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IF/Then x The Redford Center Nature Connection Pitch 2023

Supporting short films centered around restoring and strengthening humanity’s relationship with nature.

IF/Then Shorts and The Redford Center call for filmmakers to share their short documentary works-in-progress focusing on connecting or reconnecting with nature for a pitch and professional development workshop series at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival 2023. The opportunity celebrates storytellers and stories that spotlight the physical, mental, spiritual, social, and planetary benefits of restoring and strengthening humanity’s relationship with the natural world. We invite projects poised to help attain the vast benefits that time outdoors can contribute to individual, community, and environmental health.

As social culture moves increasingly online, society and technology have placed humankind on a path to becoming an indoor species. Today, we spend over 90% of our time indoors. This growing disconnection from nature negatively affects us in significant ways — from health problems exacerbated by nature deprivation to systemic inequities reinforced when communities lack access to the outdoors.

This call for entries seeks impactful stories of leaders, activists, and communities paving the way for creative and equitable solutions that reconnect individuals and communities with nature and the outdoors. Storytellers have a unique and important role to play in driving the culture change necessary to strengthen our care and respect for the natural world and champion efforts to break down systemic and individual barriers to access.

With this project, IF/Then and The Redford Center aim to increase representation of communities impacted most by environmental degradation and injustice and bring underrepresented and historically excluded communities and voices to the forefront.

An evolution and expansion on last year’s Nature Access Pitch partnership between IF/Then Shorts and The Redford Center, this opportunity focuses on supporting filmmakers’ career development and building skills to incorporate impact into storytelling practice.

PROGRAM DETAILS:

The opportunity calls for original stand-alone short documentaries in production (no more than 30 minutes) that explore solutions-based environmental stories centered around restoring humanity’s connection with nature and the outdoors.

Up to five finalists will be selected to attend a live, in-person multi-day workshop and pitch at Big Sky Film Festival in Missoula, Montana, tentatively scheduled for mid-February 2023.

Selected participants will receive a workshop on issue-oriented, impact driven filmmaking from The Redford Center, a tailored pitch training session hosted by IF/Then Shorts, and will present their projects to a roundtable of invested participants in both the non-fiction and environmental activism space. Projects will have 7 minutes to pitch, followed by feedback and questions from a panel made up of industry leaders, filmmakers, and environmental experts. Each selected project will also receive a non-recoupable grant of $5,000 from The Redford Center to support the development and production of their project.

PROJECT ELIGIBILITY:

Submissions shall be in the form of character-driven, place-based, community-inspired, short-form storytelling centered around restoring and strengthening humanity’s relationship with nature, and the leaders, communities and cultures leading this charge.

This opportunity will be open to individuals living and working in the US, prioritizing stories and filmmakers representing the communities often most impacted by environmental problems and the challenges of outdoor access, which includes Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQIA+ people, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, and/or women.

Suggested stories related to this theme may include but are not limited to:

● The physical, mental, spiritual, and social impacts of humanity’s growing disconnection from the natural world.

● The vast benefits that time outdoors can contribute to individual, community, and environmental health.

● Leaders, activists, and communities paving the way for creative solutions that reconnect individuals and communities with nature and the outdoors.

● An equitable, inclusive, and diverse environmental movement that brings underrepresented and historically excluded communities and voices to the forefront.

● Breaking down barriers of access to nature for historically excluded and marginalized communities, highlighting the complex social, racial, economic, and health inequities related to issues of nature access.

● Cultural practices that honor traditional and ancestral knowledge which reframe our relationship to nature.

● Current decolonization practices around land rights and histories that center Indigenous perspectives.

● Raising awareness around and addressing systemic bias, discrimination, and injustice in environmental policy.

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 a U.S. 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

Partners:

KEY DATES:

August 23, 2022 - Call for submissions opens.

October 9, 2022 - Call for submissions closes at 11:59 PM PT.

Early January 2023 - All applicants notified of status, finalists announced.

February 17-26, 2023 - Big Sky Film Festival

February 23, 2023 - In-person workshops at Big Sky

February 24, 2023 - Nature Connection Pitch

Application closed on October 9, 2022 (11:59 PM PT).

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