New York–based Firelight Media has unveiled the grantees for its third annual Impact Campaign Fund, a dedicated resource for audience-engagement and impact campaigns related to non-fiction projects by filmmakers of color, including current or former Firelight Media–supported filmmakers.
The fund was established in 2020 to help support non-fiction projects that are socially relevant, address or engage with underrepresented issues or communities, and are accountable to the impacted communities represented. The five documentary films and docuseries selected for this year’s cohort, which will each receive project grants of $25,000 as well as impact and engagement strategy support, tell stories about such timely topics as the effects of police brutality on Black communities; rising anti-Muslim violence following the 2017 Muslim travel ban; and how the criminal justice system responds to survivors of abuse when they fight back.
“Firelight Media is pleased to continue our impact and advocacy work by empowering these talented and socially engaged filmmakers and impact producers with the resources they need to affect positive change through their films,” said Firelight Media senior vice president Leticia Peguero in a release. “Documentaries have the power to catalyze audiences around urgent social issues, but it takes careful planning and resource development to create real change. We are confident that this year’s cohort of Impact Campaign Fund grantees has what it takes to do just that.”
The filmmakers and impact producers behind the selected projects will use their grants for activities like hosting community-centered screenings to raise awareness about the issues discussed in the films, mobilizing viewers to get involved in local organizing efforts, and creating and distributing activation guides to help transform viewers’ responses to the films into actionable plans for change.
This year, Firelight is also partnering with Looky Looky Pictures, which was founded by Firelight Impact Producers Lab alum Ani Mercedes, to provide mentorship around campaign strategy and implementation for the selected projects.
The receipients of the 2022 Impact Campaign Fund are listed below, with descriptions courtesy of Firelight Media:
A Town Called Victoria
Director: Li Lu
Producers: Li Lu, Anthony Pedone
Hours after the 2017 travel ban takes effect, a mosque in South Texas erupts in flames. Now, this quiet community must reckon with the deep rifts that drove a man to hate.
And So I Stayed
Directors/impact producers: Natalie Pattillo, Daniel A. Nelson
And So I Stayed is an award-winning documentary about survivors of abuse fighting for their lives and spending years behind bars. This is the story of how the legal system gets domestic violence wrong.
Director: Atin Mehra
Impact advisor: Dr. Mei Kennedy
Being Michelle follows the journey of a deaf woman with autism who survived incarceration and abuse and now uses artwork to both depict the trauma she survived as well as heal from her past.
Black Mothers Love & Resist
Director: Débora Souza Silva
Wanda Johnson and Angela Williams, mothers of young Black men victimized by police brutality, come together and build a network of community-led support, mutual aid, and healing in this documentary spanning Oakland’s Fruitvale to the American South.
Let the Little Light Shine
Director: Kevin Shaw
Impact producer: Locsi Ferra
A high-achieving elementary school near downtown Chicago is a lifeline for Black children — until gentrification threatens its closure.