Advocating For BIPOC Women And Non-Binary Professionals Working In The Global Documentary Film Industry
BGDM works year round to enrich our community and advocate on behalf of our members, and to shift the homogenous culture and power of the documentary field. Our Artist Support programs sustain members and their careers through grantmaking, skill-building and mentorship. Our Community Programs connect members to each other and industry opportunities. Our Advocacy and Impact Program is a key component of transforming the documentary landscape to achieve our vision.
BGDM Black Directors Fellowship
The BGDM Black Directors Fellowship, seeded by the Bertha Foundation, brings greater visibility, resources, creative enrichment, and professional development to Black members working as directors, and to help propel their projects forward. This year-long fellowship aims to support projects that are steeped in the Black experience, and whose director’s craft, storytelling ability, and unique point of view reflects and uplifts Black narratives or perspectives. Each round, five projects directed by Black BGDM members at any career level are selected.
This Fellowship is made possible with the support of The Bertha Foundation.
BGDM Sustainable Artist Fellowship
The BGDM Sustainable Artist Fellowship enables members working as directors, producers, editors, and cinematographers to have the financial stability, industry relationships, and professional resources it takes to have a long term career. This year-long fellowship aims to support filmmakers at a turning point in their career and to embolden their creative practice or professional development. These artists present unique points of view through a demonstrated artistic purpose and have the great potential to contribute to a shifting documentary field. Each round, five BGDM members at any career level are selected.
This Fellowship is made possible with the support of Catapult Film Fund and National geographic Documentary Films.
Feedback Loop is a multi-week program that pairs member projects with two creative consultants and/or industry advisors in complementary fields to provide in-depth feedback in an informed, direct, and holistic manner that centers members’ creative development and emotional well-being. We offer two sections of the program: Editing & Festival Prep, and Grant Writing & Producing. Feedback Loop was created as a response to the lack of transparency in the funding and festival acceptance processes within the industry. Its aim is to help our members improve their skills, and to help make their projects more competitive for funding, festival, and distribution opportunities.
Mafia Mastermind is a peer-to-peer incubator that engages members in intimate discussions about their careers, creative plans, and holistic goals. In this multi-week, facilitator-led program, members share their growth processes, skills, contacts, and insider knowledge while offering each other support and accountability. This program was created to disrupt the isolation, tokenism, and neglect that often discourages BIPOC creatives and professionals from pursuing careers in the film industry.
Private Online Community
Housed on Mighty Networks, BGDM’s new private social network replaces the longstanding Facebook Group as a dedicated space for dialogue, knowledge-sharing, and connection. Community building is at our core because we know these relationships are the seeds that will sow greater change in the documentary industry. Our nurturing community seeks to provide a sense of belonging, purpose, safety, and strength. Members can develop their careers and projects in a supportive environment where they exchange invaluable resources, hold critical conversations, find jobs, hire each other, get feedback, and learn new skills.
Festival Access & Visibility Initiative
The Festival Access & Visibility initiative enables members to attend and navigate film festivals and industry conferences while in community with each other. These are the spaces where relationships are made, ideas are developed, and potential partners are identified, so it’s crucial that our members are “in the room”. Access includes travel stipends, discounted passes, subsidized housing, and invitations to networking events. For visibility, we create a public guide of participating members and those with projects in the festival called Meet the Members and distribute it to attending industry stakeholders.
The BGDM Member Directory is a public tool for finding thousands of diverse, multilingual filmmakers and industry stakeholders at every level to track, hire, collaborate with, and invest in. It’s searchable by profession, experience level, geography, languages spoken, and other identity demographics. Launched in response to #OscarsSoWhite and the summer of 2020’s "reckoning on race" in the film industry, the Member Directory aims to make our members more visible and accessible, and to provide a powerful resource to anyone who wants to ensure that this field is diverse, equitable, just, and inclusive.
ADVOCACY & IMPACT
Community at BGDM often turns to collective activism. When instances of injustice arise for one of us they usually speak to the greater injustices happening to many of us. As an organization we join in the solidarity of these calls to action, and find ways to support our members in challenging and calling for industry wide structural changes.
In the Fall of 2021, we launched the BGDM Jobs Portal. This critical resource is a space where the industry and members alike can post verified jobs, available exclusively to our community. Opportunities range from full time salaried positions to short-term contracts, and includes access to funding, grants, retreats, labs, and professional development training. BGDM is looking to expand its offerings to support our communities' professional development and well-being, as well as increase diversity and representation within the nonfiction field.
Pay Transparency Project
In partnership with The Video Consortium, The Pay Transparency Project (PTP) was launched at the 2022 Gotham Week. PTP is a tool that offers nonfiction video professionals insight into current industry compensations and parity practices. The initiative grew out of a desire by our collective communities to further move the documentary and nonfiction video fields towards greater equity, justice, inclusion and transparency. It is our hope that over time this resource will benefit early-career individuals in building their rates, as well as veterans who may be transitioning from full-time to freelance work. Department heads or recruiters who are looking to formalize standards will also contribute to a more equitable and sustainable industry by utilizing this database.