Chicago's BIPOC filmmakers gain local support

CMP and Mezcla Media Collective have developed a unique partnership and are honored to launch the SHIFTING VOICES FILM FUND, the first national grant coming out of Chicago to support Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) filmmakers.

“We are thrilled to be working in tandem with Mezcla Media Collective on this inaugural fund. Their innovative approach to supporting women and non-binary filmmakers of color fits directly in line with the ethos of the fund, and brings a wealth of knowledge to ensure overall success,” said CMP founders Paula Froehle and Steve Cohen.

The rationale of the SVFF, as explained by Froehle and Cohen, is to open access to capital and resources for underrepresented voices in media, stating: “While the national rhetoric around race experienced a major shift in 2020, BIPOC filmmakers still face major structural barriers to getting their stories told within the independent media space.”

The Shifting Voices Film Fund is open to a variety of stories and media developed by BIPOC creators. Overseeing film selection will be longtime industry vet Hussain Currimbhoy, taking on the role of CMP’s Director, Global Project Development/Investment. "To help guide the Shifting Voices Film Fund is a thrill,” said Currimbhoy.

“Together, we will add momentum to this special time of bringing marginalized voices to center stage. Expanding our support for the best in documentary filmmaking and welcoming new creative voices are such necessary and exciting missions."

The fund will primarily support feature-length films-in-progress, and is looking to uplift stories that spotlight historically excluded cultures, histories, and experiences in America. Applications for the Shifting Voices Film Fund are now open, and will close at 11:59pm CT on November 22.

"Our stories have long existed. As have the burgeoning community of BIPOC non-fiction storytellers,” said Mezcla founders Colette Ghunim and Elena Valentine. “The issue has long been about access and ensuring that we can provide sustainable support to drive impactful change through documentary film. We are thrilled to partner with an organization like CMP who understands this. And more importantly, together we are rethinking existing processes to make this film fund more equitable, inclusive, and positive for all stakeholders involved."

The Shifting Voices Film Fund is made possible through seed funding from the Chicago Community Trust and the generous support of CMP members.

More information, including the application and FAQ, can be found at wearecmp.org/shifting-voices-fund.

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