LEF/CIFF Fellowship

LEF/CIFF Fellowship

LEF/CIFF Fellowship

LEF/CIFF Fellowship

Photo Courtesy of PNI

Developed in partnership by LEF New England and the Points North Institute, the LEF/CIFF Fellowship is an opportunity for 5 New England-based filmmaker teams to attend the Camden International Film Festival in mid-coast Maine and connect with other filmmakers and industry leaders through a series of mentor-led project development workshops, networking events, and curated 1:1 meetings.

PNI builds a unique, interdisciplinary community of filmmakers, artists, journalists, industry leaders and local audiences, forming a creative hub where stories and talent are discovered, collaborations are born, and the future of nonfiction media is shaped. PNI’s programs include the annual Camden International Film Festival and Points North Forum, as well as a growing suite of artist development initiatives: retreats, residencies, workshops and fellowships that nurture the careers of diverse nonfiction storytellers and help them develop a stronger artistic voice.

About the Fellowship Program

The LEF/CIFF Fellowship program supports career sustainability for regional filmmakers by providing a unique point of access to potential industry supporters, peer mentorship opportunities with fellow filmmakers, and connections to the broader documentary community.

The LEF/CIFF Fellowship provides:

  • a $500 stipend per project to support travel to Camden, Maine*
  • (2) All Access passes to the Camden International Film Festival and Points North Forum
  • (6) nights of accommodations for two during the festival
  • Mentor workshops, led by guest filmmakers and PNI’s Artist Programs staff, to discuss and practice presenting your documentary work-in-progress within a supportive cohort-based environment.
  • Curated 1:1 meetings with funders, distributors, producers, and other potential supporters for your project.

*Please note: PNI is planning for an in-person gathering and will be adhering to any CDC travel restrictions and public health guidelines in place during the dates of the fellowship. For current guidelines, refer to the CDC website. Before applying, please consider if you will feasibly be able to travel to Maine for the dates of the fellowship.


CIFF has become an important stop on the documentary festival circuit for both filmmakers and industry delegates, who attend to build new relationships with filmmakers participating in Points North Institute’s Artist Programs. In recent years, LEF/CIFF Fellows have had opportunities to build relationships with dozens of major funders (Sundance, Ford, ITVS, Doc Society, Catapult, XTR); sales agents (Submarine, CAA, Endeavor); streaming platforms (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+); broadcasters (POV, CNN, NBC, ESPN); theatrical distributors (NEON, A24); and more.


  • The Fellowship is open to projects with directors who have established their primary residence in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont).
  • Feature documentary projects in production or post-production
  • Prior LEF/CIFF Fellows are not eligible to participate in the program again with the same project. However, prior LEF/CIFF Fellows may apply with a new project.

How to Apply

Applicants should apply via the Points North website

Application Deadline

Friday, April 8, 2024

Selection Process

The Points North Institute is responsible for managing the application process. Members of PNI’s Artist Programs team and the LEF New England team are responsible for reviewing applications and making final selections of fellows.

Applicants will be evaluated based on LEF New England’s guidelines, which include these factors:

  • Quality of cinematic form and technique
  • Originality of filmmaker’s voice, vision, and point of view
  • Resonance and power of the film’s core idea or story
  • Feasibility of production

Application Questions

If you have any questions about this opportunity, please refer to the Points North Institute Artist Programs FAQ page. If you still can’t find the answer to your question, please write to the Points North Institute’s Artist Programs team at artistprograms@pointsnorthinstitute.org.

Current and Past Fellows

In its early days, the LEF/CIFF Fellowship program was first piloted as an invitation-only opportunity for LEF Moving Image Fund grantees in production or post-production. In 2020, the program shifted to an application process open to any eligible New England-based filmmakers.


  • Black Pearl – directed by Iyabo Kwayana
  • Karachi Sky – directed by Sofian Khan
  • Softly in all directions – directed by Anna Barsan
  • The Fate of Human Beings – directed by Heather Cassano
  • Unless Something Goes Terribly Wrong – directed by Kaitlyn Schwalje & Alexander Lewis


  • From the Land – directed by John Hulsey
  • More Than a Name – directed by Sandra Jaffe
  • Nine – directed by Rachael DeCruz & Jeremy S. Levine
  • The Gatherers – directed by Suzanne Greenlaw & Chek Wingo 
  • Untitled Altered States Film – directed by Julie Mallozzi


  • Adam’s Apple – directed by Amy Jenkins
  • El Signo Vacío (the empty sign) – directed by Kathryn Ramey
  • Hummingbirds – directed by Silvia Castaños, Estefanía Contreras, Miguel Drake McLaughlin, Diane Ng, Ana Rodriguez-Falco and Jillian Schlesinger; Project fellow: director Silvia Castaños.
  • Untitled Death Row Memory Film – directed by Alex Morelli
  • School District – directed by Leigh Morfoot and Jason Morfoot
  • Kaksori! – directed by Shirley Kim-Ryu & Eben Portnoy
  • The Star of Hope – directed by Jason Mann


  • Bound by Blood: Echoes of the Elaine Massacre – directed by
    Franziska Blome and Llewellyn Smith
  • No One Told Me – directed by Zulilah Merry
  • Power & Light – directed by Sabrina Aviles, Jesse Ericka Epstein, Marion Lipschutz, & Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt
  • The Cleaning Writer – directed by Carolina González Valencia
  • The Story of Wealth – directed by Kevin Tobin
  • Velvet Citizen – directed by Lindsay Taylor Jackson


  • The End of the River – directed by Allison Cekala; The Order of Things, directed by Jeff Silva and Ramona Badescu & produced by Allison Cekala
  • A Snail on the Slope – directed by Daniel Mooney
  • On These Grounds (former title: Disturbing School) – directed by Garrett Zevgetis
  • A Reckoning in Boston (former title: Invisible) – directed by James Rutenbeck
  • Girl Talk – directed by Lucia Small
  • Recovery High – directed by Steve Liss


  • Bulletproof Stockings For Ladies Only – directed by Nicole Teeny
  • Minor Attraction – directed by Amelia Evans
  • Where the Pavement Ends – directed by Jane Gillooly; Project fellow: producer/writer/editor Khary Saeed Jones
  • Stalin, Lenin, and Other Tales from South India – directed by Kavita Pillay
  • The Fourth Wall – directed by Luke Meyer and Tom Davis
  • Councilwoman & The Philadelphia Eleven – both projects directed by Margo Guernsey