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Distribution Initiative 2021

IF/Then Shorts is passionate about building a substantial, aspirational model of multi-platform distribution and monetization that offers filmmakers creative control, creativity, revenue potential, and career development – and an alternative to a traditional all-rights distribution deal. Facing the unique challenges and disruption of conventional distribution models presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, IF/Then identified a real need to support short-form filmmakers with getting their work out to audiences.

The IF/Then Shorts Distribution Initiative consisted of a 14 month distribution mentorship, running from January 2021 and concluding in March 2022. Each film received a grant of $2,000 to be used on any costs arising in the completion and creation of deliverables for the selected films.

12 projects were selected from a pool of IF/Then alumni and internal recommendations by esteemed peers in the short documentary storytelling space. Each project worked with IF/Then staff on developing a distribution plan that includes film festival screenings and the potential for theatrical exhibition, television broadcast, community screenings, airline exhibition, outreach and engagement strategy, curriculum development, and online streaming. Filmmakers retained full copyright over their films, with IF/Then gaining the exclusive right to negotiate distribution on their behalf.


8 Days at Ware

Co-Director & Co-Producer: Rachel Mueller

Co-Director & Co-Producer: Meg Shutzer

Through an investigation of suicides at a juvenile detention center in rural Louisiana, “8 Days At Ware” exposes the facility’s legacy of abuse and what little has been done to protect children there.

A Fine Girl

Co-Director & Producer: Darcy McKinnon

Co-Director & Editor: Biliana Grozdanova

A FINE GIRL follows Brandi Jarrow, a 27-year old trans woman of color from New Orleans, as she takes the personal and professional success she has achieved as a hairstylist, and works to open an inclusive luxury salon. The film is a joyful, optimistic portrait of what's possible when we include and uplift trans people as essential contributors to our community.

Bug Farm

Director: Lydia Cornett

Producer: Britt Fryer

Four distinct women in Central Florida form a bond over crickets, superworms, and roaches on an insect farm in the small town of LaBelle. The farm serves as the background to this character-led documentary focused on community members who’ve come to insect farming with disparate motivations--including economic opportunity, reimagining the future of food, and the love and caretaking of the bugs themselves.

Dia de la Madre

Director, Editor, Cinematographer: Ashley Brandon

Director, Cinematographer: Dennis Hohne

Producer: Nevo Shinaar

In the dead of night, a group of young Mariachis journey across Connecticut conducting a covert operation. The mission: awake the neighborhood with a Mexican tradition unpracticed within the US… and make their mothers cry.


Director & Producer: Michele Stephenson

Producer: Joe Brewster

In 1937, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated by the Dominican army, on the basis of anti-black racism. Fast-forward to 2013, the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929, rendering more than 200,000 people stateless. This lyrical portrait follows Elena as she seeks citizenship for herself and her family.

Flatbush! Flatbush!

Director: Alex Mallis

Editor: Travis Wood

A fleet of minibuses race up and down Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, providing commuters a familiar, if not occasionally harrowing, alternative to the subway for only $2 a ride.

I'm Free Now, You Are Free

Director: Ash Goh Hua

Following a 40-year, state-sanctioned separation, the reunion and the repair of the relationship between a mother and son serve as a meditation on Black family preservation as an act of resistance.

Life Without Dreams

Director: Jessica Bardsley

Life Without Dreams is set in the outer space of consciousness, where the surfaces of far out planetary bodies form the terrain for an exploration of 24/7 capitalism, insomnia, and the disappearance of darkness due to light pollution.


Director: Cai Thomas

Queenie is a 73 year young Black lesbian that’s called the Marcy Projects home since 1988 but she’s ready to move to a building that better meets her mobility, safety, and social needs as an aging elder. She applies to Stonewall Residences, NYC’s first affordable housing for LGBT elders, hopeful that she’ll be able to live out her final days in a new place she can call home.

Status Pending

Director: Priscilla Gonzalez Sainz

With Immigration law under attack, five first-generation Immigration lawyers strive to help immigrants obtain safety and status in the United States. Through a chronicle of their professional and personal lives, STATUS PENDING aims to present the effects of the current administration through the perspectives of active immigration lawyers in the Los Angeles area.


Co-Director: Andrea Raby

Co-Director: Amber Love

Every Spring, Illinois’ Affordable Assisted Living Coalition holds a Wii Bowling competition for its member homes, and as the reigning champs of Eden Supportive Living take on their old rivals from Bolingbrook it looks like their championship title might not be as safe as they thought. Though the competition is incredibly fierce, the competition has engendered deep friendships among teams. “Strikers” offers us a funny, heartfelt look at gaming into the golden years.

The Body is a House of Familiar Rooms

Director: Eloise Sherrid

“The Body is a House of Familiar Rooms” is an experimental documentary collaboration-in-progress between myself, Samuel Geiger, and Lauryn Welch. The film is a window into Sam's experience living with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a painful connective tissue disorder that limits his mobility and functionality.

Current Programs

  • Original Voices Shorts Pitch 2023

    A national open call for archival and journalistically driven short documentaries highlighting social issues and identities.

  • IF/Then x Hulu Short Documentary Lab 2023

    An open call for short-documentary filmmakers based in North America. This lab channels IF/Then and Hulu’s shared vision of creating a new pipeline of diverse talent, incubating strong voices who will be the next class of non-fiction storytellers, and spotlighting creators elevating LGBTQIA+ narratives with their filmmaking prowess.