Our team spent some very productive time in Miami last week delivering not one but two Good Pitch events. The first was our pan-American event with participants from 18 countries and the next day, our first Good Pitch Local event put the focus on Florida. Full update below but first a quick word about coral which has been much on our minds.
Coral are the most naturally fluorescent organisms on the planet. They live on their own completely different time scale. A creature in and of itself but also a host, a community housing microscopic bacteria and algae, an interconnected organism spanning ocean habitats the world over. And Miami Beach is a city literally formed out of coral - the keystone and limestone making up the buildings is actually fossilised coral from 125,000 years ago, back when Miami was under water. Coral was here first. And it will likely repopulate Miami when we’ve left.
We had not one but two pitches about coral at Good Pitch Local. The breathtaking Chasing Coral (which pitched at Good Pitch New York 2016) will launch on Netflix in two weeks’ time, and the team came to Miami looking for local filmmakers wanting to make related shorts to support the film’s impact in Florida.
We went deeper still when we heard the pitch for partners from micro-biologist and marine aqua-culturalist Colin Foord from the phenomenal Coral Morphologic (check out their incredible images) - a Miami-based ‘multifaceted platform for the advancement of symbiosis between humans and coral’.
Corals are grafters, they hang in on there when the struggle is real. Kind of like our experience of all the incredible participants at Good Pitch.
Read on for lots of non-coral related announcements, grantees, updates and other goodies below. We’ll leave you with our underwater-themed playlist featuring
All Neon Like // Bjork
Yellow Submarine // The Beatles
Sea of Love // Cat Power
Under the Sea // Samuel E Wright
GOOD PITCH MIAMI
This first pan-American Good Pitch was a great success. Last week’s Good Pitch edition welcomed 376 representatives of 227 organizations from 19 countries from across Latin America, the United States and beyond to the stunning New World Center in Miami Beach.
On the day, over 5,000 was pledged for the production and impact campaigns of the 8 extraordinary Good Pitch Miami films and over 130 partnerships were ignited with the aim to enrich the lives of individuals, transform communities and improve societies.
Pledges of help, advice, funding and networks for the eight selected film teams included: direct donations to support a rainwater collection system to provide clean water for families in La Cantera, Mexico featured in the film The Age of Water; offering of screenings at universities and to rural and indigenous communities of the film 500 Years to share the power of resistance; featuring the protagonist of the film in a radio podcast version of the project that will be aired to Latin American audiences all over the Americas for Away From Meaning; offering of pro-bono translation services for Impeachment; access to high-level policymakers and decision-makers for The Pushouts; help to create an educational strategy - including peace and reconciliation workshops - to use the film The Negotiators as a tool for cultural transformation in Colombia; offering of counsel to highlight needs for quality counsel for unaccompanied children for Unaccompanied Children; and access to expertise and network of 13,000 member organizations across the globe for Madidi.
We also met and heard from some of the protagonists of the films, including Andrea, a Mayan Guatemalan activist leading community resistance; Marcos, a Bolivian park ranger protecting Madidi National Park; Martin and Love, two youth mentors transforming the lives of many pushouts, no longer named dropouts; and Liliana - a strong voice sharing her struggle living with Borderline Personality Disorder; and Colombia’s Chief Peace Negotiator Humberto de la Calle.
Check the photo album to see more from the day...
GOOD PITCH LOCAL
Miami also set the stage for our first ever Good Pitch Local event. We salute the participating Floridians for helping us to crack a model which can now be replicated across the US and around the world.
Good Pitch Local Miami took the essential elements of our international event and boiled them down to work at a local level of engagement. The result? A community meeting of our wildest dreams which saw a small space crammed with over 120 local filmmakers, lawyers, funders, activists, artists journalists, poets and organizers from across Florida. We got along some out-of-towners too - Kickstarter, Upworthy, Sundance and Vice Impact - all invited to put their brawn and brains to the service of local filmmakers.
A total of 18 pitches focussed on the stories that matter most in Florida were lined up to present. Half of these pitches came from local filmmakers with plans already underway for fascinating shorts. The other half came from local organizers seeking creative partnerships to elevate and enrich representation of their work. Each pitcher had just 2 minutes to present their idea followed by rapid fire feedback from the group.
Film pitches included ideas for short films exploring the school to prison pipeline (Blacked Out Dreams); a community effort to restore a local cemetery (Black Graves Matter), community action against climate change (Chasing Coral); homophobia and the evangelical church in the wake of the Orlando Pulse shootings (Love The Sinner); the illegal laying of an oil pipeline in the Everglades (Black Snake); entrepreneurialism in Miami’s immigrant community (Making it in America); the life of Haitian bathroom attendants in nightclubs (Madame Pipi).
Organizers stepped up to the mic to call for collaborations on live campaigns around youth incarceration (The Southern Poverty Law Center); unlawful evictions (The Community Justice Project); a scientific mission to document and protect Miami’s coral (Coral Morphologic); community action to improve access to green spaces (New Florida Majority); the local impact of Trump’s Muslim ban (Council on American Islamic Relations); a cross cultural community meeting space in little Haiti (Smoke Signals Studio); felony voters rights restoration (ACLU & Florida Center for Investigative Reporting); youth engagement (Engage Miami).
Valuable connections were made, grassroots campaigns were bolstered and a high bar was set for radical collaborations between creatives and organizers from across sectors to team up to tell important stories. Our next stop is Durham North Carolina in September where we have teamed up with Naomi Walker at the Southern Documentary Fund. Could Good Pitch Local be coming to a town near you? We are actively seeking local partners nationwide to host events over the coming year and would love to hear from you.
NEW FLEX FUND GRANTEES
Skoll Foundation, Ford Foundation Just Films and BRITDOC are delighted to announce the 2017 recipients of the Flex Fund.
Launched in 2016, the Flex Fund supports the most innovative and creative projects that are emerging from partnerships between moving image storytellers and social entrepreneurs.
Flex Fund grants are only available to joint Skoll Foundation and Ford Foundation grantees, all of whom are ground-breaking global leaders in social entrepreneurship working on a spectrum of crucial areas - from sustainability to anti-corruption to African land rights and beyond. This funding will enable teams to go further, deepen impact and/or explore bold new ideas in a nimble and bespoke way.
The 2017 recipients are as follows:
Crisis Action's impact strategy will aim to ensure that Aleppo's fate is not repeated across Syria. It will do this by using the Sundance award-winning documentary film, The Last Men In Aleppo, to build US support for newly-proposed no-fighting zones where civilians can escape attacks, as well as educating hundreds of newly-elected MPs across Europe about Aleppo and the power they have to prevent it from happening again.
Health Care Without Harm are deploying a short animation that will inspire doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals worldwide to recognize their moral mandate to respond to climate change, a medical emergency. Using film, the aim is to weave together a comprehensive storytelling strategy that will increase our ability to inspire action toward reversing the climate crisis.
Health Leads are launching a 20 min. documentary made by filmmaker Nicole Newnham and a dynamic US-based outreach campaign later this year. The organisation envisions a healthcare system that addresses all patients’ basic resource needs as a standard of quality care and empowers medical practitioners to screen for unmet needs—like housing, employment, and food—and connect patients to community resources (regranted from 2016).
KickStart International, a non-profit social enterprise lifting farmers in Africa out of poverty, worked with director, Topaz Adizes, to create A Seed of Maize. Shot in Zambia, the documentary film explores poverty, health, and girls’ education—against the backdrop of tradition, community, and family. KickStart will leverage it to promote small-scale irrigation through a forum targeting Kenya-based policy makers and other NGOs.
Search For Common Ground will work with Redbird Productions to improve attitudes toward women’s empowerment in Moroccan communities through screenings and dialogues around Rosa Roger's documentary Casablanca Calling. The film follows a new generation of women working as Morchidat, official Muslim leaders who are empowering women in their communities by supporting them in pursuing their education, managing family relationships, and ultimately pursuing peaceful social change within an Islamic framework.
Witness’ Mobil-Eyes Us uses live-streamed video storytelling plus task-routing technology to connect the right "distant witnesses" - people who care about the struggles of communities facing rights violations but may not be physically present - to meaningful experience and action. Initially, the project will focus on telling (and changing) stories from Brazil's urban favelas, where solidarity and pressure can make all the difference.
This new cohort of grantees will join Forest Trends and Imazon in a programme of ongoing support from BRITDOC and its network of expertise.
SAFE & SECURE LAUNCHED AT DOC/FEST
It was fantastic to be back in Sheffield earlier this month to launch Project Safe & Secure. BRITDOC joined in the festival’s good vibes with Shit Creek: The Hypothetical Paddle Game, that saw safety expert Judith Matloff, lawyer Jen Robinson, commissioner Charlie Phillips, trauma expert Gavin Rees and producer extraordinaire Charlotte Cooke assist Peter Dale in helping filmmaker Ashish Ghadiali through the many gauntlets that can befall even the most savvy of filmmakers. Irreverent yet invaluable, Ashish and the audience came away with a new found knowledge to protect future projects and possibly lives. Who knew risk management could be so much fun...
Good times continued with the Bertha BRITDOC Grantees Dinner where the Bertha Foundation and BRITDOC Team welcomed past and present grantees to an evening of food and laughter. The evening was joyous with praise for incredible efforts including Strong Island, Whose Streets?, Even When I Fall, Winnie and Virunga to name but a few.
Setting the scene for further celebration, big congratulations to the very worthy Strong Island (Yance Ford) who won the prestigious Tim Hetherington Award and a massive shoutout to the Unrest team for winning both the new Illuminate Award and the Alternate Realities and Virtual Reality Award.
Lastly on Safe & Secure, freelancers from the UK and beyond can currently sign up for a series of safety surgeries with experts offered by our friends at Rory Peck Trust. Sign up by 3rd July for a free 30 min consultation about safety and security needs - either in person or on Skype. Fantastic support, take advantage of it! www.rorypecktrust.org
Sign up to be the first to know as other opportunities and resources are launched - https://safeandsecure.film
We are delighted to be welcoming Twiggy Pucci Garcon to the BRITDOC Inc Board of Trustees, joining Alex Grashow, Anurima Bhargava and Vince Warren.
Twiggy is an awe-inspiring advocate and activist, and has dedicated his energy and insight to a host of creative, social and political causes and campaigns. As Associate Programme Director at the True Colors Fund, Twiggy leads Youth Collaboration programs aimed at not only elevating youth voices but also creating space for partnerships with young adults to lead the movement to end youth homelessness. Twiggy is the co-writer and one of seven subjects in the Sundance-selected, award-winning documentary, KIKI, which paints an intimate portrait of the underground kiki ballroom community in NYC, and continues to elevate the authentic representation of the House|Ballroom Community worldwide.
"Sharing our stories can change perceptions, shift narratives, and move imperative political conversations forward. It's an honor to join the board of such an integral organization that we can all rely on to be collaborative, innovative, and quite frankly...downright fun!"
First call of duty was the rather epic Inter-Board strategy day in New York City this month, that brought together all the Board members and trustees from the BRITDOC Foundation, Charitable and Inc boards - to dive deep into the organisation's strategy for the years ahead.
Many thanks to all in attendance, for their unparalleled commitment, intelligence and insight. We wouldn't be where we are today - or be going where we're going - without you all.
WE ARE HIRING: PODCAST FOR THE PEOPLE
We are looking for an experienced podcast producer to develop a climate change project with us over 6 weeks, starting ASAP.
We have funding for a podcast series around climate change. We want to engage English speaking publics in a number of target countries with the opportunity that the Paris COP agreement has given us to stop CO2 emissions before they wreck the planet. We believe the future is in the hands of the people and together they need to ally to hold their governments to the promises they have made.
We want to take a dual focus on the stories of resilience and inventiveness of the people already most affected as well as on the political and scientific landscape as that unfolds too. We have an approach, fantastic partnerships and an impressive host in mind - details we can share with candidates that get to interview.
We are looking for people with a keen interest but not necessarily previous experience or formal expertise in the environmental journalism or climate change and social justice. Attitude and aptitude trumps expertise.
Apply by July 21st. Email email@example.com telling us why you are right for this job and attach either a CV or your LinkedIn.
Excited to share the news that Laura Poitras' extraordinary film Risk, supported by the Bertha BRITDOC Journalism Fund, is released here in the UK today. Filmed over six years, the film is a complex and volatile character study that collides with a high stakes election year and its controversial aftermath.
Following fantastic reception in the US the film is now playing at cinemas across the country, from Belfast to Birmingham, Cardiff to Canterbury. And congratulations to Loo Stevens who is the winner of our ticket giveaway!
Check full regional listings here. You can also watch from home from today on iTunes or Curzon Home Cinema.
Huge congratulations to the Chasing Coral team (BRITDOC Circle Fund) on winning the Audience Award AND Student Award at Telluride.
US audiences, don't miss Good Pitch alumni film Raising Bertie - there are still dates to catch this wonderful doc on its nationwide theatrical run.
Bertha BRITDOC and Circle Fund-supported Invisible City has its North American premiere at the African Film Festival in Dallas, June 30th-July 3rd.
And welcome back to Joe Moses, who has returned triumphant to London from a formidable Australian premiere and screenings tour, that yielded more support and momentum to the Paga Hill case.
‘Til next month x