Spring 2018 Newsletter

Meet our 2018 Filmmaker in Residence. Get a sneak peek at our next Docs In The City screening. Get a Fellows' perspective on the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Catonsville Nine. Plus news from alums, upcoming  funding deadlines, hot reads, and more...

Peer Pitch Heads South and East in June - Register Now to Pitch

After successful Peer Pitches in California and Illinois, Peer Pitch heads in June to Durham, North Carolina and our home base of Silver Spring, Maryland. This is an opportunity for documentary filmmakers with works-in-progress at any stage of development to give their pitches and trailers a test run and get feedback in a safe space from other filmmakers. 

On Friday, June 1 at 4:30 pm, Peer Pitch will be the opening event at the Southern Documentary Fund's Annual Convening in Durham, North Carolina. While you must be attending the Convening to qualify to attend or pitch at Peer Pitch, registration to pitch is still on a first come, first served basis. (If all pitching spots are taken, we recommend either signing up for the waitlist or registering to attend to give feedback).
Find out more and register

On Wednesday, June 13 from 10:00 am-5:00 pm, Peer Pitch will come home to Docs In Progress as a prelude event to the AFI DOCS Film Festival. The festival has made a limited number of Industry Passes available to Peer Pitch participants at the same cost as the Industry Pass on its own. 
Find out more and register.

National Endowment for the Arts Renews Support for Docs In The City
Identity to be the next theme with special guest Grace Lee
and a nationwide call for submissions of rough cuts

We are pleased to announce that Docs In Progress has received renewed funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to support our Docs In The City screening series in 2018. See the official announcement.

The Docs In The City program pairs seasoned and emerging documentary filmmakers whose films share a genre or theme. Each program includes a screening of a work-in-progress by an emerging documentary filmmaker and a new look at an iconic film by the seasoned filmmaker.

Our first screening pair will take place on Thursday, July 19 at the Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Cinema in Washington DC, and will be on the theme of identity. We are honored to welcome award-winning filmmaker Grace Lee for a screening of her iconic film Off the Menu: Asian America about how family, tradition, faith, and geography shape Asian American and Pacific Islanders' relationships to food.

We also have an open call for submissions for a work-in-progress on the theme of identity. We welcome submissions from filmmakers based anywhere in the United States. If selected, one filmmaker would be flown to Washington DC (travel and accommodations covered) to show the rough cut and get constructive feedback from Grace Lee and a Washington DC audience in a facilitated session. Films should be at the rough cut stage, be no more than 60 minutes in length. The deadline to submit is June 1. Learn more

Meet our 2018 Filmmaker-in-Residence Tamara Dawit

We are pleased to announce that our 2018 Filmmaker-in-Residence will be Tamara Dawit.

Tamara exists between two communities: arts and social justice, which she works to merge together through artistic projects in film, theatre, and music. She also crosses cultures, as she is based out of Canada and Ethiopia. She has produced TV specials for MTV Canada, news clips and video shorts for 411 TV, as well as 10 touring theater presentations. Her documentaries have reached viewers in Canada, Europe, Africa, and South America. She has also contributed to steering committee for NYAN (National Youth Anti-Racism Network), the UN Association in Canada and the Canadian Commission For UNESCO Youth Advisory Group. She is a member of the Documentary Organization of Canada and Brown Girls Doc Mafia – through which she volunteers to engage more women of color in documentary filmmaking. She has participated in programs for emerging filmmakers at IDFA, Hot Docs and Cannes. 

While resident at Docs In Progress this summer, Tamara will be developing Finding Sally which tells the story of a young woman from an upper class family whose romances and ideals entangled her in Ethiopia's revolutionary fever. She eventually went underground, never to be seen by her family again. Four decades after her disappearance, her niece pieces together Sally's mysterious life while questioning notions of family, identity, belonging, personal convictions, idealism, and political engagement.  

Tamara will also engage with the local film community through a workshop and screening. We will be announcing more details soon.

The residency program is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Thank you to all who applied for this opportunity. We received a wealth of top-quality applications from around the world.

Fellow Reflects on Full Frame 

In April, ten Docs In Progress Fellows had the opportunity to experience the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina, a four-day festival which combines some of the best documentaries of the year, opportunities to mix and mingle with some of the top documentarians, and a friendly and accessible vibe.

One of our fellows, Ray Whitehouse, arrived early on Thursday morning and left late on Sunday night. The experience made him exhausted, but not in the way you might think.

Check out Ray's reflections.



May Screenings

Thursday, May 10 in Takoma Park: Join us to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Catonsville Nine with a special screening of Hit & Stay, Joe Tropea and Skizz Cyzyk's film about nine Catholic activists who entered a Selective Service office in Catonsville, Maryland, dragged stacks of Draft Board records out into the parking lot, and set them on fire with homemade napalm. Their action kindled a wave of similar protests against the Vietnam War across the country. This is a free screening but an RSVP is recommended. Presented as part of We Are Takoma. Learn more and RSVP. 

Wednesday, May 16 in Washington DC: Join us to watch and provide feedback on two new not-quite-finished documentaries and participate in a facilitated workshop-style feedback session. This honest and constructive feedback is aimed at helping the filmmakers get to the next stage of completing and distributing their films. This program is open to filmmakers and film lovers! We'll be screening Jaclyn O'Laughlin's Breaking Barriers (an episode from a web series about women who are breaking barriers by pursuing careers traditionally held by men) and K.A. Lannigan's Voices of Brookland Manor about a group of grandmothers fighting to protect affordable housing for families in a gentrifying neighborhood in northeast Washington DC. This program is co-sponsored by The Documentary Center at the George Washington University. Suggested donation: $10.
Learn more and get tickets.

News From Our Community

Peabody Wins for Deej and Indivisible 
Fiscal sponsorees and Peer Pitch alums Deej (Robert Rooy and DJ Savarese) and Indivisible (Hilary Linder) were among nine television documentaries from across the country honored with Peabody Awards. A shout out also to 2016 Documentary Inspiration Award Winner Ramona Diaz who was nominated for the honor for her film MotherlandRead more about the awards.

NEH Awards Production Funding to Changing State
Our colleagues at FLOWSTATE Films and Women in Film and Video DC were recently awarded $450,000 in production support from the National Endowment for the Humanities for their film Changing State. The film (directed by Leola Calzolai-Stewart, produced by Kiley Kraskouskas and Rachell Shapirowritten by Ken Chowder, and executive produced by Sam Pollard) brings to light the untold story of three African-American diplomats who helped transform the State Department and the global face of American diplomacy at a time when U.S. race relations were embroiled in Cold War politics.

Love, Gilda Opens Tribeca Film Festival
2016 Peer Pitch alum Love, Gilda (Lisa D'Apolito) opened the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday, April 18 and will have a number of additional screenings during the festival. It heads next to Hot Docs and the Montclair Film Festival.

TransMilitary Wins Awards at SXSW and Florida Film Festival
2016 Peer Pitch alum TransMilitary (Fiona Dawson, Gabriel Silverman, and Jamie Coughlin) not only made its World Premiere in the Documentary Feature Competition at the SXSW Film Festival, but it also won the Audience Award. It also won the Grand Jury Award at the Florida Film Festival. The film about transgender individuals who serve in the U.S. military will also screen at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, Independent Film Festival Boston, and Frameline. 

Saving Brinton Heading to Theaters This Spring
The Peer Pitch alum film Saving Brinton has been a favorite at more than 20 festivals, and will now head to theaters for one-week Oscar-qualifying runs in New York at Cinema Village (May 18) and Los Angeles at Laemmle Monica Film Center (June 8). The filmmakers are raising funds through Kickstarter to support the distribution campaign.

Up to Snuff Wins Best Documentary
The 2017 Peer Pitch alum (directed by Mark Maxey) recently won Best Documentary at the Pasadena International Film Festival. It also won the Audience Award at the Phoenix Film Festival. It continues to play festivals nationwide. 

G.T. Keplinger Collaborating on Book on DC Bluegrass Legend
Keplinger (2013 Fellow and Work-in-Progress Alum) is collaborating with author Stephen Moore on a book about John Duffey, founding member of The Seldom Scene. Keplinger, who is on the faculty of Stevenson University's film program, sees the book as a companion to his longterm documentary and oral history documentation of Washington DC's bluegrass music history and the Seldom Scene, in particular. The book is due out in the fall.

Familiar Faces/Unexpected Places Headed to UN Information Centers Globally
The United Nations Remember Slavery Programme is sharing Familiar Faces/Unexpected Places: A Global African Diaspora to UN Information Centers globally. The film by Sheila Walker (class and consultation alum) has been translated into Spanish, French, Portuguese, Kiswahili, Russian and Azeri. Walker recently screened the film at the Feria Internacional del Libro de Bogotá in Colombia.

City of Trees screened as Part of Earth Day
Brandon Kramer and Lance Kramer's documentary City of Trees(Focus Group alum) was recently screened at Wheaton College in Chicago and William & Mary College in Williamsburg, VA as part of Earth Day programming at both universities. It returns to Washington DC on May 4 for a special screening at Sidwell Friends School. 

Caste Out On Kaleidoscope
The Kaleidoscope funding platform for VR projects has accepted Caste Out (by 2015 Fellow Hannah Stawicki) to its platform and announced our project a few weeks ago on their social media channels. Watch the trailer.

The Hanging Premieres on Vimeo as a Staff Pick
After a successful festival run (including HotDocs and AFI DOCS), Geoffrey Feinberg's The Hanging is now available online through Vimeo. It premireed online April 4 as a Vimeo Staff Pick. Watch the film. 

Peer Pitch Alum's New Documentary Impact Campaign on Fighting Plastic Straws
Linda Booker, a past Peer Pitch alum reports that her new film STRAWS is getting seen worldwide as no-plastic straw campaigns are spreading to address plastic pollution. Event hosts have included the UN Environmental Assembly, AirAsia, Jane Goodall Institute Hong Kong and Plastic Free Greece. EarthXFilm brought Booker to Dallas local schools April 2-6 as part of EarthxEdu, the festival's educational division. The Video Project is leading the STRAWS film Impact Campaign and educational /community use sales in North America. Learn more.

Fashion Show Raises Awareness and Funds for I Am More Than My Hair
Artdromeda Baltimore presented the Bald, Beautiful, & Bold Benefit Fashion Show to benefit Alyscia Cunningham's film I Am More Than My Hair (fiscal sponsoree and 2016 Fellow). See photos from the event 

Tainted Blood Screens in Baltimore
The Roundtable alum about the 1984 Olympic blood doping scandal (directed by Jill Yesko and shot by Daniel Helfer) recently screened at the SNF Parkway Theater in Baltimore.

Other Upcoming Screenings by Alums and Community Members

Among Wolves (an earlier film by Peer Pitch alums Shawn Convey and Kevin Ripp at RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, NC April 21-23. Get tickets.

Creative Feds (by Docs In Progress Executive Director Erica Ginsberg and Leon Gerskovic) at the Logan Fringe Arts Space in Washington DC as part of Dictionary of Marx May 5. At Cinema Village as part of Workers Unite Film Festival in New York, NY May 8. At the Partnership for Public Service in Washington DC May 15. Learn more and get tickets

Life Is Rich (by Fiscal Sponsoree and 2015 Fellow Bonnie Rich) at the Washington Jewish Film Festival in Washington DC May 9 in Bethesda, MD and May 13 in Washington DC. Get tickets.

Lonnie Holley: The Truth of the Dirt (shot and co-produced by Peer Pitch alum Danielle Beverly) at The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC May 13 Learn More

My Dear Children (fiscal sponsoree/work-in-progress screening alum) at Washington Jewish Film Festival in Washington DC May 5 and 6 Get tickets. At Harrisburg Jewish Film Festival in Pennsylvania May 13 Get tickets.

SABAA (by dear colleagues Brandon and Lance Kramer) premieres at FilmFest DC as part of the Justice Matters series. Get tickets. 

Alums: Don't be left out! Send your news via our new online form. The Summer Newsletter will be published in July. Deadline to submit updates for consideration is June 1.

Other Happenings in the World of Documentary

AFI DOCS Announces Opening, Closing, and Centerpiece Screenings
AFI DOCS returns to Washington DC and Silver Spring from June 13-17 chock full of documentary screenings and the sidebar filmmaker forum. The festival will kick off the night of June 13 with the world premiere of Personal Statement and will close with United Skates. Additional announced films include Above and Beyond: NASA's Journey to Tomorrow, Kinshasha Makambo, The Cold Blie, Mr. Soul!, and Witkin & Witkin. More films will be announced in the coming weeks, along with the Filmmaker Forum. Earlybird passes are available through May 9. Learn more

Submissions Now Open for the 34th IDA Documentary Awards
The International Documentary Association has an open call for entries for their annual award celebrating the best nonfiction films, programs, and filmmakers of the year. Early deadline is June 10 and the regular deadline is July 9. Learn more and submit your project.

Getting Real Conference in Los Angeles September 25-27; Earlybird Passes Through June 1
Getting Real is a unique gathering that will bring more than 800 members of the documentary community together for three days in September in Los Angeles, California. With the broad themes of Creativity, Sustainability, and Transparency, this year's conference will be a must-attend professional development event. Earlybird passes are available through June 1. To get a sneak preview of what's planned this year, the International Documentary Association will be holding a Facebook Live conversation with the programming team on Tuesday, May 8 at 4 pm EST/1 pm PST. Learn more.

Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County Seeking Freelance Multimedia Journalists
Experienced freelance multimedia journalists are needed to create original or repurposed work featuring the multicultural spectrum of the arts and humanities community of Montgomery County, Maryland. These pieces will be created for CultureSpotMC.com, Montgomery County’s premier online destination for creative voices and cultural happenings in our communities. Under the direction of the Executive Editor, journalists will create content that engages a wide multicultural, multigenerational audience and reflects the rich stories of Montgomery County’s diverse residents, regions, cultures, genres, arts practitioners, and their histories.​ Learn more.

Tuition-Free Workshop in Investigative Reporting Program at Berkeley
The Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley provides a two-day training course in September for independent documentary filmmakers to learn how to use investigative reporting tools to improve their storytelling efforts. The program is taught by investigative reporter, Lowell Bergman (former producer and reporter at 60 Minutes and the New York Times); filmmaker Dawn Porter, and others. In addition to the two days of training, participants are considered associates of the Investigative Reporting Program for a year and have access to mentoring from workshop faculty. The program is provided tuition free with travel and lodging covered. Yi went through the program with us in February and we are now accepting applications for our next class in September. The deadline to apply is June 15. Learn more.

Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University Hosts Classroom in the Wild This Summer
Larry Engel
(who teaches our Smartphone workshops) will be co-leading an "Extreme HD" program in Alaska from July 20-28 to provide individuals training and experience in outdoor filming. Participants will work with 4K cameras, drones, and underwater gear and will learn how to film hanging from towers, rocks, and ice, film and float cold water rivers, and learn how to stay safe in the wild. Learn 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 Summer Newsletter will be published in July. Deadline to submit updates for consideration is June 1.

Upcoming Funding, Lab, and Pitch Deadlines and Opportunities

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

May 15: Miller/Packan Film Fund

May 15: IDFA Bertha Fund

May 18: WIFV Seed Grant

June 1: DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Fellowship

June 1: Pacific Pioneer Fund

June 1: Filmmakers Without Borders

June 1: Redford Center Grants in Environmental Filmmaking

June 1: Kopkind/CID Summer Film Retreat

June 6: San Francisco Film Society Documentary Film Fund

June 12: Firelight Media Documentary Lab

June 15: Southern Filmmaker Grants

June 25: Chicken & Egg Pictures Accelerator Lab

July 12: National Endowment for the Arts ArtWorks

August 8: National Endowment for the Humanities Development Grants

August 8: National Endowment for the Humanities Production Grants

Rolling Deadlines

Sundance Documentary Fund
Fledgling Fund
The Bertha BRITDOC Documentary Journalism 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.

Required Viewing: Educators Share Their Top Five Docs for Students (Documentary Magazine)

Netflix and Amazon Aren’t Buying Documentaries, But the Non-Fiction Market Is Booming Anyway (Indiewire)

Observational films are outshone by a blend of fact and fiction (The Guardian)

FilmFreeway vs. Withoutabox: The war rages on (Film Daily)

How Do You Protect Your Film’s Subjects, Data, and Yourself in Unsafe Situations? (No Film School)

The Art of the Interview (Word Wizards)

Facebook Was Vital For Indie Filmmakers. Now Their Followers Are Held Hostage, and the Ransom Keeps Changing (Indiewire)

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?

May 9: Raising Funds For Your Films: Old School Fundraising vs. New Technologies (Silver Spring, MD)
May 10: Screening of HIT & STAY (Takoma Park, MD)
May 14: Documentary Roundtable: Production Insurance (Washington DC)
May 15 & 22: Strategies for Writing Non-Fiction Films (Silver Spring, MD)
May 16: Work-in-Progress Screening of BROOKLAND MANOR and BREAKING BARRIERS (Washington DC)
June 1: Peer Pitch South at the Southern Documentary Fund Convening (Durham, NC)
June 2: Cinematography for Documentaries (Silver Spring, MD)
June 7-28: Intro to Adobe Premiere Video Editing (Silver Spring, MD)
June 9-23: Advanced Smartphone Documentary Production Workshop (Silver Spring, MD)
June 13: Peer Pitch East (Silver Spring, MD)
June 14: Vintage Movie Night: Sex Education (Takoma Park, MD)
June 18-22: Summer Camp for Seniors: My Life on Video (Takoma Park, MD)
June 30: Legal Issues for Documentary Filmmakers (Silver Spring, MD)
July 9: Documentary Roundtable: How Filmmakers Can Engage with State & Local Policymakers (Washington DC)
July 14-21: Backpack Filmmaker Bootcamp (Silver Spring)
July 18: Investigative Journalism and Documentary (Silver Spring, MD)
July 19: Docs In The City: Identity with Grace Lee (Washington DC)

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. Learn more about us.