Fall 2018 Newsletter from Docs In Progress

As the programming year winds down and Docs In Progress gets ready to relocate to a new, bigger space, we recount some of the highlights of this fall, preview what's coming up in the new year, and share news from alums, upcoming funding deadlines, hot reads, and more...

What's been happening this fall at Docs In Progress?  

Our Executive Director Erica Ginsberg, Program Director Andrea Passafiume, and Board Member Bonnie Rich attended Getting Real in Los Angeles in September. This biennial conference (organized by the International Documentary Association and co-sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) brought together 1000 documentary filmmakers and industry professionals for three days of panels, master classes, talks, and networking. Erica represented Docs In Progress on a panel on regional approaches to sustainability and also wrote an article for Documentary Magazine. To get a recap of Getting Real, professional filmmakers and industry can read reports on The D-Word.

Nine projects which had first been pitched at one of our regional Peer Pitch programs returned to Washington DC in October to pitch to industry at the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival. The selected projects hailed from across the United States and were selected from nearly 50 documentary works-in-progress presented at Peer Pitch programs over the past year. Filmmakers pitched their projects for feedback from representatives from the Fledgling Fund, IDA Enterprise Fund, New York Times Op/Docs, POV Shorts, and Al Jazeera Witness, among others. Learn more about the projects pitched.

The Community Stories Festival welcomed more than 300 filmmakers and film fans to six different venues in November to watch short documentaries which celebrated the stories of people and places from across the Washington DC Metro area. The 28 documentaries screened included works produced in adult and youth programs at Docs In Progress, as well by other local filmmakers. To see some photos of the event, visit our Facebook page. 

Update on Our Move

As we reported in the summer, in early 2019, Docs In Progress will be moving from our current space on Wayne Avenue into permanent space on the ground floor of Alexander House, a mixed use development in downtown Silver Spring. The image shown here is from a walk-through our staff and board did earlier this year when construction was underway. We know you have questions so have included some answers here:

Why is Docs In Progress moving again? Didn't you just move recently?
We started planning for this move to Alexander House back in 2016 when we were still at the Doc House. While we loved the charm of the house, we knew that we needed to increase our space capacity for programming, be accessible to those who can't navigate stairs, and reduce overhead costs of rent. At the time, we intended to make the one block move from the Doc House to Alexander House after the latter space was reconfigured to our needs. When our Doc House landlord unexpectedly sold the building, we needed to find an interim space for offices and classes which is how we came to be at the current Wayne Avenue space.

Where exactly is the new space going to be?
We will be moving into the ground floor of Alexander House, a mixed use development which is located at the corner of Second Avenue and Cameron Street/Apple Avenue in downtown Silver Spring. If you know the location of our old "Doc House," Fenwick Beer and Wine, the Tastee Diner, or the county courthouse, we are close. It is only one block from the Silver Spring Metro station and just across the street from the Cameron Street Garage.

What will be different about the new space?
We think you will be very happy with some of the features of the new space. It will have a larger classroom/editing lab, as well as an even larger space that can accommodate up to 50 people for seminars, screenings, and community social gatherings. While the space will be larger, we will continue to make it as welcoming and homey as our community has come to expect. 

While overhead expenses at our new headquarters will ultimately be lower than our current expenses, we do face some upfront expenses related to the move, equipping the new space, and covering expenses during the brief period when we are transitioning between spaces. We have kicked off a year-end fundraising campaign with this in mind. Make a donation today.

2019 Fellowship Now Open for Applications

The Docs In Progress Fellowship provides up to ten selected filmmakers from across the Washington DC/Baltimore Metro area the opportunity to share progress with your projects with a peer group and special guests, and get feedback and advice on issues related to the documentary landscape, work/life balance, and the creative process. The 2019 Fellowship Program will take place from March through September, including monthly cohort meetings, an opportunity to attend the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and other special perks. The deadline to apply is January 18, 2019.


Call for Submissions for Upcoming Work in Progress and Docs In The City Programs

If you have a documentary work-in-progress and would like feedback, we have three upcoming opportunities. There is no charge to apply for any of them, but do make note of the deadlines and specific requirements of each:

Rough Cut Screening on January 10, 2019 at the Takoma Park Community Center
Seeking rough cuts of documentary shorts or features (up to 90 minutes in length). Any topic welcome. Preference given to filmmakers based in DC, Maryland, or Virginia, but filmmakers may be based anywhere as long as they are willing to cover your own travel to attend in person if selected.
Deadline to submit is November 26, 2018. Learn more and submit.

Docs In The City Screening in mid-March 2019 as part of the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
Seeking rough cuts of documentary shorts or features (up to 90 minutes in length). Films MUST be on the theme of the natural or built environment. Feedback will be from audience and a seasoned filmmaker. Submitters may be based anywhere in the U.S. If selected, travel will be covered.
Deadline to submit is December 31, 2018. Learn more and submit.

Documentary Roundtable Trailer Night on February 11, 2019 at Docs In Progress
Seeking trailers or scenes of documentaries (up to 10 minutes in length). Filmmakers must be based in Maryland, Virginia or Washington DC. 
Deadline to submit is January 15, 2019. Learn more and submit.

A 2018 Fellow Goes Behind the Scenes at Full Frame with Deirdre Haj

Throughout the year, Docs In Progress has been featuring guest blog posts from our Fellows. This one comes from Khiné Bonner who balances his creative work as a filmmaker and editor with being a media literacy educator. As part of the Docs In Progress Fellowship, Fellows get to attend the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Khiné was so inspired by the experience that he did a follow up interview with the festival's director, Deirdre Haj.

In addition to sharing tips for filmmakers on navigating film festivals, she talked about how the festival approaches its role in multiple communities, programming beyond film screenings (including its School of Doc and Speakeasy programs), and why film festivals need to be clear about their missions and their role in their hometown communities and the larger film community.


News From Our Community

Two Peer Pitch alums recently premiered at DOC NYC, including Decade of Fire from Vivian Vazquez and Gretchen Hildebran and Lady Parts Justice in the New World Order from Ruth Leitman and Rachel Rozycki. We expect to see these films nationally in 2019.

Everyone But Two has been in production this fall, with Carla Brown (2017 Docs In Progress Fellow) heading to ten U.S. states as she follows in the footsteps of her grandparents. She also penned an article in Lenny Letter, the feminist newsletter and website founded by Lena Dunham and her former producing partner, Jenni Konner and was featured on the Gone Trippin podcast.

After its broadcast premiere on PBS' World Channel on Oct. 28, The Guardians (Peer Pitch alum) from Ben Crosbie and Tessa Moran is available for free online streaming until November 19. The film also screened at the Loft Film Festival in Tucson, Arizona on November 15 with a special live musical performance by Calexico.

2017 Filmmaker in Residence and Peer Pitch alum Andre Perez shared America in Transition with us when it was a work-in-progress. Now the film has been completed (in part with the editing chops of alumni Fellow Chithra Jeyaram) and just premiered as a digital series on REVRY. Watch for free. 

Day Al Mohamed was a featured panelist at Getting Real 2018 on a panel called The Ramp Less Traveled about the intersections between documentary and disability. A summary of the panel can be reviewed on The D-Word (access by professional members).

Amy Oden (2014 Docs In Progress Fellow) has been selected as Fellow at Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund at Johns Hopkins University. This comes on the heels of landing two W3 and two Davey awards for her work at Maryland Public Television,  

Harvests of Hope: California was featured in the Food as Medicine block during Los Angeles; Awareness Film Festival in September. Co-producers Karen Buchsbaum and Koorosh Farchadi (2016 Docs In Progress Fellow) also shared insights on producing a documentary on a budget on a panel at the festival. The film is also a finalist for the Thompson Reuters and Barilla Foundation's Good Food Media Award. You can watch the entire episode for FREE (and vote for the short as “best of the web”) until November 23. Another episode in the series, Harvests of Hope: New Orleans, was a finalist for the award in 2017.

The past year for Gillian Willman (Peer Pitch alum and former fiscal sponsoree) has been an exploration of seminal events in American history. Her production company, Spokeswoman Productions, created several films for National Geographic’s exhibition Titanic: The Untold Story, and she also worked with Cortina Productions to wrote and produce videos for The Americans, a new exhibition at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Gillian is currently directing a large screen theater film on the history of the LGBTQ movement that will be shown at The Newseum in the spring of 2019.

Baghdad to the Bay (Peer Pitch West Alum) has been playing various festivals nationwide, taking home awards at Cinequest (Best Documentary) and the GI Festival (Best First Time Filmmaker for Erin Palmquist). It travels next to the Ojai Film Festival where it will screen on November 2 and 10. Palmquist is also serving as DP for another Peer Pitch West Alum 5 Blocks.

Heather Taylor (2015 Fellow) was inducted into the Amelia Earhart Forest of Friendship in September in recognition of her work preserving women’s history. Heather produced the award-winning documentary Breaking Through the Clouds: The First Women’s National Air Derby. She was sponsored by Laura Smith and Lynda Meeks. Taylor was also recently interviewed for the National Air & Space Museum's podcast about early women aviators.

Saving Brinton (Peer Pitch alum) will be available on VOD, Bluray and DVD on November 27. The film will also broadcast on America Reframed on PBS' World Channel on January 1, 2019. In the meantime, the film continues to play in theaters, including as part of the IDA Doc Screening series in Los Angeles on November 14.

Crownsville Hospital: From Lunacy to Legacy (Roundtable alum) from director Todd Stevens has been playing film festivals across the country, winning the Jury Award at the Golden Gate International Film Festival and headed next to the Eyecatcher Film Festival in Oklahoma November 8-10 and Reel East Texas Film Festival November 15-18. 

First Lady of the Revolution, the latest film by Peer Pitch Alum Andrea Kalin has been screening at embassies around the world to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Costa Rican revolution. The film has screened in South Korea, Switzerland, China, Panama, El Salvador, Australia, Indonesia, Spain, Azerbaijan, Russia, France and Canada, with more screenings to come.

Nancy Frohman (a Roundtable alum with a prior film) reports that her latest film The Wall's Embrace (about the impact of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on psychological healing) won Best Documentary Under 45 Minutes and Best Inspirational Film at the 2018 NOVA Fest. Learn more. 


Notown (directed and shot by 2017 Fellow Cucillo Consad and produced/co-directed by Capella Fahoome) is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign for funds to support post-production. The film puts a human face on the water crisis in Michigan. Funds will be matched up to $10,000 by American Documentary/POV through a partnership with the Knight Foundation. The campaign continues through December 1. Learn more.

The Mamboniks (Work-in-Progress Screening alum) from Lex Gillespie is also fundraising to get the final color correction done ahead of the film's festival premiere in 2019. The film about Jewish-Americans who fell in love with the music and dance of Cuba during the 1950s mambo era has been accepted by twelve film festivals across the U.S. and Canada -- six of them for closing nights, one for opening night. The campaign continues through December 14. Learn more.

The Groove is Not Trivial (Work-in-Progress Screening and Peer Pitch alum) has been nominated for a Scottish Trad Music Media Award. Please support the film and filmmaker Tommie Dell Smith by voting for the film through November 23. Learn more. 

Love, Gilda (Peer Pitch alum) is now available on demand, including on iTunes and Amazon. Learn more.

If you are in Chicago, save the date of April 28, 2019 for a benefit event for Peer Pitch Midwest alum Pamela Pulice's film about Dick Biondi, the legendary 1960s rock n' roll disc jockey. In keeping with the theme of the film, the fundraiser will feature live music, guest performers and DJs. Learn more

Alums: Don't be left out! Send your news via our new online form. The Winter Newsletter will be published in February. Deadline to submit updates for consideration is January 15.

Other Happenings in the World of Documentary

The Future of Film Conference November 30-December 1
This unconventional conference from The Creative Edge brings together creatives, place-makers and policy-makers from Prince George's County and beyond for professional development, community conversations, master classes, and networking. a focus on film, media arts, urban design, creative economy, and innovation. This year's conference takes place at Bowie State University's Fine and Performing Arts Center, Bowie State University. Highlights include sessions on rethinking distribution of media entertainment, immersive storytelling through augmented and virtual reality, Afrofuturism in science fiction and film, new film incentives in Maryland, creative workspaces, legal issues for creative entrepreneurs, and branding for filmmakers. Docs In Progress community members can get into both days of the conference for only $50 by using FOF2018 Community Member Discount. Single day tickets also available. Learn more.

Maryland Film Office Offers New Tax Credit for Small Films
Beginning on November 19, independent filmmakers or production companies with fewer than 25 full-time employees can apply on a first come, first-served basis for tax credits. The state has set aside $800,000 in tax credits for the FY 2019 year. Application must be made prior to beginning production activity in Maryland. More than half of principal photography must occur in Maryland and the total costs of the project must be greater than $25,000. While that may apply to many documentaries in production in Maryland, there are two requirements which also must be met -- the production entity must be able to demonstrate complete financing and the production entity must be able to show evidence of national distribution. Both of these latter requirements will make this a more difficult proposition for most independent documentaries, but it is still a step in the right direction towards supporting the local filmmaking community. Learn more.

IF/Then Shorts West and Midwest Editions Open for Submissions
In partnership with Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Institute is inviting storytellers coming from the American West to apply for a pitch opportunity on February 21, 2019 at Big Sky Film Festival and storytellers from the American Midwest to apply for a pitch at the Cleveland International Film Festival on April 7, 2019. The winners will receive each up to $25,000 in production support and one year of distribution mentorship. Submissions are open through December 31. Learn more. 

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation's On Screen/In Person Touring Program Seeks Submissions
On Screen/In Person is designed to bring independent film and communities together by match-making American filmmakers with presenters from across the mid-Atlantic region. Selected filmmakers get paid to take their feature films on the road, including touring funds for travel, a $400 stipend for each engagement, and opportunities to connect with new audiences in non-traditional screening spaces. The deadline to apply for the 2019 season is December 7. Learn more.

DC Independent Film Festival Welcomes Submissions With Docs In Progress Discount
Celebrating 20 years of serving the Washington DC community in March 2019, DCIFF welcomes submissions from regional documentary filmmakers. We offer a special Docs in Progress 20% discount code at FILMFREEWAY and WITHOUTABOX using discount code DIP2019. Anniversary themes are: DC as a source/place of creativity, our alumni and honoring the craft of filmmaking, but we accept all genres and topics at DCIFF. The regular deadline is November 20 and late deadline is December 20th. Learn more.

Bethesda Film Festival Call for Submissions, Cash Prizes
The Bethesda Film Fest is accepting submissions for the 7th annual festival. Short (5-30 minute), documentary films by filmmakers from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. will be considered. Films must have been completed within the last two years. All topics are eligible. A film by a young filmmaker, under age 18, may also be chosen. Selected filmmakers will receive a $1,000 honorarium. Young filmmakers will receive a $250 honorarium. Selected films will be shown at all three festival screenings on April 5-6, 2019 at Imagination Stafe in downtown Bethesda, MD. Deadline to submit is January 11. Learn more.

Launch of World Records: Volume 2 Ways of Organizing by UnionDocs 
Edited by Jason Fox and Laliv Melamed and published by UnionDocs, World Records is a peer-reviewed documentary journal that brings together the voices of scholars, critics, makers, and curators who offer new and complex perspectives on documentary to challenge and extend its margins. UnionDocs hosted an esteemed panel of contributors who will restage a roundtable discussion from the latest volume entitled English Is Spoken Here / English is Broken Here: A Conversation about Film and Language with filmmakers and scholars Lynne Sachs (initiator), Jeanne Finley, Christopher Harris, Sky Hopinka, and Naeem Mohaiemen. Learn more

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 in February. Deadline to submit updates for consideration is January 15.

Upcoming Funding, Lab, Residency and Pitch Deadlines and Opportunities

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

November 23: Global Shorts Doc Forum

November 23: Diverse Women in Media Forum Mentorship Session

December 3: Film Independent Documentary Lab

December 10: The Intercept, ScreeningRoom and the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival Short Investigative Film Grant

December 15: MDOCS Storytellers’ Institute and Forum

December 16: Sundance Documentary Fund (to be considered for March 2019 funding)

December 31: If/Then Shorts Midwest and West

January 1: Filmmakers Without Borders

January 9: National Endowment for the Humanities Development Grant

January 9: National Endowment for the Humanities Production Grant

January 25: LEF Foundation Moving Image Fund Production and Post-Production Grants 

January 31: Whicker's Film and TV Funding Award 

February 4: Fund for Investigative Journalism

February 12: Sundance Documentary Creative Producing Lab and Fellowship

March 1: Vision Maker Media Public Media Project Fund

Rolling Deadlines

Sundance Documentary Fund
Fledgling Fund
The Bertha BRITDOC Documentary Journalism Fund
AMDOC Artist Emergency Fund

Want to see the full list of film funders?
We now have a permanent place on our website which you can bookmark to 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.

The Doc Life: How to Be Part of a Larger Documentary Community (Film Independent)

We’re in This Amazing Golden Era of Documentary (The Ringer)

Beyond Story: an Online, Community-Based Manifesto (World Records Journal)

The Evolution of the Educational Market (Film Collaborative)

Reel Truth: Why Was My Film Not Selected? (Film Freeway)

DOC NYC launches emerging talent initiative (ReelScreen)

Let’s hear about poverty from the poor for a change (The Guardian)

FilmFreeway Defeated Amazon’s Withoutabox Monopoly, and Film Festival Submissions Will Never Be the Same (Indiewire)

Here's How to Get Your Documentary on Television (No Film School)

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?

November 26: Deadline to Apply for January Work-in-Progress Screening

December 1-2: Home Movie Weekend

December 31: Deadline to Apply for March Docs In The City Screening (Theme: Environment)

January 10: Work-in-Progress Screening in Takoma Park. Film(s) to be announced in December.

January 15: Deadline to Apply for February Documentary Roundtable: Trailer Night

January 19: Deadline to Apply for 2019 Docs In Progress Fellowship

February 1: Deadline to Apply for Fiscal Sponsorship

February 2-March 16: Intro to Documentary Production Workshop

February 21-March 14: Intro to Adobe Premiere Pro Video Editing

March 6: Grab Your Audience in the First Five Minutes

March 23: Filmmaking at Your Fingertips: the Smartphone Documentarian

March 28-29: Peer Pitch West at the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival. Registration to open soon.

April 6: Intermediate Adobe Premiere Editing Workshop

July 8-19: Documentary Filmmaking Youth Summer Camp in Silver Spring

About 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 in the Washington DC Metropolitan area and beyond.