MARCH 9, 2021




By Leslie Fields-Cruz


Photo by Nathan Engel from Pexels


Last weekend, cinemas across New York City were OPEN! Of course, masks were required and some theaters kept their concessions closed. But the hearty souls who dared to buy admission were once again allowed to sink into high-backed movie seats, watch the lights dim, and feel the surround sound beckoning the big screens back to life. I didn't go, but I imagine it was a Lazarus- rising type of experience for those who ventured out.  If all goes well, it's possible theaters across the country could reopen by summer. The question is: will the audiences come? And if they do, for how long?

Whatever happens, we all know this industry will never be exactly as it was pre-pandemic. But the events of 2020 have wrought many new opportunities for BIPOC people in the media. Inclusion is trending upward, streaming is the new norm, the market for Black stories may be broader than it's ever been, and opportunities for newcomers to enter our industry appear abundant. I don't dare suggest it's all roses, but I do think now's the time for everyone to start putting their life-after-Covid plans into action. Not only must we keep this new momentum going, we've got to ensure that those in our community hit hardest over the past year receive the support they need to get back in the game.

Speaking of which, can I just say how much I appreciate the support you've shown to Black Public Media over the past year? Your enthusiastic responses to our many calls to action have been heartwarming. Because of you, we've been able to continue serving Black media makers and the media consuming public.

Over the next few weeks, we'll focus on preparing for the premiere of AfroPoP Season 13 (WORLD Channel, April 5) and the presentation of our biennial PitchBLACK program (April 7-9). This coming Sunday (March 14) we hope you'll join us for another virtual convening of the African Diaspora Film Club, where the conversation will be about the work of docmaker Thomas Allen Harris.

In other news, we just learned that New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) has extended the submission deadline for its film preservation grant program. The new deadline is May 1. Go here for details.

Late last week, we also learned that on March 10, the Points North Institute — producer of the Camden International Film Festival — is partnering with several public media stations in New England and the World Channel to host a virtual roundtable on distribution opportunities for filmmakers via public television. Participation is free, but registration is required. Go here for details.

Finally, if you're in the market for a new job, here are two openings at WGCU in Ft. Myers, Fla., that might be of interest: Executive Producer and Digital Director.

Have a great week!

Black Public Media is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with further funding from the MacArthur Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts. Support for Afropop: the Ultimate Cultural Exchange and the 360 Incubator+ Fund comes from the National Endowment for the Arts. BPM is the only nonprofit that offers training, funding and distribution for projects solely about the Black experience. We are seeking foundations, corporations and individuals to help our work. For more information about underwriting and contributions, please contact Alisa Norris (Alisa@ To donate, click here! In addition, you can donate to BPM through your Amazon purchases by going to 1335950.

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