News

Ayesha Curry Inks Deal

…With Endemol Shine North America

TV and social media personality, best-selling author and chef Ayesha Curry has signed an exclusive deal with Endemol Shine North America. Under the pact, the studio will develop original unscripted content with Curry and Flutie Entertainment’s Yardie Girl Productions for Curry to both appear in and also executive produce. In addition, Endemol Shine North America will work in conjunction with Flutie Entertainment, supplementing its work on licensing and brand partnerships for Curry.

Curry, who has redefined the content distribution model and has millions of social media followers, is set to co-host ABC’s upcoming season of The Great American Baking Show and hosts her own series, Ayesha’s Home Kitchen, on Food Network.

“Ayesha is re-defining the way audiences connect with celebrities, brands and content and we’re thrilled to have her joining the Endemol Shine family,” said Sharon Levy, President, Unscripted and Scripted Television, Endemol Shine North America. “We’re already developing a number of potentially ground-breaking projects with Ayesha to front and we’re collaborating with her to executive produce others with our team.”

“From the very first meeting I knew that Endemol Shine was a great fit for me,” says Curry. “I believe that in today’s media landscape, we can create and distribute content on multiple platforms, while remaining fresh and relevant. Endemol Shine North America CEO Cris Abrego and Sharon Levy openly supported my vision of being able to push limits and be on multiple platforms and their creative spirit and enthusiasm made me feel comfortable and at home.”

Flutie Entertainment discovered Curry through her local Bay Area access show, Cooking with the Currys, and has been serving as her management firm since 2014.

Curry, who has had a life-long interest in food and is a self-taught chef, was encouraged by her husband to start a blog that parlayed itself into a YouTube channel and ultimately into TV and book deals. Curry also recently launched her own meal kit company, Homemade, and her line of cookware is now available at Target stores and will be released at retailers nationwide next month.

Her restaurant International Smoke, in partnership with Michelin-starred chef Michael Mina, has locations in Waikiki, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Curry, who is the mother of two daughters, Riley and Ryan, and married to NBA superstar Stephen Curry, was announced as one of CoverGirl’s newest brand ambassadors in September. For her first role as the newest CoverGirl, Curry will be starring in a national campaign that launches in October.

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New Initiatives for diversifying Hollywood

Tuesday, Mar 22, 2016 02:35 PM CST
Justin Lin: If we want more diversity in Hollywood, “the general public has to demand it”
The “Fast & Furious” director’s plan to support Asian American artists is one of several new diversity programs
Paula Young Lee

In 2016, the fact that Hollywood made a sequel to #OscarsSoWhite has energized longstanding conversations regarding systemic racism and sexism in the entertainment industry. In its wake: a rash of new initiatives aimed at diversifying television, film, and theater. As the squeaky wheels of progress turn inside the Hollywood machine, a few film directors are doing their part to pull it into the 21st century.

Director Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) founded the film distribution collective, Array, and hired women and people of color for the currently-filming production of the OWN network television series “Queen Sugar.” “Star Trek: A New Hope” director J.J. Abrams’s production company, Bad Robot, will henceforth require that women and people of color be submitted for writing, directing and acting jobs in proportion to their representation in the U.S. population. A new non-profit, We Do It Together, aims to finance and produce films, documentaries, TV and other forms of media that will challenge stereotypes regarding women, and its advisory board includes directors Catherine Hardwicke, Hany Abu-Assad, Amma Asante, Marielle Heller, Katia Lund, Małgorzata Szumowska, and Haifaa Al Mansour, among others.

In 2010, YouoffendmeYouoffendmyFamily (YOMYOMF), the Asian-centric blog and entertainment website founded by director Justin Lin (“Fast and Furious” series, currently filming “Star Trek Beyond”) initiated a competition, “Interpretations,” which asked aspiring Asian-American filmmakers to develop and shoot a 3-minute short around a four-line script. A resounding success, it is being run again this year, with a script written by Tony-award winning playwright David Henry Hwang. The four lines are:

Don’t do that.
Of course.
I have my doubts.
What is it?

(Confused? Here is a funny example of how it works.) The winners get the opportunity to craft a project for the initiative’s lead sponsors, Comcast and NBC Universal (NBCU).

In a recent interview, Lin told me the more the public gets behind these works and artists—both in front of and behind the camera—the more we’ll see things start to change.

“After I made ‘Better Luck Tomorrow’ and started taking meetings in Hollywood, I quickly learned that Asian Americans weren’t even in the conversation as a minority, since there wasn’t even a significant enough audience, and especially an audience for Asian American content,” he said. “I think it’s changing now with shows like ‘Dr. Ken,’ ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ and ‘Master of None,’ but obviously when we look at the film side, there’s still a lot to be done.”

“Interpretations” is the first initiative for the nonprofit YOMYOMF Foundation, which supports Asian American talent, and more programs are on the way. Lin says he started the foundation because he knows talented artists are out there, they just need opportunity and mentorship.

“I’m the child of immigrants. My Taiwanese parents came to America with no money and supported my brothers and me as small business owners in Orange County, which is close to L.A. but about as far away from Hollywood as you can be. I didn’t know anyone in the industry, but had a great deal of people help me along in my path,” said Lin. “I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but feel incredibly lucky to be in the position I am now and to be able to play a small part in trying to support talented, aspiring young filmmakers out there through a program like ‘Interpretations’ who, like me, had the desire and passion, but no connections to the industry.”

Lin also says if we want to see more diversity in film, “the general public has to demand it.”

“It’s about supporting the many talented artists and filmmakers out there trying to create work from that marginalized point of view,” he said. “Go out and buy tickets to their movies and plays, support their crowd sourcing campaigns, show the industry that there is a viable audience for this work.”

The pronounced under-representation of Asian-Americans in the entertainment industry has not gone unremarked. The Asian American Arts Alliance of New York, for example, just announced the launch of a new theater fellowship aimed at supporting young artists and directors of Asian descent by providing them with a stipend, mentorship, and other forms of support. When marginalized groups have limited access to opportunity, it shows up in various ways, including the ongoing drama of #OscarsSoWhite. As the Economist explains:

Oscar nominations have not dramatically under-represented black actors. Instead, they have greatly over-represented white ones. Blacks are 12.6% of the American population, and 10% of Oscar nominations since 2000 have gone to black actors. But just 3% of nominations have gone to their Hispanic peers (16% of the population), 1% to those with Asian backgrounds, and 2% to those of other heritage.

Given that Asians are not only are 60 percent of the world’s total population but Asian-Americans are also the highest income and fastest growing racial group in the U.S., it is statistically improbable that they are barely a blip at the entertainment industry’s most prestigious award ceremony.

YOMYOMF announced the second “Interpretations” competition this past weekend at the annual film fest organized by the Center for Asian-American Media in San Francisco. CAAM Fest, explains YOMYOMF creative director Phil Chung, “has been supportive of Justin from the very beginning when he came here with his UCLA feature, ‘Shopping for Fangs’,“ and so there has been a longstanding connection between Lin and the organization. “Seeing the packed 1,400 seat Castro Theater for CAAMFest’s opening night,” Chung tells me, “was a visceral reminder that there is a huge audience out there hungry for Asian American content–stories by, for and about our communities.”

 

A few television executives have already figured out that this audience is out there. Karen Horne is Senior Vice President of Programming Talent Development & Inclusion for NBC Entertainment and Universal Television. For many years, she explains, Comcast and NBC Universal have supported CAAM Fest, so partnering with “Interpretations” was a natural segue. The company’s diversity push (opportunities linked here) date back to 2000, when NBC “initiated a diverse staff writer initiative that has given start to many people like Mindy Kaling, Alan Yang, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel and many, many more,” she emphasizes. “Our initiatives go far beyond my department as well. It is company-wide and is a part of our DNA.” The winners of “Interpretations” will be featured at NBCU’s Short Film Festival finale in October.

Horne couldn’t promise me that NBC Universal would pick up where ABC left off and build a new comedy around John Cho, of the late, lamented sitcom “Selfie,” but did affirm that casting for new shows under development is “still underway, and I’m enthusiastic that this year, we will see more diversity across the board.”

The key phrase is diversity across the board. When all the other factors are taken into account, the tiny number of Asians in popular media is especially egregious, but Natives and people of Middle Eastern descent are so marginalized they often don’t even get mentioned in “diversity” conversations. The point is that Lin, DuVernay, Abrams and other directors are implementing their convictions, taking financial risks, and using their focused spheres of influence to change cultural perceptions. The result? Great visual storytelling and fantastic entertainment. Let’s demand more of this.
Paula Young Lee is the author of “Deer Hunting in Paris,” winner of the 2014 Lowell Thomas “Best Book” award of the Society of American Travel Writers. She is currently writing outdoor adventure books for middle grade and young adults. Follow her on Twitter @paulayounglee

Workshops to Increase Diversity

Warner Bros. Launches Directors Workshop for Underrepresented Directors

Women and Hollywood By Laura Berger | Women and HollywoodMarch 14, 2016 at 12:00PM

"Wonder Woman"
“Wonder Woman”

Last year, a study conducted by the Los Angeles Times revealed that, among the major studios, Warner Bros. hired the least women directors. An embarrassing claim to fame, period, but especially in light of the increasing number of headline-dominating conversations about gender in Hollywood. The studio behind Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” is taking a step towards making their company more inclusive by launching a program for new and underrepresented directors.

The Warner Bros. Emerging Filmmaker Workshop is a nine-month intensive fellowship program where the aspiring directors will have a chance to hone their skills and talent. They’ll be partnered with Warner Bros. executive mentors who will guide them throughout the film production process. At the end of the program, the filmmakers will unveil their work in a film festival on the Warner’s lot. Attendees will include agents and executives from the industry.

This year’s fellowship will include five filmmakers, and each of their budgets will be around $100,000.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that, according to the studio, “the program is designed to recreate the features production process on a micro level. The workshop will have participants pitch, write or work with a screenwriter and develop a script for a short film (3-10 minutes). Once they have a final script, filmmakers will work with physical production to prep, create a budget, cast, shoot on the lot and edit with a full post-production process. The studio will cover all production costs and salary for filmmakers for the duration of the Workshop.”

This sounds like an amazing opportunity for burgeoning filmmakers who need a foot in the door.

“We wanted to have more diverse voices; it’s a better way to connect with our diverse audience and with the world,” said Greg Silverman, president, creative development and worldwide production, Warner Bros. Pictures. He then acknowledged the fact that structural inequality affects the hiring process, and explained how the program aims to address this issue: “There were logjams way down the line before we even saw people.We wanted to start at the first step and give people a leg up, to address the system holistically.”

To be clear, the Warner Bros. Emerging Directors Workshop is not for women exclusively (unlike the recent class of the Fox Global Directors Initiative). In this case underrepresented seems to refer to both gender and race. People of color are of course underrepresented behind the camera, particularly women of color, and we applaud any efforts to increase the number of women of color directors.

This is important for many reasons, especially the fact that when an underrepresented director is at the helm of a film or a scripted episode on television the diversity onscreen increases 17.5% (according to new research from USC Annenberg’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative).

[via The Hollywood Reporter]

Sci-Fi is for Women of Color too!

International Women’s Day 2016

International Women’s Day: 29 inspiring women in film

To celebrate International Women’s Day, writers from across the BFI nominate great women both in front of and behind the camera whose work they admire.

Updated: 12 November 2015

Clockwise from top left: Maya Deren, Samira Makhmalbaf, Lucille Ball, Thelma Schoonmaker, Whoopi Goldberg and Julie Harris

Clockwise from top left: Maya Deren, Samira Makhmalbaf, Lucille Ball, Thelma Schoonmaker, Whoopi Goldberg and Julie Harris

Jane Arden (1927-82)

Can it be that the 1970s only recorded one instance of a woman solo directing a British feature film? Sue Clayton made The Song of the Shirt in 1979 and Laura Mulvey made Riddles of the Sphinx in 1977, but both worked collaboratively (with Jonathan Curling and Peter Wollen respectively). Sally Potter’s Thriller appeared in 1979, but its short duration presents no challenge to Jane Arden’s anarchic and brutal The Other Side of the Underneath (1972).

Jane Arden

Jane Arden

That alone singles her out as an extraordinary talent, but there’s so much more: she co-wrote 1955’s ITV comedy Curtains for Harry with Dick Lester; gave Charles Laughton his final role, and Albert Finney his first, in her 1958 play The Party; refused to let Salvador Dalí bully her in Dalí in New York (1966); starred with Harold Pinter in a BBC adaptation of Sartre’s Huis Clos (1964); authored the anti-psychiatry-infused prose-poetry volume You Don’t Know What You Want, Do You? (1978); and wrote and sang the disconcerting theme song to her collaborative film Anti-Clock (1979). It’s impossible to say what else she would have done had she not taken her own life at the age of 55.

Sam Dunn

Lucille Ball (1911-89)

Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball

Her hair was red and curly, and her lips over-painted, but Lucille Ball was no ordinary clown. As Lucy Ricardo in I Love Lucy, she elevated the American sitcom housewife to an almost Beckettian figure: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” And, in her various schemes to join the nightclub act fronted by Ricky Ricardo (her on-screen husband played by her then husband Desi Arnaz), she failed hilariously.

Aged 15, Ball was so anxious that she was asked to leave the John Murray Anderson-Robert Milton Dramatic School after a term. However, with supporters such as Edward Sedgwick and Buster Keaton, she would become one of television’s biggest stars in the pioneering I Love Lucy. She was not only a gifted physical comedian but also the first female Hollywood studio president of the sound era. We have her Desilu Studios to thank for Star Trek.

Adrienne Rashbrook-Cooper

Joy Batchelor (1914-91)

Joy Batchelor’s pioneering career as an animator, director, designer and producer in British animation makes her an inspirational figure. Her achievements are often overshadowed by the presence of her life and business partner John Halas, but the company they founded together, Halas & Batchelor, was founded on their mutual strengths.

Joy Batchelor

Joy Batchelor

Joy defined the look of Britain’s biggest animation studio of the 1940s and 1950s, and provided its voice through her scripts and storyboards. The background characters in New Town (1948) remind me of favourite New Yorker cartoonists of the period, or the more modern renderings of such styles by Seth. The vast majority of her career was in the field of sponsored filmmaking, adding to her relative obscurity, but her centenary year will hopefully mark a rediscovery of her life and work as it is explored and celebrated through the remarkable efforts of her daughter Vivien.

Jez Stewart

Leigh Brackett (1915-78)

The screenwriter and sci-fi and detective fiction novelist Leigh Brackett had her big break in Hollywood in the mid-1940s after the director Howard Hawks hired her to work on the adaptation of The Big Sleep (1946), on the strength of her punchy dialogue. Famously he called her agent thinking that Leigh was a ‘he’ only to discover the truth on meeting: “In walked a rather attractive girl who looked like she had just come in from a tennis match. She looked as if she wrote poetry. But she wrote like a man.”

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep (1946), co-written by ‘this guy Brackett’ 

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep (1946), co-written by ‘this guy Brackett’ 

Brackett was a big fan of muscular writers such as Hemingway, Chandler and Hammett and was to end up as a respected writer in the male-dominated genre that interested her. Crucially, she also put tough-talking female characters like herself in the scripts she wrote for Hawks, whether Vivian Regan (Lauren Bacall) in The Big Sleep or Feathers (Angie Dickinson) in Rio Bravo (1959). Her brilliant career lasted into the 1970s with her final two films, The Long Goodbye (1973) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980), ensuring her a place in the pantheon.

Lizzie Francke

Catherine Breillat (1948-)

Catherine Breillat

Catherine Breillat

The films of writer, director and non-straightforward feminist Catherine Breillat have had a huge impact on me; even today, whenever I rewatch any of them, I still feel she is talking directly to me and explaining some of the things that matter most in intimate relationships. Her films are a rage against conventional ideas of sexuality, eroticism, pornography and obscenity. Her depictions of female sexual awakening, desire and sense of guilt are unique, poetic, honest, shocking and unforgettable.

My favourites are 36 Fillette (1988), in which a rebellious 14-year-old girl on a family holiday in Biarritz agonises over whether to have sex for the first time with an older guy, and À ma soeur (2001), about two teenage sisters’ contrasting experiences of losing their virginity. The sexual encounters experienced  by the characters are brutally realistic, and full of unexpected and complex meanings. Given society’s concern with the influence of pornography on adolescents, it seems to me her films are more relevant than ever, and offer the perfect way to initiate a modern conversation on matters of desire.

Marijose de Esteban

Maya Deren (1917-61)

Kiev-born filmmaker Maya Deren was one of the most influential members of the surrealist and poetic avant-garde film group in 1940s American culture. She belongs to a generation of avant-garde filmmakers who were poets and writers, including Sidney Peterson, Jonas Mekas and Willard Maas. Her now classic debut film Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) is a daring work evoking psychodrama and our many selves.

Maya Deren

Maya Deren

A journalist for much of her career, Deren was also a dancer, lecturer and photographer concerned with the social value of documentary film. With André Breton, John Cage, Anaïs Nin and Marcel Duchamp in her social circle, she experimented with naturalistic sound cinema, montage structure and the camera’s ability to capture reality. Despite her short life, Deren produced a diverse body of work moving from psychodrama to ethnographic film. Her camera-eye-vision in Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti (1977) is an influential study of Caribbean dance and magic. A relentless promoter and distributor of experimental filmmaking, Deren promoted avant-garde cinema through her writings, lectures and films and she directly inspired a new generation of boundary-pushing filmmakers including Kenneth Anger and Stan Brakhage.

Georgia Korossi

Jihan El-Tahri (1962-)

Jihan El-Tahri

Jihan El-Tahri

Our screening of Jihan El-Tahri’s Cuba: An African Odyssey (2007) gave rise to the title for the on-going BFI Southbank strand African Odysseys. This rich and far-reaching tale of Cuba’s involvement in the anti-colonial struggle of African nations combined analysis and insight with an instinctive ability to select and transform archive, while turning it into a fresh, coherent and compelling narrative film. It delighted and inspired the audience and indeed so popular was the film that we had to follow up with a repeat screening. Jihan’s work next appeared at the 53rd BFI London Film Festival with a study of the post-apartheid South Africa ANC Government, Behind the Rainbow (2009). She has also made films about the Middle East, including House of Saud (2004).

Jihan gave a moving and spirited contribution to a panel about Tahrir Square at the beginning of our BFI Arab cinema strand last November, declaring herself an Egyptian but also an African woman and expressing her determination to tell the stories that relate to this region. In person she’s as knowledgeable and as articulate as her films and has a wicked sense of humour. When we spoke in November she was working, defiantly in the face of the political turmoil and oppression in Egypt, to complete an ambitious documentary film history of modern Egypt (Egypt’s Last Pharoahs), which we await with much expectation.

David Somerset

Mary Field (1896-1968)

If there’s one great unwritten biography in British film, it’s Mary Field’s. Unique in her generation of women, she progressed from hands-on filmmaking to senior industry roles, en route linking several cinematic highways and byways. Field was above all a formative figure in filmed natural history (via the much-loved Secrets of Nature and Secrets of Life series of pre-war cinema shorts), educational filmmaking (her film teaching aids spanned the 1930s curriculum) and children’s cinema (the first head of the legendary Children’s Film Foundation; incidentally, Field had no children herself).

Mary Field

Mary Field

Mary Field was no radical: a figure of her time, she today cuts a slightly forbidding, old-fashioned figure out of keeping with streetwise modern childhoods: sort of a cinematic Enid Blyton. But what a legacy! It lurks both in children’s TV and natural history filmmaking – which, undeniably, is one of Britain’s profoundest professional contributions to the moving image age.

Patrick Russell

Whoopi Goldberg (1949-)

Whoopi Goldberg is a maverick. She has an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony award to prove it, and in the 1990s was momentarily the highest-paid actress in Hollywood history. But her admirable qualities lie beyond award-shaped success; after all, her film projects have only brought in a handful of great triumphs throughout her long-running career (see Ghost, The Color Purple and Sister Act).

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg

Often we load actors with projections or mistake them for the characters they breathe life into. With Whoopi, there is no question that her characters are the recipients of a fully formed, larger-than-life spirit. We see in her a friend, a mentor, someone who makes us laugh, and in her voice we hear clarity, confidence and warmth. When accounting for her early struggle with drug addiction, she once explained: “you find that it’s easier to live outside of life”. In the end, Whoopi chose to live inside of life – and that’s worth admiring.

Eleni Stefanou

Marion Grierson (1907-98)

Marion Grierson’s Around the Village Green (1937)

Marion Grierson’s Around the Village Green (1937)

Marion Grierson was a writer, editor, producer and director who made most of her documentary films at the height of the British documentary movement in the 1930s. Her work displays a wonderfully assured lightness of touch and a sophisticated array of visual and sound techniques – never more so than in Beside the Seaside (1935), which beautifully observes the pleasures of a coastal excursion. Post-lunch torpor is suggested by slow-motion dancing which segues into perkier night-time stepping out; and overlapping snippets of dialogue wittily convey the diversity of seaside day-trippers.

The younger sister of John Grierson, the founding father of the British documentary movement, Marion learned how to edit from him, using techniques inspired by Soviet montage films. She married fellow documentarist Donald Taylor, and all but withdrew from film work after their first child was born – as was the expectation of the time.

Ros Cranston

Julie Harris (1921-)

Julie Harris

Julie Harris

From Ursula Andress’s pink feathered negligee in Casino Royale (1967) to Dame Edith Evans’ moth-eaten fur coat in The Whisperers (1966), Julie Harris clothed film stars for every occasion for over 50 years. An Oscar win for Darling in 1966 cemented her reputation and she carried on designing for film and TV into her 70s.

Harris showed a profound understanding of the importance of costume not just to the film but to the actor, helping them feel as much as look the part. Balancing the mood of a scene with each actor’s figure and personality, her use of colour and fabric was always creative, sometimes audacious – such as the fur bikini Diana Dors modelled at the Venice Film Festival. Whether designing for Bond girls or the Carry On team, Julie Harris blended an attention to detail with wit and originality, a combination which kept her at the top of her profession for most of her long career.

Josephine Botting

Edith Head (1898-1981)

Costume designer Edith Head occupies an unassailable position in the Hollywood pantheon, holding the record for the most Oscars won by any individual woman – eight in total. In a career spanning six decades, she was also nominated 35 times and was responsible for some of the most iconic frocks in film history.

Edith Head

Edith Head

Head dressed some of the biggest stars that graced the screen, including Barbara Stanwyck, Gloria Swanson, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor, and helped to shape character through costume in such films as A Place in the Sun (1951), Vertigo (1958) and The Birds (1963). But she also understood that her own image and reputation were vital, and while other designers were just as well known, and perhaps even more influential, Head was (and still is) by far the most recognisable of all of them, with a distinctive, trademark ‘look’ that was entirely her own, even earning her own Google Doodle in 2013.

Sarah Currant

Storm de Hirsch (1912-c.2000)

Storm de Hirsch

Storm de Hirsch

I love the fearless films of Storm de Hirsch because they exploit cinema for ritual and mythic purposes to draw you into a very liminal psychic space. These hypnotic mirages in 16mm combine live photography as abstract fragments of the unconscious with the transfiguring effects of optical tricks and hand-painting directly onto celluloid. They constitute a body of work in search of transcendence beyond the repressive confines of gender into a boundless cosmic sexuality.

Though five years Maya Deren’s senior and very different in style and temperament, she was her natural (and under-acknowledged) successor, taking a similarly mythic pseudonym and making her first film in 1963, two years after Deren’s death, when very few women artists were embracing cinema. Influenced by the direct spiritual experiences of tribal cultures, films including Peyote Queen (1965) and Divinations (1964) are invaluable contributions to the history of visionary film.

Stuart Heaney

Kim Hunter (1922-2002)

Kim Hunter (real name Janet Cole) first came to the attention of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger at a screening of Tender Comrade in 1943 while they were casting for their next film. In the summer of 1945, as war in Europe was about to end, Kim Hunter risked coming to England to begin filming A Matter of Life and Death (1946) at Denham Studios. Hunter travelled from Baltimore on a 30-hour journey by plane and train (as reported in the Picture Post and Life Magazines) to take up the starring role as the USAAF radio operator who falls in love with RAF pilot Peter Carter (David Niven). Hunter displayed a tender and refined temperament that was perfectly suited to convince the heavenly court that her love for Peter was heartfelt.

Kim Hunter with David Niven in A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

Kim Hunter with David Niven in A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

Thereafter, Hunter took a break from films but she made a spectacular comeback in 1951 to play alongside Marlon Brando as the long suffering wife of Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), winning both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for best supporting actress. Later on, she starred alongside Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes (1967).

Nigel Arthur

Maria Klonaris (1950-2014)

Buddha Boy (1995)

Buddha Boy (1995)

Early 2014 saw the sad passing of Maria Klonaris. Of Greek origin but based in Paris, with collaborator Katerina Thomadaki, Maria Klonaris was responsible for some of the most radical feminist and transgender art and film ever created. Klonaris and Thomadaki were founders of what they called the Cinema of the Body.

Fiercely independent, shooting on Super-8 and controlling every aspect of production, the Cinema of the Body questioned the notion of a received identity. Their practice was a dialectic one where the image affects the body and in turn, the body affects the image, each bringing about change in the other. Their most compelling work, The Angel Cycle, reworked again and again an old medical photograph of a blindfolded hermaphrodite; seeing this intersex person as the herald to a new way of being without gender categories that rule every aspect of our lives. That they were two women artists working together made this practice possible. But no longer and we are so very sad.

Helen Dewitt

Kim Longinotto (1950-)

“You’re very welcome to acquire any of the films… I just love them to be screened” was Kim Longinotto’s reply when I first approached her about depositing her films in the BFI National Archive back in 2012. If a big fan then, having had the opportunity to become more acquainted with her work by virtue of acquiring it into the BFI’s documentary collection over the past year, my admiration for this extraordinary filmmaker has reached new heights.

Kim Longinotto

Kim Longinotto

Longinotto has dedicated her career to illuminating the plight of the persecuted, and her films show some of the most harrowing scenes of abuse ever committed to the screen. But, far from portraying victims, her films are populated with rebels, pioneers and survivors (mostly women and children) afforded the space to recount their incredible stories. Beyond the artistry and storytelling prowess (which has been recognised by the likes of BAFTA and Sundance) only a filmmaker with such generosity of spirit and genuine interest in others could elicit such trust in her subjects.

Catherine McGahan

Ida Lupino (1918-95)

Ida Lupino is best known as an intelligent, unusually versatile actor, her range embracing tough and tender, classy and brassy, cool and caring, feisty and fatale in gems like They Drive by Night (1940), High Sierra (1941), The Man I Love (1947), On Dangerous Ground (1951) and The Big Knife (1955). But this Hollywood star – born in London to comedian Stanley Lupino and actor Connie Emerald – was also for many years the only woman of note working in a male-dominated area of the creative arts: she not only co-wrote and co-produced but directed a number of very impressive movies.

Ida Lupino in On Dangerous Ground (1951)

Ida Lupino in On Dangerous Ground (1951)

Their subject matter was often audacious: pregnancy outside of marriage (Not Wanted, 1949), rape (Outrage, 1950), overweaning maternal ambition (Hard, Fast and Beautiful, 1951) and the possibility of loving more than one person (The Bigamist, 1953). The Hitch-hiker (1953), meanwhile, is as taut a thriller about a psychokiller as you could wish for. In short, Lupino refused to conform to type or expectations; no wonder the likewise pioneering and free-spirited jazz bandleader Carla Bley felt inspired to name one of her loveliest and most haunting melodies after her.

Geoff Andrew

Lindsay Mackie and Beeban Kidron

Although Lindsay Mackie and Beeban Kidron have distinguished careers in journalism and filmmaking, it’s as co-founders of the charity FILMCLUB that I admire them most. Their desire to show how film can educate and inform, as well as take you into a world of imagination, has resulted in a network of over 7,000 free after-school clubs, attended by over 200,000 children across the UK. A whole new generation is finding pleasure in classic films as well as modern blockbusters, and for many it can be their only opportunity for a cinematic experience, whether for reasons of poverty or of complex special needs.

Beeban Kidron filming Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)

Beeban Kidron filming Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)

The success of FILMCLUB can be measured now, but it will truly only be understood in years to come when many more young people share Mackie and Kidron’s passion for film, whether as cinemagoers or working in the business themselves.

Pam Rostron

Samira Makhmalbaf (1980-)

Born in Tehran in 1980, Samira Makhmalbaf would later make what may be the most accomplished feature film ever made by a teenager. Directed when she was just 17 years old, The Apple (1997) is the true story of two young sisters kept in confinement by their strict religious parents.

Samira Makhmalbaf

Samira Makhmalbaf

Samira had observed and assisted her father – the great director Mohsen Makhmalbaf – for years, appearing in front of the camera in a cameo in his film The Cyclist (1987) when she was seven. But his mentorship only goes so far to explain the originality and maturity of this startling directorial debut – its critique of oppression, its tenderness towards the characters, its delicate juggle between fiction and reality. Blackboards (2000) and At Five in the Afternoon (2003) confirmed her talent, but she’s gone quiet after 2008’s Two-legged Horse, which was filmed in Afghanistan after the Iranian government refused her permission to film at home. Now 34, she regularly appears on juries at film festivals around the world, but one hopes we’ve not heard the last from Samira Makhmalbaf as director.

Samuel Wigley

Elaine May (1932-)

With two of her three films as director widely ignored and her final one hailed as one of cinema’s greatest turkeys, the films of Elaine May remain unforgivably overlooked. A New Leaf (1971), in which May also stars, sees Walter Matthau at his grumpiest, out to bag a rich young bride. It wrapped kitsch comedy, social satire and complex characters in a polyester bow long before Wes Anderson thought to. Effortlessly jumping genre to gritty underworld pathos, Mikey & Nicky (1976) sees Peter Falk and John Cassavetes as dirty hoodlums drowning in paranoia. It perfectly nails the tragedies of primal machismo while the supporting cast paint a brooding portrait of grim femininity.

Elaine May in A New Leaf (1971)

Elaine May in A New Leaf (1971)

The last film May wrote and directed was Ishtar (1987), which contains idiosyncratic character acting at its funniest. It was little seen yet widely mocked – a response which apparently robbed us of the potential for further great films.

Jon Spira

Asta Nielsen (1881-1972)

Asta Nielsen in Hamlet (1921)

Asta Nielsen in Hamlet (1921)

In the year that our thoughts are considering the events of 100 years ago, we find in the cinema of the time a brilliant and astonishing woman. Asta Nielsen, born into hardship ‎in Copenhagen, transcended expectations by studying at the Royal Danish Theatre and going on to become one of the first international film stars. Having found success and some notoriety with her first film, Afgrunden (The Abyss), a tragedy directed by her first husband Urban Gad in 1910, Nielsen moved to Germany ‎and with Gad and producer Paul Davidson founded a new studio: the International Film-Vertriebs-Gesellschaft. Nielsen proceeded to star in some 70 films during the silent era, dominating German silent film and in 1914 became cinema’s highest paid star, drawing an $80,000 salary.

She’s credited with pioneering a naturalistic, uninhibited style of acting, moving away from the prevalent gestured, theatrical style. She also possessed admirable range, playing every conceivable kind of character from every social strata, regularly taking roles that involved gender complexity. Perhaps most notable is Sven Gade’s daringly modern 1921 production of Hamlet, which sees Asta in a role that teases and questions established notions of gender and sexuality. It’s a typically confident performance.

Having retired from film with the advent of sound movies, Nielsen was courted by Adolf Hitler, who tried to persuade her to return to film under the auspices of Nazi power. She declined and returned to Denmark, and later, during the Second World War, provided money to an effort to assist Jews in Germany.

Stuart Brown

Archie Panjabi (1972-)

Archie Panjabi in Siren Spirits (1994)

Archie Panjabi in Siren Spirits (1994)

Archie Panjabi probably came to most people’s attention playing equally mouthy sisters, Meenah and Pinky, in East Is East (1999) and Bend It like Beckham (2002). She stood out in both, adding humour and warmth to otherwise obnoxious characters, but it was a few years later, as the title character in Yasmin (2004), when she really came into her own. Panjabi played a British Asian in an arranged marriage, torn between family loyalty and her identity in the modern world. It was admirable to take on a role which dealt head-on with Islamophobia in the wake of 9/11, and Panjabi’s performance was mesmerising.

Then, rather than allowing herself to be typecast, she took on a character defined by sexual and moral ambiguity rather than race: the ballsy private investigator Kalinda in US drama The Good Wife. She made the role her own and bagged an Emmy to boot. Away from the screen she’s been politically active and philanthropic (as the face of Amnesty’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign), and to my mind is just as kick-ass as the women she portrays.

Liz Parkinson

Dolly Rudeman (1902-80)

Dolly Rudeman's poster for Battleship Potemkin (1925)

Dolly Rudeman’s poster for Battleship Potemkin (1925)

I admire Dutch graphic artist Dolly Rudeman not just because she was a rare example of a female film poster designer working in the silent era and the 1930s (a fact her signature ‘D. Rudeman’ concealed), but also because her posters were so different to those of her male contemporaries (sadly only 120 designs survive). Consider her striking creation for Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (1925), a colourful and expressionist hand-painted design which mourns the horror of the Odessa steps sequence and which couldn’t be more distinct from the Russian Constructivists’ stark, bloodless interpretations of the film. Rudeman specialised in acute character studies, particularly of female characters and it was fortuitous that as she began designing in the 1920s, female stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo rose to prominence.

Rudeman’s most haunting poster was for Victor Sjöström’s 1928 film The Divine Woman. Only a nine-minute reel of the film now survives, along with Rudeman’s vision of Garbo’s melancholic face floating in a sea of blue. Despair, anger, fear and joy are sentiments commonly sketched by poster artists to sell films, but rarely does real sadness figure so prominently. In contrast, the American poster for the release promised a movie of cocktails and gaiety.

Isabel Stevens

Helma Sanders-Brahms (1940-)

Helma Sanders-Brahms

Helma Sanders-Brahms

Helma Sanders-Brahms came to prominence in the 1970s, one of a remarkable number of women directors whose fresh perspective and fearless vitality helped to invigorate the New German Cinema. More cherished abroad than at home, her feminist politics, radical subjectivity and sympathy with oppressed groups have provoked responses ranging from irritation to outrage.

In Germany, Pale Mother (1980), her most celebrated film, a young woman and her small daughter confront the horrors and hardships of war together, only to find that their close relationship is brutally disrupted and their independence destroyed when the men return from fighting. At the time of its Berlin Film Festival premiere, the film was ferociously condemned by German critics for its uncompromising focus on female experience and for daring to portray the Second World War as a period of liberation for women. As a result, the film was cut by 30 minutes for its theatrical release, and only now, almost 35 years on, has the director’s cut (151 minutes) finally been restored. With a brave and brilliant performance from Eva Mattes in the central role, Germany, Pale Mother – lyrical, harrowing and thought-provoking – is ripe for rediscovery by a new generation.

Margaret Deriaz

Thelma Schoonmaker (1940-)

Picture any classic Scorsese scene from the last 30 years and it will have passed through the hands of Thelma Schoonmaker. Schoonmaker met Scorsese at New York University in the 1960s and, after helping him edit a student project, they began a long lasting creative partnership. Following a dispute with the unions, she was able to join Scorsese full time as his editor on Raging Bull (1980) and they have worked together ever since.

Thelma Schoonmaker

Thelma Schoonmaker

Schoonmaker is always keen to share the credit, but there’s no denying her contribution to shaping stories and crafting performances from improvised scenes. She has mastered the industrial shift from film cutting to digital editing and even ventured into 3D with her work on Hugo (2011). Scorsese and Schoonmaker’s most recent collaboration, the audacious The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), shows that there is much more to come. Schoonmaker also serves as guardian to the legacy of her late husband, director Michael Powell, so it’s no surprise that, when once asked how she relaxed, she replied “I don’t!”

Lisa Kerrigan

Leila Stewart (1893-1939)

Leila Stewart photographed by her husband, Sasha (1925)

Leila Stewart photographed by her husband, Sasha (1925)
Credit: Sasha/Getty Images, courtesy Getty Images

Leila Stewart (née Lewis) was a pioneering figure in the often overlooked area of film publicity. She carved out a career for herself during the 1910s while also promoting the early film business as a sphere that could offer a range of fascinating career opportunities to women. In 1918 she set up an early cinema club in the form of the Stoll Picture Theatre Club. The club hosted serious talks on aspects of the film industry as well as glitzy star-studded events and studio tours. The following year, Leila married photographer Alexander Stewart (‘Sasha’), and her connections in the industry almost certainly would have helped launch him as a renowned photographer of high profile stage and screen personalities.

During her career, Leila also mentored a host of other talented publicists such as Catherine O’Brien and Margaret Marshall. When she died in 1939, obituaries lamented the loss of “a great publicity chief, the acknowledged head of her profession”.

Nathalie Morris

Christine Vachon (1962-)

Christine Vachon

Christine Vachon

Sneaking downstairs after my parents had gone to bed as a teenager to watch gay-themed films, often on Channel 4, is one of the formative memories from my adolescence, and filmmakers like Todd Haynes, Rose Troche and Tom Kalin became names to follow. But many of the films of the subversive New Queer Cinema movement of the 1990s would never have been made without the formidable support of Christine Vachon.

Poison (1991), Swoon (1992) and Go Fish (1994) have entered the queer cinema canon, and since then Vachon has produced a string of boundary-pushing favourites, from the edgy humour of Happiness (1998) to the devastating heartbreak of Boys Don’t Cry (1999), the unique rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) and even the most underrated film of John Waters’ career, the outrageous A Dirty Shame (2004). Thanks to her, cinema, queer or otherwise, is much the richer.

Alex Davidson

Sheila Whitaker (1936-2013)

Sheila Whitaker died last summer. This is not an obituary – that has been eloquently covered already – but a simple statement of admiration, thanks and celebration of her extraordinary achievements in film. Sheila was a stills archivist, a writer and editor (of the radical film journal Framework) and in 1979 took over the programming of the Tyneside Cinema before moving to the BFI to head up programming of the National Film Theatre and the London Film Festival in 1984, also establishing the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (now Flare).

Sheila Whitaker

Sheila Whitaker

There were other female programmers in the UK at the time, but I’m sure that Sheila’s prominence benefited all of us by spearheading a sense that it was not unusual for women to take the lead in presenting a culturally diverse cinema. She was of an older generation than most of us, but probably younger at heart, while radiating a sense that age didn’t matter as much as passion and a hunger for knowledge. Sheila was political and a feminist with both liberal and subversive tastes, and a love of Doris Day.

At the end of her 20-year tenure at the BFI, Sheila was snapped up by Dubai Film Festival as a programmer, working for them until the end, in addition to continuing to help many others think about film in different ways. Her influence is impossible to measure, as the films that she championed reached massive, diverse audiences, while the people she employed and befriended and advised have gone on to do the same, all over the world. This is her legacy; happy International Women’s Day, dear Sheila.

Jane Giles

Article Source BFI

SXSW Keynote 2016

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama Announced as SXSW Keynotes

Written by Hugh Forrest |
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama Announced as SXSW Keynotes | Photos courtesy of The White House

SXSW is honored to announce President Barack Obama will appear as part of a Keynote Conversation at SXSW Interactive on Friday, March 11 and First Lady Michelle Obama will be the opening Keynote at SXSW Music on Wednesday, March 16. This marks the first time in the 30-year history of SXSW that a sitting President and the First Lady have participated in the event.

On Friday, March 11, President Obama will sit down with Evan Smith, CEO / Editor in Chief of The Texas Tribune, for a conversation about civic engagement in the 21st Century before an audience of creators, early adopters and entrepreneurs who are defining the future of our connected lives. The President will call on the audience to apply their ideas and talents to make technology work for us – especially when it comes to tackling big challenges like increasing participation in the political process and fighting climate change. President Obama’s appearance is open to all SXSW Interactive, Gold, and Platinum registrants.

On Wednesday, March 16, First Lady Michelle Obama comes to SXSW Music to discuss the Let Girls Learn initiative, which aims to break barriers for the 62 million girls around the world who are not in school today, more than half of whom are adolescent. The SXSW Music Conference brings the global music industry together and offers the perfect platform to celebrate Women’s History Month, as the First Lady provides her call to action to support girls’ education. First Lady Michelle Obama’s event is open to all SXSW Music, Film, Gold, and Platinum registrants.

“I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate our event’s 30th year than to welcome both the President and First Lady to SXSW,” said Co-founder Roland Swenson. “As each new generation comes up at SXSW they look for ways they can be of service, and it’s important to reflect and support that message. President and Mrs. Obama’s visit here will inspire attendees to that purpose.”

More details regarding location, time, streaming, and access to both events will be announced via the SXSW website in the coming days.

Discover more 2016 SXSW Keynotes for Interactive and Music, and browse our full slate of online programming.

Article Source SXSW

2016 Spring Filmmaker Grants

Oakley Anderson-Moore
March 2, 2016
A Massive List of Spring 2016 Grants All Filmmakers Should Know About

The No Film School list of Spring grants is back for 2016, with new deadlines, program changes, and more opportunities than ever.

Spring is a great time to dust the cobwebs off unfinished scripts, log that documentary footage, and get some of those green dollar bills for your next film.

The following opportunities are organized by Documentary, Narrative, or Screenwriting, and are in order of deadline from March to May. An asterisk next to the grant title means there is an equivalent grant for both doc and narrative. To find out more specifics on a grant, click on the title and get started.
Documentary

Christopher LaMarca Boone
Credit: “Boone,” dir. Christopher LaMarca, IFP Doc Lab alumni, premiering at SXSW ’16
IFP Independent Documentary Lab*

If you have a rough cut, apply to be a part of the illustrious IFP lab for a year-long mentorship program that supports first-time filmmakers, this year brought to you by the Time Warner Foundation. From IFP:

Focusing exclusively on low-budget features, this highly immersive program provides filmmakers with the technical, creative and strategic tools necessary to launch their films – and their careers.

Deadline: March 1

Vision Maker Media – Public Media Content Fund

A grant that funds part of the budget for Native American stories that appeal to broad audiences. From VMM:

We’re particularly looking for stories that advance CPB’s initiatives — The American Graduate, and Women & Girls Lead. Awards for research and development range from $5,000 to $20,000; awards for production or completion can be up to $100,000; and, new media awards range from $5,000 to $35,000. Projects should be accessible to a broad audience, have the potential for a national broadcast, and be used for effective outreach/community engagement activities to reach audiences beyond a Public Television broadcast.

Deadline: March 1

Independent Lens

This well-curated PBS series offers a handsome sum for broadcast distribution of films each season. From PBS:

Independent Lens is seeking submissions of completed or near completed programs for broadcast during the October 2016 – June 2017 season. Independent Lens films are often character driven stories, and are known for compelling storytelling, innovation, and diversity. Independent Lens welcomes individual expression and is committed to presenting diverse points of view on topics suited for a national audience.

Deadline: March 25

Channel 4 First Cut Pitch

If you can pitch an idea for a First Cut doc, you could be one of five filmmakers at the Sheffield Doc/Fest who is commissioned to make the doc. From Channel 4:

An opportunity for UK filmmakers to get a First Cut commission offer, plus mentorship and training. Once again we’ll be offering five new directors the chance to pitch at Sheffield Doc/Fest and one winner will walk away with a commission from Channel 4 for their first 60’ film.

Deadline: March 27

Good Pitch New York 2016

A popular pitch session that is returning to the flagship event in New York this year, comprised of two parts: in June and November. Selected films get to pitch their projects in front of an array of big funding agencies. From Good Pitch:

Good Pitch brings together documentary filmmakers with foundations, NGOs, campaigners, philanthropists, policymakers, brands and media around leading social and environmental issues — to forge coalitions and campaigns that are good for all these partners, good for the films and good for society. Over a year, the selected filmmaking teams receive sustained mentorship and professional development. This includes two campaign development workshops, taking place right after project selection and again on the eve of the live event.

Deadline: March 29

Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film

If you have a short documentary from 10 – 30 minutes in length that highlights human unrest, forgotten communities, over-exploited people and environments impacted by war, poverty, famine, disease, exploitation and global distress, you could get $5k from the Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation. From MROF:

The Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography & Film will award a US$5,000 grant to a single completed “Short Short” documentary film project. Our grant is open to up-and-coming, independent film makers and directors in all countries. Participant must be committed to the field of reportage and documentary film making.

Deadline: March 31

Bertha BRITDOC Connect Fund

This joint initiative between Bertha Foundation and BRITDOC is the first European-based fund between £5,000 – £50,000 open to filmmakers from anywhere with outreach campaigns. From BRITDOC:

The fund is looking to support smart, strategic outreach campaigns for ambitious independent documentary films with a social issue at their core; films which have the ability to achieve real change on a local, regional or global level.

Deadline: April 18

ITVS Digital Open Call

If you have a web series of any length, fiction or non-fiction, linear or transmedia, episodic or anthology, consider the ITVS Digital Open Call. From ITVS:

The Digital Open Call provides up to $50,000 in R&D funding to develop and pilot digital series concepts on any subject, and from any viewpoint, for public media’s digital platforms. Projects must be in development, and cannot have begun principal production.

Deadline: May 2

Miller / Packan Film Fund

This brand-new grant from the Rogovy Foundation will award doc filmmakers between $5,000 to $25,000 for work that address social issues and inspires others. From the Rogovy Foundation:

The Miller / Packan Film Fund supports documentaries that Educate, Inspire and Enrich. The Fund is financed through the Rogovy Foundation. We believe in the transformational power that comes from enlightening narratives and inspiring characters. The Fund begins granting in 2016. In its first year, grants totaling $150,000 will be awarded to between six and ten filmmakers. The fund operates an open rolling submission process, and awards will be announced bi-annually.

Deadline: May 15

welcome to leith
Credit: “Welcome to Leith,” dir. Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K. Walker, PBS Independent Lens alumni
IDFA Bertha Fund

A grant from the largest and most prestigious doc-only film festival IDFA is worth looking into if you have an international film. From IDFA:

The IDFA Bertha Fund is the only fund in the world dedicated solely to stimulating and empowering the creative documentary sector in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe…The fund is looking for new creative documentary projects which can be submitted in project development, production, and post production.

Deadline: May 15 (for projects outside of Europe)

Sundance Documentary Fund

Providing up to $20,000 for a documentary in development or up to $50,000 for a documentary in production/post-production with 10+ minutes of edited footage, the Sundance Doc Fund can be a huge score for docs. From Sundance:

The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund supports cinematic feature documentaries with contemporary relevance from filmmakers in the U.S. and internationally. Proposals are evaluated on artful and innovative storytelling, originality, contemporary relevance, and potential to reach its intended audience. First time directors are eligible and no prior work is required. Films may be in any language (with English subtitles or an English dialogue transcript).

Deadline: Rolling

Catapult Film Fund

If you’re just starting out on a documentary, you know how hard it is to raise money for it in the beginning — especially when you have nothing to show for it yet (because, hey, you need money to shoot!). The Catapult Film Fund will give you $5,000 to $20,000 to shoot enough footage so you can fundraise for the rest of the project. From Catapult:

Catapult Film Fund provides development funding to documentary filmmakers who have a compelling story to tell, have secured access to their story and are ready to shoot and edit a piece for production fundraising purposes. Our mission is to enable filmmakers to develop their film projects to the next level at a moment where funding is hard to find. We support powerful stories, and moving storytelling, across a broad spectrum of issues and perspectives.

Deadline: Rolling

The Fledgling Fund

If your documentary has the potential to make a difference when it comes to an important issue, the Fledgling Fund will support outreach and audience engagement strategies to an average $10-$25k. From the Fledgling Fund:

Grants support outreach and engagement for social issue documentary film and other storytelling projects that have the potential to inspire positive social change around issues that affect the most vulnerable.

Deadline: Rolling

The Bertha BRITDOC Documentary Journalism Fund

This new fund offers £10,000 – 50,000 to doc filmmakers from any country in a mix of grants and investments. From BRITDOC:

The fund supports projects at the intersection of film and investigative journalism that break the important stories of our time, expose injustice, bring attention to unreported issues, and cameras into regions previously unseen.

Deadline: Rolling

The Scottish Documentary Institute Consultancies

The Scottish Documentary Institute is rapidly becoming a renowned force behind interesting documentaries coming out of the region, so if you’re based in Scotland, the Consultancies are a good way to get your foot in the door. From SDI:

Scottish Documentary Institute is offering year-round submissions of Scottish documentary projects in development (shorts and features) to our Docscene project pool. The projects will then be steered towards forthcoming training programmes or other funding opportunities, depending on theme and scope: Seed Funding, Interdoc, the Edinburgh Pitch and prepared for other submissions to funders, meet markets or pitching forums. The aim is to improve quality of project development and increase the talent pool.

Deadline: Rolling

Ford Foundation: JustFilms

After year of restructuring, it’s a little unclear how many grants JustFilms will be giving out to individuals for 2016. Check out the requirements to see if you fit. Here are a few topics of docs that are not eligible: health, sports, early childhood, advocacy, educational, scientific. From the Ford Foundation:

JustFilms accepts letters of inquiry for grants year round, averaging between 800 and 1,000 inquiries. Our funds are limited, and we are able to support only a small percentage of these projects through direct grants. JustFilms strongly advises that you use the priorities and guiding application questions below to determine whether your project might be competitive in this process.

Deadline: Rolling (if you advance, you’ll hear within 30 days of submission)
Narrative

I Believe in Unicorns
Credit: “I Believe in Unicorns,” dir. Leah Meyerhoff, IFP Independent Narrative Lab alum
IFP Independent Narrative Lab*

Apply with your rough cut to IFP’s prestigious year-long mentorship program that supports first-time narrative filmmakers whose projects are being made for under $1 million. Past narrative films that participated in the Lab range from I Believe in Unicorns to Go Down Death. From IFP:

Through the Labs, IFP works to ensure that talented emerging voices receive the support, resources, and industry exposure necessary to reach audiences. Open to all first time feature documentary and narrative directors with films in post-production.

Deadline: March 1

Film Independent’s Fast Track

If you’re a directing and producing team with a full-length narrative or documentary film seeking financing, the Los Angeles Fast Track market could be a great place to find it. From FIND:

Fast Track is a three day film financing market, held during the Los Angeles Film Festival and designed to help producer-director teams “fast track” their projects forward through sixty meetings with top executives, financiers, agents, managers, distributors, granting organizations, and production companies. During three days of intensive meetings, participants gain valuable exposure and build vital relationships as they propel their films towards completion.

Deadline: March 7 (FIND members)

The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists Short Film Grants

To honor the late David Ross, this year the DRFF will offer a National Short Film Grant, a National Short Film Gear Incentive Grant, and a Utah Short Film Grant. From the Davey Foundation:

The film grants consist of either dollar grants ($5000), or gear grants (valued at $10,000) donated by Film Xchange. Grantees also receive mentorship from experienced filmmakers, including in past years Sundance film festival participants Dustin Guy Defa (Person to Person) and Kenny Riches (The Strongest Man).

Deadline: March 22 (regular), April 12 (late)

National Film Board of Canada Filmmaker Assistance Program*

If you’re a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant, the Film Board of Canada has ten provinces that offer emerging filmmakers $3,000 – $5,000 grants a year in technical services to complete your film. Deadlines depend on the province, so be sure to check them out individually. From NFBC:

The National Film Board’s mandate is to reflect Canadian values and perspectives through the production and distribution of innovative Canadian audiovisual works accessible in relevant media of today. The Filmmaker Assistance Program (FAP) is designed to help developing independent filmmakers complete their films/videos by providing technical services and support.

Deadline: April 1 (depending on FAP region)

HBOAccess Directing Fellowship

This fellowship is for emerging, diverse voices who would like to make a short film with HBO. From HBO:

Last year, HBOACCESS® invited budding filmmakers to submit previous work that demonstrated their talent, skills, and — most important — growth potential. Out of hundreds of submissions rose four exceptionally talented fellow and four outstanding short films.

Deadline: Opens April 6

Screen Australia’s Feature Film Production Program*

If you’re an Australia-based filmmaker, you have got to get in touch with Screen Australia. The government film agency throws down major funds for low-budget features, documentaries, and large format programs. From Screen Australia:

Screen Australia’s Feature Film Production Program aims to assist in the creation of a diverse range of successful Australian films that resonate with their audiences – films that entertain, enlighten and reflect an Australian sense of identity both domestically and internationally.

Deadline: April 15

Experimenter
Credit: “Experimenter,” dir. Michael Almereyda, Film Independent Sloan Grant recipient
Liberty Lab for Film

If you liberty-minded filmmakers could use 100 days and $10K to make your next short film under the guidance of Taliesin Nexus, check this Lab out. From Taliesin Nexus:

If you and your treatment are selected, you will receive a grant for $10,000 to make your short film or web-series and be paired with an established industry professional who will mentor you through a 100-day process. At the conclusion, we will host a gala showcase screening where your film will premiere along with your fellow LLF participants’ projects.

Deadline: April 15

The Roy Dean Grant/From the Heart Productions*

The Roy Dean Grant includes over $30k of in-kind services and products is open for shorts, docs, and features films with a budget under $500k. From FTHP:

We fund compelling stories about little known subjects, historical films, and films that touch hearts. We like films that expose, and bring, important information to light; as well as films about little known people when there is a good story.

Deadline: April 30

2016 Adobe Design Achievement Awards

Are you a student looking to jumpstart your career? ADAA can offer the chance for mentorship, detailed feedback, career bootcamps, internships, and a trip to San Diego to attend Adobe MAX 2016. From ADAA:

The ADAA is a global digital media competition for student creators. Connected to industry professionals, academic leaders, and top brands, the ADAA aims to launch the next generation of student careers.

Deadline: Open now, closes June 19

Big Vision Empty Wallet Kickstart Diversity Program

If you have a project, particularly one in the early stages, in which the writer, director, or producer is a woman, person of color, or member of the LGBTQ community, consider applying for this new BVEW opportunity. From BVEW:

Selected projects will receive significant discounts (15%-75%) from vendors and service providers nationwide to create savings in all stages of production, including AbelCine, Hive Lighting, Gotham Stages, and Nice Shoes. Recipients will be granted access to an exclusive Distribution Lab, presented in both NY and LA, focusing on audience building and distribution strategies. Participating companies include Lionsgate Films, FilmRise, Seed & Spark, VHX, Zeitgeist Films, and Cinetic. In addition, our sister company Big Vision Creative will choose several projects per year to co-produce and/or represent for distribution.

Deadline: Rolling

Digital Bolex Grant for Women Cinematographers​

If you’ve got a short film, music video, or feature with a woman helming the DP role, Digital Bolex might loan you $10k worth of gear and accessories. From Digital Bolex:

The relationship between a director and cinematographer is the most important on any film set, and the most famous director/cinematographer pairs have collaborative relationships spanning decades. We would like to see women cinematographers and directors involved in that kind of intimate collaborative process, and hope that we can start to help move our industry in that direction.

Deadline: Rolling

Film Independent Sloan Distribution Grant

If you have a nearly completed (or finished) a narrative film with a leading character that is a scientist, engineer or mathematician, this grant could be for you. From FIND:

The Sloan Distribution Grant will be a $50,000 grant awarded by Film Independent to a film that is entering its distribution phase…Eligible films must depict themes, stories, and characters grounded in real science, technology or economics.

Deadline: Rolling

The Jerome Foundation’s New York City Film, Video, and Digital Production Grant Program

The Jerome Foundation has a good track record of supporting filmmakers in New York and Minnesota with innovative artistic sensibilities. From JF:

The Jerome Foundation’s Film, Video, and Digital Production Grant Program is a program for individual film, video, and digital artists who work in the genres of experimental, narrative, animation, and documentary production. Applicants must live within the five boroughs of New York City at the time of application and have lived there at least one year prior to the application deadline. Applicants must be individual emerging filmmakers.

Deadline: Rolling, allow 5 months for review

Nextpix/Firstpix Crowdfunding Grant

Nextpix/Firstpix will fund films with a budget under $250k that are the first or second film by a director, have a humanitarian element, and are crowdfunding part of that budget. From N/FCG:

We have recently changed our approach to the firstPix grant. Rather than fund on a pre-determined cycle, we will accept queries from any film that is being crowd funded at any point during the year. Once we’ve received your query please give us 30 days to respond.

Deadline: Rolling

Panavision’s New Filmmaker Program

If you are a student or a low-budget indie, Panavision might supply you with free camera packages. From Panavision:

The New Filmmaker Program loans film or digital camera packages (based on availability) to filmmakers for student thesis films, “low-budget” independent features, showcase reels, Public Service Announcements, or any other type of short not-for-profit project.

Deadline: Rolling
Screenwriting
Credit: “Stockholm, Pennsylvania,” dir. Nikole Beckwith, Academy Nichol Fellow, premiered at Sundance ’15

Showtime’s Tony Cox Screenplay Competition

This screenplay competition from Nantucket Film Festival gives cash prizes and VIP festival access to winners with scripts for short films, feature films, 30-minute TV Pilots and hour-long TV pilots. From Nantucket:

Showtime’s Tony Cox Screenplay Competitions recognize emerging screenplays as the best from the pool of submissions each year. The competitions gives writers the opportunity to have their scripts read by a prestigious jury, receive top industry recognition, participate in a Festival focused specifically on screenwriting (including a Mentors Brunch), and win over $7,000 in total cash prizes.

Deadline: March 1 (WAB extended)

Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosts an international screenwriting competition established to identify new talent in screenwriting. From the Academy:

Each year, the Academy Nicholl screenwriting competition awards up to five $35,000 fellowships to amateur screenwriters. To enter, submit a feature length screenplay and entry fee via the online application when the competition is open for submissions. Fellowship winners are invited to participate in awards week ceremonies and seminars and expected to complete at least one original feature film screenplay during the Fellowship year.

Deadline: March 7 (Early deadline), April 18 (regular)

Slamdance Writing Competition

This competition program has four categories and gives awards to the top three of each, plus a grand prize. Also, every entry gets feedback. From Slamdance:

The Slamdance Screenplay Competition is dedicated to discovering and supporting emerging writing talent. We welcome screenplays in every genre, on any topic, from anywhere in the world.

Deadline: April 11 (Early deadline)

Film Independent Screenwriters Lab

If you’re looking to develop your voice as a writer, this five-week program in autumn in Los Angeles might be a great opportunity. From FIND:

An intensive four-week workshop that meets two to three evenings a week in Los Angeles every September, the Film Independent Screenwriting Lab is designed to facilitate each writer’s unique voice through the development of a single feature project. Through personalized feedback from experienced industry professionals and other writers in the program, Screenwriting Fellows will gain the tools to revise and refine their scripts for production.

Deadline: April 18 (May 2 for FIND members)

Sundance Screenwriters Lab

The Sundance Screenwriters Lab is more than a five-day screenwriting workshop. It’s the gateway for all films chosen to be in the Director’s Lab, as well as eligibility to many of the Sundance grants. From the Sundance Institute:

Through one-on-one story sessions with Creative Advisors, Fellows engage in an artistically rigorous process that offers them indispensable lessons in craft, as well as the means to do the deep exploration needed to fully realize their material.

Deadline: May 1 (opens March 15)

CBS Writer’s Mentoring Program

In this 6-month mentorship program, writers get to build relationships to further their careers. From CBS:

The focus of this six month program is on opening doors: providing opportunities to build relationships with network executives and show runners; to support new and emerging writers in their efforts to improve their craft; and to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to break in and succeed.

Deadline: May 2

Source of Article No Film School

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