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Points North Institute Announces 2019 Forum and Artist Programs at Camden International Film Festival

Having already revealed the Foucauldian dynamic that will run through this year’s Camden International Film Festival — a focus on “story and power” — the festival’s parent organization Points North Institute unveiled today the forum and artist programs that will take place over the event’s mid-September weekend. The annual Points North Forum will ask “critical questions about how the documentary film and media community reflects existing power structures, including questions of racial equity, access, funding, and which stories are being told, how, for whom, and by whom,” according to the press release.

Other highlights and programs include masterclasses by Apollo 11 director Todd Douglas Miller and American Factory directors Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar; a Kickstarter-supported Northstar Fellowship, that allows five filmmakers from underrepresented backgrounds to attend the forum and festival; and the 4th World Indigenous Media Lab Fellows, who are attending CIFF for the first time with support from the MacArthur Foundation. (Read more about the industry program here.)

Companies and organizations attending the 1:1 Meetings Program include NatGeo, CAA, RYOT, Participant Films, Fork Films, TOPIC, Tribeca Film Institute, the Sundance Institute, Cinereach, Sheffield Doc/Fest, ITVS, POV, Nia Tero Foundation, and more. 

From the press release, here is the complete schedule.

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Points North Forum 2019: Story & Power

September 13th – 15th, Camden Opera House (Tucker Room, French Room)

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13

Audiences & Power: How to Watch a Doc

11am – 12:30am Tucker Room

A conversation accompanied by film clips, in which critics, programmers, and filmmakers outline the ethics and esthetics of how audiences can decipher ways power is manifest in well-known nonfiction films, and raise questions that can help us to engage more actively with stories from near and far. 

  • Tayler Montague (Reverse Shot)
  • Devika Girish (Film Comment)
  • Robb Moss
  • Moderator: Samara Chadwick (Points North Institute)

Producing for Public Media

Presented by WORLD Channel | WGBH

12pm – 1:30pm French Room

In a rapidly-changing distribution and funding landscape, the public media system has remained one of the most accessible platforms for documentaries to find funding and reach diverse audiences. In this panel, leading executives give an overview of how to navigate the broadcast strands, stations, and funds that make public media such a robust platform for independent filmmakers.

  • Noland Walker (ITVS)
  • Carmen Vicencio (American Documentary | America ReFramed)
  • Pamela Torno (ITVS)
  • Chris Hastings (World Channel | WGBH)

Subjects & Power: Director’s Commentary

1:30pm – 3:00pm Tucker Room

We tend to gravitate towards stories of redemption and heroes who uphold our worldviews. But reality is often much more nuanced, and subjects have much at stake by participating in the filmmaking process. CIFF 2019 filmmakers play select scenes from their gorgeous and surprising films, and discuss ethical tensions that arose, how they handled them, and questions they wish they’d asked themselves in advance.

  • Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss (LOVEMOBIL)
  • Ezequiel Yanco, Ana Godoy (LA VIDA EN COMÚN)
  • Sam Ellison (CHÈCHE LAVI)

Documentary Law

Friday 2pm – 3:30pm French Room

Film attorneys Paul Szynol (director/producer “The Pull,” “Quiet Hours”) and Matt Rogers, partners at Brooklyn-based Rogers & Szynol, present an overview of legal issues faced by documentary filmmakers during the production cycle–from intellectual property licensing and fair use to collaborator contracts, investment strategies, and distribution. Includes extensive Q&A session.

  • Paul Szynol
  • Matt Rogers

Reality & Power: Can Documentary Make Space? 

Friday 3:30pm – 5pm Tucker Room

Featuring a trio of artistically ambitious and politically evocative nonfiction filmmakers, this screening of clips and discussion hinges on two questions: How can the field of documentary make space for historically marginalized perspectives? And, can nonfiction cinema help us build more just, more honest, and more equitable spaces, or is the role of documentary to faithfully represent the world as it is?

  • Brett Story (THE HOTTEST AUGUST)
  • Sky Hopinka (LORE)
  • Moderator: Jason Fox (World Records)

Designing the Immersive Documentary

Presented by Maine Media Workshops + College

Friday 4pm – 5pm French Room

In this conversation, Alvaro Morales and Alex Suber discuss the tools, techniques, and design principles they employ to create evocative and poetic immersive documentary experiences.

  • Alex Suber (LUX SINE)
  • Alvaro Morales (HOME WITH AMÉRICA)

5:00pm – 6:30pm (High Mountain Hall)

Points North Reception presented by LEF Foundation

After a busy day of panels, masterclasses, and screenings, join the LEF Foundation for drinks, light fare, and conversation with new friends at this annual gathering of the documentary film community. Open to All Access passholders only. 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

10:00am – 12:30pm (Camden Opera House Auditorium)

Points North Pitch

Whether you’re a film professional or not, the Points North Pitch is an invaluable chance to learn about the process of developing a documentary film and see first-hand how leading decision makers evaluate projects. Six teams of filmmakers selected for the Points North Fellowship will pitch their works-in-progress to a distinguished panel of funders, broadcasters, distributors, and producers. Each pitch lasts exactly 7 minutes, followed by 12 minutes of constructive feedback. 

Panelists:

  • Callie Barlow (RYOT)
  • Maxyne Franklin (Doc Society)
  • Leah Giblin (Cinereach)
  • Chris Hastings (World Channel | WGBH)
  • Carrie Lozano (International Documentary Association)
  • Monika Navarro (Tribeca Film Institute)
  • Enrique Pedraza-Botero (Sundance Institute)
  • Tracy Rector (Nia Tero)
  • Carmen Vicencio (POV)
  • Noland Walker (ITVS)
  • Moderated by Brian Newman (Sub Genre)

Story & Community: A Conversation with Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar

Presented by Vermont College of Fine Arts

Saturday 1:30pm – 3pm French Room

For decades, Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar have been making powerful and intimate films that chronicle the changing fabric of American life, often focusing on stories and people in their home state, Ohio. In this wide-ranging discussion, they will share lessons from this impressive body of work — including the critically acclaimed AMERICAN FACTORY — and reflect on the process of telling stories deeply rooted in community.

  • Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert (AMERICAN FACTORY)

Story & Relinquishing Power: Director’s Commentary

Saturday 1:30 – 3pm Tucker Room

Many films in this year’s program were tangibly transformed by the process of production – they are works that seemingly set out to tell a specific story and allowed themselves to be completely rerouted by the people and the processes of the shoot. In a tribute to the value of patient observation and active listening, we invite these filmmakers to discuss the moments that shook them, and how they went about reimagining new forms of narrative beyond conventional tropes.

  • Vytautas Puidokas (EL PADRE MÉDICO)
  • Lucie Viver (SANKARA IS NOT DEAD)
  • Moderator: Juan Pablo González (CABALLERANGO)

Unspoken Realities: A Conversation with Ja’Tovia Gary & Whitney Dow

Saturday 3:30pm – 5pm Tucker Room

Ja’Tovia Gary and Whitney Dow’s works both interrogate racial identity and power through seemingly simple but rarely asked questions: Do you feel safe in your body? How do you understand your own whiteness? In this conversation moderated by Sabaah Folayan (WHOSE STREETS?), two CIFF directors explore how new documentary forms might expand our capacities to talk about and confront racial injustice.

  • Ja’Tovia Gary (THE GIVERNY DOCUMENT (SINGLE CHANNEL))
  • Whitney Dow (THE WHITENESS PROJECT)
  • Moderator: Sabaah Folayan 

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15

Past is Present: APOLLO 11 Editing Master Class 

Presented by NEON

Sunday 11:00am – 12:30pm Rockport Opera House

Todd Douglas Miller’s APOLLO 11 is one of the year’s most critically acclaimed documentaries and a masterpiece of all-archival filmmaking. In this moderated conversation, featuring clips from the film, Miller will share the story of how he and his team unearthed 65mm NASA footage of the mission and constructed a visceral cinematic experience of an historic event.

  • Todd Douglas Miller (APOLLO 11)
  • Moderator: Robb Moss

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2019 Artist Programs

Points North Fellowship

 

Mentors: Kristin Feeley (Sundance Institute), Andrea Meditch (Back Allie Films), Sabaah Folayan

 

The 2019 Points North Fellows are: 

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 Emile Bokaer

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

Can the process of art-making transform a community? ROLEPLAY follows a year in the life of a group of American college students as they confront rampant 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. 

Directed by Katie Mathews

Produced by Katie Mathews, Jenny Mercein

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

Driver

DRIVER immerses us in a vital community of female 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

Rejeito (Tailings)

After seeing his village 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 could 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

North Star Fellowship

Mentors:

Iyabo Boyd (Producer, writer/director, founder of the Brown Girls Doc Mafia), Ja’Tovia Gary (The Giverny Document (Single Channel)), Mary Lampson (Editor), Sabaah Folayan (Whose Streets?),  Sky Hopinka (Filmmaker and Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University), Tracy Rector (Indigenous Media Activist & Managing Director, Nia Tero Foundation), Elise McCave (Kickstarter)

 

The 2019 North Star Fellowship recipients are:

Courtney Symone Staton, from Greenville, NC, is an activist who uses poetry, film, and photography to celebrate the everyday heroism found in protest and Black identity. She is a graduating senior at UNC-Chapel Hill, the lead and impact producer of “Silence Sam,” and a 2018 NeXt Doc Fellow.

Kristy Choi is a Korean-American filmmaker and writer interested in themes of power and belonging as they connect to land use, migration, and the imagination of boundaries. She is a Southern Exposure Fellow and a proud member of BGDM and the Asian American Documentary Network.

Maya Cueva is an award-winning director and producer for documentary films and radio. Her work has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, Latino USA, The Atlantic, National Geographic, Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, and NBC Nightly News. She is a 2019 Sundance Ignite Fellow and an Emerging Artist Fellow at the Jacob Burns Film Centre. 

Quyên Nguyen-Le (they/them) is a queer and gender nonconforming Vietnamese-American filmmaker whose narrative and documentary films have been shown in various film festivals, universities, art galleries, and community spaces internationally. Their forthcoming documentary was a recipient of CAAM’s inaugural Documentaries for Social Change award. 

Sonali Udaybabu is a filmmaker who works in the documentary and experimental modes. She is interested in the politics and dialectics of identity–gender, nationality, community–and in the human pursuit of freedom, agency, and meaning. She is from India and lives in Philadelphia as an MFA student in Film and Media Arts.

More details on the program are available at: https://pointsnorthinstitute.org/artist-programs/north-star-residency/

 

Shortform Editing Residency

Mentors: Donal Mosher + Michael Palmieri (The Gospel of Eureka), Mary Lampson (Editor), Lindsay Utz (Editor), Caitlin Mae Burke (Tribeca Film Institute, IF/Then)

The 2019 Shortform Editing Residency selections are: 

LA CARAVANA

Each year, thousands of Central American migrants are reported missing in their journey north towards the U.S. In response to this growing humanitarian crisis, a caravan of Central American mothers travel throughout Mexico each year, seeking their missing children and demanding their voices be heard. LA CARAVANA is a short documentary that follows these mothers during their journey, exploring the many layers of trauma inflicted by migration and the transformation of this sorrow into struggle and strength.

Directed by Erin Semine Kökdil

THE KAHANE EFFECT

The influence of radical Bronx-born rabbi Meir Kahane is seen through his American activism, Israeli political career, and connection to an unsolved murder. Kahane was assassinated in 1990, but his legacy of violence lives on through an extremist ideology that has gained traction since his death. Today, a member of his inner circle and alleged terrorist continues to incite conflict with impunity. 

Directed by Jason Osder

Edited by Reid Davenport

THE SEBASTOPOL SIEGE

On the night of March 2nd, 1973, Michaela Madden, a recently widowed mother of five, was held hostage for eight hours in her rural California home­ — and subsequently vilified by her community. When her family revisits the story 45 years later, the powers of human compassion and police aggression come into conflict in a larger exploration of family mythology and trauma. 

Directed by Mimi Wilcox

USA V SCOTT

When Scott Warren established a camp in the desert to provide humanitarian aid for north bound migrants, he never imagined he’d be facing a possible 20-year prison sentence for his work. As Scott faces an uncertain future, a Tucson-based reverend reflects on at time when he and a group of clergy people faced charges for work that is inextricably tied to Scott today.

Directed by Ora DeKornfeld and Isabel Castro

More details on the program are available at: https://pointsnorthinstitute.org/artist-programs/shortform-residency/

Shortform Editing Residency

Mentors: 

Tracy Rector (Indigenous Media Activist & Managing Director, Nia Tero Foundation), Ja’Tovia Gary (The Giverny Document (Single Channel)), Mary Lampson (Editor), Sabaah Folayan (Whose Streets?),  Sky Hopinka (Filmmaker and Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University), Monika Navarro (Tribeca Film Institute)

The 2019 4th World Indigenous Media Lab Fellows are: 

TAYLOR HENSEL is a documentary filmmaker whose work often focuses on culture, environment, and seeking truth through perspective. She is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She is currently a video producer for the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International.

CLEO KEAHNA is a writer, visual artist, and actor from the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and the Meskwaki Nation. His stories tell of fearsome figures, the concept of home, what it means to be a wasteland, and indigenous survival. Cleo currently resides in rural New York with his family. 

IVY MACDONALD is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe from Browning, Montana. For the past two years she has been documenting the stories of missing and murdered indigenous women in the state of Montana and is currently in production for her first feature-length documentary When They Were Here. 

COURTNEY MONTOUR is a Mohawk filmmaker whose work focuses on exploring issues of Indigenous identity. Her films have screened at festivals internationally, including DOXA, Glitch, Big Sky and Margaret Mead. Courtney is working on her first feature documentary following Team Indigenous, the first Indigenous female pro roller derby team with players from around the globe.

IVAN MACDONALD is Blackfeet filmmaker that is enrolled in the Blackfeet tribe of Northern Montana. For the past two years he has been documenting the missing and murdered indigenous women and girl’s crisis. 

EVELYN PAKINEWATIK is an emerging artist, writer, educator, and director of Ojibwe and Irish ancestry. Evelyn is a 2019 Big Sky NFI Fellow and a 2018 Reelworld E20 Fellow. They also co-administrate the Chinimiwin Arts Collective. Evelyn’s work primarily explores the intersection of dream and memory.

CAMILLE MANYBEADS TSO has been working in film for 13 years. After studying Film at Idyllwild Arts Academy, she worked with projects such as Project 562, Paper Rocket Productions, SuperFly, The Laura Flanders Show, and STAR Media Arts. She is currently in post production of a feature documentary on the impact energy corporations have on indigenous communities.

RAVEN TWO FEATHERS is a Two Spirit, Emmy award winning filmmaker.  Their intertribal identity, mixed with various intersections, influences their work to be a safe haven for people in those communities, and a jumping off point for others in their road to understanding.  

1:1 Meetings

The following filmmakers will take part in a day of invitation-only meetings with select industry on Friday September 13th. Their projects have been selected among the following cohorts: 12 projects shortlisted among 250+ applicants for the Points North Fellowship, 6 LEF Foundation Moving Image Fund Grantees, 8 BAVC 2019 MediaMaker Fellows, and 2 Camden/TFI Retreat 2019 Alumni 

Adam’s Apple – Amy Jenkins

An American Prisoner: The Fight to Free Chol Soo Lee – Eugene Yi

An Elephant in the Room – Katrine Philp, Katrine Sahlstrøm

An Act of Worship – Nausheen Dadabhoy, Sofian Khan

Black Barbie: A Documentary – Lagueria Davis

Curse of the Mutant Heirloom – Debra Schaffner

Deep Rising – Matthieu Rytz

Disturbing School – Garrett Zevgetis, Ariana Garfinkel

Flood – Katy Scoggin

Fruits of Labor – Emily Cohen Ibañez

Get Your 10s – Rashaad Newsome, Johnny Symons

Girl Talk – Lucia Small 

Greener Pastures – Sam Mirpoorian

Hossain – Taimi Arvidson

How to Escape from Prison – Elizabeth Mirzaei

inVisible – James Rutenbeck, Kafi Dixon, Carl Chandler

La Bonga – Gabriella Garcia-Pardo

Landlock – Alex Pritz

Libertad – Brenda Avila-Hanna

Light of the Setting Sun  – Vicky Du, Danielle Varga

Murderabilia – Nora Mandray, Joe Bender

Non Western, scenes from another marriage – Laura Plancarte

Recovery High – Steve Liss

Sansón y Yo (Sansón and Me) – Su Kim, Rodrigo Reyes

SEEDS – Brittany Shyne

The Last Partera – Ned Phillips

The Snail on the Slope – Daniel Mooney, Amanda Branson Gill

ق (Q) – Jude Chehab

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