The Chicago Media Project (CMP), a premier social impact documentary funder in the Midwest, and producer of the annual Doc10 documentary film festival which has become known as a nonfiction film’s first step on the road to awards, has announced the opening of submissions for the 2023 Shifting Voices Film Fund. The program, which launched last year, provides fundraising and mentorship resources to documentary filmmakers identifying as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. The submissions period ends January 31, 2023.
Out of the pool of eligible submissions, 12 semi-finalists will be selected in February, with six finalists selected in March, including at least one Chicago filmmaker, with grants being made to each semi-finalist and finalist. Finalists will present their projects at CMP’s Great Chicago Pitch, which will be held at the 8th Doc10 documentary film festival in May 2023. Finalists will pitch their projects to a jury including accomplished filmmakers and industry experts who will select a winning project to receive the top grant award. Throughout the Great Chicago Pitch, audience members watching both in person and virtually can pledge additional funding to the project(s) of their choosing. The project submissions in 2022 received over $100,000 through CMP grants and contributions directly from Great Chicago Pitch audience members.
“The Shifting Voices Film Fund is designed to help marginalized filmmakers overcome the systemic barriers to funding support that have been in place in the film industry for a long time,” said Hussain Currimbhoy, CMP Director of Global Project Development and Investment. “The goal is to connect these filmmakers with Chicago’s impassioned and connected film-loving audience, and with each other. Empowering and encouraging filmmakers to tell their stories on their own terms is how we see real change happening in the industry.”
“These are films that can’t wait another year, another two years, in order to secure this funding,” said Paula Froehle, co-founder of CMP. “We want the Shifting Voices Film Fund to be that powerful punch that boosts them across the finish line.”
To assist filmmakers in the application process, CMP will hold a virtual workshop, Perfecting Your Grant Application, including discussion of building realistic and equitable budgets and writing effective grant proposals, on January 13, 2023. The workshop is free and open to anyone interested in learning more about this vital component of independent filmmaking; participants can register online at this link.
All eligible entrants to the Shifting Voices Film Fund are invited and encouraged to participate in workshops and seminars with industry experts throughout the 16-week program on topics including fundraising, budget creation, proposal writing, and perfecting pitches.
Last year’s inaugural Shifting Voices Film Fund Great Chicago Pitch saw 110 projects proposed; finalists included BLACK VOTERS MATTER (dir. Daresha Kyi), HUMMINGBIRDS (dirs. Silvia Castaños and Estefanía Contreras), NEW WAVE (dir. Elizabeth Ai), SANSÓN Y YO (dir. Rodrigo Reyes), UNTITLED (ART AND DISABILITY CULTURE (dir. Reveca Torres), and the winning project THE LONG RESCUE from director and producer Jennifer Huang.
To submit a project to the 2023 Shifting Voices Film Fund, filmmakers can click here to submit by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on January 31, 2023. The 2023 Great Chicago Pitch will be held as part of the Doc10 documentary film festival in May 2023.
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