Points North
Points North Fellowship2020-06-24T16:42:56-04:00


 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.

In light of the current health crisis, the 2020 Points North Fellowship will be conducted remotely, with sessions 2-3 times/week over a four week period. Each Points North Fellow will receive a $1000 honorarium. The 11th annual Points North Pitch will be livestreamed to a global audience on Saturday, October 3. 

The submission period for the Points North Fellowship has been extended to July 15th. Participants will be announced in August.

Submissions are now open!

Earlybird Deadline: April 6 @ 11:59pm | $25
Regular Deadline: May 18 @ 11:59pm | $35
Extended Deadline: July 15 @ 11:59pm | $45


The Points North Fellowship application follows the guidelines established by the IDA’s Documentary Core Application Project.

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:


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

Rejeito (Tailings)

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

The fellowship begins with two full days of intensive pitch training and focused mentorship with industry veterans prior to the start of the festival on September 13-14. These sessions will prepare filmmakers to pitch their projects to an international panel of funders, broadcasters, distributors and producers before a live audience at the Points North Pitch on September 16. Each pitch lasts exactly 7 minutes, followed by 12 minutes of feedback from the panel.

Following the festival, all Points North Fellows will receive a ticket to the Cinema Eye Honors (held in mid-January 2017), an invitation to CIFF’s annual Cinema Eye Nominees Party and two nights of accommodations in New York. Taking place four months after the pitch, these events give Fellows an opportunity to connect with the wider documentary community and follow up on their pitches by setting up targeted one-on-one meetings with industry delegates.

We went into Points North with almost no funding in place, and in the seven months following our pitch we were able to raise over 80% of our budget, most of it from panelists that participated in the pitch. I’ll always be grateful that the Points North team saw the potential in our project and connected us with the influencers who could get our film funded and out into the world.
Emelie Mahdavian, MIDNIGHT TRAVELER, Points North Fellow 2017

I loved the experience… From the mix of projects and quality of the pitch training, to the panel and overall atmosphere, it was a hugely beneficial and enjoyable event. At once, thoughtful and challenging.

Eva Weber, GHOST WIVES, Points North Fellow 2017
To be honest, I was skeptical and anxious about participating in a public pitch forum. I was afraid I would have to package my film into a series of promotional soundbites. I was completely wrong. At Points North Institute, I was able to develop the language to present my project publicly in a manner that was both accessible and true to my own vision. It was a remarkably supportive environment.
- Todd Chandler, Points North Fellow 2017

Points North gave my documentary, The Sensitives, the kind of introduction to the industry that filmmakers dream of. Not only was it the conduit for relationships with broadcasters, funders, and colleagues that continue to this day but also an otherwise impossible chance for honest feedback and discussion from the who’s-who of documentary institutions.

- Drew Xanthopoulos, THE SENSITIVES, Points North Fellow 2013
The Points North Fellowship launched not just our documentary project, but us as filmmakers, for the long term. I feel like I am now officially part of this bigger documentary community.
- Amy Benson, DRAWING THE TIGER, Points North Fellow 2014

The Points North program helped us to distill the essence of my film into the powerful and engaging pitch needed to get funders, distributors, and broadcasters to pay attention. Through their workshop and practice sessions, we were able to fashion a key that opened these locks.

- Pacho Velez, THE REAGAN YEARS, Points North Fellow 2014

Major support provided by

Past panelists at the Points North Pitch include representatives from:

  • BBC
  • HBO
  • A&E IndieFilms
  • ARTE
  • POV
  • PBS
  • Al Jazeera America
  • ITVS
  • Ford Foundation
  • Sundance Institute
  • Tribeca Film Institute
  • Cinereach
  • Catapult Film Fund
  • The Fledgling Fund
  • San Francisco Film Society
  • Chicken & Egg Pictures
  • LEF Foundation
  • Participant Media
  • Naked Edge Films
  • The Orchard



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