Firelight Media has unveiled the seven grantees for its 2023 Impact Campaign Fund, which offers resources for documentary projects by and for people of color in the U.S.
Now in its fourth year, the fund was established to help support audience engagement and impact campaigns for projects that are socially relevant, address or engage underrepresented issues, and are accountable to the communities they represent.
The seven projects in the 2023 cohort were each awarded grants ranging from $20,000 to $30,000, and provided with the opportunity to receive impact and engagement strategy support and advising. Firelight is partnering with Looky Looky Pictures to offer grantees mentorship around campaign strategy and implementation.
“The campaigns supported through this new round of funding address the many pressing social issues that documentary films can uniquely contextualize and humanize,” Firelight Media senior vice president Leticia Peguero said in a news release.
“Dedicated support for impact campaigns is increasingly hard to come by; while we are proud to offer these grants, we also call on our industry partners, including distributors and funders, to rededicate themselves to offering community and audience engagement support for the documentary projects they fund.”
The seven projects selected for the Impact Campaign Fund are listed below, with loglines provided by Firelight Media.
For Venida, For Kalief
Filmmaker: Sisa Bueno
Logline: Kalief Browder was jailed at Rikers Island in New York for allegedly stealing a backpack; after three years of solitary confinement he committed suicide at age 22. His late mother Venida’s poetry inspires criminal justice reform and a new legacy.
The In Between
Filmmaker: Robie Flores
Impact producer: Alex J. Flores
Logline: Following the death of her brother, a filmmaker returns to the bordertown where she grew up in an attempt to document — using his camera — the spaces and places that shaped them. But the youth of today, in all their messy and joyous complexity, challenge her personal reverie, sparking a lyrical meditation on how fronterizo identity takes shape and what it looks and feels like to grow up on the Texas-Mexico border.
Sansón & Me
Filmmaker: Rodrigo Reyes
Logline: Two Mexican migrants, a young man serving a life sentence in prison and a filmmaker who was his court interpreter, become intertwined through life and cinema.
Filmmakers: Ellen Martinez, Steph Ching
Logline: In some of the most quickly gentrifying neighborhoods in New York City, a group of fearless residents, activists, and non-profit attorneys fight corrupt landlords and developers for the basic human right to a home.
Songs from the Hole
Filmmaker: Contessa Gayles
Impact producer: Richie Reseda
Logline: An incarcerated musician struggles for healing and peace as he comes of age in this documentary-musical odyssey composed behind bars.
Filmmaker: JoeBill Muñoz
Logline: The Strike tells the story of a generation of California men who endured decades of solitary confinement and, against all odds, launched the largest hunger strike in U.S. history.
Filmmaker: Set Hernandez
Logline: An aspiring social worker, Pedro, must confront the uncertainties of life as a blind, undocumented immigrant. Through experimental cinematography and audio-centric filmmaking, Unseen reimagines cinema for audiences with vision loss while interweaving immigration, disability, and mental health.