CDMPF 2012 Finalists

The awarded projects are as follows:


After the Bullet: see it on youtube
Directed by Brittany Douglas/Community Television Network ($3,800) 
Brittany Douglas, who lost her mother to gun violence on her own front porch, started her documentary, “Bullet,” as an attempt to make some sense of a world in which such violence is possible and to help other teens in communities similar to her own, and the people that care about them, do the same. The film takes a self-reflexive look at how filmmaking and other forms of art production help people mediate and understand a culture of violence. It is an exploration of what impact a culture of violence has on the lives of people within it and how to respond to it in a productive way. Visit Community Television Network here.

Barbershop Documentary (Untitled): no link currently available.  Anticipated completion date: end of Summer, 2013.
Directed by Janelle Vaughn Dowell ($7,500)
“The Barbershop Documentary” (currently untitled) will provide a 20-minute overview of the historical significance of the barbershop in the African American community. This film will feature Zariff, President Obama’s barber, and show how Nelson Malden, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s barber, among others, are unsung heroes in the social and civil rights movements.

Embodies (formerly "BODY (THE) IMAGE"):
Directed by Hillary Bachelder ($4,000)
“Embodies” is a forty-minute documentary that profiles three Chicago professionals with a unique perspective on the physical body: a nude model, an athlete, and a manager of human cadavers being donated to science. Each is devoted to exploring the work they do and the unusual and varied relationship they have with the corporeal world.

Gettin’ Grown TV:
Direced by Aaron Greer ($9,500)
“Gettin’ Grown TV” is in an interactive web series, aimed primarily at tweenage boys of color (ages 9 – 14). The series features the exploits of 12-year old Eric and his best friends, and is a spinoff of the independent feature Gettin’ Grown (2004). GGTV builds on the success of the earlier film and provides an opportunity for teenage boys of color to engage with the story by creating content to be uploaded and edited on the website. Visit Gettin' Grown TV 

The Grid:
“The Grid” is an online web series profiling Chicago businesses, subcultures and landscapes. These short documentaries aspire to be a form of “lyrical journalism” that exposes audiences to overlooked communities in bold new ways. Episode subjects include innovative entrepreneurs and educators, transitioning landscapes, the effects of globalization, and the search for sustainable social and business practices. Visit The Grid


Directed by Anuradha Rana ($10,000)
What happens when a natural preserve is also an oil reserve? “Preserves” is a 12-minute documentary that explores this question through one of the most biodiverse places on Earth - Yasuní National Park, located in the Amazonian basin of Ecuador. Through poetic visuals, experimental animation and a haunting soundtrack, “Preserves” is a journey of discovery and appreciation of the life that will be lost when an ecosystem is destroyed to provide nine days worth of petroleum for an oil-drunk world. The film takes the audience on a journey through the opulent splendor of the Yasuní and deep into the devastation that continues to be wrought by the country’s tenuous 40-year history of oil production.

Rainbow Roots Project:
Directed by Luiz Magana ($1,500)
“Rainbow Roots” is an online film and video web series about how seven Chicago LGBT couples were able to form long lasting relationships and establish families of their own. Each episode follows a different couple discussing and revealing the dynamics of their relationship, and provide a window into a side of the gay community that has not often been seen.


The Year I Broke My Voice: see it on vimeo
Directed by Madsen Minax ($6,975)
“The Year I Broke My Voice” is a 40-minute coming-of-age story told in episodic vignettes about eight queer and trans youths who struggle to define themselves and their world. The script was composed in a collage format by excerpting and adapting dialogue from three Hollywood coming-of-age films: Stand By Me (1986), The Outsiders (1983) and The Year My Voice Broke (1987). All roles are performed by a transgender and gender variant cast, most of whom remain completely gender ambiguous. Visit Madsen's website


Our nine distinguished panelists were as follows (in alphabetical order):

Melika Bass: Instructor in the Film, Video and New Media Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and named "one of the most promising emergent practitioners in Chicago" by the Chicago Tribune. A solo exhibition of her work screened at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art in 2011. Visit Melika's website here.

Nick Briz: New-media artist, organizer and educator; co-organizer and co-founder of GLI.TC/H festival, an international noise and [dirty] new-media event; and instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Visit Nick's website here.

Emile Cambry: Professor of Economics at North Park University; founder and festival director of Chicago International Social Change Film Festival; founder/producer at MetroWorks Film Production Company; founder of the Dr. Smith Center for the Arts; and founder and CEO of the 21st Century Youth Project.Visit the MetroWorks Films website here.

Allison Cuddy: Culture editor/reporter and former host for the daily radio newsmagazine Eight-Forty-Eight on WBEZ, Chicago’s local NPR affiliate. Allison has covered issues ranging from arts and culture, to politics, social justice, science, health, and current events on a local and global scale.

Kyle Henry: Assistant Professor in the Radio, TV and Film department at Northwestern University; editor of eight documentary features, most recently Where the Soldiers Come From about U.S. soldiers returning home from Afghanistan. His short film Fourplay: Tampa played at Sundance 2012.

Janet Liao: Program Officer in the journalism program of the McCormick Foundation where she guides grantmaking in youth media, digital journalism and journalism training. Janet also serves on the boards of Chicago Women in Philanthropy and Youth Media Reporter.

Rachel Pikelny: Currently Rachel is co-producing the documentaries The Trials of Muhammad Ali and Mormons Make Movies for Kartemquin Films. She served as associate producer on A Good Man, which aired on PBS' American Masters in 2011, and co-produced American Arab and On Beauty, both now in post-production.

Josef Steiff: A writer and independent filmmaker as well as the Film & Video Senior Associate Chair at Columbia College Chicago. His books include The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Independent Filmmaking, Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy: Mission Accomplished or Mission Frakked Up?, Anime and Philosophy: Wide Eyed Wonder and Manga and Philosophy: Fullmetal Metaphysician for Open Court books. Visit Open Court's website here.

David Tolchinsky: Department Chair at the Department of Radio, TV, Film at Northwestern University and screenwriter. He wrote the script for Girl (produced by Sony/Tristar), and has received screenplay commissions from MGM, USA Networks, Disney, and Ivan Reitman’s Montecito Pictures, among others.