Sabaah Folayan (WHOSE STREETS?) to headline 2017 Diverse Voices in Docs (DVID) graduation

Kartemquin Films and The Community Film Workshop of Chicago will present the latest graduates of their acclaimed Diverse Voices in Docs (DVID) program on October 2, 6pm at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts in Chicago.

Sabaah Folayan, the co-director of acclaimed 2017 documentary Whose Streets?, currently distributed in theaters by Magnolia Pictures, will deliver the keynote speech at the event, where each of the graduates will present a preview of their latest documentary project. The graduation is free to attend. RSVP here.

Applications are now open for the 2018 edition of Diverse Voices in Docs (DVID). Eight Midwest filmmakers will be selected from those who apply before the November 18th deadline at

2018 will be the sixth year of the successful program, which has helped over 60 mid-career documentary filmmakers of color advance their projects through mentorship and skill-sharing since launching in 2013. For the first time in 2018, the program will offer travel stipends for two selected midwest filmmakers from outside Chicago to attend the program’s monthly workshops. Eligible applicants must currently reside in either Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio or Wisconsin.

Previous graduates of the program include Kelly Richmond Pope, whose documentary All the Queen’s Horses will be released by Kartemquin and Gravitas Ventures this year, and Bing Liu, whose forthcoming film Minding the Gap is in co-production with the Independent Television Service (ITVS), and in 2017 was selected for both Film Independent’s Documentary Lab and Fast Track programs, and Full Frame’s Garrett Scott Grant.

The Diverse Voices in Docs fellows receive hands-on guidance from experienced Kartemquin and Community Film Workshop staff and award-winning filmmakers, along with a personal seasoned industry mentor throughout the duration of the program, before pitching to a panel of major funders, including representatives from ITVS, Sundance Institute, POV, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Doc Society (formerly BritDoc), WTTW Channel 11, Illinois Humanities, Chicken and Egg Pictures, and the National Black Programming Consortium. In partnership with Tribeca Film Institute, for the past 3 years 2 DVID fellows per year have attended the TFI Network Market at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Sabaah Folayan is an activist and storyteller born and raised in South Central LA. As an advocate at Rikers Island, Folayan interviewed incarcerated people about their experiences with trauma. She later helped organize The Millions March, one of the largest marches for racial justice in New York history, in response to the non-indictment of the police officer who choked Eric Garner to death. Folayan entered the world of storytelling through theater, attending the Lee Strasberg Institute of Theatre and Film as a teenager, and performing as a member of the Black Theater Ensemble while a pre-med student at Columbia University.

In September 2014, she went to Ferguson with cinematographer Lucas Alvarado-Farrar to learn the truth behind the dramatic scenes playing out on the news. Hearing the stories from the community inspired her to embark on her directorial debut Whose Streets?, landing her a coveted spot on Filmmaker Magazine’s annual “25 New Faces of Independent Film” list along with Co-Director Damon Davis. Folayan recently directed an episode of Glamour Magazine + The Girl Project’s Get Schooled web series presented by Maybelline. She is a 2015 Firelight Media Producers Lab Fellow, 2016 Chicken & Egg Accelerator Lab Fellow, and 2016 Sundance Institute Documentary Edit and Story Lab Fellow.

Previous DVID graduation keynote speakers have included broadcast journalist Robin Robinson, publisher Chaz Ebert, and cinematographer Keith Walker (Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise). Last year’s notable keynote speaker, Lyric Cabral, director of the critically-acclaimed documentary (T)error, stated:

“I am inspired by Kartemquin’s commitment to nurturing storytellers of color and voices which, for the sake of our democracy, are in critical need of promotion. I value being here, in this diverse room, seeing reflections of myself in each of you. I sincerely thank Kartemquin for curating this space which is a rare reality, within the landscape of documentary film (festivals, programs, labs, awards shows, film schools). It is refreshing to be a part of the majority, not a minority, while celebrating the form we all love.”

“Our goal is to empower ordinary citizens in the use of media and to provide them access to resources to produce first-voice social issue documentaries,” said Margaret Caples, Executive Director of The Community Film Workshop.

“Diverse Voices in Docs is an essential program for the documentary community as well as the broader independent filmmaking industry. Our mission in the program is to champion filmmakers of color and ensure a diverse number of perspectives are successful and visible in the field, sharing stories they want to tell,” said Emily Strong, Programs & Engagement Manager at Kartemquin.

Organized by Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago, DVID participants meet six times in four-hour monthly workshops to receive expert advice and guidance for their films. Beyond connecting filmmakers to the professional documentary community, the program also provides a network of possible collaborators and funders.

“What I didn't learn as I set out to make my first feature documentary was that your story will make even more of a difference with guidance from veterans and a community of passionate filmmakers, which I found in Kartemquin's Diverse Voices in Docs fellowship,” said Bing Liu, a DVID alum from 2015.

About Diverse Voices in Docs
2018 Diverse Voices in Docs application information and submission form:
Application deadline: November 18th 2018 by 5:00PM Central Time

RSVP to attend the 2017 Diverse Voices in Docs graduation on October 2, 2017 at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts in Chicago, IL:

Workshop sessions focus on applied learning and honing skills in areas such as fundraising, storytelling, production techniques, distribution, and marketing.

Further perks for enrolled filmmakers include networking sessions introducing them to notable broadcasters, funders and distributors; access to Kartemquin’s invite-only “KTQ Labs” feedback screenings program, where Kartemquin’s filmmaker community provides free rough-cut consulting; and access to job listings and informational resources.

Diverse Voices in Docs is supported by The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, Voqal Fund, The Bertha Foundation, The Reva & David Logan Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at Prince, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Sage Foundation, Kartemquin Films, and Community Film Workshop.

Eligibility Criteria
Applicants should have played a principal role in a completed production (producer, writer, director, editor, etc.) and have experience or work history that demonstrated their commitment to social issue documentary.
Applicants are evaluated solely by their application.
Applicants must be a legal US resident, currently residing in either Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio or Wisconsin.
Applicants must NOT be a full-time student.
Applicants commit to participating in all aspects of the program and attending all 6 classes.
There is no application fee. An enrollment fee of $100 is due upon acceptance to the program.
Decisions will be based on finalist interviews and work samples.

The Diverse Voices in Docs program will not provide: project funding, legal advice, equipment or post-production access.