Black Public Media (BPM), a U.S. non-profit dedicated to media content about the black experience, has selected 10 program and series projects to compete in the third and final round of the 360 Incubator+ funding program, representing the largest ever class of 360 fellows.
The fellows, which include two VR storytellers for the first time in an effort to push more black filmmakers into the VR space, will compete for up to US$150,000 for their pilot during an interactive pitching session: pitchBlack.
The 10 producing teams were selected out of 39 projects submitted.
Fellows will attend a boot camp in New York’s Hudson Valley from Jan. 11 to 13, followed by 11 days of intensive Incubator workshops in New York. From Jan. 15 to 25, they will work full time, attending workshops on topics including grant-writing, budgeting, reel creating, licenses, engagement, graphics and animation, and VR. Then they will return home for 10 weeks to work on their proposals, sample reel and pitches under the guidance of their mentors in preparation for pitchBlack. Mentors include Joe Brewster, Rachel Falcon, Sonia Gonzalez-Martinez, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, Chris Hastings, Byron Hurt, Michael Premo, Yoruba Richen and Michèle Stephenson.
PitchBlack will take place in New York on April 11. Up to three projects will be awarded a license agreement ranging from $50,000 to $150,000. The winners will be announced on April 12.
Selected fellows and their projects include Keith McQuirter and LaNora Williams-Clark’s The 3,000 Project, a broadcast program that looks at the debates and activism surrounding the alarming rates of incarceration in Wisconsin; Changing State, a broadcast program by Leola Calzolai-Stewart and Kiley Kraskouskas recounting the struggles of the first African-American ambassadors set against the Cold War and Civil Rights movement; in the broadcast series The Chicago Franchise, Randall Dottin explores the complicated relationship between gun violence, poverty and residential segregation in Chicago; Nailah Jefferson’s broadcast program Commuted tells the story of 50-year-old African-American Danielle Metz, whose drug-related triple life sentence was commuted by President Obama in 2016; and Michael Fequiere, in his web short A Good Man, explores his own origins and the experience of growing up in a fatherless household.
Meanwhile, Greenwood Avenue, a VR project by Ayana Baraka, delves into the lives of the African Americans living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, during the era of Black Wall Street, the second rise of the KKK, and the Tulsa Race Riots; David Heredia’s web series Heroes of Color revisits the histories of lesser-known people of color to create a more inclusive curriculum in school grades K–12; Listen to My Heartbeat, a broadcast program by Nyjia July, examines the gentrification of Washington, DC, through the lens of the city’s folkloric music; A Love Supreme: Black, Queer and Christian in the South, a broadcast program by Katina Parker, offers heart-to-hearts between black LGBTQ people, their families and the black church; and lastly, the VR project POV, by Alton Glass and Rashaan Nichols, looks at surveillance and privacy in an alternate LA future setting.
The 360 Incubator+ program is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, MacArthur Foundation, the NEA, the New York State Council on the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
(Photo from last year’s pitchBlack, courtesy of BPM)