging filmmakers to present works-in-progress to funders and distributors. The event will take place on November 16. Deadline: August 29. More info.
  • DOC NYC is now accepting submissions. Deadlines: July 15 (WAB extended).
  • The New Hampshire Film Festival is now accepting submissions. Deadlines: July 15 (late). More info.
  • IDFA is now accepting submissions. Deadlines: August 1 (for films completed after April 1, 2016). More info.
  • Working Films is thrilled to be partnering with Race Forward to present Race Flicks, the film track of Facing Race: A National Conference, to be held in Atlanta, GA from November 10-12, 2016.  We are accepting applications from filmmakers with short and feature length documentary films that expose structural racism and illuminate racial justice solutions. Deadline: July 21. More info
  • Submissions are now open for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival (January 12-16, 2017) in Nevada City and Grass Valley, CA. Deadline: September 25. More info
  • Applications are now being accepted for the 2016 Points North Fellowship. The program now includes $2000 grants for six selected projects, two full days of workshops with some of the best mentors in the doc world and of course participation in the annual Points North Pitch at Camden International Film Festival. Spread the word to filmmakers with feature docs in development, or apply if you have one of your own! EXTENDED deadline: July 21 More
  • The Boston Artist-in-Residence Program (Boston AIR) is now accepting applications. This second year of Boston AIR expands the size of the artist cohort, increases the length of the residencies, and grounds each residency at Boston Centers for Youth & Families. Mayor Martin J. Walsh envisions this project, concurrent with the release of the City's cultural plan, Boston Creates, as an opportunity to support Boston artists and integrate artists into the development and implementation of government practices and policies. Deadline: July 24. More
  • AS220 in Providence, Rhode Island will host the next installment of the AS220 Immersive Residency for Artists/Managers (for anyone who works in the arts) from November 9-12, 2016 at AS220's Campus in downtown Providence. Topics covered include: organizational sustainability (finances, structure, fundraising), strategic development (mission/vision/values, leadership, transparency), property (the issues involved in owning a building), accessibility (affordability and diversity), and collaboration (building internal and cross-sector partnerships). Deadline: September 1.
  • The Maine Media Workshops are now accepting registration for their ongoing documentary filmmaking workshops, including "Archival Research for Documentaries" with Rich Remsberg, "Documentary Camera" by Bestor Cram, and "Financing and Distributing the Documentary" by Louise Rosen, among others. More
  • The Points North Institute and Maine Media Workshops present a 2-Day Short Form Documentary workshop, during which participants will learn how to make compelling short-form documentaries for digital platforms before meeting with leading filmmakers and decision makers at the festival. Participants also receive an All Access Pass to attend CIFF following this course. Workshop takes place September 14-15. More
  • The Points North Institute and Maine Media Workshops present a Virtual Reality Filmmaking Crash Course, a unique 3-day workshop that teaches filmmakers how to plan, shoot and edit 360° video for the growing field of VR. It will introduce participants to the latest production equipment and post-production workflows for producing 360-degree nonfiction video, as well as creative strategies for immersive storytelling, and an overview of the landscape for funding and distribution. Following the course, participants will also receive an All Access Pass to attend the Camden International Film Festival and Points North Forum, connecting with some of the world's leading VR artists and practitioners through exclusive Q&A sessions. Workshop takes place September 13-15. More

Warm wishes,  

Lyda, Sara & Gen
LEF Foundation
PO Box 382066
Cambridge, MA 02138


Do you have some news you'd like to share in an upcoming newsletter? The LEF New England newsletter is released biweekly on Thursdays. 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; sara@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.