The Points North Fellowship brings six teams of early- and mid-career filmmakers to accelerate the development of their feature documentary, culminating in the public presentation of works-in-progress at the Points North Pitch. The Points North Fellowship aims to strengthen filmmakers’ artistic voices and propel their careers forward by facilitating new relationships with mentors, collaborators and funders. We believe that a strong community of support is vital for independent filmmakers who are taking creative risks and expanding the possibilities of documentary cinema.
The Fellowship begins during the weeks leading up to the annual Camden International Film Festival. In private online workshops, Fellows receive rigorous feedback from mentors and peers as they practice their pitches, strengthen their artistic voices, and develop their funding and distribution strategies. The week culminates at the Points North Pitch, the only public pitch of its kind, where each team pitches their project to a dozen leading funders, broadcasters, producers and distributors.
Submissions for the Points North Fellowship are now closed for 2020.
Pitch panelists have included representatives from:
Ford Foundation, ITVS, Sundance Institute, POV, Impact Partners, Doc Society, HBO, Tribeca Film Institute, Cinereach, International Documentary Association, SFFILM, Catapult Film Fund, RYOT, Chicago Media Project, A&E, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Fork Films, The Fledgling Fund and CNN Films, among others.
Alumni films include:
THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED
ALL THAT PASSES BY THROUGH A WINDOW THAT DOESN’T OPEN
THE CAGE FIGHTER
THE REAGAN SHOW
2020 POINTS NORTH FELLOWS
God works in mysterious ways and so do women. For over fifty years a Syrian movement has been secretly growing into the largest Muslim women’s organization in the world. Through a generational lens, Q takes us deep into the mysterious, unspoken of world of the Qubaysiat, the regime-loving Sufis turned cult through the filmmaker, her mother and her grandmother’s relationship to the group.
Directed and Produced by Jude Chehab
About the Director
Jude Chehab is a Lebanese/American filmmaker, whose early career work has landed awards, screening in film festivals worldwide. Her credits include collaborations with BBC, Refinery29, Oxfam GB, and Doctors Without Borders. She was part of Abbas Kiarostami’s last student group in Cuba, where she worked on a piece under his guidance. She is both a CAAM and NeXtDoc fellow. Jude’s richly visual and intimate personal shooting style has illuminated issues close to her heart including the refugee crisis and female empowerment. She has recently worked as a DP on films in Somalia, Sudan and Pakistan and as an AP on Sesame Street’s newest show for Syrian refugees. Jude is currently in early production on her first feature documentary based in Lebanon and supported by IDA, ITVS, TFI and Sundance. She is based between NYC and Beirut.
Esu and the Universe
In Brazil, a country where religious freedom is under attack and racism is a systemic issue, a community struggles to prove their god Esu, is not the devil. “Esu and the Universe” is a documentary about freedom of worship, the decolonization of thought and the influence of the African Yoruba people, in Brazil and around the world.
Directed by Thiago Zanato
Produced by Adriana Barbosa
About the Director
Thiago Zanato, is a Brazilian-American filmmaker based in Los Angeles. His work is focused on social issues and the aesthetics of representation as it relates to marginalized communities. He directed “La Flaca”, a short film about a Mexican transgender woman and leader of the Santa Muerte (Saint Death) cult in Queens, NY. The film was highly acclaimed and entered +100 film festivals around the world, among them: Fribourg International Film Festival, Message to Man, Guanajuato International Film Festival, OutFest, Frameline, Encounters FF, LALIFF. He is currently directing his first feature “Esu and the Universe”, a documentary about freedom of worship, the decolonization of thought and the influence of the African Yoruba people, not only in Brazil but around the world – selected to Points North Fellowship, Latino Media Market – NALIP Media Summit, WIP latino at FICG in LA, “Only in New York” – DOCNYC and DOCSP – International Documentary of São Paulo, Brazil.
I Didn’t See You There
Spurred by a circus tent that goes up outside his Oakland apartment, a disabled filmmaker connects the ostensibly antiquated institution of the Freak Show with his own life. As he explores the public’s gaze, his sense of home, and lost love, he ultimately wonders if the very act of filming his personal life perpetuates the legacy of freakdom.
Directed by Reid Davenport
Produced by Keith Wilson
About the Director
Reid Davenport is in production on his sixth documentary exploring disability through a political lens. His in-progress feature film “I Didn’t See You There” is a lyrical meditation on the history of the Freak Show, (in)visibility, and love. Davenport is a 2020 North Points Fellow and a 2017 TED Fellow, where he gave a TED Talk at the annual conference in Vancouver. His film awards include the Enersen Foundation Production Grant (“Ramped UP”), the Artistic Visions Award at the 2016 Big Sky Documentary Festival (“A Cerebral Game”) and Best Short Documentary at the 2013 Awareness Film Festival (“Wheelchair Diaries”). He is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Through My Lens, a nonprofit with a mission to amplify voices of and issues related to people with disabilities through original content, media consultancy, and personal instruction. As an undergrad at George Washington University, Davenport studied with filmmaker Jason Osder, with whom he now collaborates, and in 2016 he received a Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Film & Video from Stanford University.
River of Grass
RIVER OF GRASS brings audiences on a journey through the past, present, and precarious future of the Florida Everglades. Reimagining environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s groundbreaking book “The Everglades: River of Grass (1947),” the film considers how Florida’s climate crisis is historically rooted in the Everglades’ ongoing legacies of colonization. Combining a ghostly narrator, portraits of contemporary Floridians, and an otherworldly soundscape, RIVER OF GRASS is a nuanced meditation on how historical events haunt and inextricably shape contemporary life.
Directed by Sasha Wortzel
Produced by Danielle Varga
About the Director
Sasha Wortzel (she/they) is an artist and filmmaker working between Miami and New York. Wortzel’s films have been screened at the MoMA DocFortnight, True/False Film Festival, DOC NYC, BAMcinématek, Blackstar, Berlinale, Open City Documentary Festival, and Sharjah Film Platform. Their work has been exhibited at the New Museum, Brooklyn Museum, The Kitchen, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; Krannert Art Museum, Champaign; and SALTS, Birsfelden. Wortzel has been supported by the Sundance Institute, Art Matters, Field of Vision, Queer/Art/Mentorship, and a 2018 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in film/video. Wortzel’s film Happy Birthday Marsha! (2018; co-director Tourmaline) won special mention at Outfest and is distributed by Frameline. This is an Address (2020) is distributed by Field of Vision. Their work is in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum and Leslie Lohman Museum of Art. She has been featured in publications including The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, and New York Magazine.
Seeking Mavis Beacon
One of the most influential Black women in technology is a figment of our collective imagination. Mavis Beacon was invented by the Co-Founder of Myspace to sell the world’s most popular typing software, but the real woman she was modeled after disappeared in 1995. Seeking Mavis Beacon poses critical questions regarding anthropomorphization and the consumption of marginalized bodies in the tech industry, while reimagining the legacy of a missing historical figure.
Directed by Jazmin Jones
Produced by Guetty Felin
About the Director
Jazmin Jones is a Brooklyn-based, Bay Area raised visual storyteller and thot leader with BUFU: By Us For Us. Her aim is to build platforms for more vibrant and nuanced representation of the marginalized communities she’s a part of. Working across visual mediums, her projects often echo personal experiences as a queer, Black femme waging intimacy in the Post-Internet era.
She’s been granted the Human and Civil Rights Award from the National Association of Education, the Fair Use Award from the Media That Matters Film Festival, a Civic Arts and Humanities Fellowship with the Flaherty Film Seminar and was recently featured in SFMoMa’s Raw Materials podcast. In 2015, Jazmin co-founded BUFU: a project-based collective interested in solidarity amongst Us, co-creating experimental models of organizing with You. The collective was awarded Eyebeam’s 2017 Trust Residency and are 2020 residents with the Brooklyn Community Foundation Incubator Project.
When Jazmin isn’t investigating the disappearance of Mavis Beacon for her experimental documentary Seeking Mavis Beacon, she can be found curating sights and sounds that evoke Black delight at @AllBlackASMR.
The Tuba Thieves
“The Tuba Thieves” fictionalizes real events and lived experiences through a hard of hearing sensory system. Intercut with reimaginings of historical concerts, a Deaf drummer explores her connection to music with her hearing father and hearing boyfriend while marching band students reconcile with tuba thefts from Los Angeles high schools.
Directed by Alison O’Daniel
Produced by Rachel Nederveld
About the Director
Alison O’Daniel is a filmmaker and visual artist. She is a recipient of 2019 Creative Capital and Louis Comfort Tiffany awards, was included in Filmmaker Magazine’s 2019 25 New Faces of Film, participated in the NYFF Artist Academy, and was an advisor for the 2019 Sundance Accessible Futures Impact Intensive. Her film, The Tuba Thieves, is supported by the 2019 Sundance Creative Producing Lab. She has exhibited at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR; Centro Centro, Madrid, Spain; Art in General, New York. She attended a residency at the Wexner Center Film/Video Studio Program. Writing on O’Daniel’s work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Artforum, Los Angeles Times, BOMB and ArtReview. She is represented by Commonwealth and Council in Los Angeles and is an Assistant Professor of Film at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.
2019 POINTS NORTH FELLOWS
Deep Inside the Shaman’s Den
Frank Moore was a performance artist who couldn’t walk or talk. DEEP INSIDE THE SHAMAN’S DEN explores the controversial work, polyamorous lifestyle and defiant spirit of an unsung countercultural figure whose legacy radiates to this day. With a playful and celebratory, yet critical perspective, the film draws on Moore’s decades deep archive of recorded materials and extensive writings to tell the story of a provocative artist and his role in a fragmented society.
Directed by Keith Wilson
Produced by Keith Wilson and Emile Bokaer
DRIVER immerses us in a vital community of women truck drivers. Threatened by routine sexual violence and bound by a system where multi-billion dollar megacarriers and oppressive regulatory regimes conspire to leave the individual driver powerless, Desiree and her fellow drivers band together to survive in an industry that views them as disposable. Despite miles of highway between them, their lives intersect on the road and off; they find strength and solidarity in one another.
Directed and Produced by Nesa Azimi
In Another Life
When a young filmmaker tries to make a black comedy about the friendship between her estranged father and their family’s aging dog, she unintentionally films the sudden death of her brother and embarks on a seven-year journey through addiction, death, grief and love. IN ANOTHER LIFE is an intimate portrayal of the moments and unknowable forces that shape our lives.
Directed by Grace Harper
Produced by Alistair Payne-James, Julia Nottingham
After seeing his village being washed away by the collapse of a mining dam, an exile in Portugal attempts to digest the trauma through dance. A second dam breaks and an environmentalist is forced to leave her life of isolation for the international media spotlight. A school teacher keeps watch at night for the imminent break of a third dam that can bury his town in an estimated eight seconds. In the interval of three years, two mining tailings dams broke in Minas Gerais, Brazil, becoming the country worst socio environmental disasters.
Directed by Pedro de Filippis
Produced by Bronte Stahl
To Use A Mountain
The federal government searches America’s hinterlands for the one place willing and able to accept 77,000 tons of nuclear waste for 10,000 years. Within the communities sitting atop the candidate sites, dreams, disillusionments, and fortitudes emerge through stories of environmental ruin and resistance. Part dystopian exposé and part vérité tableau, TO USE A MOUNTAIN entwines the rural geographies of the atomic age with generations of farmers, miners, scientists, and activists.
Directed by Casey Carter
Produced by Colleen Cassingham
ROLEPLAY is a feature documentary that follows a year in the life of a group of American college students as they confront the sexual violence and toxicity on their campus with an artistic experiment, using their experiences to craft an original theater piece aimed at spurring dialogue, healing, and culture change. Juxtaposing cathartic rehearsal scenes, observational portraits of college life, and the performance itself, ROLEPLAY explores the nuance and contradictions of what it means to come of age in our complex times.
Directed by Katie Mathews
Produced by Katie Mathews, Jenny Mercein