Points North
Points North Fellowship2019-03-07T11:21:22-04:00


The Points North Fellowship brings six teams of early- and mid-career filmmakers to the coast of Maine for an intensive week of creative and professional development, culminating in the public presentation of their feature documentary 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 an intensive week on the coast of Maine leading up to the annual Camden International Film Festival. In private 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.

After the festival, Fellows will receive continued support from the Points North Staff and will reconvene in another location (TBD) for further workshopping and development of their projects.

Benefits of the Points North Fellowship include:

  • A cash stipend
  • (2) All Access passes to the Camden International Film Festival
  • (5) nights of accommodations for two during the festival
  • (1) round trip flight to Maine, plus local transportation

Submissions are now open!

Earlybird Deadline: April 5 @ 11:59pm | $25
Regular Deadline: May 17 @ 11:59pm | $35
Extended Deadline: June 28 @ 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:

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


The Ark

When two eccentric, blue-collar workers face eviction from their home in upscale Southampton, they come up with a marvelous plan – a broken-down 50-foot yacht and a chance of redemption. The Ark is a dark, comedic observational documentary about those who thrive in the strange and dangerous cracks of the American Dream.

Directed by Madeline Gordon
Producer by Francesca Pagani, Paul Gallasch

The In Between

Through a collection of interweaving vignettes, The In Between follows a cast of characters that take us on a tour of life on the Mexican-American border. Here, people’s lives are spread across two countries, connected by a bridge that everyone must cross. Following a journalist capturing the changing landscape as a new administration settles in, a mother straddling a life in two countries to keep her family together, and the quotidian moments of the lives lived in between two nations and their cultures. The In Between is a poetic ode to a greater reality of the border, offering a nuanced and intimate portrait of a place and its people at the heart of Mexican-American identity.

Directed by Robie Flores
Produced by Robie Flores, Alejandro Flores


Joonam is the story of one filmmaker’s search to uncover her family’s Iranian past. Diving head first into the precarious coming-of-age tales of her grandmother, mother, and self, the filmmaker reflects on the evolving shape of girlhood across her family’s path from Iran to America. A deeply personal story following three generations of women, Joonam explores the relationships between mother and daughter, Iran and America, and the immigrant experience as it echoes through time.

Directed by Sierra Urich

Light Darkness Light

Light Darkness Light follows Ian’s pioneering journey into medical history as he becomes one of the first people in the world to receive a bionic eye implant and see again after thirty years of blindness. Told through Ian’s intimate, first person experience as he participates in an experimental medical trial, the film presents an expansive personal odyssey that explores the nature of perception, faith, technology, memory, and the construct of reality.

Directed by Landon Van Soest
Produced by Tom Yellin

Plan C for Civilization

In 2019 a team of scientists launch a 300-foot balloon into Earth’s stratosphere – the first step toward a “geoengineering” technology to shield us from the sun, putting human hands on the levers of Earth’s climate. Decades after the first warnings that carbon emissions would steer us toward a cliff, endless catastrophes signal we’re already in freefall. Geoengineering could buy us time or trigger unintended effects that ripple across our planet. Is this a threshold we’re willing to cross?

Directed by Ben Kalina, Jennifer Schneider

The Sacred and the Snake

The Sacred & The Snake follows four Indigenous activists – Lauren, Olive, Cheryl, and Vanessa – who reinvent themselves at Standing Rock. As they help catalyze a movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline and Big Oil, they reconnect with their traditions and rediscover their voices. But when the resistance camps are cleared by militarized police, they must face difficult choices. How do they move on from this transformative experience? And how do they transmute trauma into power?

Directed by Sara Lafleur-Vetter, Jonathan Klett
Produced by Romin Lee Johnson



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