Diverse Docs first class over, seeks 2014 applicants

Fox/32 news anchor Robin Robinson will host a celebration of the first graduating Fellows from Diverse Voices in Docs – the Kartemquin Films and Chicago Community Workshop, collaboration that supports documentary filmmakers of color — takes place at a free ceremony Oct. 30 at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Robinson will present a reel of representative clips from the Fellows’ works-in-progress, during their six months of mentorship from acclaimed veteran professionals.

The 2013 Fellows are Camille S. DeBose; Darryl Pitts; Derek Grace; Grantlin Banks; Heather Charles; Jesus Mario Contreras; Jonathan Ashley Amsterd; Junko Kajino; Kelly Pope; Pamela Sherrod Anderson; Philister Sidigu; Raymond Lambert; Ronnie Reese; Shahari Moore; Shuling Yong; Tony Williams; Tracey Scruggs Yearwood; and Zia Nizami.

“The 2013 class has shown us that there is exceptional, undiscovered documentary talent among Midwest filmmakers of color. We encourage local filmmakers to attend and know that they can be a part of this vibrant Chicago production community, says Kartemquin executive director Justine Nagan.

At a reception following the ceremony, the Fellows will network with senior members and boards of the two organizations, along with notables in documentary filmmaking and distribution and other interested guests and supporters.

Applicants sought for the 2014 program

The October 30 celebration also serves as the launch for applications to the 2014 Diverse Voices in Docs program.

The program connects the selected filmmakers with the exclusive documentary world by providing access to an expert community, new collaborators and a wider network of funders and distributors.

Celebration host Robin RobinsonThe core program consists of six intensive three-hour workshops held monthly at the Community Film Workshop, with Kartemquin providing creative advice from its world-class staff and associates.

Workshop sessions focus on applied learning and honing skills in areas such as fundraising, storytelling, production techniques, distribution and marketing.

This year’s Fellows had an opportunity to pitch their projects to major documentary funders, such as MacArthur Foundation, Chicken and Egg Pictures, WTTW, and Illinois Humanities Council.

Further perks include networking sessions introducing them to notable broadcasters, funders and distributors; access to Kartemquin’s invitation-only “KTQ Labs Feedback Screenings” program, where Kartemquin’s filmmaker community provides free rough-cut consulting; and access to job listings and resources.

Applicants for 2014 should be filmmakers who have played a principal role in a completed production (producer, writer, director, editor, etc.) and have experience or work history that demonstrates their commitment to social issue documentary. Interested filmmakers can find more information via www.kartemquin.com/diversevoices.

Funding for the inaugural year was provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) and Joyce Foundation, with in-kind support from KatLei Productions. For 2014, the AMPAS increased their funding after seeing the program’s success, and new funding has come from the Sage Foundation. Other grants are pending.