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March 2020

A Special Message from the LEF New England Team

Dear Friends of LEF,
We hope this finds you taking good care of yourselves and your circle of family, neighbors, friends and colleagues during this uncertain time. While we're all doing what we can to maintain social distancing to flatten the curve and save lives, we also hope you're finding time to appreciate the first few days of spring, prioritizing self-care, exercise, creative work, and virtual check-ins with family and friends.

The LEF New England team plans to continue sharing announcements and our regular newsletters for both LEF and The DocYard. In this edition, we have included a select list of New-England based resources and relief funding opportunities that are for local filmmakers/artists and will continue to share these as we learn about them. We're also tracking national opportunities, but to avoid duplicating efforts, here is a link a comprehensive list of support for artists that Creative Capital continues to update.
We are going forward with our regular grant cycles, and in April will be posting information about our Pre-production grants with a June 5 2020 application deadline. One change we've had to make is the postponement of the remainder of the DocYard's Spring 2020 season of documentary screenings at the Brattle Theatre. However, we are already transitioning to virtual screenings when possible, beginning with a virtual screening of Miko Revereza's NO DATA PLAN from March 30 - April 5 and a virtual Q&A on March 31 ( For more details on that, see this message from the DocYard team and from Spring 2020 Guest Curator Abby Sun).
All proceeds from online ticket sales will go to our venue partner at the   Brattle Theatre, to support their continuing role as a critical independent film venue in the Boston area. We are also committed to paying the DocYard's freelance photographer for all cancelled in-person events, understanding the added challenge that freelancers in the film industry continue to face.
We will keep you up to date on any changes or new measures we might need to take in the coming weeks and months ahead. For now, we send you our best and hope that you stay healthy and strong.
Lyda and Gen
LEF New England News

The LEF-founded film, WHERE THE PAVEMENT ENDS, produced by Jane Gilooly, Aparna Agrawal, and Khary S. Jones will broadcast on America ReFramed on the World Channel in April. The film is a powerful, impressionistic meditation on the persistence of racial injustice. Watch the trailer here 

Last month, local LEF-funded filmmaker James Rutenbeck, the 2019-2020 FSC-LEF Fellow, shared these reflections on his filmmaking and fellowship experience on the Harvard Film Study Center's website.

Submissions will open in early April for LEF's Pre-Production Moving Image Fund Grants. Deadline: June 5, 2020. Check our website for updates!
The DocYard

The DocYard's screening of NO DATA PLAN has gone online! 

NO DATA PLAN will be available to stream via Vimeo on Demand from Monday, March 30 - Sunday, April 5. On Tuesday, March 31 at 8PM, a virtual Q&A will be held between director Miko Revereza 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.

Learn more about the film and virtual screening + Q&A

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!

General Resources
  • 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 our service fees for artists and organizations suffering financial hardship due to the coronavirus. 
  • COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources - "This list is specifically designed to serve freelance artists, and those interested in supporting the independent artist community. This includes, but is not limited to, actors, designers, producers, technicians, stage managers, musicians, composers, choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers, craft artists, teaching artists, dancers, writers & playwrights, photographers, etc." 
  • Creative Capital's List of Arts Resources during the COVID-19 Outbreak - "In times of crisis, artists are often among those most affected. In addition to health concerns, this is a challenging moment for many in our community as we deal with cancelled income and trying to make plans during uncertain times. Creative Capital has always been anchored by a rich spirit of community and mutual generosity, and we believe that continuing communication and exchange are crucial for all of us. As COVID-19 continues to spread across the United States, we have created a list of resources for artists working in all disciplines, as well as arts philanthropists, and arts professionals." 
  • Our friends at the PRX Podcast Garage have compiled this Podcaster Toolbox - a crowd-sourced guide for independent, DIY, and/or early-stage podcasters working from home. 
New England-based Relief Funding / Loans / Opportunities
  • Boston Artist Relief Fund"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). With events of all types being canceled to reduce the spread of COVID-19, people who make income partially or fully through gigs and freelance work are losing critical opportunities to support their well-being in our city. 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."
  • The Artist Relief Fund by the Cambridge Community Foundation is offering COVID-19 relief grants to individual artists and arts organizations in the City of Cambridge
  • Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program will provide short-term loans to businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 100 employees.
  • Call for Collaborators. Local pop-up community art space, Space Us, is working on a series of projects and are looking to commission drawings, poems, projects, and more by artists, designers, and other creatives who have been impacted by COVID-19. If you rely on your creative work for the majority or entirety of your income & this sounds interesting to you, please fill out this form!
Local Online Film Festivals / Streaming Resources
  • If you're a member of Filmmakers Collaborative, looking for feedback on your project, you can write to the organization to arrange for a virtual rough cut screening with other FC members.
Local Film/Arts Journalism
  • 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.
  • The City of Cambridge Department of Human Service Programs' Agenda for Children Out-of-School Time Initiative (AFCOST) seeks a part-time, 10 hours per week Storytelling & Communications Associate. They are seeking a dynamic, people-oriented person with strong multi-media storytelling and collaboration skills. This is a part-time hourly position at $25/hour. Deadline to apply: April 9. 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
  • CAAM Documentary Fund. With support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, CAAM provides production funding to independent producers who make engaging Asian American works for public television. Documentaries are eligible for production or post-production funding and must be intended for public television broadcast. Awards typically range between $10,000 and $50,000. Currently holding open call through Friday, March 27th. 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.
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. Regular Deadline: April 1, 2020. 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.
  • Arteles Creative Center in Finland hosts 12-13 artists per month in carefully selected multidisciplinary groups. Each residency lasts for a month. 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. Work-in-progress early deadline is March 30 with feedback received by April 7. Final submission deadline is May 15. Learn More
Education / Classes / Workshops
  • Filmmakers Collaborative is hosting a webinar on April 9 about how to think about distribution for your film. More info
  • 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
Community-Building Opportunities
  • Brain Arts Org is a volunteer run 501(c)3 arts nonprofit for Greater Boston. Its mission is to create platforms for fringe artistic communities. Through its inclusive, participatory efforts, Brain Arts aspires to uplift communities and fill cultural voids in our unique region of New England. Learn about upcoming events at its associated community art space the Dorchester Art Project, and check out the Boston Compass for listings and reviews of upcoming films and shows across the city.
  • 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!
  • Boston offers various opportunities to take part in work-in-progress film screenings, either for your own work or to view and offer feedback on the work of others. In addition to the Center for Independent Documentary's new Filmmaker Workshops rough cut series, you can also join a community of filmmakers in sharing work at the Somerville Media Center's Roughcut Media Screenings, and at monthly Boston Open Screen events at the Coolidge Corner Theatre.

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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