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May 2020

LEF New England News

Denali Tiller's LEF-funded film, TRE MAISON DASAN, is now available to stream through Amazon Prime. In addition, the World Channel will be hosting a special broadcast of TRE MAISON DASAN in honor of Father's Day. Broadcasts will take place at 10 PM EST on Sunday, June 21 and at 2 AM and 10 AM EST on Monday, June 22. Follow the film here for updates

Congrats to all LEF grantees selected for Creative Capitals
" On Our Radar 2020," which shares noteworthy projects that advanced to the final round for the Creative Capital Award. LEF-funded projects on this list unclude Amy Jenkins' ADAM'S APPLE, Angelo Madsen Minax's NORTH BY CURRENT, and Sierra Urich's JOONAM

WHERE THE PAVEMENT ENDS, directed by Jane Gillooly and produced by Khary Jones and Aparna Agrawal, had its premiere broadcast on America ReFramed on World Channel on May 5 and is now available to stream online until 8/2/20 Watch the film here
LEF Pre-Production and Early Development Deadlines

The LEF Moving Image Fund is now accepting applications for our annual $5,000 Pre-production grant opportunity in addition to a NEW $2,500 Early Development grant opportunity, both with a deadline of June 5, 2020 at 11:59pm (midnight). Up to 6 grants will be awarded to projects in each of these two funding phases. 

LEF grants are open to New England-based filmmakers seeking funding for feature-length (40+ minute) non-fiction film projects. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to read the LEF New England Moving Image Fund guidelines and frequently asked questions to determine if your project is eligible and a good fit for LEF's funding priorities before beginning an application. 

Learn more below, and please contact Gen Carmel at gen@lef-foundation.org if you have any questions about your project's eligibility or the application process. 

Visit the LEF website for more information | Begin an application

The DocYard

Looking for something to watch? Many films that have screened at the DocYard are available to stream online. Check out a few of them below. 

  • Our NixonNUTS!, and The Pain of Others: Director Penny Lane's films are all available for free on Vimeo.com. (DocYard Winter 2013, Fall 2016, and Fall 2017). Our Nixon is an archival documentary portraying an intimate and complex portrait of the Nixon administration. NUTS! follows eccentric genius, Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, who built an empire in Depression-era America with a goat testicle impotence cure and a million watt radio station. Pain of Others is a YouTube compilation film about Morgellons, a mysterious illness whose sufferers say they have parasites under the skin and a host of other bizarre symptoms. Her short films, including Normal Appearances (DocYard Fall 2018) are also available on her vimeo.
  • Crocodile Gennadiy: A feature documentary about Gennadiy Mokhnenko, a pastor from Mariupol, Ukraine, who in the early 2000s began to fight the city's child homelessness issue by forcibly abducting street kids and bringing them to his Pilgrim Republic rehabilitation center. His ongoing efforts and unabashedly tough love approach to his city's problems has made him a folk hero for some, and a lawless vigilante to others. (DocYard Fall 2015)
  • Field of Vision: Launched in the fall of 2015, Field of Vision is a filmmaker-driven visual journalism film unit that pairs filmmakers with developing and ongoing stories around the world. All their films are available to stream online for free. (DocYard Spring 2016)

  • High On Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell: Filmed over a year and a half, this harrowing chronicle of addiction follows Brenda, Dicky, and Boo-Boo in and out of crackhouses, rehab, and jail as they seek an escape from the despair of their surroundings. (DocYard Spring 2016)

  • NYT Op Docs: Over the years, we've screened many New York Times Op-Docs, including "The Happiest Guy in the World," from Lance Oppenheim, director of Some Kind of Heaven, which was our last DocYard screening on March 2.
  • Balloonfest: A short film following the city of Cleveland as it attempts to overcome its nickname, 'The Mistake by the Lake' by launching a bunch of balloons. (DocYard Fall 2017)
  • The WorkSet inside a single room in Folsom Prison, THE WORK is a length documentary that follows three men from the outside world as they participate in a four-day group therapy retreat with level-four convicts. (Fall 2017).
  • Black 14: This short film is an archival social study examining white pathology and cognitive dissonance via media coverage of a 1969 racial protest at the University of Wyoming. (DocYard Spring 2018)
  • Fish Story: In the 1980s, Caspar Salmon's grandmother was invited to a gathering on the Welsh island of Anglesey, attended exclusively by people with fish surnames. Thirty years later, filmmaker Charlie Lyne created this short film in an attempt to sort myth from reality as he searches for the truth behind this fishy tale. (Fall 2018).

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!

Relief/Funding/Loan Opportunities
  • 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). 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. NEW Deadline: May 15 . Boston, MA
  • Creative Portland has created the Portland Artist Relief Fund for artists in Portland, Maine. They will be accepting applications from March 30 to April 30 for a one-time grant of $500 for local artists affected by COVID-19. Portland, ME
  • The Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) launched two relief funds as part of their Creative County Initiative (CCI). The Essex County Artist Fund aims to support the legions of individuals who are experiencing an unprecedented loss of income in the creative industries. The Essex County Creative Nonprofit Resiliency Grant Program aims to provide direct support to cultural organizations and venues across Essex County so they can stay afloat, pay staff, and support their communities during this crisis. Essex County, MA
  • Artist Relief is awarding $5,000 grants to artists facing dire economic hardship due to COVID-19. Cycle II Deadline: May 21 National
  • MONO NO AWARE is offering this free film care package initiative for photo-chemical filmmakers. Deadline: May 15 National
  • XTR Film Society and Wavelength Productions have partnered to launch The Keep the Lights on Fund, which will provide a number of 5K to 10K grants to feature-length documentary films. Deadline: May 15 National
General Resources
  • Here are resources from the arts councils in ME, MA, NH, RICT, and VT.
  • All Boston-area arts/cultural organizations are invited to attend a weekly Zoom call with Kara Elliot-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture in the Mayor's Office of Art and Culture. The Zoom calls will take place every Friday from 3:00 - 4:30 PM. Learn More
  • 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 its service fees for artists and organizations suffering financial hardship due to the coronavirus. 
  • The PRX Podcast Garage have compiled this Podcaster Toolbox - a crowd-sourced guide for independent, DIY, and/or early-stage podcasters working from home. 
  • Sundance Collab has assembled a number of COVID-19 resources specifically for filmmakers and other artists. They will be updating the list continuously. 
  • Desktop Documentaries has put together a "virtual care package" that includes free software downloads. 
  • Jenie Gaoa full-time artist based in Wisconsin, has put together a guide to help artists and arts foundations understand SBA Disaster Loans and Emergency Grants. Read it here  
Local Online Streaming Festivals / Resources

  • New Day Films , a cooperative distribution company with many New England-based members, has decided to open up free online streaming for a number of its films in response to COVID-19, in order to help educators and community groups trying to work from home.  Browse New Day's list of available films  to watch for free before June 1.
  • Sign up for the Harvard Film Archive newsletter to receive regular curated lists of films available to view online as recommended by its past visiting filmmakers. 
  • Take this survey from Americans For the Arts on the coronavirus impact on artists and organizations around the country.  
  • In an effort to adapt their programs and resources for Latinx & diverse creatives and industry professionals, NALIP wants to hear from you. Fill out their survey here
  • Firelight Media has launched a Needs Assessment Survey for POC Filmmakers. Fill out their survey here
Arts Community
  • NEA and Sundance have formed a National Independent Film & Media Arts Field Group. You can learn more/join the group here
What We're Reading/Listening To
  •  The Fragile Festival Economy is an article from Aisha Harris in The New York Times on the threat Coronavirus poses to the tenuous festival industry. 
  • Arts and Culture are Worth Saving is an essay written by Murray Whyte in the Boston Globe about the importance of the important place of the arts in society, especially in a time of pandemic. 
  • Inventing the New Reality, a series of blog posts from Brian Newman of Sub-Genre about how the film field can respond to this moment. 

  • Check out regular arts + culture job postings compiled by HireCulture, a service of the Mass Cultural Council. 
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
  • 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.  
  • The Hot Docs CrossCurrents International Documentary Fund supports interactive, short, or feature-length doc projects made by filmmakers telling the stories of the underrepresented and marginalized communities to which they belong. Eligibility requirements and guidelines can be found here. Deadline: May 27, 2020
  • The Barbara Hammer Lesbian Experimental Filmmaking Grant is an annual grant that will be awarded to self-identified lesbians for making visionary moving-image art. Stay tuned for when this application opens! Learn more
  • Every six months, in January and July, the Interbay Cinema Society gives grants to 10 filmmakers working with 16mm or 35mm to have 4k high resolution scans of their work through Lightpress, a transfer house in Seattle. Entries are now open and will be announced on July 1. 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.
  • New Orleans Film Festival is accepting submissions. Extended deadline: June 19, 2020. Festival Dates: October 14 to 21, 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.
Education / Classes / Workshops

  • Backstage has multiple webinars on fundraising, acting, directing, producing, etc as well as yoga and mental health sessions. 
Community-Building Opportunities
  • 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.
  • If you are looking for another online documentary filmmaking community, check out The D-Word, an online platform for conversation within the documentary film world.
  • Check out the PRX Podcast Garage website for updates on how the local audio community is adapting to going virtual during the coronavirus pandemic. 

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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