Points North
Shortform Editing Residency2019-06-27T11:12:15-04:00


September 8-15, 2019

The Shortform Editing Residency fosters an informal, collaborative environment for independent filmmakers to edit their documentary shorts with guidance from peers and experienced mentors.

One week prior to the start of the Camden International Film Festival, four teams of filmmakers convene in a large house on the coast of Maine. Between group meals and outdoor excursions, they edit, screen, and discuss rough cuts, while working closely with a rotating cast of mentors. During the festival, participants meet with some of the industry’s leading funders and distributors of shorts, building the support, community and resources they need to complete their films.

Past mentors have included representatives from Field of Vision, VICE, Vimeo, Great Big Story (CNN) and Netflix.

The Shortform Editing Residency includes:

  • 7 nights of accommodations for one on the picturesque coast of Maine
  • $1000 stipend for travel and rental car
  • (2) All Access Passes to the 2019 Camden International Film Festival and Points North Forum
  • Scheduled meetings with funders and distributors during CIFF


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, 2020.

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 5 @ 11:59pm | $25
Regular Deadline: May 17 @ 11:59pm | $35
Extended Deadline: June 28 @ 11:59pm | $45


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

Major support provided by

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).

“Every single filmmaker I met remarked upon what an incredible week it was and how generously supported they felt. I’ve been to several large festivals and pitch meetings over the years, but none had the camaraderie of this week. The Shortform Editing Residency created an atmosphere where we could have substantive conversations and then build real connections with industry reps that moved beyond just pitching.”

Carolyn McCulley, 2018 Shortform Editing Residency

“The Shortform Editing Residency is priceless. You walk away with a new filmmaker community, relationships that are deeper and far more enriching than you could ever have established by just going to film festivals. It truly gave me space to discuss my film’s flaws openly, with rigor, and ultimately walk away with a better motion picture.”

Kamau Bilal, 2017 Shortform Editing Residency

“One of the most amazing experiences in bonding with film nerds that I’ve ever had.”

Nathan Truesdell, 2016 Shortform Editing Residency


Drawing Life

Drawing Life combines documentary footage of cartoonist George Booth, with animated stories from his long life, exploring his singular vision of America, and how Booth’s work surmounts lines of class to show a shared humanity. Drawing Life is the first episode in a short form documentary series about visual artists working in cartooning and graphic novel formats.

Directed by Nathan Fitch

Lupita, La Semilla (Lupita, The Seed That Survived)

Set against the backdrop of autonomous Zapatista territory, forced indigenous displacement, increased militarization, and the 2018 elections, we dive into the story of Guadalupe Vázquez Luna — Lupita– a beautiful and humble massacre survivor who finds her voice alongside “Marichuy,” the first indigenous woman to campaign for president of Mexico. The film asks the viewer, if anyone can change the future and consciousness of Mexico, could it be her?

Directed by Monica Wise

A Shot at Redemption

In 1982, James Stevens (now known legally as TJ Stevens) went to his high school in Northern Virginia with a high-powered rifle, intending to kill himself and anyone else he saw. He shot up the school and took 10 adults hostage for 21 hours, but in the end, no one was hurt. Thirty-six years later, as the rates of mass shooting and suicides are increasing, TJ is ready to talk about his experience and what changed him — a portrait of a complicated man with many twists and turns in his quest for personal redemption.

Directed by Carolyn McCulley

Sustained Outrage

For over 100 years, the family-owned Charleston Gazette-Mail has been a relentless watchdog over West Virginia’s most powerful, propelled by its unofficial mantra: “Sustained Outrage”. But just eight months after winning the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, the Gazette-Mail grappled with a painful reality: after decades of dwindling readership and revenue, the paper filed for bankruptcy. An intimate look inside the paper, following in real-time as the future of the paper is decided.

Directed by Gabriela Cavanagh





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