North Shorts Grant & Residency2020-09-28T15:04:21-04:00

A $30,000 fund and residency for 6 filmmakers from the American Northeast working on documentary shorts

Points North Institute, IF/Then Shorts, LEF Foundation, and ScreeningRoom invite diverse stories and storytellers from the American Northeast to apply for a fellowship to take cinematic short documentary films from the edit to distribution. The projects should explore a range of socially, politically and culturally relevant topics that are rooted in the region.

Six selected film teams will receive a $5,000 post-production grant and participate in a month-long online rough cut lab, working with industry professionals and editing mentors to fine tune their rough cut. After the lab, the films will be shown at an invitation-only rough cut screening as a part of the 2020 Camden International Film Festival. Following the lab and festival, filmmakers will receive two months of distribution consultation to help get their film out into the world.

Submissions are now closed for 2020

Six projects selected to receive the following benefits:

  • $5,000 grants
  • One month online rough cut lab with peer feedback, workshops, 1:1 mentorship and editing consultations
  • Free access to ScreeningRoom platform for editing notes
  • Invite-only rough cut screening for filmmakers, festival programmers and industry leaders at Camden International Film Festival
  • Distribution support from IF/Then + ScreeningRoom, including introductions and meetings with key platforms for short docs


  • Films made by diverse filmmakers, including ALAANA (Asian, LatinX, African, Arab, and Native American) populations, LGBTQ+, women, nonbinary, and people with disabilities, who are living and working in the American Northeast.
  • This region includes: Maine, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico.
  • Length: Films with intended runtimes up to 30 minutes
  • Stage: Films that will have a first rough cut by September 2020. Anticipated completion early 2021.
  • Should have a minimum 5 minute work sample or reel that demonstrates strong understanding of content and style

2020 North Shorts Grantees

Expanding Sanctuary

Directed by Kristal Sotomayor

Produced by Kristal Sotomayor, Marángeli Mejía Rabell, Selena Yip

Consulting Producer Neyda Martinez

Consulting Editor: Priscilla Gonzalez Sainz

Expanding Sanctuary follows Linda Hernandez during the emotionally taxing but historic campaign to end the sharing of the Philadelphia police database with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The city’s agreement with ICE has led to a rise in detainments and deportations. Immigrant mother Linda must now transform into a community leader to protect her family. The film follows Linda and her daughter Ashley as well as Juntos organizers Olivia, Marisa, and Miguel. The film outlines the full span of the campaign from community meetings, social media archives, protests, and the last press conference officially ending the agreement.

Flatbush! Flatbush!

Directed, produced, and co-edited by Alex Mallis

Co-editor: Travis Wood

Dollar Vans, an informal fleet of commuter vans and minibuses, make up the backbone of one of Brooklyn’s longest streets, Flatbush Avenue. They represent a freedom to move around in an historically transit-poor area, the ingenuity of immigrant communities, and the entrepreneurial spirit of a hugely diverse and vibrant borough. These drivers have stories to tell: avoiding the police, run-ins with other drivers, and what can only be described as constant hustle. It’s not the most lucrative business – but it offers extreme flexibility and a relatively reliable income.

The industry is persistent but precarious. Because of their grey-area legal status, they often fall victim to the whims of shifting public policy and policing, not to mention gentrification. This story is at once an exploration of a somewhat invisible industry while also a celebration of the Afro-Caribbean and West Indian immigrant spirit and the multitudinous neighborhoods they serve.

Life Without Dreams

Directed and produced by Jessica Bardsley

Life Without Dreams is set in the outer space of consciousness, where the surfaces of far out planetary bodies form the terrain for an exploration of 24/7 capitalism, insomnia, and the disappearance of darkness due to light pollution.

Melting Snow

Directed by Janah Elise Cox

Produced by Sue Ariza, Allison Ferner

In 1952, the mayor of San Juan, Felisa Rincon de Gautier, partnered with the now defunct U.S. carrier Eastern Airlines to transport two tons of snow from New Hampshire to Puerto Rico. The snow was a gift to the island meant to enchant Puerto Rican children with a “white” American Christmas. The spectacle represented an unfair economic transaction: planes brought capitalist instant gratification in the form of snow, and returned to the U.S. filled with the Puerto Rican cheap labor that would populate el barrio.

Puerto Rico’s colonial captivity is condensed in the “gift” of melting snow.

Melting Snow is a dig into the past, an act of media archeology, contextualizing the filmmaker’s Grandparents’ experiences to make sense of the present and examine the way American narratives are told, and often warped. As our world crumbles and restructures, Melting Snow forces a reckoning of the motivations and politics behind the United States’ relationship to the island and the anomaly of the oldest colony in the world.

Nació Simón

Directed by Pati Cruz

Produced by Pati Cruz, Lis Santana Varela, Juan Carlos Malavé

Post-Production and Distribution Producer: Samara Pérez Santiago

“Nació Simón” (“Simón was born”) seeks to get to know Lis and their drag, Simón. Lis is shown in their daily life: working, taking care of her kids as a young/queer/non-binary mother, surviving the colonial landscape of Puerto Rico, and how their identity clashes with the heteronormative society. The documentary explores the blurry lines between who is Lis and who is Simón–their differences and meeting points, delving into the construction or birth of Simón.


Directed and produced by Cai Thomas

Editor: Cesar Martinez

Queenie is a 73 year young Black Lesbian that’s called the Marcy Projects home since 1988 but she’s ready to move to a building that better meets her mobility, safety, and social needs as an aging elder. She applies to Stonewall Residences, NYC’s first affordable housing for LGBT elders, hopeful that she’ll be able to live out her final days in a new place she can call home.


Submissions are now open!

  • The Shortform Residency is open to all independent filmmakers and journalists worldwide.
  • Projects must have begun post-production before the start of the residency. The only requirement is that you submit 2 minutes of edited footage.
  • Submitted projects must have an intended runtime of 40 minutes or less.
  • Submitted projects must have an intended completion date before April 1, 2021.

We’re looking for independent filmmakers, journalists and media artists from diverse backgrounds and unique artistic perspectives — storytellers who would benefit from spending a week in Maine editing under the guidance of mentors and connecting with key industry decision makers during the Camden International Film Festival and Points North Forum.

Earlybird Deadline: April 6 @ 11:59pm | $20
Regular Deadline: May 18 @ 11:59pm | $30
Extended Deadline: June 29 @ 11:59pm | $40


The Shortform Editing Residency application follows the guidelines established by the IDA’s Documentary Core Application Project.

Program Partners

MAE Private Foundation


At the Points North Institute, we have long been champions of documentary shorts. They allow filmmakers to experiment with the documentary form, release timely films more quickly, and engage wider audiences through digital platforms. Perhaps most importantly, the growing number of outlets for documentary shorts can help expand and diversify the field by lowering barriers to entry like the cost of production and distribution.

The Shortform Editing Residency, now entering its 4th year, builds on our longstanding commitment to short documentary filmmaking through our highly-curated and wildly popular shorts programs at Camden International Film Festival — Shorts First, Shorts X, and Dirigo Docs — as well as prior artist development programs like the New York Times Op-Docs Pitch @ CIFF (2013) and the AJ+ Pitch @ CIFF (2014).





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