For the final Groundwork Regional Lab of 2022, Firelight Media traveled to Saint Paul, Minnesota to gather with 14 local BIPOC filmmakers for an intensive three-day program designed to introduce them to opportunities for documentary media production in their community.
Hosted in partnership with Twin Cities PBS, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN), The Walker Art Center, and FilmNorth, Groundwork Minnesota featured presentations by documentary industry leaders, a curated short film program, an on-the-ground guide to working with local PBS stations as an independent filmmaker, and workshops on grant writing, designing pitch decks, and creating work samples.
Firelight Media’s Groundwork Regional Lab supports diverse, emerging documentary filmmakers living and working in under-represented regions of the U.S and U.S. territories. By providing an introduction to the documentary landscape and the opportunities that exist for early-career filmmakers, our goal is to help position them for national opportunities as well as to increase public television stations’ capacity to leverage the talent and content of diverse, local makers.
Groundwork Minnesota was hosted by Firelight Media’s Director of Regional Initiatives, Chloë Walters-Wallace, and organized by Weenta Girmay, Coordinator of Regional Initiatives. Lab facilitators included Jeanelle Augustin, a film programmer and grants professional who currently leads the Original Voices Fellowship presented by NBCU Academy and NBC News Studios, and Amir George, who was recently named Artistic Director for Kartemquin Films. Guest speakers included Ajuawak Kapashesit, the director of a new documentary short film Language Keepers as part of Firelight Media’s forthcoming collection HOMEGROWN: Future Visions; Daniel Bergin, a PBS Executive Producer and award-winning documentary filmmaker for Twin Cities PBS; Leya Hale, an award-winning producer for Twin Cities PBS; and Andrew Peterson, the Executive Director of FilmNorth.