April 2, 2024

Exclusive: Firelight Media Reveals 2023-24 Greaves R&D Fund cohort

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Firelight Media has revealed the recipients of the 2023-24 William Greaves Research & Development Fund, which was established in 2020 to support mid-career documentary filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities in the U.S. and Latin America.

Each of the 10 selected filmmaking teams will receive a grant of $25,000 to support research and development for a feature-length non-fiction film project. The funds are non-discretionary, and can be used for such purposes as developing film treatments, presentation decks, sizzle reels, fundraising materials, or other essential needs (including healthcare and childcare) that Firelight Media sees as fundamental for the creation of imaginative, creative work.

The filmmakers and projects selected for the Greaves Research & Development Fund are listed below, with project descriptions courtesy of Firelight Media. (Certain loglines have been edited [by Realscreen] for concision.)

Edward Buckles Jr., Kinfolk (U.S.)

New Orleans, Louisiana, lies within a global environmental crisis and is at risk of being completely submerged underwater by 2050, simultaneous with rapid gentrification drastically displacing its predominantly Black population. This documentary captures the beauty, roots, and sanctity of Black New Orleans culture as filmmaker Edward “Buck” Buckles Jr. embarks on a mission to preserve its traditions.

Daryl Jones & Tim Tsai, Untitled Allensworth Project (U.S.)

Black and Latinx residents in California’s Central Valley unite against a worsening environmental crisis and systemic racism. Allensworth, once an all-Black settlement, becomes a battleground for justice as residents attempt to save “the town that refuses to die.”

Kelly Daniela Norris & Teresa Pittman-Chavez, Biological Exuberance (U.S.)

Inspired by the foundational text of queer ecology, Biological Exuberance celebrates the diversity of gender and sexuality in nature and exposes its history of suppression by the scientific community.

Chica Andrade, House of Hilton (Brazil, pictured)

House of Hilton delves deep into the life of Erika Hilton, a transgender woman who became a political icon in Brazil. Blending fiction and documentary, the film sheds light on the harsh reality of violence against the trans community.

Juan Javier Pérez (Xun Pérez), Migrant Dreams (w/t, Mexico)

Migrant Dreams tells the story of Mariano, a young Maya Tsotsil who seeks to migrate for a short while to the United States to earn the money necessary to fulfill a traditional role in his town – without knowing that this trip would change his life forever.

S. Leo Chiang, Parachute Kids (U.S.)

Parachute Kids is a first-person essay film exploring the filmmaker’s turbulent experience as an unaccompanied minor who moved to the U.S. from Taiwan through an unusual, ongoing East Asian immigration practice.

Amado Villafaña Chaparro, Sein Zare and the God Particle (Colombia)

Sein Zare and the God Particle will connect local, national, and international audiences with the Indigenous thought of the Sierra Nevada people. The film seeks to put the traditional knowledge of the Mamos in dialogue with related knowledge, such as quantum physics, but also with the extractivist and market logics of the modern world.

Genito Gomes, Yvy Pãi Ne’e Aty GuasuTerra Kaiowá, the Speech of the Great Assembly (Brazil)

The Indigenous Guarani and Kaiowá people have lived on the land that today is called “the state of Mato Grosso do Sul” in Brazil since the beginning of recorded history, but due to the forces of modernization and colonization, they have experienced a long process of dispossession. This film will tell the story of the great Aty Guasu assembly, at which Indigenous communities came together to announce a newly formed resistance movement to reclaim their rights and their land.

Shirley Bruno, Fresh/Saltwater Heart (U.S.)

Fresh/Saltwater Heart is a visual meditation over a collection of BIPOC voices recounting stories of being in water. Composed of animation, archival footage, and live-action recreations of interviews, the film explores the role of water in shaping communal narratives and shared histories and highlights how bodies of water hold stories, traditions, and ancestral connections.

Dinazar Urbina Mata, Pueblo (Mexico)

“El pueblo,” as its inhabitants call Tututepec, Mexico, has many annual traditions and festivals where the food, dance, and music of the place symbolize that what was the first capital of Oaxaca refuses to be forgotten. This documentary tracks how residents have been forced to allow their Mixtec customs to be syncretized with the Catholic religion in order to meet the demands of the outside world.

Read the story on Realscreen.

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