From the Executive Director
Dear Friends of Docs In Progress,
It is hard to believe that it was March when Docs had to close its physical doors due to the CoVid Pandemic. Over these past many months, our families, friends, neighbors and communities have faced unprecedented medical and financial challenges and heartache—from the more than 200,000 people who have died from the virus and the many who have died or have been injured in the fight for human rights and liberties. Through these difficult times, Docs continues to be amazed at the creativity and fortitude of documentary artists—new, emerging, and established—who are committed to telling their stories.
In our last newsletter, we shared our decision was to hunker down, assess the situation and above all, make sure that Docs In Progress could weather this storm.
We are happy to report that not only is Docs financially stable but we have successfully made the 'pivot' to virtual/remote programming. The 2020 Fellows Program, which was Doc's first foray in the virtual arena, is wrapping up in October; and this summer it was the teens turn to share My Life Under Covid in our first-ever remote teen filmmaking workshop. We can't wait to share their work at the Community Stories Film Festival. And we were pleased to welcome Jan Krawitz as our 2020 Filmmaker in Residence
So what is next for Docs In Progress' Fall Programming:
October 12: our 55+ Filmmaking Workshops will go virtual with teaching artist Olha Onyshko
October 22: Intro to Documentary Editing with Paul Moon, again remote
October date TBD: Silver Screen Series - screening of Perfect Strangers by Jan Krawitz
November 6-8: Community Stories Film Festival scheduled for November 6-8.
- And please stay tuned for our redesigned Intro to Documentary Filmmaking set to launch in November.
And Docs In Progress today is launching its search for a new permanent Executive Director.
As noted, we closed our physical doors and anticipate that we will not reopen to in-person programming for the rest of 2020. The next several months will be challenging; please continue to wear a mask and social distance. I personally can't wait until we can open our Silver Spring doors and greet you in person! From all of us at Docs In Progress, be well.
Docs In Progress is pleased to announce Jan Krawitz, independent filmmaker and professor at Stanford University as this year’s Filmmaker-In-Residence. In a nod to Covid-19, this year we liken it to artist-in-situ!
The National Endowment for the Arts announced more than $84 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2020.
Docs In Progress is pleased to announce that once again we are receiving an Art Works award for our Artist Services portfolio. This is one of 1015 grants nationwide that the agency has approved in this category.
“These awards demonstrate the resilience of the arts in America, showcasing not only the creativity of their arts projects but the organizations’ agility in the face of a national health crisis,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “We celebrate organizations like Docs In Progress for providing opportunities for learning and engagement through the arts in these times.”
“Our portfolio of artist service programs represents the soul of Docs In Progress,” stated Barbara Valentino, Interim Executive Director. “From our Fellows and Peer Pitch programs to Work-in-Progress Screenings to our yearly Artist-in-Residence, NEA has been a consistent and supportive partner, especially in these turbulent times. Congrats to our fellow grantees. On behalf of the organization and the artists we serve, thank you!
For more information on this National Endowment for the Arts grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
From the Executive Director
Docs In Progress has always stood for equality for all. We have been witness to the gravest of injustices ̶ the death of George Floyd ̶ and the subsequent outpouring of support for our First Amendment rights and equal justice under the law.
Our mission is to educate, inspire, and transform the way people view their world through documentary film. We provide individuals with the tools to tell their stories. It is these films and filmmakers who call attention to moments in history, sharing highly personal stories that reflect the social and cultural issues permeating on the local, national and global stage.
Docs In Progress recommits to these ideals and pledges to serve as a megaphone for all voices, especially those who have been historically voiceless.
Our commitment to giving voice includes redesigning our summer teen filmmaking workshops. Please take a look at the Power2Give and the Workshop information below. The number of scholarships we can offer is wholly dependent upon community support!
Docs intentionally went quiet to assess, plan, and reassess once COVID hit. We are very fortunate to have received support from local, regional/state and federal organizations. This assistance allows us to serve you and our communities. In this give-back spirit, Docs is launching Thank You Tuesday. Each Tuesday we will give a shout out to a funder, a person, or organization that has made our work that much more meaningful.
Docs’ first Thank You Tuesday goes to Revere Bank and the Silver Spring Branch. Was it really only 60 days ago? Against the cacophony of bad headlines, Revere and our community specialist, Miriam Diaz, navigated us through the federal PPP process. Approval came in mid-April. This PPP was our first COVID-related revenue, giving Docs In Progress the recognition and support that allows us to renew our commitment to giving voice.
Docs In Progress is elated to announce our 2020 Fellows. Now in its eighth year, the Docs In Progress Fellowship provides selected filmmakers from across the Washington DC/Maryland/Virginia area monthly facilitated meetings where they come together to share progress with their projects and receive feedback and advice on issues related to the documentary landscape, work/life balance, and the creative process.
Six projects originally presented at Peer Pitch programs around the country have been selected to return to Washington DC for an industry pitch. The pitch will take place Friday October 11 as part of the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival.
Summer is popping at our new space. AFI DOCS focuses on localism. Community Stories Festival is looking for submissions. Plus news from alums, upcoming funding deadlines, hot reads, and more...
Want to get close to your documentary subjects? Dispense with all the bells and whistles. This the focus of a new book from filmmaker Rustin Thompson. We asked him to give us the highlights.