June 8, 2021




By Leslie Fields-Cruz

Feeling Hopeful About This Summer

I want to start this week’s post by extending a warm thank you to all who showed up for last week’s BPM-NOVA workshop. When we began meeting with the NOVA team a few months ago, we were excited about the possibility of giving BPM storytellers a chance to pursue opportunities with NOVA, but we had no idea what type of response to expect. I’m pleased to report that the workshop turnout exceeded our expectations. We thank our friends at NOVA — Ralph Bouquet, Julia Cort, Chris Schmidt, Ralph Bouquet and Alex Clark — for entering into this partnership with us. We also appreciate filmmakers Byron Hurt and Natalie Bullock Brown for so graciously sharing stories about their firsthand experiences working with NOVA. They admitted to never even thinking of themselves as science storytellers until they were approached by the NOVA team. What started out as a doc about Byron’s family reunion soon blossomed into what sounds like a fascinating genealogy exploration. As Chris and Julia indicated during the conversation, science stories are ubiquitous, you just need to know how to spot ’em. 


BPM-NOVA Workshop, June 3, 2021


Julia Cort, co-executive producer of NOVA


Filmmaker Byron Hurt

I have long believed that the solution to our industry’s diversity, equity and Inclusion problems  starts with relationships and a mutual commitment to change. It is too soon to say what impact last week’s workshop will have on future programming at NOVA. But the BPM-NOVA partnership is off to a good start and, from what we saw and heard during the more than 90-minute session, I am cautiously optimistic that the beloved series is at the brink of a new, more inclusive era. I look forward to what’s coming.

In other news, BPM is pleased to announce that we have joined forces with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the NY Foundation for the Arts to launch an all-new City Artist Corps grant program. NYC-based artists, working in any discipline, who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 are eligible to apply. One-time grants of $5,000 will be distributed among 3,000 artists to help sustain their practice and engage the public across New York City’s five boroughs this summer beginning July. Grantees will be required to offer a free, public presentation of their work during the grant period. 

In addition to coaxing New Yorkers and out-of-town-visitors back into the city’s streets, the program aims to give artists a jump-start back into the cultural and economic life of the city. The first of three rounds of grants will be announced in July and all presentations must be completed by October 31. BPM is promoting the program among the city’s filmmakers, and will help vet and select the project the grantees. 

So, if you’ve got a film, VR, XR, or other production that’s ripe for this type of opportunity, we hope you’ll apply. Applications are open now. You’ll find further details about the City Arts Corps and how to apply here.

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@ blackpublicmedia.org). To donate, click here! In addition, you can donate to BPM through your Amazon purchases by going to smile.amazon.com/ch/31- 1335950.

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