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Up to $10,000 one-time grants available for filmmakers of color with disabilities

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Sunday, July 31, 2022, 11:59 p.m. ET


Two people holding film equipment are looking at the camera.
Image: Andres “Jay” Molina & Alexis Neophytides, AXS Film Fund 2021 Grantees

The AXS Film Fund has officially opened for this year's grants awarding up to $10,000 for various projects. The grants are one-time awards for creators of color in documentary filmmaking or nonfiction new media, who identify as having a disability. Read on for more.

The AXS Film Fund is a new program created to support independent documentary filmmakers and nonfiction new media creators of color with disabilities in their endeavors to tell stories, make films, and create content. The Fund will award up to five creators with one-time grants of up to $10,000 each to assist them in pushing their projects forward no matter in what stage of production they are. They will fund:
  • Feature length documentary films
  • Nonfiction new media projects
Filmmakers of color have endeavored to move beyond racial barriers in a historically white industry. Meanwhile, people of color with disabilities are rarely seen in media and film and even more rarely in control of creating and developing projects and content. The AXS Film Fund seeks to enhance the visibility of people of color with disabilities and defeat the negative stereotypes or portrayals of disability. Their goal is to raise and support people of color with disabilities on their journeys to becoming filmmakers and creators. To date, the Fund along with eight partners have supported five projects which have involved more than 2,000 people. For more about this fund and to see all eligibility and application requirements, check their website or apply now. The AXS Film Fund opened to applicants on June 1, 2022 and applications will be received until the closing date Sunday, July 31, 2022, 11:59 p.m. ET.

Margot Lane Strasburger

South Arts looks for qualified 2022/2023 screening partners

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Bring independent documentary filmmakers to your community for screenings and conversations around powerful stories and the art of filmmaking. The South's only tour of filmmakers is seeking Screening Partners for the 2022/2023 Southern Circuit season.

Screening Partners are host organizations that present Southern Circuit screenings and conversations with touring filmmakers. Screening Partners include a range of organizations such as universities, community arts centers, historic cinemas, and more, serving audiences of all ages. Southern Circuit prioritizes featuring Southern filmmakers and stories. We are committed to presenting films by filmmakers of color, LGBTQ+ filmmakers, and filmmakers with disabilities. We are invested in including emerging and first-time filmmakers. Screening Partners must be nonprofit, educational, or governmental organizations residing in the South Arts region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee). Screening Partner applications for the 2022/2023 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers are due May 3, 2022.

Jason Rapp

South Arts announces the 2021/2022 Southern Circuit

S.C. adds a new screening partner venue


Today, South Arts announced the 24 screening partner venues and 10 films and filmmaking teams selected for the 2021/2022 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers.

This long-running South Arts program connects U.S.-based documentary filmmakers with communities throughout the South to share their work, discuss the art and process of filmmaking, and engage with audiences about issues impacting their communities. All films will be screened online for audiences of each screening partner venue, with each screening followed by a pre-recorded 30-minute conversation with the filmmakers discussing their film's subject matter and the filmmaking process. Each film will be available for attendees to view on demand during a four-day window allowing viewers to stop and resume at their leisure. As a precaution for health and safety in the COVID-19 pandemic, filmmakers will not tour in the Fall. Films will be presented online, though some screening partners may also host in-person screenings for their communities. In-person screenings and discussions with filmmakers in attendance will resume for Spring 2022. “This year’s selections broach a range of important, timely topics including border and immigration issues, confederate monuments, healthcare justice, and domestic violence,” said Teresa Hollingsworth, program director. "South Arts has a strong commitment to equity and inclusion in all of our programs. We are proud to affirm that commitment in our selection of feature-length documentaries and their creators, with many sharing a direct connection to the subject matter and communities represented.” Curious about where you can take in the films? South Carolina's screening partner venues are:
  • The Arts Center of Clemson; Clemson, SC
  • Presbyterian College; Clinton, SC
Here are the films and filmmakers for the new season:
  • And So I Stayed – Daniel A. Nelson and Natalie Pattillo, Directors
  • At the Ready – Maisie Crow, Director
  • Duty Free – Sian-Pierre Regis, Director
  • Lily Topples the World – Jeremy Workman, Director
  • Los Hermanos/The Brothers – Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider, Directors
  • My Name is Pauli Murray – Betsy West and Julie Cohen, Directors
  • Not Going Quietly – Nicholas Bruckman, Director
  • The Neutral Ground – CJ Hunt, Director
  • Proper Pronouns - Megan Daniels, Director
  • Stateless – Michèle Stephenson, Director
Since its inception in 1975, Southern Circuit has brought some of best independent filmmakers and their films from around the country to communities throughout the South. The program is made possible through a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Jason Rapp

Third Doko Film Fest announced

All-virtual format planned in 2021


In the second year of the Doko Film Fest, a total of 143 entrees came from across the country, as well as from Canada, India, China and the United Kingdom. This year, no matter where you are, you can join in.

“Whether you’re in Blythewood or Dhaka, Bangladesh, we’ll all be here together,” says festival creator Ray Smith. That’s because in its third year the whole event will happen virtually, streaming live over two days: March 20 and 21. There will be plenty to see and interact over. So far, submissions have been received from across the U.S., India, Canada, Oman, Iran, Poland and Mexico. The film competition for students aged 14 to 18 gives young filmmakers the chance to show their films to a live audience, attend master classes led by award-winning professional filmmakers, and have their work judged by industry professionals. It’s been held for the last two years in Blythewood, a small town north of Columbia. At the third festival, attendees will be able to view the selected films, attend virtual master classes and listen to a live panel of professional filmmakers providing feedback on each day’s films. All will all take place from 1-4:30 p.m. on March 20 and 21. New in 2021: It will all be free to attend. Tickets are available here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2021-doko-virtual-film-fest-tickets-128798211919 The festival is entirely volunteer-based, so donations are requested. Any received go toward the continued mission of supporting the arts and next year’s Doko Film Fest. The climax of the event will continue to be the awards recognizing the best in each category, as judged and selected by a panel of film professionals. Those categories are:
  • short story,
  • documentary,
  • visual effects,
  • animation,
  • music video,
  • comedy,
  • and pocket video (which means a film that is made and edited completely on a smartphone).

About Doko Film Fest

Doko Film Fest gives high school-aged filmmakers from across the USA and beyond a showcase for their visual storytelling. Its mission is to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence of young filmmakers and provide them an outlet for their creativity. Doko Film Fest was created by business educator and documentary filmmaker Ray Smith. To learn more about participating, attending or becoming a sponsor—and to view some of last year’s winning films and for further information—please visit https://DokoFilmFest.com.

Jason Rapp

Wide Angle Project to address diversity issues in S.C. film, TV industries

Filmmaking lab seeks to increase diversity

Application deadline: August 31, 2020

The South Carolina Film Commission and Trident Technical College announce a call for applications for the Wide Angle Project: a filmmaking lab designed to boost diversity and inclusion in South Carolina's television and film production industry.

Led by noted film producer Effie T. Brown (Real Women Have Curves, Dear White People and Project Greenlight), this comprehensive program consists of a series of training sessions from October 2020 to May 2021, exploring key elements of the industry: financing, pitching, legal, logistics, agents, DIY distribution, and more. This 8-month virtual lab is free for South Carolina residents. Effie T. Brown is an award winning film, television, and digital Producer, known for her highly acclaimed, multi-platform repertoire as well as championing inclusion and diversity in Hollywood, both behind and in front of the camera. Her company, Duly Noted Inc., continues to be dedicated to groundbreaking narratives that use genre to challenge and advance our culture in a disruptive way. Wide Angle Project is tailored for under-represented South Carolina filmmakers and other production professionals who are ready to take their talent and work to an international level. Applications for the program will be accepted until Aug. 31, 2020. Please see indiegrants.org for further information.

Submitted material

South Arts Southern Circuit to screen films across Southeast

Presbyterian College returns as partner venue


South Arts announces the lineup of 16 Screening Partner organizations and 18 films and filmmaking teams selected for the 2020-2021 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers.

During their tours, filmmakers will present screenings of their films with screening partners between September 2020 and April 2021 and participate in post-screening Q&As with audiences to discuss film subjects and the filmmaking process.

To prioritize the wellbeing and flexibility of screening partners, filmmakers, and audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020-2021 Southern Circuit season will feature a hybrid of in-person and online screenings. Additionally, this season includes a shift to exclusively presenting documentaries, renewing the program’s focus on real-life stories and issues; previous seasons included a mix of documentaries, narrative features, and experimental work. "Access to independent documentary filmmaking is more important than ever. We have taken steps to ensure that our audiences and filmmakers can share these essential conversations, regardless of the circumstances,” said Teresa Hollingsworth, program director for Film and Traditional Arts. "Through Southern Circuit, audiences interact with filmmakers directly, learning about the art of filmmaking and engaging with issues relevant to their community through a new lens.”
Earlier this year, screening partners reviewed and selected the films for this season from a roster of invited documentary films. From September 2020 through April 2021, each screening partner will present five films and filmmakers, and many will further engage filmmakers in adjunct activities such as workshops and class visits. The first event of the series features a screening of Coded Bias followed by a Q&A discussion with director Shalini Kantayya. The screening and live Q&A will be presented online Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. ET for all screening partners and their audiences. A recording of the program will be streamed on Sunday, Sept. 20 at 4 p.m. ET. Presbyterian College in Clinton (Laurens Co.) returns as the partner venue for South Carolina.

Films / Filmmakers

  • Big Fur – Dan Wayne, Director
  • Cane Fire – Anthony Banua-Simon, Director
  • Code of the Freaks – Salome Chasnoff, Director
  • Coded Bias – Shalini Kantayya, Director
  • Cured – Bennett Singer & Patrick Sammon, Co-Directors
  • Fandango at the Wall – Varda Bar-Kar, Director
  • Far East Deep South – Larissa Lam, Director
  • Hurdle – Michael Rawley, Director
  • Mr. Handy’s Blues – Joanne Fish, Director
  • Narrowsburg – Martha Shane, Director
  • Overland – Elisabeth Haviland James & Revere La Noue, Co-Directors
  • Picture a Scientist – Sharon Shattuck & Ian Cheney, Co-Directors
  • Picture Character – Martha Shane & Ian Cheney, Co-Directors
  • Reggae Boyz – Till Schauder, Director
  • Socks on Fire – Bo McGuire, Director
  • Waging Change – Abby Ginzberg, Director
  • Warrior Women – Christina D. King & Elizabeth A. Castle, Co-Directors
  • and a special preview screening of Thumbs Up for Mother Universe: Stories from the Life of Lonnie Holley – George King, Director

A full listing of all screening dates, times, and locations will be posted later this summer on the South Arts website, as well as each screening partner's website.


These events are made possible through the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, a South Arts program. Since its inception in 1975, Southern Circuit has brought some of best independent filmmakers and their films from around the country to communities throughout the South. The program is made possible through a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Jason Rapp

2nd Act Film Project returns Oct. 30 in Columbia

Two screenings at Trustus Theatre


The 2nd Act Film Project, an endeavor of the Jasper Project, will premier its 6th season of short films on October 30 at Trustus Theater in Columbia’s historic Vista. There will be two screenings, at 7 and 9:15 p.m. Tickets are $15-20 and are available via Eventbrite.com. Ten filmmaking teams, selected from an open call for entries, will each debut an original short film having been provided with the 1st and 3rd acts of a screenplay and tasked with writing the 2nd act and creating the film in its entirety. Teams are provided a small stipend to fund their projects. The 2019 2nd Act Film Project teams are led this year by David Axe, Ian O’Briant, Amy Brower, William Woody, Jennifer Baxley, Sean Parsons, Silas Rowland, Henry Coonrod, Taiyen Stevenson, and Daniel Colella. Wade Sellers is the project director. For more information on the 2nd Act Film Project, go to www.secondactfilmafestival.com.

About the 2nd Act Film Project

The 2nd Act Film Project is a unique take on the film project concept. The goal of the 2nd Act Film Project is to promote the growth of independent filmmaking in Columbia and grow the network of independent filmmakers throughout South Carolina. Founded in 2013, the project has already produced 50 films. The 2nd Act Film Project Is presented by the Jasper Project - a non-profit arts organization based in Columbia (www.JasperProject.org).

Doko Film Fest extends deadline for high school filmmakers

Submission deadline: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019


Doko Film Fest, a competitive showcase event featuring the work of student filmmakers ages 15 to 18, extended the deadline to submit entries for its inaugural event. As we mentioned in October, the festival gives high school aged filmmakers the opportunity to showcase their films to a live audience and have their work judged by industry professionals. From their website:

The Doko Film Fest is about South Carolina high school age film makers stimulating and entertaining a live audience with their visual story telling art. It's a place where the film makers interact with the audience and other film makers to explain their film, and to receive reaction and comment on their work.

The filmmakers and others attending will be able to attend master classes led by professional filmmakers. Categories include: short story, documentary, music video, comedy, animation and pocket studio (made entirely on smart phone). Films should be between five and 10 minutes in length, except for animation which should be between one and three minutes in length and music video which should be no shorter than three minutes. The deadline to submit entries is Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.

The event

Doko Film Fest takes place April 26-28, 2019 in Blythewood. There will be an opening reception, film screenings, a concert, and a closing awards ceremony. Awards will be handed out in the following categories:
  • Best Short Story
  • Best Documentary
  • Best Music Video
  • Best Comedy
  • Best Animation
  • Best Pocket Studio Production
  • Best Original Music
  • Best Male Actor
  • Best Female Actor
  • Best Director
  • Best Festival Film
Not bad, huh? The Doko Film Fest was created by Ray Smith in partnership with Bravo Blythewood, a non-profit dedicated to the promotion of arts in the area. A leader in the academic world, Ray Smith began his career in the UK in the field of health care. He then moved onto Frankfurt, Germany, developing executive education programs for Deutsche Bank. His work brought him to the U.S., where he was associate dean for executive education at Duke University, a position he later held at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina (USC). While at USC, he designed and developed the concept of the virtual global classroom, using technologies to bring learners and faculty together from anywhere in the world. Today, Ray continues his work in business education at USC and  learning strategies for business leaders through his company, Learning with Leaders, and is executive producer and co-owner of Modos Media, producing documentary films for television. Read more here.  

Tuning Up: Calling all S.C. high school filmmakers

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


Doko Film Fest showcases high school filmmakers. Doko Film Fest, a competitive showcase event featuring the work of student filmmakers ages 15 to 18, announced Monday that entries are officially being accepted for its inaugural event. The festival gives high school aged filmmakers the opportunity to showcase their films to a live audience and have their work judged by industry professionals. The filmmakers and others attending will be able to attend master classes led by professional filmmakers. Categories include: short story, documentary, music video, comedy, animation and pocket studio (made entirely on smart phone). Films should be between five and ten minutes in length, except for animation which should be between one and three minutes in length and music video which should be no shorter than three minutes. The deadline to submit entries is January 7, 2019.

Evergreen (for now): Time is running out!

  • Nominations for the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts (right) are due Thursday, Nov. 8. All it takes to start the process of awarding an artist, arts organization, business or foundation, government entity, individual, or arts educator/institution one of these prestigious awards for significant contributions to the arts in South Carolina is one letter. Don't wait. Find out more now! (Noms for the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards are due at the same time. Here's info on those.)
  • Applications for $5,000 individual artist fellowships are also due Thursday, Nov. 8. Unrestricted awards will honor achievement in visual arts, craft, music composition, and music performance. Don't miss out!

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Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers names Screening Partners

South Arts has announced the 24 Screening Partners participating in the 2018-19 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, and will host a convening in Atlanta May 18-19 to curate the upcoming season. Together, the Screening Partner venues will discuss which films and filmmakers to invite on tour to their communities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The Screening Partners include:

  • a/perture (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
  • Arts Council of Central Louisiana (Alexandria, La.)
  • Broward College (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
  • City of Hapeville (Hapeville, Ga.)
  • Clayton Center for the Arts/Maryville College (Maryville, Tenn.)
  • East Tennessee State University/Mary B. Martin School of the Arts (Johnson City, Tenn.)
  • Fuquay-Varina Arts Center (FuquayVarina, N.C.)
  • Georgia Southern University (Statesboro, Ga.)
  • Global Education Center (Nashville, Tenn.)
  • Jacksonville State University (Jacksonville, Ala.)
  • The Jessye Norman School of the Arts, Inc. (Augusta, Ga.)
  • North Central Louisiana Arts Council (Ruston, La.)
  • Ocala Film Foundation (Ocala, Fla.)
  • Oxford College of Emory University (Oxford, Ga.)
  • Presbyterian College (Clinton, S.C.)
  • South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (Cutler Bay, Fla.)
  • Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center (Bowling Green, Ky.)
  • The Tennessee Valley Art Association (Tuscumbia, Ala.)
  • Tropic Cinema/Key West Film Society (Key West, Fla.)
  • Troy University (Troy, Ala.)
  • Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County, GA-Athens Cultural Affairs Commission (Athens, Ga.)
  • Union College (Barbourville, Ky.)
  • Union County Community Arts Council/Wingate University (Wingate, N.C.)
  • University of Tampa (Tampa, Fla.)
From September through April, each Screening Partner presents six films and filmmakers. Along with a screening of the film, the filmmakers are made available to the local community for workshops and discussions. The filmmakers also conduct a Q&A with audiences following the film screening to discuss the film, their subject, and their work. “Southern Circuit is all about connections and conversations,” explained Teresa Hollingsworth, senior program director with South Arts. “Not only do we want to make sure audiences across the region have access to current and vital independent films, but we provide opportunities to dive into challenging and necessary conversations.” At the convening, the 24 Screening Partners will discuss the slate of films and filmmakers who applied for consideration. They will explore which films would resonate most within their respective communities, and determine the 24 films and filmmakers that will be selected to tour. “The selection process is almost like a fantasy football draft,” laughed Hollingsworth. Films under consideration include feature-length animation, documentary, experimental, and narrative works created by independent filmmakers. Recent tours have included Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise by Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack, Quest by Jonathan Olshefski, 78/52 by Alexandre O. Philippe, and Donald Cried by Kris Avedisian. The selected films and screening dates for the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers will be announced later this summer, and can be found on each of the Screening Partner website and www.southarts.org. Southern Circuit screenings are funded in part through a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
About South Arts South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.