Harlem-based prodco Firelight Media, founded by Peabody- and Emmy award- winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, has unveiled the inaugural recipients of its artists programs, the William Greaves Fund and the Impact Campaign Fund.
The international William Greaves Fund offers financial and mentorship support to non-fiction filmmakers of color at the mid-points in their careers. The Impact Campaign Fund, meanwhile, tackles the resource gap in non-fiction for “impact and audience engagement-related projects by and for communities of color in the U.S.”
“Witnessing the global resonance of uprisings for Black lives and a pandemic that has devastated the most marginalized communities, the international nature of the William Greaves Fund reflects our commitment to stories that address the major problems of today with nuance, complexity, and that reflect a broad range of often underrepresented views,” said Loira Limbal, SVP of programs at Firelight Media, in a statement.
“In our work within the Documentary Lab over the last decade, we have seen too many talented filmmakers of color leave the field because they cannot get proper support to make their next project. The William Greaves Fund is Firelight’s response to this persistent problem. We’ve also consistently seen filmmakers of color struggle to get the resources they need to get their films out in front of the desired audiences on their own terms, which the Impact Campaign Fund intends to address. Storytellers making films that have potential to shift public narratives need support to make that happen.”
The annual William Greaves Fund awards nine grants of up to US$25,000 to mid-career non-fiction BIPOC filmmakers in the research and development stages of their second or third feature-length documentary.
Firelight will look to broaden the fund’s international reach in 2021 after accepting inaugural grant applications from filmmakers of racially and ethnically underrepresented communities in the U.S., and particularly from those who identify as Indigenous and/or of African descent in Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico and Colombia.
Firelight’s Impact Campaign Fund, meanwhile, sought applications for projects that were deemed to be socially relevant, addressed or engaged underrepresented issues or communities, and were “accountable to the impacted communities” represented in their projects.
Six non-fiction films were selected, with each receiving a US$25,000 grant.
Recipients will use the grants to build engagement campaigns to cultivate and captivate wide diverse local, regional, and national audiences. Firelight Media plans to expand the scope and reach of the Fund even further in 2021.
The 2020 William Greaves Fund grant recipients include:
- Julianna Brannum (U.S.)
- Byron Hurt (U.S.)
- Everlane Moraes (pictured left, Brazil)
- Gisela Rosario Ramos (Puerto Rico)
- Medhin Tewolde Serrano (Mexico)
- Angela Tucker (U.S.)
- Vanuzia Bonfim Vieira (Brazil)
- Yvonne Welbon (U.S.)
- Malika Zouhali-Worrall (pictured right, U.S.)
The projects selected for the Inaugural Impact Campaign Fund are:
- Landfall by Cecilia Aldarondo
- Warrior Women by Christina King and Elizabeth A. Castle
- Coded Bias by Shalini Kantayya
- Unapologetic by Ashley O’Shay
- Duty Free by Sian-Pierre Regis