A new initiative designed to promote more diverse non-fiction content for television and online will culminate in a live pitching session to be held later this month, in which as many as three producing teams will receive between US$50,000 and $150,000 in development funds.
The Harlem-based National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), under the auspices of its multi-platform initiative, NBPC 360, will present the session – dubbed Pitch Black – in New York City on April 23. During the session, eight producing teams, selected from a field of 163 applicants who had taken part in an open call for submissions that began in October, will pitch their projects to a panel of public media and industry executives, distributors and production companies, potential funders, and others.
The eight “fellows” chosen to take part this year are currently prepping for the pitch session via a six-week “incubator” term. Projects and the teams behind them include:
Black Broadway on U: A Transmedia Project – a web series by Shellee Haynesworth that explores the “DC Renaissance” along Washington, DC’s U Street/Shaw community corridor;
Chronicle: The Other Walter White (season one) – a web series by Shukree Tilghman that tells the story of a field worker of the NAACP who posed as a white man to investigate the murders of hundreds of innocent African-Americans;
The Life’s Essentials – a TV docuseries by Muta’Ali Muhammad that brings celebrities and everyday Americans together with family members to have one-on-one conversations;
My Africa Is – a TV series by Nosarieme Garrick that explores African youth culture;
The Newark Project: Safe Passage – a TV series from Ouida Washington that follows six young people growing up in one of America’s toughest cities;
Pixie Dust – a web series from Damon Colquhoun that follows a teenage girl whose mentally ill mother has stopped taking her medication;
Pops – a web series from Garland McLaurin that follows three African-American men who share the experience of fatherhood;
Street Cred – a TV series from Sultan Sharrief that sees students at a Detroit high school learn about entertainment production with a goal towards landing a dream internship.
“Today’s viewers are excited about the nuanced portrayals of diverse characters in scripted media. They are also excited about the deep dive that nonfiction media takes into issues and concerns affecting an increasingly diverse community,” said NBPC executive director Leslie Fields-Cruz (pictured) in a statement. “Programs like these aren’t developed in a vacuum but with the input and support of many. With NBPC 360 we are systematizing that ecosystem of support. This way, projects like those in our incubator have the best chance to succeed and ultimately find their way to an audience.”
Partners in the NBPC 360 initiative include lead station WNET, WTTW, WYES, KQED, WGBH/World, American Public Television, National Minority Consortia, SCETV, BritDoc, POV, ITVS, IFP Made in New York, Tribeca Film Institute, NYC Media and Silicon Harlem. The program is made possible by funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.