5 Nonprofits Filmmakers Should Know

Giant Hollywood corporations aren’t the only organizations putting their power behind new filmmakers. The nonprofit world is also having an important impact. Below are five film nonprofits making a difference!

1. Made in Her Image

Made in Her Image is one of the new exciting film nonprofits that teaches filmmaking to girls of color between the ages 8 and 18. While working in the two year-old program’s incubator, girls make a short film from start to finish.

Made in Her Image was founded by Malakai, a self-taught director who recently released the short film Souls and also directed Postmarked as part of AT&T’s Hello Lab.

“It was created out of this need to have women of color see who they can be and what they can do,” Malakai says. “I wanted to make sure that not only did these young women have the opportunity to see themselves, by having mentors within the industry, but also that they would have the opportunity to create images of themselves.”

Women still comprise just 20% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 100 grossing films in 2019, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film. Additionally, of the 1,200 top grossing films released between 2007 and 2018, only nine were directed by women of color.

Made in Her Image has chapters in Phoenix and Los Angeles and partnerships with Sundance Institute, Universal, Panavision, CAA and Disney. You can visit its official website here.

2. Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)

The Center for Asian American Media offers funding for documentary films focused on social change and the Asian American community. Its fund is open to all levels of filmmakers from emerging to veteran, prioritizing work from historically underrepresented Asian American communities such as South and Southeast Asian as well as rural communities.

The Center for Asian American Media is one of several organizations that works in partnership with the Sundance Institute’s Outreach and Inclusion program.

CAAM has also launched its CAAM Fellowship Program, a year-long career and project development opportunity for three to five chosen filmmakers. It focuses on nurturing mentor-fellow relationships within the Asian American documentary community.

Based on its schedule last year, the Program will accept applications through mid-November. You can visit its official website here.

3. Array

Founded by Filmmaker Ava Duvernay, Array is an independent film distribution and resource collective comprised of “arts advocacy organizations, maverick volunteers and rebel member donors worldwide.” Its mission is to amplify independent films by women and people of color. Part of this is Array’s grant program.

Examples of the film nonprofit’s films include Jezebel, written and directed by Numa Perrier, which is available to stream on Netflix now, and Burning Cane, written and directed by Phillip Youmans (also available on Netflix).

You can check out Array’s official website here.

4. Outfest

Founded in 1982, Outfest aims to empower LGBTQIA+ artists, communities and filmmakers. Outfest hosts an annual film festival in Los Angeles; it also runs three different programs for emerging artists:

Screenwriting Lab

The authors of five scripts will be invited to work with Lab Mentors to improve their feature screenplay or pilot script. After the lab, the fellows work with experienced Outfest directors to present their screenplays on stage with a live reading at the Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival. Fellows will continue to receive guidance from Outfest Staff and Mentors for a full calendar year.

Anthony Meindl Actors Fellowship

Still in the works, the Anthony Meindl Actors Fellowship will provide five scholarships to trans and non-binary individuals to train at the Actor Workshop. The goal is to not only provide free training, but to assure that the fellows have a safe, affirming space in which to develop their talent.

Young Filmmakers Project

In partnership with the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Outfest selects a group of diverse 16-24-year-old young emerging filmmakers to embark on a 6-month film lab with courses in screenwriting, pre-production, production and post-production, instructed by industry experts. The program culminates in their final thesis project presented at the Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival.

You can visit Outfest’s Official website here.

5. Film Independent

One of the longest-running film nonprofits for filmmakers, Film Independent helps filmmakers produce movies, builds an audience for their projects and works to diversify the film industry. With 250+ screenings each year, Film Independent is also dedicated to building a positive film community.

Each year, Film Independent puts on the Indepdent Spirit Awards and the LA Film Festival. It also runs five different labs for aspiring artists:

Directing Lab

A five-week program for directors prepping independent feature films. The Lab runs April through May.

Screenwriting Lab

A week-long workshop designed to provide individualized story and professional development for emerging screenwriters with a fiction feature screenplay. This full-time Lab takes place in February.

Producing Lab

A week-long intensive designed to help creative independent producers develop their skills. This full-time Lab takes place in October.

Documentary Lab

An in-depth, two-week program designed to help filmmakers who are currently in post-production on their feature-length documentary films. This full-time Lab takes place in March.

Episodic Lab

A month-long workshop where Fellows gain the tools needed to revise and refine their pilots and navigate a changing industry landscape. The Lab meets 2–3 evenings per week in August.

You can visit the official Film Independent website here.

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