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North Shorts Grant & Residency 2020

A $30,000 fund and residency for 6 filmmakers from the American Northeast working on documentary shorts.

Points North Institute, IF/Then Shorts, LEF Foundation, and ScreeningRoom held an open call for diverse stories and storytellers from the American Northeast to apply for a fellowship to take cinematic short documentary films from the edit to distribution. These 6 projects explored a range of socially, politically and culturally relevant topics that were rooted in the American Northeast region.

Six projects were selected to receive the following benefits:

$5,000 grants from IF/Then

One month online rough cut lab with peer feedback, workshops, 1:1 mentorship and editing consultations

Free access to ScreeningRoom platform for collaborative feedback

Invite-only rough cut screening for filmmakers, festival programmers and industry leaders at Camden International Film Festival

Distribution support from IF/Then + ScreeningRoom, including introductions and meetings with key platforms for short docs


Films made by diverse filmmakers, including ALAANA (Asian, LatinX, African, Arab, and Native American) populations, LGBTQ+, women, nonbinary, and people with disabilities, who were living and working in the American Northeast. This region includes: Maine, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico.

Length: Films with intended runtimes up to 30 minutes

Stage: Films that will have a first rough cut by September 2020. Anticipated completion early 2021.

Should have a minimum 5 minute work sample or reel that demonstrates strong understanding of content and style



Directed by Kristal Sotomayor

Produced by Kristal Sotomayor, Marángeli Mejía Rabell, Selena Yip

Consulting Producer Neyda Martinez

Consulting Editor: Priscilla Gonzalez Sainz

Expanding Sanctuary follows Linda Hernandez during the emotionally taxing but historic campaign to end the sharing of the Philadelphia police database with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The city’s agreement with ICE has led to a rise in detainments and deportations. Immigrant mother Linda must now transform into a community leader to protect her family. The film follows Linda and her daughter Ashley as well as Juntos organizers Olivia, Marisa, and Miguel. The film outlines the full span of the campaign from community meetings, social media archives, protests, and the last press conference officially ending the agreement.


Directed, produced, and co-edited by Alex Mallis

Co-editor: Travis Wood

Dollar Vans, an informal fleet of commuter vans and minibuses, make up the backbone of one of Brooklyn’s longest streets, Flatbush Avenue. They represent a freedom to move around in an historically transit-poor area, the ingenuity of immigrant communities, and the entrepreneurial spirit of a hugely diverse and vibrant borough. These drivers have stories to tell: avoiding the police, run-ins with other drivers, and what can only be described as constant hustle. It’s not the most lucrative business – but it offers extreme flexibility and a relatively reliable income.

The industry is persistent but precarious. Because of their grey-area legal status, they often fall victim to the whims of shifting public policy and policing, not to mention gentrification. This story is at once an exploration of a somewhat invisible industry while also a celebration of the Afro-Caribbean and West Indian immigrant spirit and the multitudinous neighborhoods they serve.


Directed and produced by 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.


Directed by Janah Elise Cox

Produced by Sue Ariza, Allison Ferner

In 1952, the mayor of San Juan, Felisa Rincon de Gautier, partnered with the now defunct U.S. carrier Eastern Airlines to transport two tons of snow from New Hampshire to Puerto Rico. The snow was a gift to the island meant to enchant Puerto Rican children with a “white” American Christmas. The spectacle represented an unfair economic transaction: planes brought capitalist instant gratification in the form of snow, and returned to the U.S. filled with the Puerto Rican cheap labor that would populate el barrio.

Puerto Rico’s colonial captivity is condensed in the “gift” of melting snow.

Melting Snow is a dig into the past, an act of media archeology, contextualizing the filmmaker’s Grandparents’ experiences to make sense of the present and examine the way American narratives are told, and often warped. As our world crumbles and restructures, Melting Snow forces a reckoning of the motivations and politics behind the United States’ relationship to the island and the anomaly of the oldest colony in the world.


Directed by Pati Cruz

Produced by Pati Cruz, Lis Santana Varela, Juan Carlos Malavé

Post-Production and Distribution Producer: Samara Pérez Santiago

“Nació Simón” (“Simón was born”) seeks to get to know Lis and their drag, Simón. Lis is shown in their daily life: working, taking care of her kids as a young/queer/non-binary mother, surviving the colonial landscape of Puerto Rico, and how their identity clashes with the heteronormative society. The documentary explores the blurry lines between who is Lis and who is Simón–their differences and meeting points, delving into the construction or birth of Simón.


Directed and produced by Cai Thomas

Editor: Cesar Martinez

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.


This application portal opened on July 1, 2020, and closed on August 2, 2020.

July 1, 2020: Call for Submissions + standalone release

August 2, 2020: Submissions Deadline

August 31, 2020: Selections Finalized

September 14 - October 10, 2020: Virtual Residency + Rough Cut Screening @ CIFF

October/November 2020: Distribution Mentorship

Please direct any questions regarding this program to ifthenshorts@fieldofvision.org