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.
Loira Limbal, Firelight Media’s Senior Vice President for Programs, will screen her documentary Through the Night during the final night of the conference through a special presentation with Camden International Film Festival.
Continue reading to learn about Firelight Media’s participation at Getting Real ’20, and register for the conference here.
Note: Please refer to the registration links below for the most up-to-date information for each program, including accessibility options.
Tuesday, September 29, 12pm PDT | Beyond Resilience: The Liberatory Canon
Firelight Media kicks off season two of the Beyond Resilience Series with a panel discussion at Getting Real ’20.
While much has been written about the colonial history of documentary filmmaking, far less is known about the canon of oppositional cinema created by Black, Indigenous, and other filmmakers of color. There is a rich tradition of oppressed peoples subverting the colonial gaze: from early works by Zora Neale Hurston and William Greaves, to the filmmakers who formed the Iranian New Wave, to the Latin American and African filmmakers behind the Third Cinema movement. This panel will feature BIPOC creators discussing the political and aesthetic motivations of liberatory cinema movements and why we must reconstitute the canon with BIPOC-created media.
The panel discussion will feature Stanley Nelson, acclaimed filmmaker and Firelight Media co-founder; with filmmaker Heather Rae, curators Rasha Salti and Janaína Oliveira, and moderator Yasmina Price.
Wednesday, September 30, 10:45am PDT | Breakout: Independent Documentary Directors (IDD)
Firelight Media Documentary Lab alum Cecilia Aldarondo will be moderating this breakout session for IDD.
The current pandemic, widespread precarity, and ongoing systemic racism have thrust the independent documentary ecosystem into an unprecedented crisis. In response, independent documentary directors came together in June of 2020 to build a community of peers to support, center, protect, and advocate collectively. This group is now known as Independent Documentary Directors (IDD). We are a non-hierarchical and growing group who aim to foster an inclusive, diverse and equitable industry environment. Join this breakout session to learn more about who we are, what we’re working on, and how we’re growing our collective power and mutual aid together.
Wednesday, September 30, 12pm PDT | Breakout: Latinx
Monika Navarro, Firelight Media’s senior director of artist programs, will moderate this breakout session. This session requires an RSVP, and is open to Latinx, Afro-Latinx, Latino/a, indigenous and/or Hispanic non-fiction filmmakers, funders, and cultural workers (critics, programmers, curators) only.
As we all play a role in creating, supporting and exhibiting the visions, stories, and realities of our communities, we are called together to define our roles and collective efforts. This session is part of a series of conversations begun in January 2020 to open up a dialogue and address the internal and external forces that drive the inequities in front and behind the lens for Latinx doc filmmakers. It will be intergenerational and open to those who identify as Latinx, Afro-Latinx, Latino/a, indigenous and/or Hispanic.
Wednesday, September 30, 2pm PDT | Breakout: A-Doc
This breakout session is moderated by Firelight Media Documentary Lab alum PJ Raval. This session requires an RSVP, and is open to BIPOC-identified attendees only.
2020 has put a media spotlight on Asian American communities that is both empowering and disturbing. As hate crimes directed towards Asian Americans hit record highs, Kamala Harris made history as the first Black and Asian American Vice Presidential candidate, while K-pop fans flex their digital muscles against fascism via Twitter and TikTok. What does this say about the role of Asian Americans and our collective power, especially in the documentary world, where some of us have become key decision makers? What does our presence bring to the conversation during these times of racial reckoning? Join documentary industry stalwarts Chi-hui Yang (Ford Foundation/Just Films), Kevin Iwashina (Endeavor / IDA board), Kim Yutani (Sundance Film Festival), and Priya Swaminathan (Higher Ground Productions) as they discuss the role of Asian Americans in this new era of heightened solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, BIPOC visibility, and the possibilities and backlash that accompany it.
Thursday, October 1, 1:30pm PDT | Breakout: Undocumented Filmmakers Collective
Firelight Media Impact Producer Fellow Set Hernandez Rongkilyo will be moderating this session. This session requires an RSVP, and is open to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) attendees only. It is limited to 50 participants.
As BIPOC filmmakers, we are often in spaces where we discuss the challenges we face in the field of filmmaking, but rarely are we provided the space to just imagine a different way of being. This session is designed to be a collective dreaming session where we can co-create visions of new possibilities that go beyond the current parameters of this field. Facilitated by leaders from the Undocumented Filmmakers Collective, the session will be an interactive conversation through small group breakouts and big-group discussions where BIPOC creators can reimagine a more just and equitable field.
Friday, October 2, 9am PDT | The Documentary Funding Ecosystem: Building Values-Based Financial Strategies
Firelight Media Co-founder and President Marcia Smith will be featured on this panel of documentary industry leaders.
Assembling the financing for a documentary is particularly complex, given the limited funding sources and tension between the commercial and philanthropic priorities. How can filmmakers make business decisions that support values like creative independence, representation, sustainability, and authorship? Producers and funders will discuss the opportunities and obstacles in a time that is more akin to a “gold rush” than a “golden age.”
Friday, October 2, 3pm PDT | Movements, Campaigns, & Political Power in Front of and Behind the Camera
Firelight Media Impact Producer Fellow Set Hernandez Rongkilyo and Firelight Media Documentary Lab alum Ashley O’Shay will be moderating this session.
On the eve of a presidential election the whole world is watching, the filmmakers of And She Could Be Next, Unapologetic, and COVER/AGE discuss the dialogue between their work and the political contexts in which they were made.
Saturday, October 3, 3pm PDT | Reclaiming the Power of Public Media
Monika Navarro, Firelight Media’s senior director of artist programs, and Bao Nguyen, Firelight Media Documentary Lab alum, are featured as panelists.
In this moment of increasing monopolization by commercial networks and distributors, what lessons can today’s filmmakers learn from the economic, political, and social conditions that brought about public media in the 1960s and ITVS in the 1980s? This panel will bring together filmmakers and public media professionals across generations to consider the enduring history of public media and think imaginatively about how to work together to double down on its future — a future that hinges on Americans’ faith in the very notion of a public commons.
Saturday, October 3, 5pm PDT | Closing Night Screening: Through the Night
For the closing night of Getting Real ’20, Firelight Media Senior Vice President for Programs Loira Limbal will screen her feature documentary Through the Night, co-presented with the Camden International Film Festival.
500 tickets are available on a first-come, first served basis through the CIFF site, starting on 10/1, using discount code REAL20REAL. Getting Real will be sending email reminders to those who RSVP to this session on 9/30.
To make ends meet, people in the U.S. are working longer hours across multiple jobs. This modern reality of non-stop work has resulted in an unexpected phenomenon: the flourishing of 24-hour daycare centers. Directed by Loira Limbal and produced by Jameka Autry, Through the Night is a verité documentary that explores the personal cost of our modern economy through the stories of two working mothers and a child care provider whose lives intersect at a 24-hour daycare center.
Firelight is a premier destination for non-fiction cinema by and about communities of color. Firelight produces documentary films, supports emerging filmmakers of color, and cultivates audiences for their work. Firelight films have garnered multiple Primetime Emmys, Peabodys, and Sundance awards. Among them, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, and Freedom Riders. Firelight’s programs include the Documentary Lab, an 18-month fellowship that supports emerging filmmakers of color; and Groundwork, which supports early stage filmmakers in the American south, midwest, and U.S. Territories. In addition to a focus on excellence in filmmaking, Firelight develops strategies, partnerships and materials to reach and engage diverse audiences and maximize the impact of documentary films.