Last week in Lawrence we followed Fran and his partner Elissa who are campaigning together for seats on the city council and school committee. Here, Fran secures a handmade sign in downtown Lawrence that he and Elissa made for $20 using a tarp and white duct tape — they are grassroots, through and through. As election day approaches (the preliminary election is September 26th, followed by the general election November 6th), they decided to invest in professionally printed banners, which they designed and put up all over town since we last were there. Onwards!
Last night we made an impromptu trip to Lawrence to film with Fran at an event he was hosting, the 2nd annual Made in Lawrence "Clout" Film Festival. The outdoor screening, free and open to the public, showcased 13 shorts all by Lawrence-native filmmakers, and was organized by Made in Lawrence, a program of Lawrence Community Works, and supported by the Essex Art Center.
For Fran, who co-founded Made in Lawrence last year, it's about more than giving young filmmakers from diverse backgrounds a forum for their work; it's about creating community, and reclaiming Lawrence's narrative:
"This is real community... What we do is we make films about the people of Lawrence, and their stories, and their struggles, and try to create a new image for the city of Lawrence. Because right now we have a bad image problem. But that's not the truth. Because look at us– we're united, we're smart, we're beautiful, and we're very artistic. And this is what we're proving."
According to co-host and filmmaker Elissa Salas, they had expected a crowd of around 30 to show up. By the time the sun had set, more than 130 people were in attendance.
The LEF Foundation has just announced this year's LEF Moving Image Fund Pre-Production grantees, and Mi Casita is one of them! This $5,000 grant will help us recuperate early development stage costs and pave the way forward to get principle shooting underway. We are honored to have LEF's support!
The LEF Foundation has just announced 6 grants totaling $30,000 in pre-production funding to New England-based independent documentary filmmakers.
The LEF Moving Image Fund invests in innovative feature-length documentary films that demonstrate excellence in technique, strong storytelling ability, and originality of artistic vision and voice.
“As a small family foundation and as a local funder,” said LEF Executive Director Lyda Kuth, “the preproduction stage is a critical point at which to invest in the process of story development and artistic experimentation, and to encourage future support from other funders. Our hope is that these grants help each team accomplish some of their initial goals, like travel, research, and discovering the look and feel of the film.”
The directors awarded grants in this round include both first-time and returning LEF grantees. These filmmakers are pursuing subject matter throughout the United States and around the world, from Turkey to the Rio Grande, from Michigan to South Carolina, and close to home in New England. Additionally, these grantees take on a variety of approaches to the documentary form, including projects that are character-driven, observational, personal, immersive, participatory, and archival.