Fayetteville Film Fest Announces BIPOC Film Lab, Micheaux Award

The Fayetteville Film Fest is launching new initiatives developed by and for the Black, Indigenous and People of Color film community.

Image of Black film pioneer Oscar Micheaux

The Fayetteville Film Fest Board is launching two new funding and education initiatives, the Micheaux Award and BIPOC Film Lab, designed to support and encourage creation and authorship of Arkansas-based projects from Black, Indigenous and filmmakers of color. The Micheaux Award will distribute funds to BIPOC filmmakers in two cycles throughout the year. The FFF-BIPOC Film Lab will facilitate year-round educational and workshop opportunities to strengthen the Arkansas-based BIPOC film community.

Both initiatives were formally announced at the 12th annual Fayetteville Film Fest during a panel discussion on Building a Diverse Film Community in Northwest Arkansas and Beyond. The festival is currently underway online and on-demand until Nov. 14. The first livestream kickoff event for the new initiatives will be presented via Zoom at 2 p.m. Nov. 15.

In response to the death of George Floyd, the Fayetteville Film Fest board issued a statement of solidarity earlier this year that outlined three goals members were committed to achieving to address issues of equity and inclusion, according to a press release.

The board accomplished its first goal by welcoming several new members in an effort to more accurately reflect the community. The second and third goals are fulfilled with these two new initiatives.

The Micheaux Award—named in honor of Oscar Micheaux, a founding father of American Black cinema—will distribute up to $4,000 in two cycles per year.

Awards will be distributed to two to three film projects per cycle with no single application receiving more than $1,500:

– Open to film projects in all stages of development, scope and genre.

– Open to film projects made by BIPOC individuals living or working in Arkansas. Preference will apply to filmmakers focused on the BIPOC communities of which they are a part.

– Films that address issues of social and racial justice are especially encouraged.

– Submitter must be at least 18 years of age.

The Winter 2020 Cycle will open for applications Nov. 15 and close Dec. 31. Recipients of awards for the Winter Cycle will be announced Feb. 1, 2021.

The FFF-BIPOC Film Lab will facilitate educational workshops and networking events to encourage diverse content creation, equip filmmakers of color to tell their own stories and cultivate audiences that are truly reflective of the whole community.

There are three areas of focus for the educational/mentorship plan:

– Technical aspects of filmmaking

– Business fundamentals

– Networking opportunities to broaden reach and impact

Networking opportunities will come in the form of regular quarterly meetings (online in the short-term and in-person once it is safe to do so), as well as occasional community events and public film screenings.

The Film Labs are open to all Arkansas BIPOC filmmakers. More information is coming Winter/Spring 2021.