Digital Media Fund awards $100k to Chicago artists

Voqal Fund and
Chicago Filmmakers’
Chicago Digital
Media Production Fund
presents a Showcase of
Groundbreaking Projects
from 2018

(Chicago — 8 August 2018) Voqal Fund and Chicago Filmmakers are pleased to announce the nine new grantees receiving funding from the 2018 Chicago Digital Media Production Fund.

In 2018, the Production Fund awarded a total of $100,000 in grants to nine projects by Chicago digital media artists in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $18,000. The artists funded range from students to established, award-winning filmmakers. Their new media projects highlight a range of relevant social issues, from politics to female empowerment to mental illness.

The Chicago Digital Media Production Fund is a project of Voqal Fund, administered by Chicago Filmmakers. The goal of the fund is to support socially conscious media arts projects intended for free online distribution.

The guidelines stipulated that digital media projects of any length or genre would be considered, but needed to address social issues and be made available for free online viewing in order to reach the widest audience possible. The fund is intended to support artists with varying levels of experience, both to recognize accomplished individuals and to provide opportunities for emerging artists.


The T by Bea Cordelia and Daniel Kyri
The T is a narrative web series set across Chicago that follows former lovers and best friends Jo and Carter, a young white trans woman and queer black man, in their continual search for love, sex, and kinship. By turns private, public, quietly tragic, and painfully hilarious, The T tells real life stories about the LGBT community.

Pulling the Thread by Kindling Group
Pulling the Thread is a digital documentary series and engagement campaign that unravels some of America’s most popular conspiracy theories and reveals the emotional, cognitive, and social forces that lead rational people to believe irrational things.

Dampen by Daniel Valdez
Dampen is a short format film exploring a young man’s troubles communicating his emotional turmoil to his female counterpart – serving as an interpretative meditation on toxic masculinity, emotional expression, and mental illness.

The Right Swipe by Kyra Jones
The Right Swipe is a web series following two friends who start a business to fix the dating app profiles of inept men, entangling their own love lives in the process. A romantic comedy told through the female gaze, The Right Swipe explores the challenges of modern dating at various intersections of marginalized identity.

Arabica by Sohib Boundaoui
Arabica is a comedy-drama web series that explores the lives of five Arab-American millennials from a predominantly Arab suburb of Chicago as they navigate their tight-knight immigrant community. Ditching a typical arc, Arabica focuses on its characters as first generation children of a diaspora.

HIVE by Stephanie Jeter
HIVE is a narrative web series. Through a futurist lens, the sci-fi anthology series ponders the ways in which complex social issues may evolve through time and space.

Last Resort:
Abortion Access in the Midwest
by Andrea Raby
Last Resort is a documentary short that follows Chicago’s role in abortion access from the Jane Collective providing abortions pre-Roe v. Wade to present day, showcasing the women who are mobilizing to help other women where the laws do not.

Bottle Girls by Olivia Curry
Bottle Girls is a short documentary following three diverse women who work delivering bottle service in Chicago’s nightlife scene. The piece will explore how they feel about the intersection of labor, capitalism, and empowerment feminism in the age of #MeToo.

The Park by Adam Hinkle
The Park is a narrative web series that details the trials and tribulations of Juvenile and Adult Coordinated Engagement (JACE), an anti-violence program in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. The story focuses on outreach specialists of JACE as they deal with internal and external forces that accompany violence prevention.

For more details and updates on past and present grantee projects, please visit the Chicago Filmmakers’ website at

About Voqal Fund
Voqal is the collaboration of five non-profit organizations that got their start transmitting educational video programs to schools in the mid-80s using frequencies regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Today, these five organizations continue to provide services to schools and nonprofits nationwide, engage in philanthropic programs centered on social equality, and participate in other entrepreneurial endeavors using our combined spectrum expertise. In 2013, these five companies adopted the single brand Voqal to better convey what they do and believe. Voqal Fund has been making an impact in education, nonprofit and progressive media for three decades. Voqal Fund remains committed to positive change in the Chicago community through such efforts as the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund and support of programs aimed at engaging underserved or at-risk youth in the production of digital media.

About Chicago Filmmakers
Chicago Filmmakers is a non-profit media arts organization that has been serving independent filmmakers and audiences since 1973. We are dedicated to providing alternative options in media education, production, and exhibition by offering classes, low cost equipment rentals, filmmaker services, weekly public screenings, and film festivals, including Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival and the Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival.

Contact Chicago Filmmakers at or 773.293.1447.

Send your production updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton,