March 22, 2023

Exclusive: Firelight Media Reveals Recipients of Third Annual Greaves R&D Fund

Firelight Media has unveiled the 2022 cohort for the William Greaves Research & Development Fund, which helps support mid-career documentary filmmakers from racially and ethnically under-represented communities.

The fund, which was established by Firelight in 2020, provides recipients with up to US$40,000 each to support research and development for a feature-length non-fiction project. The non-restrictive grant can be put toward such activities as preparing film treatments, presentation decks, sizzle reels and fundraising materials, or any other needs that Firelight Media determines are essential for the creation of the project, including such items as health care or child care costs.

“Firelight Media is proud to continue our support for BIPOC filmmakers from across the U.S. and Latin America, with a special emphasis on filmmakers of African and/or Indigenous descent, through the third year of our William Greaves Research & Development Fund,” Firelight Media SVP Leticia Peguero said. “We hope that these unrestricted funds will enable the filmmakers to develop their dream documentary film projects, while also providing essential care for themselves and their families.”

The announcement of the Greaves Fund recipients arrives a day after Firelight Media’s sister organization, production outfit Firelight Films, revealed that it had partnered with Hulu to establish the Hulu/Firelight Kindling Fund, another initiative designed to provide support for mid-career filmmakers from BIPOC backgrounds.

The 10 filmmakers receiving support through the 2022 William Greaves Research & Development Fund are listed below, along with their projects (loglines courtesy of Firelight Media):

Giselle Bailey, Untitled (U.S.)

Untitled, created in collaboration with Stephen Bailey, is a hybrid documentary feature about Black social movements in America.

Michel Carvalho, Boy (Brazil)

Boy is a feature-length documentary about the daily lives of Black male escorts in the city of São Paulo. Through observational language, personal diaries and lyrical moments, the film reflects on desire, coloniality and the (hyper)sexualization of the Black man.

David Hernandez, Buscando las marcas del Asho ́ojushi (Searching for the Marks of the Asho´ojushi) (Colombia)

A prophecy, told by Jose Epieyu, comes up in the midst of research for the documentary Buscando las marcas del asho´ojushi (Searching for the Marks of the Asho´ojushi), becoming the foundation for a journey that Marbel and David undertake to learn the beliefs and stories around traditional Wayuu tattoo.

Michelle Ibaven, Ruptures (Mexico)

Ridden by confusion, fear and grief, Carmen has no option but to be brave. Eight years ago, she suffered an acid attack by her ex-partner that left her with a stinging imprint. Following his recent arrest, Carmen thoroughly examines the violence she faced in order to transcend it.

Ann Kaneko, 45/45 (U.S.)

Forty-five years separates filmmaker Ann Kaneko from her mother and from her daughter, and 90 years’ distance separates grandparents and grandchild. 45/45 weaves together a tapestry of images and observations, chronicling and celebrating growing up and growing old. Parents and children reverse roles as the “sandwiched” daughter, who doubles as filmmaker and caregiver, shares insights about the uncanny resemblance of life’s beginning and end.

Olivia Luengas, Brigade 2045 (Mexico)

Amidst an unprecedented wave of wildfires surrounding one of the largest cities in Latin America, a group of forest firefighters, dedicated in body and soul to their work, gather the strength to face danger in a context of social degradation and climate crisis.

Glenda Nicácio, Para Elisa (For Elisa) (Brazil)

For Elisa is a biographical documentary about the pulsating life of Elisa Lucinda, an actress, singer, poet, writer, and journalist, who is considered to be the most popular Brazilian poet of her generation.

Lourdes Portillo, Looking at Ourselves (U.S.)

Looking at Ourselves is a hybrid film that is part experimental documentary and part investigative journalism. A meditation on being, belonging, and place, the film comprises intimate conversations between the filmmaker and performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña, who share their own immigration journeys, reveal what immigrant artists bring to their adoptive countries, and trace how they use art to transform trauma into a legacy of creativity, resilience, and community-building.

Yoruba Richen, Insurrection 1898 (U.S.)

Insurrection 1898 brings to life the events surrounding the coup d’état in Wilmington, NC, in which white supremacists overthrew the multiracial government of North Carolina’s largest city through a coordinated campaign of violence and intimidation intended to undermine Black political and economic power and impose white control.

Juan Antonio Méndez Rodríguez, a.ka. Xun Sero, De Aspecto Indígena (Appearing Indigenous) (Mexico)

De Aspecto Indígena explores and exposes the racism that nests in one of the first Spanish cities founded in Central America: San Cristóbal de Las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico.

Read at Realscreen.

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