October 2022 Newsletter

LEF Moving Image Fund Grantee News
Image description: Two images, left/top to right/bottom: In this still from Khary Saeed Jones's work-in-progress NIGHT FIGHT, a dark hallway leads to an open door bathed in red light; In this still from Pedro de Filippis's work-in-progress REJEITO, a figure looks through binoculars at the top of a ladder propped up against a brick wall crowned with looping barbed wire.
Sundance has announced its 2022 Documentary Fund awardees. Included in this year's selected films for production is LEF-supported project NIGHT FIGHT, directed by Khary Saeed Jones (WHERE THE PAVEMENT ENDS) and produced by Jones and Kendra Taira Field. Jones's hybrid documentary centers a Black man navigating the tumultuous summer of 2020 on a national, social, and personal scale. A post-production awardee is REJEITO, directed by Pedro de Filippis with producers Leonardo Mecchi, prior LEF grantee and 2021 LEF Flaherty Fellow Bronte Stahl (BEYOND THE FOLD), and Tarsila Nakamura. REJEITO addresses the communities in Brazil emerging from the shadow of hazardous dams and corporate interests. See the full list of Sundance awardees.

The Film Study Center at Harvard Fellows for this academic year include three prior LEF grantees: Amy Jenkins (ADAM'S APPLE) as a FSC-LEF Fellow; Khary Saeed Jones (NIGHT FIGHT), a prior 2021-2022 FSC-LEF Fellow and now FSC-Harvard Fellow; and Luis Arnias (UNDOCUMENTED PLEASURE) as a FSC-Harvard Fellow. Take a look at all of the FSC fellows.

Prior LEF-grantee Jesse Kreitzer (CAREGIVERS) was awarded a Creation Grant through the Vermont Arts Council to support the creation of a storyboard animatic for the short dramatic film DELTA BELL. Check out the full list of grantees.

The New Hampshire Film Festival, currently running through October 9, includes screenings of NO TIME TO FAIL directed by former LEF Program Director Sara Archambault and prior LEF grantee Margo Guernsey, THE HOUSE WE LIVED IN directed by prior LEF grantee Tim O'Donnell (LIFE WITHOUT BASKETBALL), AN ACT OF WORSHIP produced by prior LEF grantee Sofian Khan (WE WANT TO NEGOTIATE), BY WATER directed by prior LEF grantee Iyabo E. Kwayana (LOVE IN THE TIME OF CORONA), NEVER AGAIN PARA NADIE co-directed by prior LEF grantee Dan Frank (UNDER THE VALLEY), and ROUTINE INTERRUPTED by prior LEF grantee Lauren Shaw (ANGKOR'S CHILDREN). Browse the full festival schedule.

The New York Film Festival recently presented A COUPLE by prior LEF grantee Frederick Wiseman (CITY HALL) and DE HUMANI CORPORIS FABRICA by prior LEF grantees Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor (LEVIATHAN). Upcoming screenings this weekend include short films BIGGER ON THE INSIDE by prior LEF grantee Angelo Madsen Minax (NORTH BY CURRENT), and AGAINST TIME by prior LEF grantee Ben Russell (THE TWENTY-ONE LIVES OF BILLY THE KID). Peruse the full guide.

The 8th Annual GlobeDocs Film Festival begins on October 12 and runs through October 16, celebrating the true stories told in documentary films, and the artists and visionaries who bring them to life. Playing at the Coolidge Corner Theatre on Thursday, October 13 at 7pm is NO TIME TO FAIL, a film about local election workers in Rhode Island directed by former LEF Program Director Sara Archambault and prior LEF grantee Margo Guernsey (THE PHILADELPHIA ELEVEN). Screening in person on Sunday, October 16 at 11am is RAISING THE FLOOR by prior LEF grantees Sabrina Aviles and Jenny Alexander (CHELSEA: AN ESSENTIAL CITY). Available virtually will be THE FLAGMAKERS co-directed by prior LEF grantee Cynthia Wade (GRIT), SHATTERING STARS directed by prior LEF grantee Peter Galison (CONTAINMENT), and AFGHAN DREAMERS co-produced by prior LEF grantee Beth Murphy (WHAT TOMORROW BRINGS).  Scroll through the full lineup and purchase your in-person or virtual tickets.

Revolutions per Minute Festival will run October 18-23. Organized by prior LEF grantee Wenhua Shi (RED SPECTRUM) and co-hosted by the Art and Art History Department and Cinema Studies at UMass-Boston, the Brattle Theatre, and Harvard FAS CAMLab, RPM Fest is dedicated to short-form poetic, personal, experimental film, essay film, animation, documentary, video and audiovisual performance. Some LEF-supported filmmakers in this year's programs are: Jackie Goss (HART’S LOCATION), Jodie Mack (THE GRAND BIZARRE), Kathryn Ramey (EL SIGNO VACÍO) , Brittany Gravely (BLOOD OF THE EARTHWORM), Luis Arnias (UNDOCUMENTED PLEASURE), and 2019 LEF Flaherty Fellow Carl Elsaesser. See all the films playing at RPM and get your tickets.

LEF-supported project NO ONE EVER TOLD ME, an observational film directed by Zulilah Merry about the postpartum experience, had a local screening at the Rockport Opera House in Maine on October 1 before heading off to festivals including NH Docs (October 16), Central Scotland Documentary Festival (November 3-7), and Awareness Festival (October 6-16) in Los Angeles.

GIRL TALK, a LEF-supported project about a girls' high school debate team directed by Lucia Small, headed to the West Coast with screenings at the Port Townsend Film Festival, UC Berkley, and an upcoming event as part of Doctober at the Pickford Film Center Bellingham, WA (Saturday, October 29 and Thursday, November 3).

A screening of short-form films, "Up and Down the River," will take place at the Montague, MA Common Hall on Saturday, October 15 at 7pm. Organized by 2017 LEF Flaherty Fellow Sarah Bliss, the program of films on place and placemaking along the Connecticut River includes works from prior LEF grantees Abraham Ravett (LUNCH WITH FELA) and Josh Weissbach (THE PLACE OF BAD NOISES), who was also a 2015 LEF Flaherty Fellow, and Amber Bemak, a 2016 LEF Flaherty Fellow. The event will highlight work shot on celluloid and offer attendees the opportunity to try their hand at moving filmstrip through a projector. RSVP on Facebook.

The recently-released Issue #8 of Found Footage Magazine is a special on LEF-supported filmmaker Abigail Child (ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES) with five pieces about the filmmaker. Also included in the issue are essays by LEF Program Officer Matthew LaPaglia and Scott MacDonald, author of the New England-focused book American Ethnographic Film and Personal Documentary: The Cambridge Turn. The magazine is available for purchase online.
Are you a LEF grantee or fellow with news to share about your film?

Local Connections
State of Vermont's Film and Media Task Force Listening Sessions
Image Description: As frames on a strip of celluloid, three images from left to right: a camera is pointed at a person with long brown hair in front of a pink background; a camera operator films a kneeling person extending their arms in line with overturned ironing boards; an orchestra on stage with a projected image of an elderly person with short white hair, a goatee, and glasses above them.
Established by the Vermont state legislature, the Film and Media Industry Task Force is charged with examining effective ways to cultivate a vibrant film and media industry in Vermont. It was established in 2022 by the Vermont state legislature in bill S.11 and signed into statute by Gov. Phil Scott. Task Force members are Sen. Randy Brock, Rep. Stephanie Jerome, Vermont Arts Council Executive Director Karen Mittelman (Task Force chair), and Vermont Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Heather Pelham.

Join the Task Force to share your ideas and perspectives in the final online listening session, which will focus on the experiences of other state-supported film offices. The Task Force will hear invited testimony from representatives from other states as well as from Vermont's film and media industry and then invite open discussion and Q&A with registered participants. A recording will be available after the session.
The final listening sessions will take place via Zoom from 4:30-6:00pm on Thursday, October 20. Register here.

A recording of the first listening session on September 29 is available to watch here.
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Bright Lights Cinema Series

The Fall 2022 program for the Bright Lights Cinema Series is currently running through December 15. Bright Lights is a weekly screening series sponsored by the Emerson VMA department to collaborate with other exhibitors in the Boston area and keep communal moviegoing alive. It is free and open to the public, with ticketed events on Thursdays at the Bright Family Screening Room on the 4th floor of the Paramount Center (559 Washington St, Boston).
Some exciting documentaries in the lineup are: Subject (October 13), Free Chol Soo Lee (October 27), Mama Bears (November 17), Long Live My Happy Head (Decmber 8), and Fire of Love (December 15).
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Creative Ground

CreativeGround is New England's community-generated, free, online arts and culture directory that provides visibility, connection, and information to support a region-wide creative network.
Both a database and directory, the user-generated and maintained profiles on CreativeGround provide a real-time picture of the creative people and places at work in the six New England states. The platform enables the people of the creative community to share who they are, what they do, and what they contribute. The site remains the only searchable creative economy research database/asset map in the U.S. that is updated directly by the community.

Take a look at the directory and add your profile here.

Upcoming Film Opportunities
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Interlace Project Grants (Deadline: October 11)
Interlace Project Grants range from $4,000 to $6,000 and support artist-driven projects in the Providence area. Interlace prioritizes the making of new visual artworks that expand the public’s understanding of the visual arts, especially through unexpected collaborations. Interlace Project Grants should be the primary source of funding for the proposed project.

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Connecticut Artist Fellowship Program (Deadline: October 17)
The Artist Fellowship Program provides recognition and funding support for Connecticut artists to pursue new work and advance their artistic careers. The program recognizes three grant designations with award recognition determined during the review process: Artistic Excellence grants ($5,000),
Artist Fellowship grants ($3,000), and Emerging Recognition grants ($1,000). Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and a full-time resident of Connecticut at the time of application deadline.

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Frameline Completion Funds (Deadline: October 31)
Grants up to $5,000 are available for the completion of documentary, narrative, experimental, animated, or episodic projects that represent and reflect LGBTQ+ life in all its complexity and richness. Grants are given only for completion, so projects must have 90% of production finished and be in the post-production phase or ready to begin post as soon as funding is in place.

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Jewish Film Institute Filmmakers in Residency Program (Deadline: October 31)
The JFI Filmmakers in Residence Program is a year-long, competitive artist residency that provides creative, marketing, and production support for emerging and established documentary filmmakers whose projects encourage thoughtful consideration of Jewish history, life, culture, and identity. Residents will participate in cohort meetings, workshops, consultations, and mentorship, and will convene at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Independent feature or short-form documentary projects in any stage from development through completion are eligible.

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Roy W. Dean Film Grants (Deadline: October 31)
The Roy W. Dean Film Grants fund independent feature films, documentaries, web series, and short films with budgets of $500,000 or less. Winners of the grants receive a cash award as well as goods and discounted services offered by film industry companies and professionals who care about getting good films produced.

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MCC Cultural Sector Recovery Grants for Individuals (Deadline: November 1)
Mass Cultural Council’s Cultural Sector Recovery Grants for Individuals offers unrestricted grants of $5,000 to creatives and gig workers to support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and set a path for growth. Applicants must be a full-year resident of Massachusetts, 18 years or older, and an artist or cultural practitioner active in any artistic discipline or cultural tradition, a teaching artist/scientist/humanist, or a cultural worker in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences.

A recording of the October 6 info session can be found at the link below.

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Assets for Artists Autumn 2022 Workshops (September - November)
The Assets for Artists free artist-led workshops are available to artists of all disciplines in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. This season's workshop topics include website management, relationship building, artist statements, resource mapping, career planning, grant building, and artist contracts.

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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.

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Color Congress Fall Membership Enrollment (Ongoing)
Eligible applicants will join the Congress in the Fall. Color Congress members are organizations based in the U.S. or territories that offer programming or free services to support storytellers and leaders of color working in the documentary field or nurturing audiences of color for documentaries, wherein the majority of the leadership team identifies as people of color.

What We're Reading
Image Description: Documentary Accountability Working Group Logo

Last month, LEF staff had the pleasure of attending both the Camden International Film Festival in Maine and Getting Real ‘22 in Los Angeles.* In the program of both events were sessions that addressed the latest in filmmaker accountability, specifically to those aiding in the creation of a film as crew and participants. Cresting this wave of values-based approaches to nonfiction filmmaking is the Documentary Accountability Working Group (DAWG), whose vision is now available as a downloadable framework: From Reflection to Release: A Framework for Values, Ethics and Accountability in Nonfiction Filmmaking.

The framework serves as a crucial entry point for early career filmmakers and a valuable check-in for more experienced filmmakers alike. The guiding principles of a non-extractive, ethical mode of filmmaking supported in the framework center on six core values (which are summarized on DAWG's website):

  • Integrate anti-oppression practices into your work
  • Be transparent in your relationships
  • Acknowledge your positionality
  • Respect the dignity and agency of the people in your film
  • Prioritize the needs, well-being and experience of the people associated with your film
  • Treat all potential audience members with dignity, care and concern

DAWG emphasizes that "the process is the product," meaning that the ways one conducts the making of a film determines the outcome of that entire process. In this vein, they propose an urgent sixth and preliminary phase of production, reflection, during which filmmakers consider their positionality and the potential harm a project like theirs might cause. The framework breaks down each subsequent phase of production and the opportunities therein for taking a values-based approach by identifying considerations to be made, itemizing action values, and detailing narrative examples of the described practices in action.

*For those who were unable to attend Getting Real '22--and those who were in attendance and want to catch some things they missed--many of the panels and pre-recorded sessions are available to watch on the International Documentary Association's YouTube page.
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.