March 2022 Newsletter
LEF Moving Image Fund Grantee News
Image Description: In this still image from NORTH BY CURRENT, Madsen Minax, a filmmaker with a mustache and piercings and wearing a plaid shirt sits behind a camera pointed at an out-of-focus figure in the foreground. (Learn more about image descriptions)
LEF-supported project NORTH BY CURRENT (85 min), directed by Angelo Madsen Minax, received the Spotlight award at the Cinema Eye Honors, and took home the International Documentary Association Award for Best Writing. Now available for pre-order on iTunes with an official release on March 29, Minax’s film, which is a visual rumination on the understated relationships between mothers and children, truths and myths, losses and gains, was also nominated in the IDA Awards' Best Feature category. Take a look at the full list of IDA Award winners and Cinema Eye Honor recipients.

Three LEF-grantees have been named 2022 Spark Fund recipients: Sofian Khan, whose work-in-progress WE WANT TO NEGOTIATE received pre-production support last year; Raúl Paz-Pastrana, whose work-in-progress BACKSIDE received a production grant last year; and Chico Colvard, whose films FAMILY AFFAIR, BLACK MEMORABILIA, and THE CALL have all been funded by LEF. Through Firelight Media and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ #SHARP Grantmaking initiative, the Spark Fund awards 36 documentary filmmakers working on a humanities-themed project with $50,000 stipends over the period of one year. Read about all of this year's recipients.

LEF-supported project ON THESE GROUNDS (108 min), directed by former LEF/CIFF fellow Garrett Zevgetis, was awarded the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Documentary Film of 2022 at the Providence Children’s Film Festival. The film, about a racial reckoning in the wake of police presence in the classroom and the push to create a more just and equitable schooling system for Black youth, is also available to stream on Starz and Kanopy. Check out all the festival winners.

BOUNTY (9 min), co-directed by LEF-grantee Adam Mazo (DAWNLAND; UNTITLED MARGARET MOXA FILM), will be screening as part of the 2022 Salem Film Festival on March 26. The film, which sees people of the Penobscot Nation engaging with their ancestors’ death warrant in the very room it was issued in 1755, will also be available to watch online through SFF from March 28 to April 3. Another film made possible by the Upstander Project, ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (WHAT THEY’VE BEEN TAUGHT) (9 min), directed by Brit Hensel and Keli Gonzalez, will also be part of the festival. See the full lineup.
Are you a LEF grantee or fellow with news to share about your film?
LEF Fellowships Now Accepting Applications
LEF New England Flaherty Fellowship
Image Description: Poster image promoting the 67th Flaherty Film Seminar titled CONTINENTS OF DRIFTING CLOUDS, programmed by Almudena Escobar López and Sky Hopinka, featuring a black-and-white geometric design .

Each year the Flaherty offers emerging and mid-career filmmakers, media professionals and students Fellowships to attend the Flaherty Film Seminar. The LEF New England Flaherty Fellowship will support the participation of four New England-area documentary filmmakers to attend the Seminar in-person at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY. The award covers the entire registration fee, which includes room, board, and all special events throughout the week.

In order to receive a Fellowship, you must be available from Friday, June 24, 2022 until the end of the Seminar on Friday, July 1, 2022 at noon ET.

Deadline to apply: April 1

LEF/CIFF Fellowship
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.

Deadline to apply: May 9 at 11:59pm

Upcoming Film Opportunities
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Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship
(Deadline: March 20)
The Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship is a year-long group mentorship program for documentary assistant, associate and emerging editors from historically underrepresented backgrounds and experiences. The program will consist of monthly small group meetings with seasoned documentary editor mentors. In a hybrid program, the fellowship will include in-person group meetings in New York and Los Angeles (pursuant to local health guidelines) and virtual group meetings for those in other areas of the US.

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Impact Kickstarter
(Deadline: March 22)
The Impact Kickstart program helps underrepresented filmmakers create strategic goals for impact and specific plans to engage future partners, funders, and audiences in meaningful ways. Two selected filmmakers will receive an Impact Kickstart from Working Films that includes the planning, facilitation and reporting out from a day-long strategy summit with potential partners and key collaborators. Impact Kickstart recipients will also receive impact campaign funding of $60,000.

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IDFA Doc Lab Open Call for Submissions
(Deadline: March 25)
This open call offers artists working across interactive and immersive media financial support to realize a new work and present it during the upcoming edition of IDFA (November 9–20). In total, a commissioning budget of €50,000 is made available through the IDFA DocLab R&D Program. The call is open to both experienced artists and new talent from around the world.

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Points North Institute Fellowship
(Deadline: March 28)
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: Jewish Film Institute Logo
Jewish Film Institute Completion Grants
(Deadline: March 31)
The JFI Completion Grants Program provides finishing funds to emerging and established filmmakers for original stories that promote thoughtful consideration of Jewish history, life, culture, memory, and identity. Awards have ranged from $5,000 to $30,000. **Eligible projects must have Jewish content and have a strong, complete cut. 

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NDN Radical Imagination Grant (Deadline: April 8)
Ten Indigenous artists/culture bearers of all traditions, mediums and genres will be awarded grants of $50,000. Artists may propose a one year budget that includes a living stipend, as well as support for the supplies and equipment necessary to publicly amplify the work and develop a community messaging platform. 
**Applicants must have demonstrated experience in producing or co-designing community art projects, managing funds and willingness to participate in broader community dialogue or participatory research.

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White River Indie Films Emerging Filmmakers Contest (Deadline: April 22)
The WRIF Emerging Filmmakers Contest is open to early-career filmmakers who are between the ages of 18-30 years old at the time of submission and residents of VT or NH. Filmmaking teams may also apply if the director/lead filmmaker is under 30. Three prize winners will be selected to be screened at the WRIF festival showcase from May 20 - 29. Submission fee waivers are available upon request.

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.

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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.

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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.

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A4A Online Artist Workshops (Spring 2022)
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. Spring 2022 workshop topics include publicity, social change, community-building, virtual presence, submitting to festivals, grant building, and more.

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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]
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.

Supporting Filmmakers in Ukraine

As war continues in Europe, we want to share some of the ways you can support filmmakers currently impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Image Description: Blue text reading DOCU/ HELP over a yellow background

The International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk, the partnership established by the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), and the European Film Academy to act as the film community's collective response to cases of filmmakers facing severe risk, has set up a special Emergency Fund for Filmmakers for film practitioners directly in danger due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

You can also contribute to the aid effort by watching films. Points North Institute has organized its Stand With Ukraine Film Series, a program of documentary films by Ukrainian directors, through which all proceeds will be directed to a special fund established by DOCUDAYS UA International Human Rights Film Festival to support the needs of Ukranian filmmakers on the ground in Ukraine, including technical equipment, facilities, and other basic filmmaker needs. 

Additionally, DAFilms has created a special program consisting of documentary films that paint a picture of contemporary Ukraine–its culture, the social upheavals that have unfolded in recent years, and Russia's political interventions. 40% of the proceeds from streaming these films will go directly to the DOCUDAYS UA Fund (the remaining 60% will go to copyright holders).

You can also consider donating directly to DOCUDAYS UA, which had to postpone its 19th edition in Kiev, here.

Another option is to contribute to a Facebook fundraiser for Babylon‘13, an informal association of documentary filmmakers in Ukraine formed during the Maidan revolution, to support filmmakers on the frontline.

Simon Lereng Wilmont’s THE DISTANT BARKING OF DOGS is available to watch online in the United States until March 23 thanks to the Salem Film Festival. The film, which won SFF’s Special Jury Award in 2019, follows ten year-old Oleg living in war-torn Ukraine in 2015. The festival will be donating 100% of online ticket purchases to Voices for Children, an organization providing non-stop assistance to affected children and families from all over Ukraine, providing emergency psychological assistance, and assisting in the evacuation process. 
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.