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SHIFTING LANDSCAPES - Emergence Magazine x IF/Then Shorts Lab

Supporting diverse filmmakers around the world and films exploring the theme of migration as a central story of our time.

IF/Then Shorts, in partnership with Emergence Magazine, called for short documentary filmmakers to take part in SHIFTING LANDSCAPES - Emergence Magazine x IF/Then Shorts Lab.

In an age of climate crisis and deep uncertainty for what the future holds, we are seeing rapid shifts in seasonal patterns and the availability of resources. Patterns of movement across lands and waters are shifting dramatically. These impacts are being felt the world over and there is a growing need to share these stories from perspectives, places, and experiences that not only bring place-specific stories to bear from diverse, international perspectives, but that also illustrate the ways in which these stories are deeply interwoven on a global scale as our shared home undergoes this transformation.

Marking the first partnership between IF/Then Shorts and Emergence Magazine, this lab celebrates storytellers and stories that explore these widespread shifts in movement from both human and nonhuman perspectives, and on both human and nonhuman timescales.

Three projects by global storytellers were selected for participation in a collaborative lab, including grant support, project mentorship, and career advancing public activations to assist in the completion and distribution of high profile projects.


This lab called for original stand-alone short documentaries in production (no more than 30 minutes) that explore the theme of migration from both human and non-human perspectives. We welcomed films that explore a range of socially, politically, culturally, and ecologically relevant topics that are rooted in the theme of migration.

Three projects were selected to participate in a one-year lab focused on short-documentary production, cohort collaboration and mentorship, working toward the completion of their films by the end of the term.

Filmmakers will benefit from not only the resources of their esteemed mentors, but also work to build strong creative relationships while providing feedback and support to their fellow filmmakers.

After the lab, the films will be shown at a work-in-progress screening as a part of an international film festival. Following the lab, filmmakers will receive distribution consultation and festival strategy to help get their film out into the world.

Each project will receive:

● $25,000 production grant

● One year of mentorship focusing on story development, production, creative editorial feedback, editing, and community building

● Office hours for project consultation and migration-centered masterclasses

● Work-in-progress screening at an international festival (travel included)

● Multi-platform distribution and festival strategy consultations

● Guaranteed non-exclusive online broadcast with Emergence Magazine


This opportunity was open to individuals with genuine connection to and credibility within the communities they depict on-screen telling place-specific, community conscious stories of migration.

The application was open globally, with an emphasis on Black, Indigenous, Persons of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQIA+ folks, recent immigrants, undocumented persons, persons with a disability, and/or women.

We welcomed applicants regardless of immigration status, including applicants who are born abroad and are not U.S. citizens or U.S. legal permanent residents.

In addition to being on theme, eligible projects must meet the following criteria:

● Be an original short documentary with a final duration of 10-30 minutes

● Be factually accurate, follow best practices in documentary ethics, and be designed for an international audience

● Be accountable to and authentically represent the people and places featured in the film

● Be driven by (a) compelling character(s), with access to the character(s) secured

● Be presented in English or subtitled in English

● Have no prior distribution attached and be able to participate in the IF/Then Shorts distribution initiative, with the option of a secondary window of non-exclusive distribution via Emergence Magazine’s online presence.



Director: Pan Zhiqi

Producer: Jia Zhao

Co-producer: Tae Yamamoto

Location: China

In China, beekeepers are constantly on the move in order to find a good source of honey for their bees and good financial returns. But the industry is facing many challenges due to climate change and monoculture farming. This film follows a young beekeeper, Xiao Long, and his family as they migrate with bees in search of honey, witnessing the survival of beekeepers in the face of an ecological crisis.


Director/Producer: Tushar Madhav

Producer: Jia Zhao

Locations: India / Japan

An Indian painter and a Japanese curator encounter each other in their crossings between the forest and the city. Caught at the intersection, while the painter slips into depression and takes the path of suicide, the curator pursues his life away from modern civilization inside a forest. A tale of outcasts of contemporary society, Detour reflects the abyss of an artist’s soul in a world of dogmas.


Director: Jessica Bishopp

Producers: Alice Hughes, Gannesh Rajah

Co-producer: Ada Benjaminsdottir

Locations: Iceland / UK

On a remote island off the coast of Iceland, teenagers take it upon themselves to counteract the damaging human impact on nature, exchanging night-time parties for nocturnal puffin patrols - in a coming of age story of joy and jeopardy for young adults and pufflings alike.



January 10, 2022 - Call for Submissions opens

February 15, 2022 - Submissions Deadline (11:59 PM PT)

Early April 2022 - Selections Finalized, Selected Projects Announced.

April 4, 2022 - Program Kickoff

Application closed on February 15, 2022 (11:59 PM PT).

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