Industry Insights

  • BAVC MediaMaker Fellowship

    Posted by · January 14, 2015 7:33 PM


    Since 1991, BAVC's MediaMaker Fellowship has provided in-kind training and production grants for independent artists at work on social-issue film and multimedia projects, with a particular focus on supporting emerging artists and underserved communities. The National MediaMaker Fellowship builds an engaged national community of creative media artists from diverse fields, increases their capacity for project completion and lasting impact, and inspires new partnerships and collaboration to support future work. The Fellowship is designed to give independent artists direct access to the latest digital media technologies and prepare them for broadcast on public television or other independent outlets, with focused digital and multiplatform strategies for community engagement.

    The ten-month program will support the development of projects at all stages of production, and will include professional mentorship in multiplatform and transmedia storytelling, curriculum development, social media and marketing, fundraising and distribution strategy support.

    The 2015 MediaMaker cohort will:

    • Participate in three separate three-day immersive workshops and feedback sessions at BAVC’s San Francisco office, as well as five informal bi-monthly half-day convenings for local Fellows (with web-participation an option for National Fellows).
    • Attend the 2015 Full Frame documentary film festival (with a full festival pass) in Durham, as well as an additional industry event in the Fall (TBD, but will include full passes/participation and travel)
    • Present their project to a room of funders, programmers and distributors in a final culminating event in December.
    • Receive BAVC facility access for project development, focus groups, mentor meetings, professional production, post-production, technical development, or beta-testing.
    • Receive stipends for travel/lodging to the above events (and for National Fellow travel to San Francisco), as well as a small cash stipend ($1000) upon program completion.

    The 2015 National MediaMaker Fellowship is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

    Read the MediaMaker FAQ here to learn more about the program.

    Apply to the 2015 National MediaMaker Fellowship >

    Program Eligibility & Criteria

    • Any BAVC member working on a noncommercial project is eligible for the MediaMaker Fellowship.
    • The project must have a strong digital media component or vision, and potential for social impact, but it need not be a traditional documentary or narrative film. Projects can be web-based, linear, interactive, performance, installation, exhibition, or a hybrid of these.
    • BAVC takes special interest in artists who are working on projects about community and social justice issues, but encourages projects of any genre or subject matter to apply.
    • The MediaMaker Fellows program is particularly interested in supporting a diverse cross-section of artists with multi-disciplinary backgrounds, as well as applicants who demonstrate a capacity for artistic growth.
    • The proposed project should have some existing content to share, and it is preferred that applicants have a funding commitment from at least one additional source (besides BAVC).

    Key Dates

    • Early application deadline: Friday, January 16, 2015, 5:00pm PST
      • BAVC Membership (any level) required, no entry fee before this date and time.
    • Final application deadline: Friday, January 23, 2015, 5:00pm PST
      • BAVC Membership (any level) required, plus $40 late entry fee.
    • 2015 Fellows announced: Friday, February 6, 2015
  • 18th Cine Las Americas CALL FOR ENTRIES

    Posted by · January 08, 2015 9:54 AM


    Regular deadline: January 16, 2015

    Regular entry fee: US $25

    Late deadline: January 30, 2015

    Late entry fee: US $50

    Discounts for students or NALIP members:
    US $20 regular deadline / $40 late deadline.

    Youth Film entries pay no fee.  

    New this year, music videos will also be accepted in both adult and youth film categories. For music videos created by adults, an original music composition is required. For youth films, music that is not original to the production, but follows all copyright and intellectual property rights laws, may be used in conjunction with an original video production.

    Cine Las Americas invites filmmakers, producers and distributors to participate in The Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, now in its eighteenth consecutive year. The festival showcases contemporary films and videos from Latin America (North, Central, South America, and the Caribbean) and the Iberian Peninsula. Films and videos made by or about Latinos in the U.S. or the rest of the world, as well as films and videos by or about indigenous groups of the Americas are also invited to participate.

    To be submitted for consideration, projects must have been completed after January 1, 2013. All entries are also eligible to participate in the festival’s non-competitive sections. For all works where the spoken language is not English, English subtitles and/or narration are required.


     For complete guidelines and to apply, visit

  • ITVS Seeks Applicants for Open Call Funding Initiative

    Posted by · December 23, 2014 4:14 PM


    Open Call provides completion funds for single nonfiction public television programs on any subject, and from any viewpoint. Projects must have begun production as evidenced by a work-in-progress video. Open Call funding is only available to independent producers who are citizens or legal residents of the U.S. and its external territories.

    Open Call accepts:

    • Single programs of standard broadcast length (half-hour or one-hour). In rare cases, when a filmmaker’s skills, subject, and story structure warrant it, ITVS will consider programs at feature lengths.
    • Programs that can be completed within one year of contract

    The application will open December 29, 2014 and the deadline for receiving all application materials is January 30th, 2015 at 4 PM PST.

    ITVS will be hosting a live chat on Wednesday, January 14th at 1pm ET/10am PT. Programming Manager N’Jeri Eaton and Senior Production Manager David Eisenberg will be on hand to answer your questions, from treatments to budgets and all that falls between.

    For more information visit:

  • Sundance Institute Accepting Open Applications for Second Episodic Story Lab

    Posted by · December 17, 2014 5:23 PM



    Sundance Institute is now accepting project submissions for its second Episodic Story Lab through Wednesday, February 11 at 5:00 p.m. MT at This is the first open call for submissions for the Institute's new program designed for  emerging writers creating series for television and online platforms, adding to its existing support programs for film, theatre, music and New Frontier artists.

    The Lab will take place in the Fall of 2015 at the Sundance Resort in Utah, where writers will work with an accomplished group of showrunners, television executives and producers. They will participate in one-on-one creative story meetings, a Writers' Room to break story, pitch sessions and group conversations about the creative and business environment of television writing and producing. Following the Lab, the writers will receive customized, year-round support including: ongoing creative and strategic advice; year-round mentors; and introductions to targeted showrunners, networks, agents and other creative and business professionals.

    The Lab and related activities are led by Michelle Satter, Founding Director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program, with Jennifer Goyne Blake, Senior Manager of the Episodic Story Lab, and was established with founding support from Lyn and Norman Lear. Final selections for the Lab will be made in August of 2015.

    Writers that participated in the first Episodic Story Lab in the Fall of 2014 were: Desiree Akhavan (Switch Hitter); Peter Biegen (Small Change); Nate Crocker (Scar Tissue); Katori Hall (The Dial); Barry Jenkins (Radical: An American Story); Nick Keetch (Borderline); Lisa Kron (The Schaeffers); Crystal Liu (The White Sheep); Heather Marion (Bury Me) andMatt Young (Still).

    The Sundance Institute Episodic Story Lab is made possible by Founding Supporters Lyn and Norman Lear; Leadership Supporters A&E, Netflix, SundanceTV, and Time Warner Foundation/HBO; and Discovery Supporters Cindy and Alan Horn, RT Features and Sonar Entertainment.

    Sundance Institute
    Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute's signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern WildFruitvale StationSin NombreThe Invisible War,The SquareDirty WarsSpring AwakeningA Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube.

  • The Horizon Award, Development & Support for Female Directors

    Posted by · December 04, 2014 6:26 AM


    The simple fact is that there are not enough female directors in the film industry. A recent study showed that of the top 250 domestic grossing movies worldwide in 2012, women comprised only 9% of directors.

    horizon award seeks to change this by giving a female college student or recent graduate the opportunity to have their work viewed by some of Hollywood’s most influential directors and producers.

    By submitting a two minute video to a link, candidates in this contest are in the running for a mentorship during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival from acclaimed producers Lynette Howell (Blue Valentine and A Place Beyond the Pines), Christine Vachon (Boys Don't Cry and Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and Elwes (Dallas Buyers Club and Lee Daniels' The Butler), as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to the festival.





    The award is open to women either still in college, or within 6 months of having left college.

    The applicant cannot already have a manager or agent, and must have made less than $5,000 in the film business from their creative talent.

    The applicant should submit a film directed by them and which does not exceed two minutes in length, without exceptions.

    Applicants are allowed to submit films that have already been made by them, as long as it does not exceed the two minute maximum.

    If a film has already been made that is longer than two minutes in length then it must be cut down.


  • CLAIFF18: Call for Entries | Convocatoria

    Posted by · December 04, 2014 6:08 AM


     18th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival

    April 22 - 26, 2015 | Austin, Texas, USA  


    Cine Las Americas announces the 18th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, to take place from April 22 to 26, 2015 in Austin, Texas. The festival brings a selection of the newest Ibero-American cinema and American Indigenous films, showcasing films and filmmakers through its world-renowned programs.The deadline for sending entries is January 30, 2015. All information can be found

     Cine Las Americas is the only Latino and indigenous festival in Austin, Texas, offering audiences the opportunity to view works of artistic excellence, cultural diversity and relevance in contemporary cinema. The festival program includes feature length and short films of all genres, including narrative, documentary, experimental, animation, youth films and music videos.



    Cine Las Americas invites filmmakers, producers and distributors to participate in the Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, now in its eighteenth consecutive year. The festival showcases contemporary films and videos from Latin America (North, Central, South America, and the Caribbean) and the Iberian Peninsula. Films made by or about Latinos in the U.S. or the rest of the world, and films by or about indigenous groups of the Americas, are also invited to participate.

    To be submitted for consideration, projects must have been completed after January 1, 2013. For all works where the spoken language is not English, English subtitles and/or narration are required. Preference is given to regional or national premieres, as well as to films that have not screened theatrically in Austin or on national television in the USA prior to the festival.


    Deadline: January 16, 2015

    Late Deadline: January 30, 2015

    The festival is scheduled for April 22 to 26, 2015, in Austin, Texas.



    Cine Las Americas International Film Festival

    1101 W. 34th St. #625

    Austin, TX 78705 

    Tel: +1.512.535.0765

    Email: [email protected]


    For complete guidelines and to apply visit

  • Why It's a Great Time to Be an Independent Filmmaker

    Posted by · November 19, 2014 4:10 PM

     download.jpg                                                                                                                   "Imagine I'm Beautiful"

    By Naomi McDougall Jones | Indiewire

    In a guest post, writer/producer/actress Naomi McDougall Jones explains why the crisis in film distribution has provided a great opportunity for indie filmmakers.

    The film industry is in trouble right now. Ask anybody: our audiences have moved away from the traditional modes of consuming (i.e. movie theaters and DVDs) and onto the internet, where they expect to be able to get content for free/cheap (and, much of the time, stream it illegally anyway) and nobody can figure out how to make money off movies the way we used to.

    Hollywood's response to this has been to turn their attention to foreign sales; meaning that it has become of tantamount importance to them to be able to sell each film in as many countries or "markets" as possible.

    Think about what that means content-wise, though: in order for a film to be a blockbuster in every country on Earth, it needs to rely on basically no cultural nuance whatsoever. The broader the strokes (and more explosions) the better, since they need the film to play and make sense to people in every and any cultural context. So if you've wondered why Hollywood has been pumping out schlock more mindlessly and aggressively than ever recently, there's your answer.

    As an independent filmmaker, though, I am driven by my ever-growing belief that more and more audiences are tired of re-makes and prequels and sequels and formulized stories that have been statistically proven to do well. I believe there are those who crave what I crave as an audience member; to be genuinely surprised; to have my own prejudices exploded; to leave the theater altered from whom I was when I went in.

    I have ceased to be satisfied with the content coming out of the mainstream right now and I can't be the only one. What tickets are still being sold, I think, are often cases of people wanting to go to the movies and picking the most exciting movie of what's available to them, which is not to say they are necessarily excited about the content.

    Enter the indie filmmaker.

    Because it's a brave new world and for the first time in a long time, it's truly anybody's game.


    Read more

  • For Your Consideration: Could a Branded Documentary Bring Home the Oscar?

    Posted by · November 19, 2014 3:50 PM


    Illy's documentary A Small Section of the World focuses on Costa Rican women who run a sustainable coffee business.

    Marketers back films that bear little to no promotion 

     In a remote Costa Rican village, a group of female entrepreneurs known as the Asomobi (Asociación de Mujeres Organizadas de Biolley) has created a sustainable coffee production business.

    Their inspirational story, told in the documentary A Small Section of the World, will debut in theaters in December, followed by a robust online and broadcast push distributed by FilmBuff, all brought to consumers by Italian coffee maker Illy.

    Considering that it bears no branding (save for a shot of an Illy-sponsored conference and some scenes inside an Illy factory), the award-winning filmmakers don't want it to be labeled a "branded documentary." They believe in its merits regardless of how it was backed—so much so that they intend to submit it for consideration at the Academy Awards as well as advertising competitions like the Clio Awards and Cannes Lions.

    "It really doesn't matter any longer if it's branded entertainment or entertainment," said Dominic Sandifer, Greenlight Media and Marketing president and co-executive producer. "What matters is if it's a great story." Getting a documentary bankrolled is harder than ever. At the same time, documentaries are in vogue thanks to the growth of online video channels like Netflix and the increasing demand for premium video content on the Web, said Marc Schiller, CEO of event and film marketing firm Bond. And brands are realizing they don't need to plaster their logos on a film to get their company's positioning across.

    "It's the purest form of content marketing," said Rebecca Lieb, Altimeter Group analyst.


    A Small Section of the World's director, Lesley Chilcott, who received an Oscar for co-producing the Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth, admitted she was skeptical at the outset. Illy explained it had tried for in development for a year after its agronomist visited Asomobi, which provides coffee for Illy. After investigating the story for herself and being assured that she would have final cut—the last approval on a movie—she came on board. "To be honest, at first I said no," she said. "How can I make a movie on coffee producers paid for by a coffee maker?"

    Similarly, Patagonia sponsored DamNation, a film about the damage that outdated dams can create. DamNation bears minimal branding, and its directors were also granted final cut. After completing a short theatrical run to qualify for the Academy Awards, DamNation was released online. It will also be available on Netflix. "We're here to solve environmental problems," said Joy Howard, vp, marketing at Patagonia. "If we can show that, then people process what we're about, become loyal and commit to the brand."

    Morgan Spurlock, who helmed the movie about branded content, Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, said filmmakers should be cautious about taking a marketer's money. Still, he's not against it, having partnered himself with Maker Studios on multiple brand-sponsored Web series in early 2015. "You can have a brand come in and be a part of something, but you have to know they want to exert some sort of influence," he said.

    "[Brand backing] can hinder the film's ability to compete in that space," said Howard. "Something that had a huge budget is not viewed on the same footing as a documentary that has a scrappier background."

    Chilcott understands there may be bias against A Small Section of the World. But as more brand marketers finance filmmaking, she hopes people will judge on merit, not on who is footing the bill. "I think in three to four years, this won't even be a story," she said.

    Check this out at

  • The Difference Between a Fundraising Demo and a Marketing Trailer

    Posted by · September 18, 2014 9:50 AM


    Q: What’s the difference between a fundraising demo and a marketing trailer beyond the obvious purpose?

    Fernanda Rossi: Fundraising and marketing trailers are very VERY different. At the dawn of fundraising trailer history, some 10 years ago, people thought that a sample was a cross between a music video and a film preview. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

    A fundraising demo has to convince a few people to spend a long time with you and a lot of money on the film, so there better be a story somewhere there. The marketing trailer has to entice a huge number of people to commit a few hours and little to no-money; in that case eye candy goes well with the popcorn.

    Therefore a fundraising sample is more like a short without an ending: it has full scenes revealing excerpts of the story to-be and a cliffhanger in the end to imply potential for a longer story. On the other hand, the marketing trailer also known as a film preview is more like a music video: catchy sound bites, flashy montages and graphics. The main goal is to dazzle prospective lay audiences not to reassure investors and funders.

    Having said that, crowfunding is blurring the line of what’s fundraising and what’s marketing. Such demos do both, they raise money as well as awareness on an upcoming film. Striking a balance is key in making the story viable yet wow these first viewers. As if documentarians needed another challenge!


    Fernanda Rossi will answer your pressing doc funding questions at our Doing Your Doc, New York, October 3-5, 2014. Register now, spaces are limited!

    Author • Speaker • Story Analyst

    Internationally renowned author, speaker and story consultant Fernanda Rossi has doctored over 300 documentaries, fiction scripts, and fundraising trailers including the 2009 Academy Award® nominated The Garden by Scott Hamilton Kennedy. In addition to private consultations, lectures, and seminars worldwide, she has served as festival juror and grant panelist. Ms. Rossi shares her knowledge and research of story structure and the creative process in columns and articles in trade publications. She is also the author of the book Trailer Mechanics: A Guide to Making your Documentary Fundraising Trailer now in its 2nd Edition.

  • KPBS opens Request for Proposals for Explore Project

    Posted by · June 18, 2014 1:40 PM

    KPBS invites independent producers to submit their ideas for the KPBS Explore Local Content Initiative. KPBS Explore is designed to grow our line-up of local program favorites. Content creators are encouraged to submit ideas for a series that will highlight unique people, places and activities in San Diego. 

    All submissions will be judged on a number of criteria including the program’s “explorer spirit,” a unique sense of place and how well each story is told. Programs for KPBS Explore should be about San Diego’s unique lifestyle, community and “big picture,” not about news, public affairs or children’s programs. All submissions will be reviewed by a KPBS committee and the top selection will be funded for the production process.

    KPBS will provide seed money for the project. It is advised content creators explore additional sources, such as corporate funding, grants or their own funds. A budget must be submitted with all applications and any letters of interest from organizations interested in the project would be helpful as well. 

    Interested applicants should watch the online video
    that explains the project in detail or join the interactive screening onWednesday, June 18, 2014 at 2pm where you can ask direct questions. Proposals are to be submitted online and are dueJuly 31st. Applicants must submit an outline that describes their idea along with links to examples of their work that portray their skills. For all the details and criteria visit the KPBS Explore 
    website. An announcement recognizing the winner will be made mid-September.

    Last year KPBS sought community member submissions as part of the second annual KPBS Explore Project. Of the 32 entries submitted, Snapshot and Animal R&R were selected. Both began airing on KPBS-TV this spring and can be viewed online at 
    Stay up to date on KPBS’ Diversity Activities- follow them on Twitter @KPBSEngage!