Harlem-based black media nonprofit Black Public Media (BPM) has named two non-fiction projects about criminal justice among the winners of the PitchBLACK pitching program.
The broadcast project Commuted, by Nailah Jefferson (pictured, center), was mentored by Yoruba Richen. The documentary program tells the story of Danielle Bernard Metz, a mother of two whose triple life plus 20 years sentence for her role in her husband’s drug ring was commuted by President Barack Obama in 2016.
Meanwhile, the broadcast documentary program The 3,000 Project, directed by Keith McQuirter (right), with lead fundraiser LaNora Williams-Clark (left), was mentored by Chris Hastings. It explores how Wisconsin — one of the most incarcerated states in the U.S. — is grappling with parole reform.
Both projects won US$100,000 out of a total of $320,000 awarded in funding.
PitchBLACK was the culmination of Black Public Media’s 13-week 360 Incubator+ initiative for broadcast programs, web series and virtual reality projects.
The program is designed to identify and pipeline quality black content while honing the skills of the artists and storytellers involved.
The winners were announced during the inaugural PitchBLACK Awards at Apella by Alexandria on Manhattan’s East River and hosted by K. Neycha Herford.
“Given the strength of all the projects and the enthusiasm in the room for them, we wish we could have funded them all. We will continue to support every project as we facilitate the connections with the distributors and funders at the pitch forum and field additional interest developed,” said BPM’s executive director Leslie Fields-Cruz, in a statement.