PitchBLACK Forum Finishes Competition For Funding Today

Nailah Jefferson presents at the 2019 PitchBlack Forum (credit James Brooks)

Ten creative teams will finish the two-day competition for funding up to $150,000 at the Black Public Media’s PitchBLACK forum today. It is the fourth edition of their 360 Incubator + fellowship which is a professional development program meant to identify and nurture exceptional Black content. Veteran producer award-winning producer Sandy Rattley, who is also a consultant for the incubator, will host the event. Winners of the PitchBLACK Forum will be announced at the virtual PitchBLACK Awards on Friday April 9th at 7PM ET. Documentary filmmaker Marco Williams will receive the BPM Trailblazer Award. 

The 10 projects competing for funding and a license agreement for public media distribution include: Before We Wrap by Elizabeth Charles; Buffalo Soldiers: Fighting on Two Fronts by Dru Holley; Fighting for the Light by Yeleen Cohen and Ife Olujobi; Higher 15 by Ameha Molla and Rajal Pitroda; Inner Wound Real by Carrie Hawk and Chelsea Moore; Listen to Me by Stephanie Etienne and Kanika Harris; Storming Caesars Palace by Hazel Gurland-Pooler and Naz Habtezghi; The Food Griot Chronicles(working title) by Tonya Hopkins and Laura Colleluori; The Ride by Allison Shillingford and J. Lathon; and What’s in a Name? by Malkia Lydia and Khalil Munir.

Black Public Media’s PitchBLACK is a platform for television executives and funders to gather and discover emerging Black talent. Past attendees include BET, BBC, MacArthur Foundation, Color Creative, PBS, Ford Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Third World Newsreel, Sundance Institue and Women Make Movies. Up to three projects will be awarded a licensing agreement ranging from $50,000 to $150,000. 

The PitchBLACK Awards honors Black storytellers of the past, present and future. The Trailblazer Award recognizes documentary filmmakers with more than two decades of experience working mostly with public media as a producer, director, writer or editor and also has a track record of mentoring media makers. This year’s recipient, Marco Williams, is an Emmy nominee and Peabody Award Winner whose films have been broadcast on cable or public television. Entertainment industry executives and funders who want to attend the forum can request access to the forum here. The PitchBLACK Awards are free and open to the public and those interested can register at the official website. 

The first-ever  BPMplus Showcase will happen on Friday April 9th at 1 PM ET including Manacapuru VR by Fabiano Mixo; Mapping Blackness by Carla LynDale Bishop, Movement Portraits by LaJune MacMillian, Rabiola Tales by Leonardo Souza, Red Summers: Domestic Terrorism from 1917-1921 by Bayete Ross Smith; and Un(re)solved by Tamara Shogaolu for FRONTLINE. BPMplus is the nonprofit’s arm helping Black filmmakers embrace new technologies for storytelling.

The NCU Fellowship is awarded to innovative creatives under the age of 35 who work with emerging media. The 2021 winner will be announced at the PitchBLACK Awards ceremony.