Community Builders Grant Finalists Announced; Showcase Set for May 24

After another competitive grant season, the three finalists of the 2023 Community Builders Grant have been selected: Young Claude (written, co-directed, and executive produced by Adithi Chandrashekar), Killing Time (written and directed by Caroline Koonce), and First Check (written and directed by Christian Mejía). Applications from filmmakers all across the Midwest were assessed by a team of community judges.

“We’ve received a lot of strong applications this year,” says Camera Ambassador Founder and CEO Erica Duffy. “We were so excited by the huge community turnout! It was hard narrowing down the pool of talent to these three films.”

The 2023 Community Builders Grant Pitch Event & Screening is the final stage of the grant, where in-person audiences will have the opportunity to rank the pitches.

At the Chicago Cultural Center on Wednesday, May 24th, doors open at 6pm. The screening of previous winners’ films begins at 6:30pm. The show will include narrative shorts Patois (Andre Muir, 2019), A Nickname (Sean Sankalp Raju, 2020), Zero Mile Mark (Link Wolfe, 2021), and a trailer for Video Funeral (Linh Tran, 2022).

Then, at 7:45pm, the 2023 Community Builders Grant finalists will pitch their projects on stage. Finally, the in-person audience will vote. The voting results will determine which prize each pitch will win.

This year, the finalists could win the Grand Prize ($6,000 cash & $6,000 gear credit), Second Place ($3,000 cash & $3,000 gear credit), or Third Place ($1,000 cash & $1,000 gear credit). 

“We’re so excited for the event to be powered by the Chicago Film Office,” says Grant Co-Manager Rey Tang. “Now that we’re able to host the event at the newly refurbished Chicago Cultural Center, we can accommodate more attendees than ever – it’s going to be an exciting night.” 

The event will also be available for viewers who would prefer to attend virtually. For more information, follow the Camera Ambassador Facebook page, where the livestream will be hosted. Although virtual viewers can watch the pitches, voting will only be available for in-person attendees.

“I’m excited to co-manage this year’s grant alongside Rey Tang,” says Grant Co-Manager Connor Smith. “Over the past few years, we’ve learned a lot and we’re able continue building this grant with both tried and new facets—including hosting a virtual event to broadcast our in-person pitches.” 

To take part in the final stage of the 2023 Community Builders Grant at the Chicago Cultural Center on Wednesday, May 24th, from 6-9:30pm… Click here to RSVP.

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