The Bronx Documentary Center (BDC) created BDC Films in response to the lack of support for traditionally underrepresented documentary filmmakers in the Bronx, as well as the changes in storytelling professions that require a broader skillset for potential employment in creative industries.
Through such offerings as documentary filmmaking courses and professional development workshops; mentorships; documentary film screenings and panel discussions; equipment loans and low-cost rentals; access to free meeting and work space; and a video editing suite, Bronx filmmakers will have the necessary tools to tell their own stories and gain employment in creative industries.
In addition to enhancing skills, BDC Films is dedicated to strengthening the BDC’s artistic community by creating a peer-to-peer support network and hub which fosters dialogue and empowers Bronx filmmakers. The BDC is expanding its existing documentary film programming to include regular screenings of work by emerging Bronx filmmakers and an annual Documentary Film Festival.
Rebecca Blandón is a Bronx-native, born and raised. She is the proud daughter of Nicaraguan immigrants who moved to the South Bronx in the 1970s in pursuit of the American Dream. Rebecca was privileged to study Neuroscience at Brown University before unexpectedly finding her way to documentary filmmaking. She received her master's at the NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute in the News & Documentary program, during which she created her first short documentary about the demise of New York City's taxi industry. Her passion is making the invisible visible through the practice of compassionate and visual journalism. With the support of the BDC, she hopes to tell more stories about The Bronx, its residents, and its spirit. She is especially interested in creatively and wholeheartedly reporting multimedia stories on immigration, human rights, environmentalism, criminal justice, cuisine, and music.
PHOTOS: © Hary Montás / BDC
Alex Núñez Caba
Alex Núñez Caba is a Dominican born filmmaker and photographer from New York City. He has a BFA in photography from SVA and majored in visual art at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. He’s worked with numerous photo industry professionals and film industry scenic artists and designers. Through documentary Alex hopes to become another strong voice among the talented pool of up-and-coming POC filmmakers.
Troi Hall is a Bronx resident with a passion for the arts and storytelling. She intends to make an impact with her art and bring about positive change. She is creating real representation, with the goal of putting power back in the hands of her community by telling raw stories that are often overlooked.
Sarah Moawad is a multimedia journalist and aspiring filmmaker based in New York City. Born in the US to Egyptian parents and raised in Saudi Arabia, she is fluent in Arabic and has covered issues related to the Middle East and Arab diaspora communities as a writer, editor and translator. She now hopes to make films that tackle grassroots social and political struggles, both within local communities and abroad. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master’s in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, and recently completed a Master’s in journalism at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Bronx resident Teresa Castillo is a documentary filmmaker who draws inspiration from the places she calls home. She holds a B.A. in Documentary Studies with concentrations in film/video & Latin American and Caribbean Studies from the University at Albany, SUNY. Teresa's work focuses on the interpersonal dynamics of communities, particularly within families. She has assisted television productions for National Geographic, WNED-PBS (Buffalo, NY), WMHT-PBS (Troy, NY), and Stereo Mundo (Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico) and is currently an Executive Assistant at Nickelodeon.
Jia is a documentary storyteller raised in China and based in New York City. She has a background in journalism and international relations. She is passionate about telling human stories, with a strong focus on social justice and human rights. Jia believes in the power of film to move and connect people. Without labels, she says, we are far more alike than we are different.
Harry Montás is a Bronx native raised by resilient Dominican women who instilled in him a strong work ethic and a passion to bring positive change to his community. Harry is currently pursuing his dream of working in the creative arts: he is enrolled as a student at Guttman College while working as a teacher’s assistant at the Bronx Documentary Center and as a freelance photographer.
Shakeima Cooks is a graduate of The City College of New York Documentary Studies program. She has worked for BET Networks, as a Production Associate in development, and worked as a media instructor for The Center For Alternative Learning (CASES) where she taught film to court-mandated youth. A Bronx native, Shakeima's goal is to become a well-recognized documentary filmmaker, one who breaks the barriers of ignorance through her films.
Fellowship submissions are closed at this time.Please check back in spring 2020 for 2020/2021 application information.
The BDC Films Fellowship Program invites traditionally underrepresented documentary filmmakers to participate in a free year-long documentary filmmaking fellowship at the BDC.
Participants are provided with:
- Workshops with established documentary filmmakers
- Professional development courses
- Professional filmmaking equipment
- Production and post-production space
- Co-working space
- Mentorship from BDC staff and visiting filmmakers
- Opportunities to present their work to the public
- Monthly travel stipend
- Peer support
Criteria for Applicants
The BDC seeks to identify fellows who:
- Identify racially, culturally or economically with a historically underrepresented population;
- Are at least 18 years old;
- Live and work in New York City, preferably in the Bronx;
- Are not currently students or enrolled in any degree-granting program at the time of the fellowship;
- Are not participating in a comparable development, fellowship, or residency program;
- Have not written, directed, and/or produced a full-length documentary film that has screened at a national or international film festival.
- Are not currently full-time employees or board members of the BDC.
In addition to the criteria listed above, the BDC will look for candidates who would most benefit from the opportunities that the program offers and who demonstrate a strong vision, commitment to their work, artistic excellence, and potential for artistic growth.
Ideal candidates will have great promise, yet lack access to networks of professionals and artists able to help them take their careers to the next level. An ideal candidate will also most benefit from additional skills development and the provision of space and support to create documentary films. We seek artists whose work stimulates debate and discussion in our community around the themes that guide the BDC: justice, education, and social progress. Lastly, artists must be willing to work collaboratively and supportively in a group of peers and commit to participating in at least 80% of the workshops. Participants are responsible for collaborating on several short documentary projects and are expected to independently complete at least one short documentary during their fellowship.
Candidates are required to supply the following:
- BDC Films Fellowship application form found
- Resume or CV
- Written essay (no more than 1 page). Please explain why you would be a good fit for this fellowship and describe what you would be excited to learn or experience.
- A link to at least one sample of your documentary filmmaking work. Submissions can be of any length, including full-length features, shorts, or webisodes.
- Two Professional References
Contact Giacomo Francia, Program Manager, with any questions: email@example.com
DEADLINE EXTENDED! Applications are due Friday, June 28, 2019 by 11:59PM EST.
BDC Films Advisory Board
Mirra Bank | Lyric Cabral | Beth Dembitzer | Nadia Hallgren | Idil Ibrahim | Kirsten Johnson | Sebastian Junger | Ross Kauffman | Eddie Martinez
BDC Films receives support from the Ford Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and, in part, by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council.