LEF Foundation Announces $205,000 in Production and Post-production Grants to New England Filmmakers

LEF and the Harvard Film Study Center have also announced that Amy Jenkins has been awarded the FSC-LEF Fellowship for 2022-23.

The LEF Foundation has awarded 11 Moving Image Fund grants totaling $205,000 in support of feature-length documentary works by New England-based filmmakers.

The LEF Moving Image Fund invests in feature-length documentary films that demonstrate excellence in technique, strong storytelling ability, and originality of artistic vision and voice. The most recent round of awards includes seven grants of $15,000 to projects at the Production stage and four grants of $25,000 to projects at the Post-production stage

This year’s selected films represent a chorus of perspectives questioning how best to celebrate, conserve, and connect with the past and present while forging ahead into an unwritten future. 

“It’s moving to see the diversity of work being made by independent documentary filmmakers in the region,” said Lyda Kuth, Executive Director. “This year we saw themes of legacy, community, and transformation dealt with through a range of films, some of which address environmentalism, disability, public education, and even wastewater treatment.”

Production

  • COSMIC CODA (dir./prod. Mary-Jane Doherty)
  • Kaksori! (dir. Shirley Kim-Ryu, Eben Portnoy; prod. Kim-Ryu, Portnoy, Marcela Santibañez)
  • King Luck (dir. Emily Graham-Handley; prod. Graham-Handley, Tom Donahue)
  • My Disability Roadmap (dir. Dan Habib, Samuel Habib; prod. Dan Habib)
  • Requiem for a River (dir. Mary Patierno; prod. Patierno, Hugo Pérez)
  • The Source of Life (Te Puna Ora) (dir. Virginie Tetoofa; prod. Kiran Jandu, Riham Ezzaldeen, Ciara Lacy)
  • Untitled Wastewater Documentary (dir. Kaitlyn Schwalje, Alex Wolf Lewis; prod. Rebecca Stern, Justin Levy)

Post-production

  • Adam’s Apple (dir. Amy Jenkins)
  • Cairo, IL Project (working title) (dir. Lisa Marie Malloy, JP Sniadecki, Ray Whitaker; prod. Karin Chien, Wynne Hannan)
  • Israelism (dir. Eric Axelman, Sam Eilertsen; prod. Axelman, Daniel Chalfen)
  • School District (dir. Leigh Morfoot, Jason Morfoot; prod. Leigh Morfoot)

At LEF’s January 2022 deadline for Production and Post-production, 67 eligible letters of inquiry were evaluated by a group of three New England-based filmmakers serving as peer readers, in addition to LEF staff. 

“This opportunity for local filmmakers to engage with the work being made by their colleagues is both inspiring and builds a sense of community that LEF looks to play a role in creating,” said Kuth.

Of these initial inquiries, 28 projects that most aligned with LEF’s funding criteria were invited by LEF staff to submit a full application, including 17 finalists in Production and 11 finalists in Post-production. All 28 full applications were then evaluated by a peer review panel made up of filmmakers and professionals from across the U.S. who represent a diversity of perspectives on documentary. Peer reviewers remain anonymous and change at every round. While LEF has typically convened each year’s Moving Image Fund panelists for an in-person review meeting each May, LEF hosted an all-virtual panel review process for a third consecutive year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We were honored to learn about every project shared with LEF during this spring grant cycle, and to invite feedback from a group of thoughtful and talented peer reviewers at both the letter of inquiry stage and the full application stage,” said LEF Program Director Gen Carmel. “We will make that feedback available for applicants to hear by phone, and we hope that all of the filmmakers who applied might take advantage of this opportunity to receive in-kind support for their works-in-progress, regardless of the grant decision.”  

In addition to this group of grantees, LEF also awarded $47,500 to 12 projects in Early Development and Pre-production earlier in the fiscal year. In total, LEF will be distributing $252,500 in funding to documentary productions over the course of its 2021-22 fiscal year


Earlier today, LEF joined the Harvard Film Study Center in announcing that Amy Jenkins has been selected as the 2022-23 recipient of the Film Study Center-LEF Foundation Fellowship with her project “Adam’s Apple.” The FSC-LEF Fellowship, open to Boston-area nonfiction directors who are not currently affiliated with Harvard, aims to foster connections between Harvard filmmakers and those in the surrounding filmmaker community. One filmmaker per academic year receives a $10,000 grant (jointly funded by FSC and LEF Foundation), access to FSC production and post-production equipment, and the opportunity to participate in the Harvard FSC community through work-in-progress screenings, workshops, and other activities. Fellowship applications are accepted in the January round of the LEF Moving Image Fund Production and Post-production grant cycle and the final recipient of the FSC-LEF Fellowship is selected by the Film Study Center. See the full announcement here.


The next Moving Image Fund grant deadline is Friday, June 3, 2022 for New England-based directors and producers seeking Pre-production and Early Development support for feature-length documentaries. Please check LEF’s website for details regarding LEF Moving Image Fund guidelines and eligibility. For more information on the Foundation or its funded projects, please contact Program Officer Matthew LaPaglia at matthew@lef-foundation.org.

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