Summer 2017 Newsletter


Summer has been busy at Docs In Progress and the wider world of documentary: find out more about our new screening series, what alumni are up to, and check out upcoming funding deadlines, hot reads, and more...

Residency Reflections

Andre_Sign_Wow.jpgAndré Perez came to Docs In Progress for several weeks in June to progress with America In Transition, a documentary series about trans people of color. While at Docs In Progress, André attended the AFI DOCS Film Festival, gave a workshop on intersectional social justice documentary filmmaking, screened the first three episodes of the series at Busboys and Poets, and launched a Kickstarter campaign to help complete the next three episodes.

André also deepened important connections beyond the documentary world, as many trans activists were in town for meetings on Capitol Hill. Now back in his homebase of Chicago, André reflected on why the timing of being in DC couldn't have been better. Read more.

New Docs In The City Screening Series Gets Personal
As We Revisit an Iconic Documentary and Incubate a New Work-in-Progress

Docs_In_City_Image_Only.jpgDocs In The City, a unique new screening series which builds on our work to support emerging documentary talent while providing both professional development for filmmakers and engaging film fans by exploring the many genres and themes of documentary.

The series 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 filmmaker followed by a feedback session with the audience and the seasoned filmmaker as respondent. This will be followed by a new look at an iconic film by the seasoned filmmaker.

The series kicks off with a focus on personal documentary as we delve into the lives of two filmmakers and their families. The work-in-progress is Searching for My Jewish Soul, Bonnie Rich's light-hearted approach to a serious matter—convincing her millennial daughters to raise her unborn grandchildren Jewish. This will be followed by Doug Block’s acclaimed personal documentary 51 Birch Street which weaves together 60 years of footage in telling the tale of what can happen when our most fundamental assumptions about family are suddenly called into question. 

This program is made possible through the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the presenting partnership of the Washington Jewish Film Festival. Doug Block's participation is also made possible through the support of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Sunday, August 6 at the Edlavitch DCJCC (16th and Q Streets, NW in Washington DC). Searching for My Jewish Soul screens at 2:00 pm. 51 Birch Street screens at 4:00 pm. Tickets are $13.50 per film or $25 for both

Find out more.

Submit Your Film for Community Stories Festival

FilmFreewaySubmissionButton.pngNow heading into its seventh year, the Community Stories Festival is an annual film festival organized to spotlight stories from around the Washington Metropolitan area. In addition to showcasing works produced by youth and adults in our production classes and camps, we will also be showing short documentaries produced by other filmmakers from around the region.

If you have a short documentary which is about people, places, events, or history in Washington DC, Northern Virginia, or Suburban Maryland, please consider submitting. In fact, if you submit before our earlybird deadline on July 31, we are happy to waive your entry fee. Simply use Waiver Code DIPCS2017.

Find out more and submit.

Programs and Deadlines Coming Up From Docs In Progress



July 12 & 13 (Wednesday & Thursday): Webinar: Understanding the Film Festival Selection Process

July 15 (Saturday): Legal Issues in Documentary Production

SOLD OUT July 21–August 11 (Weekdays): Impacting the World Through Video Summer Camp

July 31: Earlybird Deadline to Submit Films for Community Stories Festival

August 5 (Saturday): Master Class in Producing with Doug Block

August 6 (Sunday): Docs In The City: Spotlight on Personal Documentaries

August 12 & 19 (Saturdays): Adobe Premiere Pro For Experienced Editors

August 14 (Monday): Documentary Roundtable Silver Spring: Trailer Night

August 17 (Thursday): Ethics in Documentary Filmmaking Workshop

August 25: Regular Deadline to Submit Films for Community Stories Festival

September 7–October 5 (Thursdays): Documentary Filmmaking from A to Z Class

September 16-November 4 (Saturdays): Intro to Documentary Production

September 30: Deadline to Apply for Docs In Progress Board of Directors

October 1: Deadline to Apply for Fiscal Sponsorship


So many exciting things to share from filmmakers in the Docs In Progress community. We are so proud of you all!

2017 Peer Pitch Alum Featured in Special Panel at March on Washington Film Festival July 15

Sullivision.jpgLess than a month after participating in our Peer Pitch program, Margo Precht Speciale and Suzanne Kay will present clips from their work-in-progress, Sullivision: Ed Sullivan and the Struggle for Civil Rights at the March on Washington Film Festiva. The film chronicles the story of the pioneering television host and his contribution to the civil rights movement. The filmmakers will participate in the panel which also includes actress Diahann Carroll and Dawndalyn R. Reece from the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. The panel takes place on Saturday, July 15 at 3 pm at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington DC. Find out more.

TV Premiere of Indivisible July 29 on Fuse
Indivisible will have its world television premiere on July 29 at 10 pm. The film is part of Fuse's #WeTheDreamers documentary series spotlighting young, idealistic and diverse subjects who overcome prejudice in their fight for inclusion and fairness. The film was developed through first-time director Hilary Linder's participation in the Docs In Progress Fellowship Program, and it is also fiscally sponsored by the organization. Find out more.

Deej.jpgDEEJ Heading to Festivals, Screening Tours, and America Reframed
You will have a number of opportunities to see Robert Rooy's long-awaited ITVS-supported documentary DEEJ this summer and fall. It will be featured at more than 50 screenings in 25 states, including film festivals (Woods Hole, DOCUTAH, and Real to Reel); two screening tours (Mid-Atlantic Arts On Screen/In Person and Southern Circuit); and an October 17 broadcast on  public television's World Channel series America ReFramed (Tuesday, October 17). For those of you in Washington DC who don't get America ReFramed, save the evening of Tuesday, September 26 when Docs In Progress will be co-sponsoring a screening of the film at the Atlas Theatre in Washington DC. The film was workshopped through Peer Pitch and a Work-in-Progress Screening, and is also fiscally sponsored by Docs In Progress. Find out more.

Samuel Barber: Absolute Beauty World Broadcast Premiere July 15
Docs In Progress teaching artist H. Paul Moon's feature-length documentary Samuel Barber: Absolute Beauty will receive its world broadcast premiere on PBS' Philadelphia affiliate WHYY-TV,  on Saturday, July 15 at 8:00 pm. The film about the composer best know for his Adagio for Strings, is also playing in festivals, and is available for purchase. Find out more. 


City of Trees Now on Netflix
The award-winning documentary film, City of Trees, which participated in a Docs In Progress focus group program, is now on Netflix! If you haven't yet seen the film, add it to watch list. If you have, support fellow filmmakers by rating and reviewing it. The Meridian Hill Pictures team has also released a Community Screening kit  for those who want to bring the film and conversation to your community. 

TransMilitary Headed to IFP's Documentary Lab 
Peer Pitch alum TransMilitary is one of ten projects selected for the IFP Documentary Lab The IFP Filmmaker Labs support first-time feature directors with projects in post-production as they complete, market and distribute their films, providing filmmakers with the technical, creative and strategic tools necessary to launch their films and careers. Find out more.

2018 Fellow Yi Chen Featured in Article about Chinatown
After the documentary Chinatown: A Changing Neighborhood screened at the DC Ideas Fest in May, Greater Greater Washington spoke with director Yi Chen about her experience working with the residents at Wah Luck House and Museum Square to preserve affordable housing in Chinatown and the challenges facing the community. Read the full article.

Kol Hanashim Inspires Extended Dialogue With Launch of Our Voices Project
Expanding on the themes of the work-in-progress documentary, Kol Hanashim, a film which explores cultural integration in the U.S. through the lens of Orthodox Jewish women, the Our Voices Project brings people of different backgrounds together for dialogue, guided reflection and an interactive arts project. The film is part of Docs In Progress Fiscal Sponsorship Program and was developed through director Yisrael Welcher's participation in our Fellowship  Find out more.

Exotic Now Streaming on Amazon 
Exotic continues to garner press coverage and screenings across the country and is now streaming on Amazon. It will also be featured in Feministing, Maximum Rock and Roll, and Bitch. The film was workshopped through our Work-in-Progress Screening program and director Amy Oden's participation in the Fellowship.

Roar of a Lion Cub Gets Funding
2015 Peer Pitch alum Martina Radwan's work-in-progress Roar of a Lion Club has received funding from the New York State Arts Council and the AmDocs Fund.

2017 Best Indigenous Film Award for Ice Cream Man
If you attended our March alumni showcase screening in Takoma Park, you had a chance to see Rebecca Drobis's Ice Cream Man which tells the story of young entrepreneurship ad hope on a Montana Indian Reservation. The documentary short recently won the Flathead Lake International Cinema Festival's 2017 Best Indigenous Film Award.  This video is a part of Rebecca's Grown Up West Project.

In Lorton's Darkroom Receives Spotlight Documentary Film Award
Congratulations to former Fellow and current Fiscal Sponsoree Karen Ruckman whose documentary short In Lorton's Darkroom was recognized by the international film competition Spotlight Documentary Film Award with a 2017 Gold Award. The film has also been selected to screen at the Art of Recovery Film Festival Florida.

Cheers of JOY Accepted to Multiple Festivals
Nancy Frohman and Goldendoodle Productions are proud to announce that Cheers of JOY:The Road to the Special Olympics World Games has been selected for the Impact DOCS awards and is a semi-finalist in the Austin Revolution Film Festival. The Virginia International Film and Music Festival honored this Roundtable alum with inclusion in its Artist Circle. Find out more.

Bill Doorley Film Receives Award at 2017 Neuro Film Fest
Frame_Warden_Interview_(2).jpgA five minute short The Remarkable Journey of Dr. Warden, has won in the category "Why I think neuroscience is essential" in the 2017 Neuro Film Festival. Produced by Peer Pitch alum Bill Doorley, the film chronicles how a neurologist and psychiatrist, is managing her life with primary lateral sclerosis. Stay tuned for the full-length documentary which is on track for completion this fall.

Alums: Don't be left out! Send your news via our new online form. The Fall Newsletter will be published the first week of October. Deadline for submissions is September 22.


DX2017.pngDouble Exposure Investigative Film Festival and Symposium October 19-22
Double Exposure (DX) Investigative Film Festival and Symposium 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. Passes are now available for the third edition of DX in Washington DC, October 19-22. Docs in Progress members receive a 15% discount on passes using the code DX17DIP.  
Find out more.

Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival In Search of New Director of Film Programs
If you have the chops to manage a year-round film program, including the spring Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival, the Sebastopol Center for the Arts in Sonoma County, California is looking for a new Director of Film Programs. Just a little more than an hour north of the Bay Area, this is an opportunity to continue to develop Sebastopol as destination for filmmakers and film lovers. Find out more

Women in Film and Video DC Master Class Series on The Business Side of Media
DC-area media powerhouse Linda Maslow is offering a master class series for those who are starting a business in media - whether you are hiring others or are a one-person freelance shop. The next session in this series takes place July 25 about getting your office in order, marketing and launching your brand. Find out more.

Virginia Historical Society Free Screening July 20
As part of the Created Equal Film Series, the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond will host a free screening of Here's to Flint, a documentary about the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan followed by a discussion with an academic from Virginia Tech's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech who served as Communications Director for the team of researchers who conducted the Flint water study. Find out more.

Check out our calendar of upcoming documentary film screenings and events in the Washington DC Metro area at


We love to feature updates from our fellow film organizations. Send us your updates, announcements or deadlines via our new online form. The Fall Newsletter will be published the first week of October. Deadline for submissions is September 22.


The D-Word Hosts Special Topic on IDA Enterprise Documentary Development Fund
From Wednesday, July 12-Friday, July 14, professional members of The D-Word can participate in a discussion with Carrie Lozano, Director of the IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund. She will discuss this brand new fund and specifically the Development Grant, which is currently accepting proposals through the end of the month. The IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund provides development funds to documentary film projects taking on in-depth explorations of original, contemporary stories which integrate journalistic practice into the filmmaking process. Inclusion and diversity, both in terms of the filmmaking team and subject matter, are a priority of the fund. The development grant period is open until the end of July and the fund will make development grants up to $15,000. The fund is for project applicants who are either US Citizens or Permanent Residents, but the subject of the film can be domestic or international. The final format of the work is open–short, feature, series, VR or other emerging format.
Learn more about the application guidelines

Check out the Special Topic on The D-Word (professional members only - it's free to join)

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

July 10: Chicken and Egg Accelerator Lab

July 12: Points North Fellowship

July 12: Points North Institute Shortform Editing Residency

July 14: Firelight Media Documentary Lab

July 28: ITVS Open Call

July 28: IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund Development Grant

July 28: Mountainfilm Commitment Grant

July 31: Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund

July 31: Southern Documentary Film Fund

August 3: Visions Sud Est Fund

August 4: Tribeca Film Institute IF/Then Short Documentary Program

August 9: NEH Media Development Grants

August 9: NEH Media Production Grants

August 15: The Alter-Ciné Foundation

August 18: Hot Docs: Blue Ice Group Documentary Development and/or Production Fund

Rolling Deadlines
Sundance Documentary Fund
Fledgling Fund
HotDocs Ted Rogers 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:


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.

Notes on Bad Documentaries (Or, Can a Documentary Be So Bad It’s Good?) (Filmmaker Magazine)

The Joys of the Regional Festival: Why You Should Attend Small Market Festivals (And How to Pick Out the Great Ones) (MovieMaker)

Why Nonprofits Should Stop Supporting Film Production — Opinion (IndieWire)

10 Production-Saving Tips for Filming in Remote Locations (No Film School)

Contemplating the Cut: Takeaways and Tips for Documentary Editors (POV)

In the Mix: A Practical Guide to Navigating the Post-Production Audio Process (Documentary Magazine)

‘Weiner,’ ‘Life, Animated’ Disqualified From 2017 Emmys Race (Variety)

 The American Black Film Festival and Lightbox Announce Partnership to Foster Diversity in Documentary Filmmaking (CSRWire)

 How to Promote Your Film on Social Media Without Being Annoying (No Film School)

Oregon Doc Camp: A Weekend in the Woods with Documentary Filmmakers (Filmmaker Magazine)

What Amazon and Netflix’s Demand for 4K Means for Documentaries (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:

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: