Fall 2017 Newsletter


From Docs In The City to Community Stories, Fall is full at Docs In Progress. Plus news from our alums, upcoming funding deadlines, hot reads, and more...

 Meet Our Special Guest Michèle Stephenson at Two Events This Weekend


Docs In Progress is pleased to welcome award-winning documentary filmmaker Michèle Stephenson who is coming down from New York for two events this weekend.

Saturday, October 7: Docs In The City at American University
Work-in-Progress Screening Meets Master Class in this new film screening series pairing seasoned and emerging documentary filmmakers whose films share a genre or theme. The theme is "Coming of Age" and the program will include a 1 pm Work-in-Progress Screening of Stephanie Lucas and Josh Kasselman's Unfinished Work with feedback from Stephenson and the audience. This will be followed at 2:30 pm by a new look at Stephenson's American Promise, the Sundance-winning documentary she co-directed with Joe Brewster.
Made possible through the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and presented in partnership with the Center for Media and Social Impact
Get Tickets Now

Sunday, October 8: Representation in Documentary at University of Maryland College Park
Stephenson will address the challenges and opportunities for more diverse representation behind the camera, in front of the camera, and among the gatekeepers of funding and distribution in the world of documentary. Join us for brunch and to take part in this important and candid conversation.
Made possible through the support of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and presented in partnership with the Creative Edge Collaborative.
Register Now

Opinion: Sustainability is a Challenge for Filmmakers
but the Solution is Not Finger Pointing 

Finger_Pointing_320.jpgCareer sustainability for documentary filmmakers is a challenge, both for emerging filmmakers and those who have been in the trenches for years. As the documentary industry has turned the focus on to how to remedy this, we are hearing a lot of ideas, but also a lot of vents. While venting about challenges is healthy, it is often accompanied by finger pointing at others. Who is responsible for the sorry state of affairs for filmmakers? Take your pick: Funders. Festivals. Distributors. Audience members. Other filmmakers (not any of us, of course, but definitely others who have two much/little entitlement/experience/willingness to compromise. Our Executive Director Erica Ginsberg reflects on this challenge, and how it will require more than blaming other players in the documentary ecosystem. Read more.

Community Stories Festival is Coming November 13-19


Now heading into its seventh year, the Community Stories Festival is an annual film festival organized to spotlight local stories and local filmmakers. This year's festival takes place at five different venues in Montgomery County and will feature screenings, salons, and workshops. Among the highlights are three shorts showcases in Silver Spring, Takoma Park, and Sandy Spring; a work-in-progress screening of The Quince Orchard Project; a screening and discussion of The Bridge, a Showcase Screening of Let the Fire Burn with the filmmakers in attendance; a documentary appreciation salon with Joshua Glick; as well as workshops on creating legacy videos, Smart Phone filmmaking, and an editing master class with Nels Bangerter. Screenings and salons are free but require tickets. Workshops have a fee.

Find out more.

Staff Transitions

Staff_Transitions.jpgIn August, Monica Sanjur stepped down as our Marketing Manager. She will continue to be involved at least through the end of the year, providing graphic design and onsite assistance at some of our key programs. We miss having her in the office, but know that she will continue to be a very important person in our community -- both for Docs In Progress and for the filmmakers who have hired her for their graphic design needs.

Matthew Ehrichs has come aboard to lead the teaching for Team Unity, a new after-school documentary filmmaking program taking place at Forest Oak Middle School in Gaithersburg, MD in collaboration with the school, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington, and Man II Man. The program is funded by the Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation. Matthew formerly was a Producer with the PBS NewsHour's Student Reporting Labs and lead a National Science Foundation grant focused on teaching STEM literacy. He is also a producer, editor, and photographer.

Seba Alluqmani will be joining us this Fall as a Teaching Intern with the Team Unity program. She is a recent MFA graduate in Film and Electronic Media from American University. Seba is passionate about making documentaries, writing and photography. Her documentary work focuses on exploring cultures, making awareness, driving social change and inspiring people along the way.

No Roadmap: Reflections from an Aspiring Documentary Producer

320_Sarah_Diamond_First_PA_Shoot_with_Ellie_Walton.jpgSarah Diamond, an intern with our colleagues at Meridian Hill Pictures recently attended a Documentary Producing workshop we organized with Doug Block while he was here for the Docs In The City program. Like many in our community, Sarah stumbled into documentary film by accident while trying to go in a more creative direction with her career. She reflects on the advice she got from Block, attending the AFI DOCS Film Festival, and other experiences she had to help her figure out the path to becoming a producer. Read more.

News From Our Community


RIP Cool "Disco" Dan
We were sad to learn that Danny Hogg, aka Cool "Disco" Dan passed away this summer. The graffiti artist whose moniker on walls across the Washington DC area made him a folk hero in the 1980s and 1990s was the impetus for Joseph Pattisall and Roger Gastman's film The Legend of Cool "Disco" Dan (Work-in-Progress Screening alum). The film was honored in 2014 at our Decade of Docs with a Capital City Award. While Dan did not attend the ceremony in person, the filmmakers later shared this photo with us. They and longtime friends of Dan helped organize a public memorial in August and are working with the Washington DC government to figure out the best location for a permanent memorial to make sure Cool "Disco" Dan never leaves the city.

Two Peer Pitch alums were among the filmmakers selected for programs at IFP's Independent Film Week in September. Congrats to Roar of a Lion Club (Martina Radwan) and Transmilitary (Fiona Dawson, Gabe Silverman, and Jamie Coughlin). We were also excited to hear that Nina Seavey's new film My Fugitive (discussed earlier this year at Documentary Roundtable on investigative documentaries) was part of the programming for this world-renowned market.

Deej (Fiscal Sponsoree, Peer Pitch and Work-in-Progress Screening Alum) will premiere on the PBS World Channel's America Reframed on October 17. For those in the DC Metro area and other public television markets which do not get the World Channel, it will be streaming for a month from the time of broadcast. 

ComeWorkWithUsBanner-1.jpgAndré Pérez (2017 Filmmaker-in-Residence) is pleased to report that America In Transition, the documentary series exploring relationships, family, and social change for trans people of color across the United States will be headed to a number of cities in a Fall Tour, including Brattleboro, VT; Marlboro, VT; Burlington, VT; New York City, NY; Chicago, IL; Minneapolis, MN; and Portland, OR. The project is also hiring a Lead Producer to support fundraising and distribution for the feature-length version of the film.

Creative Feds (Fiscal Sponsoree and Peer Pitch Alum) recently won Best Documentary at the Skyline Indie Film Fest in Winchester, VA. It will have upcoming screenings on the opening night of the Reel Independent Film Extravaganza in Washington DC and the Utopia Film Festival in Greenbelt, MD. The film is directed by Leon Gerskovic and Docs In Progress Executive Director Erica Ginsberg

Brad Lichtenstein, president of 371 Productions in Milwaukee, is pleased to announce that he's become the Executive Producer of Uncoiled, the feature doc debut for Lilly Czernecki and Producer Susan Kerns' second feature. Lichtenstein heard the pitch at Peer Pitch Midwest in Chicago earlier this year and within weeks partnered with the filmmakers. The team calls their film a feminist true crime thriller.

rosenwald.jpgWork-in-Progress Screening alum Aviva Kempner will launch the new 2-disc DVD package of her documentary Rosenwald (containing 39 new bonus features) at the Edlavitch DCJCC on October 16. This coincides with the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Rosenwald Fund by the visionary Chicago philanthropist Julius Rosenwald who is the subject of the film. 

Dan Goldes (Peer Pitch West alum) received a $15,000 Artist Commission from the San Francisco Arts Council, which he'll use to hire an editor and create a rough cut of the film he pitched, 5 Blocks, about a San Francisco neighborhood undergoing its most dramatic change in 50 years. His new short Arrested (Again) has been selected for nearly 30 film festivals around the world. 

Exotic is going home. The film about how Guam has become a destination for sex workers from the U.S. mainland recently made its island premiere at the Guam International Film Festival. The film by 2014 Fellow Amy Oden also won Best Feature at the SECS Fest in Seattle. Action! Library Media Service is the distributor for the film's educational DVDs, and it is also available to stream on Amazon Prime!

Sheila_Walker.pngAs part of the UN's Remember Slavery Day, the Organization of American States (OAS) will present workshop alum Sheila Walker's Familiar Faces/Unexpected Places: A Global African Diaspora on October 18 from 2:00-4:00 pm. The film tells the story of how millions of Africans enslaved around the world built new societies and new cultural forms under notoriously oppressive circumstances. RSVP here for this free event.

Chinatown: A Changing Neighborhood (about Washington DC's Chinatown residents fight for affordable housing) is now available to educational institutions and community organizations through Tugg Edu. Great going to Yi Chen (2017 Fellow and Peer Pitch Alum) 

The_Fort_Manatt.jpgThe Fort (produced by 2016 Fellow Dan Manatt) has already sold out three screenings for its theatrical premiere October 7 in Fort Madison, Iowa. The film chronicles nearly 200 years of crime and punishment at the Iowa State Penitentiary.

Mark Pagán (Workshop alum) has a new podcast and digital docu-series launching this month. Other Men Need Help is a series analyzing the emblems, habits, and moves in masculine posturing. The seven episode first season premieres October 4. 

Workshop alum Les Owens' film Victory Remembered about the "Black Devils,"  a secret Allied commando unit during WWII has been picked up by LifeSize Entertainment for distribution, and is now available on various streaming platforms.

Linda_Booker_Straws.jpgSTRAWS is a new short film by Peer Pitch Alum Linda Booker. It is screening worldwide this fall from the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival to Malaysia. With narration by actor Tim Robbins, STRAWS illuminates the problems of straws and other single use plastics inundating waterways and oceans.

This Little Light of Mine: the Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer by filmmaker Robin Hamilton (Master Class alum) will have a special one-night screening at the Silver Spring Civic Building on October 25 at 7:00 pm. The documentary chronicling the life of a civil rights era heroine about the civil rights is coming off a successful festival run. The event is free and no tickets are required. 

Teaching Artist and Docs In Progress Co-Founder Adele Schmidt was featured recently on the Femigrants website.

Alyscia Cunningham (2016 Fellow and Fiscal Sponsoree) will have an exhibition of Feminine Transitions at VisArts in Rockville, MD from October 13-November 19. This series of photographs celebrate the natural beauty of female faces between the ages of 7 weeks and 103 years.

Alums: Don't be left out! Send your news via our new online form. The Winter Newsletter will be published the second week of January. Deadline to submit updates for consideration is December 31.

Other Happenings in the World of Documentary

New Report on the State of the Career Sustainability in Documentary
Doc_Report_Cover_cropped.jpgThe National Endowment for the Arts and the International Documentary Association released a report exploring issues facing the documentary film community, with a goal of articulating tangible, actionable strategies and initiatives to positively impact the field and contribute to a sustainable and healthy ecosystem for documentary professionals. The report highlights key findings and recommendations from the February 2017 Documentary Sustainability Summit, a convening that brought together 80 filmmakers, producers, distributors, film festival representatives, funders, and other stakeholders in the documentary community, as well as leaders from federal, state, and local government agencies. Reflecting conversations held at the summit, the report provides a comprehensive overview of sustainability challenges, alongside case studies and additional resources, to further forward this field-wide discussion on a national level.
Read the Report

Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival and Symposium October 19-22
DX_Poster_2017_400x400.jpgThe Double Exposure (DX) Investigative Film Festival and Symposium will take place October 19-22 in Washington DC. The festival showcases the best new films inspired by the investigative instinct paired with a concurrent symposium for journalists and filmmakers to connect with each other, and with the producers, editors, funders, and experts who can advance their work. The festival will include the Washington DC premieres of Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's One of Us and Alex Gibney's No Stone Unturned. The Symposium will include sessions on fake news, storytelling from the ground up, cross-sector collaboration in film and journalism, a pro bono legal clinic, and opportunities to meet industry. Docs in Progress community members can receive a 15% discount on passes using the code DX17DIP.  Find out more.

Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Call for Film Submissions
Apply now for the opportunity to take your film on the road with Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation's film touring program. All-expense-paid tours (per diem and stipend) connect filmmakers with new audiences across the mid-Atlantic region. On Screen/In Person provides opportunities for independent filmmakers to tour throughout the mid-Atlantic region with their recent films and foster greater understanding and appreciation of their work through direct audience engagement. Docs In Progress alums who have participated include Robert Rooy (Deej), Leah Warshawski (Big Sonia), Ellie Walton (Fly By Light), Chithra Jeyaram (Foreign Puzzle), and Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson (Out in the Silence). The deadline to apply is November 20, 2017. Find out more.

Vote for Best Documentary Feature and Short of the Year
Want to pick the Best Documentary Feature and Short of the year? Join the International Documentary Association to vote in their 33rd Annual IDA Documentary Awards. IDA Membership also includes a subscription to Documentary magazine, discounts to educational events in Los Angeles and elsewhere, and much more. Find out more

Apply for Institute for Documentary Filmmaking at George Washington University 
Institute_for_Documentary_Filmmaking_Applications.jpgThe Documentary Center at George Washington University is accepting applications for their six-month graduate certificate program - The Institute for Documentary Filmmaking. This program has been named one of the top-ten non-fiction film schools in the country and is lead by an Emmy Award winning filmmaker. The priority deadline is November 1 Find out more.  

Check out our calendar of upcoming documentary film screenings and events in the Washington DC Metro area at http://www.docsinprogress.org/dcfilmevents.

We love to feature updates from our fellow film organizations. Send us your updates, announcements or deadlines via our new online form. The Winter Newsletter will be published the second week of January. Deadline to submit updates for consideration is December 31.

Upcomig Funding, Lab, and Pitch Deadlines and Opportunities

Tribeca Film Institute IF/Then Short Doc Pitch Competition Heads to Regional Film Events Around the World
submissions_now_open_tribeca.jpgTribeca Film Institute's IF/Then initiative is hosting regional pitch competitions for stories and storytellers in partnership with different film festivals and industry events. Up to six teams making short documentaries will be invited to pitch their projects at a live event. The winner will be selected by a professional jury and is eligible to win up to $20,000 in completion funds and will participate in a year-long distribution initiative managed by Tribeca Film Institute. The program was developed in partnership with, and supported by, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. If you are interested in attending one of these pitches, there will be upcoming iterations for Midwest U.S. filmmakers at the St. Louis International Filmmakers and for Southern U.S. filmmakers at the New Orleans Film Festival. Submissions are currently open for Central/Eastern European filmmakers to pitch at the 2018 East Doc Platform in Prague and for Western U.S. filmmakers to pitch at the 2018 Big Sky Film Festival. Learn more.

Other Upcoming Opportunities
Note that some are limited by geographic or other requirements. Please read guidelines carefully.

October 3: SFFILM Women, Peace, and Security Fellowship

October 6: Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship

October 10: Fork Films

October 13: Screen Australia: Documentary Development

October 14: Roy W. Dean Grant

October 31: Frameline Completion Fund

November 1California Documentary Project: Research & Development Grant

November 1: California Documentary Project: Production Grant

November 3: Application Deadline for Tribeca Film Institute If/Then Short Documentary Pitch at 2018 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

November 6: TFI Latin America Fund

November 6: Tribeca All-Access

November 10: Application Deadline for Tribeca Film Institute If/Then Short Documentary Pitch at 2018 East Doc Platform

November 15: HotDocs Ted Rogers Fund 

December 1: Pacific Pioneer Fund

Rolling Deadlines
Sundance Documentary Fund
Fledgling Fund
The Bertha BRITDOC Documentary Journalism Fund

Want to see the full list of funding deadlines and more information on funders?
We now have a permanent place on our website which you can bookmark to see a full list of funding and pitch deadlines and get links to more information on major film funders. You can access the page for free as long as you sign in to our website
Here's the link to bookmark: http://www.docsinprogress.org/funding_for_documentaries

Hot Reads

Have you been too busy to keep up with what's been going on in the world of documentary? We've compiled links to some articles and blogs we think you may find of interest.

How Collaboration – Not Isolation – Leads to Creative Breakthroughs (Sundance Institute)

Movement to Market: On the Making and Selling of Whose Streets? (TalkHouse)

Whose Story?: Five Doc-Makers on (Avoiding) Extractive Filmmaking (Documentary Magazine) 

What 20 Film Festival Rejections Taught Me About Resilience (Forbes Magazine)

5 Essential Books for Every Documentary Filmmaker's Library (No Film School)

'Cost of Docs' 100 Survey: Trends and Challenges Facing Documentarians in Today's Market (European Documentary Network)

International Documentary Association to Honor Filmmakers for Syrian Work (Variety)

Personal Doesn’t Mean Small: IFP Week Filmmakers On Tackling Big Issues With Intimate Stories (Filmmaker Magazine)

Want to see more? We now have a permanent place on our website which you can bookmark to keep up with the latest articles and blogs of interest. You can access the page for free as long as you sign in to our website.  Bookmark this page: http://www.docsinprogress.org/hotreads

What Else is Coming Up From Docs In Progress?

October 18-November 8: Intro to Adobe Premiere Editing Class 
November 5-12: Backpack Filmmaking Bootcamp 
November 18: Community Stories Festival Documentary Appreciation Salon
December 8: Docs In Progress Holiday Party

How You Can Make a Difference to Docs In Progress?

Docs In Progress is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering, educating, and engaging emerging documentary filmmakers and the audiences they are trying to reach. We offer more than 50 different educational, professional development, screening, and artist services programs every year. Without you -- our incredible community, Docs In Progress would not be sustainable. If you believe in the mission of Docs In Progress, you can support us by:

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