We’re so excited to announce the Creative and Industry Advisors for the second section this year of our Feedback Loop program. This iteration will focus on Grant Writing & Producing for members with projects in development or in the early stages of production, to be paired with a consulting producer and a grant writer.
BGDM's Feedback Loop program aims to help members take greater leaps towards their project goals by providing them with in-depth feedback and strategy planning directly from the advisors. The program runs in three different sections: Editing & Festival Preparation, Grant Writing & Producing, and Audience Building & Impact. This is the second time BGDM has offered this program to members, with the last time being 2019.
Joanne Butcher - Grant Writer and Consultant
Cecilia R. Mejia - Grant Writer, Nonprofit Consultant and Social Impact Producer
Dana Merwin - Former Program Officer in the Grants Department at the International Documentary Association (IDA)
Amanda Spain - Producer with over 15 years experience in both feature and series docs (Pray Away; Krimes; On the Divide; Bathtubs Over Broadway).
Lisa Valencia-Svensson - Emmy-winning documentary producer (Pray Away; Call Center Blues; Always In Season).
Lindsey Dryden - Film director, producer and writer (Lost and Sound; Trans in America).
Selected Projects & Filmmakers
STANDING ABOVE THE CLOUDS | AMBER ESPINOSA-JONES
When the world’s largest telescope is set to be built on their sacred mountain, Mauna Kea, three Native Hawaiian families dedicate their lives to defending it. Standing Above the Clouds follows Pua, Mehana, Leina’ala and their daughters as they face the complexities of raising their families while putting their bodies on the line to protect their revered and divine mountain.
COEXISTENCE, MY ASS! | AMBER FARES
Noam Shuster — an activist-turned-comedian known for her viral satire in English, Hebrew, Arabic, and Farsi — crafts a daring act out of the wild and wonderful identities she embodies. About to make it big on the U.S. stand-up circuit, the Coronavirus hits, sending her back to Israel/Palestine — the conflict-ridden nest she was trying to flee. Forced to contend with her personal, political and professional demons, both on and off stage, Noam resolves to put her humor to good use by demanding equity and justice for everyone living between the river and the sea — one joke at a time.
WHAT IS NOT YOURS IS NOT YOURS | ARIELLE KNIGHT
What is Not Yours, Is Not Yours is a debut feature documentary from filmmaker Arielle Knight. The film takes audiences on a journey to locate the collection of valuable cultural artifacts stolen from the Kingdom of Benin (present-day Nigeria) during the 19th century colonial wars on the African continent and untangle the complex web of interests involved in their restitution and return.
UNTITLED MUSCOGEE NATION DOCUMENTARY | BECCA LANDSBERRY
When the Muscogee Nation suddenly begins censoring their free press, a rogue reporter fights to expose her government’s corruption in a historic battle that will have ramifications for all of Indian Country.
EXODUS STORIES: VOICES FROM THE CARAVAN | ILSE FERNANDEZ
Escape, journey, hope. A dangerous 2,600 mile mass exodus to a promised land where a border separates a Central American nightmare from the American dream. Through intimate access, Exodus Stories follows three immigrants fleeing threats and violence as they journey on the migrant caravan through Mexico towards an uncertain future once they reach the U.S. border to seek refuge and asylum.
THE LONG RESCUE | JENNIFER HUANG
The Long Rescue follows Filipina teen sex trafficking survivors for five years as they recover in a secret shelter and re-enter the world, hoping to overcome the poverty, predators, and pimps of their childhood. Full of dreams but still bearing the wounds of the past, the girls must transform their understanding of themselves to be truly free.
I OF THE WATER: THE UNWRITTEN LIFE OF SIA FIGIEL | KIMBERLEE BASSFORD
Sia Figiel was the first Pacific Islander to write about Samoan girls, and her internationally-acclaimed novels broke silence on taboos such as sexual abuse, violence and suicide. But while bold and open on paper, Sia struggles with a secret shame she has carried since she was nine. It will take traversing a continent, an ocean, her own memories and even the specter of death before she is ready to speak this shame and in doing so reframe societal notions of abuse, trauma and healing.
DANCE TO THE BEAT | PRIS NZIMIRO-NWANAH
Afro-dance culture, now embraced widely by the world, is explored from its roots to the streets and its biggest channel of reception: social media.
THE SOURCE OF LIFE (TE PUNA ORA) | RIHAM EZZALDEEN
As the climate crisis threatens Tahiti, an alliance of women embarks on a sacred journey to protect their island home by declaring the Ocean Bill of Rights.
PRIS NZIMIRO-NWANAH | SOPHIE SCHRAGO
In the heart of Mumbai, Khatoon has founded the first Women’s Sharia Court despite fierce opposition from within her community. Every day, she welcomes couples in crisis and sometimes guides their separation.
AN EDUCATION | SORYA SÉLÈNE
An Education explores a crossroads we are facing in education. It is my story as a single mother on a journey across America, exploring education in this disruptive moment and providing experiential learning to my children, while seeking answers to family mysteries and healing childhood trauma. As I commune with other BIPOC families at similar crossroads, those most impacted by the pandemic and failing public school systems, efforts to pave new ways for decolonized models of education will emerge.
SUSY | SUZETTE BURTON
A self-made Brooklyn hair stylist, Susan Oludele creates colorful authentic hairstyles, leading the anti hair discrimination movement. While exploring the intersections between modern and ancient African tribal indigineous hairstyles, she inspires Black people to embrace their natural hair worldwide.
UNTITLED CON COMEDY FILM | TIFFANY JUDKINS
After serving hard time, a group of ex-cons have twelve weeks to create side-splitting comedy routines that help them reckon with their traumatic pasts — one punchline at a time. But when COVID hits and the stage lights go down, will they find a way to keep laughing and their lives on track?
MADE IN ETHIOPIA | XINYAN YU
The biggest Chinese industrial park in Ethiopia provides tens of thousands of much-needed jobs for the country's impoverished youth. But can its flamboyant Chinese female director, Motto, steer the park through worker unrest, political upheaval, the painful relocation of farmers and a global pandemic? Young Ethiopian assembly line worker Beti and farmer Wakinesh have staked their future on the prosperity China promises, but is it a future they really want?
TOGETHER | YASMIN MISTRY
In an effort to reconcile her tumultuous childhood, a Vietnamese-American woman sets out to discover her family history. Through this journey, she uncovers an older sister living in Vietnam and a legacy of childhood abuse that leaves her grappling with one question: how do you heal when you don’t know the truth?