Firelight Media is dedicated to supporting documentary filmmakers of color and cultivating audiences for their work. We’re #changingthestory.
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2020 was an extraordinarily challenging year, between the dual crises of the global pandemic and the national reckoning with questions of racial justice in the U.S. As film festivals and film campaigns were forced to rapidly adapt their plans, our community displayed incredible resilience and ingenuity to ensure that their films reached their intended audiences.

Despite all of these many challenges, the Firelight Media and Firelight Films community managed to premiere a vast array of new documentary work — 32 titles and counting.

We surveyed our community of filmmakers — comprising current fellows and alumni of our Documentary Lab, recipients of our inaugural William Greaves Fund and Impact Campaign Fund, alumni of our Impact Producer Fellowship and FRONTLINE/Firelight Fellowship, as well as crew members from recent Firelight Films titles—to collect new works released this year. …

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Firelight’s 2020 Year In Review Series concludes today with highlights from Firelight Media’s array of artist programs.

When the pandemic hit in the spring, followed closely by the national reckoning with questions of racial justice in the U.S., Firelight Media sprang into action. First, we surveyed our community of filmmakers to ask them what they needed, and then we did what we do best: provided our community of BIPOC filmmakers with resources, support, and solidarity to help them continue their work.

Below are a few highlights from Firelight Media’s 2020 programming, including a new cohort of our flagship Documentary Lab; new funds for emerging and mid-career filmmakers of color, including our first international fund; and a new digital event series launched in direct response to the pandemic. …

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As Firelight marks the end of its 20th anniversary year, and as we bid farewell to 2020, we are pausing to highlight the incredible resilience of the Firelight community, even in a pandemic year.

In yesterday’s “Firelight 2020 Year In Review” post we highlighted new films by Firelight alumni that debuted at festivals, in theaters, and on broadcast television in 2020.

Today, we highlight of some of the many awards and honors garnered by our Firelight community this year.

The updating list includes awards and recognition for new film releases, funding support for works-in-progress, and industry leadership awards, and includes accolades for emerging filmmakers from our Documentary Lab as well as mid-career filmmakers from several of our artist programs. …

Join Firelight Media at DOC NYC, the largest documentary festival in the U.S. The 2020 Festival runs from November 11-19, with a slate of over 200 films and dozens of live events.

Firelight Media will present a new episode of the Beyond Resilience Series as part of the DOC NYC Live programming. The Festival’s film program also features six films directed by members of the Firelight Media community.

Read on for a complete run-down of Firelight events at DOC NYC!

UPDATED November 20, 2020 | ENCORE — DOC NYC EXTENDED

DOC NYC has announced Encore programming, extending the Festival for an additional ten days with DOC NYC Encore, running Friday, November 20 through Sunday, November 29. …

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Firelight Media is proud to be featured throughout the 2020 Hawai’i International Film Festival!

In addition to presenting a special Pau Hana/Talk Story event, Firelight Media alumni and staff will be featured throughout the Festival via panel discussions and film screenings. The panel discussions are free and open to all; follow the links below for more information.

The Hawai’i International Film Festival’s Film Program includes screenings of Firelight Media Documentary Lab alumni films, including: Bao Nyguen’s BE WATER, Ursula Liang’s DOWN A DARK STAIRWELL, and Cecilia Aldarondo’s LANDFALL, as well as Firelight Media SVP for Programs Loira Limbal’s THROUGH THE NIGHT and Firelight Founder Stanley Nelson’s THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION. …

Trailer for the 2020 New Orleans Film Festival

A note from Chloe Walters-Wallace, Artist Programs Manager at Firelight Media

What a year these last two weeks have been! As the sole, proud representative of Firelight South, the issues affecting our country and our world have been compounded across the region in an incredibly short time. And in the midst of it all, the 31st annual New Orleans Film Festival launches today, November 6. Firelight has had a presence at the Festival for the last five years, indicative of our deep dedication to geographical diversity — not only by supporting and bolstering representation of filmmakers of color across the country, but particularly in areas that are underserved by the documentary industry. My history with the New Orleans Film Society is even longer. …

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Clockwise from top left: Christopher Everett, Jude Chehab, Ivy MacDonald, Sierra Urich, Ivan MacDonald, Brittany Shyne, and Jota Sosnowski.

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Firelight Media will be well represented at Getting Real ’20, the biennial conference on documentary media presented by the International Documentary Association (IDA). The digital conference runs from Tuesday, September 29 through Saturday, October 3, and is free to attend with registration.

Over the course of the five-day virtual convening, Firelight Media Co-founders Stanley Nelson and Marcia Smith, Senior Director of Artist Programs Monika Navarro, and artist programs alumni Ashley O’Shay and Set Hernandez Rongkilyo will be featured in panel discussions. Panel programming includes the premiere of season two of Firelight’s Beyond Resilience Series.

Firelight Media artist programs alumni Cecilia Aldarondo, Bao Nguyen, PJ Raval, and Set Hernandez Rongkilyo, as well as Firelight staff member Monika Navarro, will moderate breakout sessions. …

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Firelight Media is pleased to announce the inaugural recipients for the Impact Campaign Fund. The Impact Campaign Fund is designed to address a resource gap in the nonfiction space for impact and audience engagement-related projects by and for communities of color in the U.S.

Firelight Media’s Impact Campaign Fund supports the creation of audience engagement and impact campaigns associated with films made by current or former Firelight fellows. Firelight Media sought out applications for projects that are socially relevant, address or engage underrepresented issues or communities, and are accountable to the impacted communities their films represent. Firelight Media selected six fellows’ projects, awarding each with a $25,000 grant. …

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Firelight Media is pleased to announce the recipients of the inaugural William Greaves Fund, our first international fund. The Fund supports mid-career BIPOC filmmakers in the research and development stages of their second or third feature-length documentary.

The William Greaves Fund awards grants of up to $25,000. Filmmakers of color will use these grants for research, and to develop film treatments, decks, sizzle reels, and other fundraising materials for their new projects. Firelight Media will also provide artistic support to the filmmaker grant recipients. Firelight Media accepted grant applications from filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities in the United States, especially those who identify as Indigenous and/or of African descent in Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Colombia. …

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