New Year, New Opportunities

JANUARY 3, 2023



By Leslie Fields-Cruz

New Year, New Opportunities

Greetings BPM Family!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and that you’re looking forward to the possibilities this brand new year has to offer. I deeply appreciated the break and am now eager to pursue the exciting array of opportunities BPM has planned for 2023.

Before I get into that, I want to thank all of you who included BPM in your year-end giving. Your generous contributions allow us to support the work of Black media storytellers, and to offer our ever-expanding  professional development and distribution programming.

Thanks also to those of you who attended our annual holiday mixer last month. It was a lot of fun and great to catch up on what everyone is doing. Notice about future mixers will appear in the Weekly Dispatch and on our social media channels. You’re always welcome to join us.

Here’s a list of BPM-funded documentaries you can look forward to in the ensuing weeks, as the U.S. celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month:

  • On MLK Day (Mon., Jan. 16), tune in to your local public TV station for the broadcast premiere of BPM-funded documentary, The Big Payback, by Erika Alexander and Whitney Dow. This film follows the fight of Evanston, Ill., Alderman Robin Rue Simmons as she leads the community in an uphill battle to get local officials to make good on their commitment to pay cannabis-tax-funded reparations to local Black residents.


  • On Mon., Jan. 30, Lise Yasui and Phil Bertelsen‘s latest BPM-funded film, The Picture Taker, will premiere on Independent Lens. The film explores the creative and controversial life of famed African American photographer Ernest Withers.

Picture Taker

  • On Mon., Feb. 6, Outta the Muck, by Ira McKinley and Bhawin Suchak premiere’s on Independent Lens. The film offers an intimate portrait of a family and community that resists despair with love, and remains fiercely self-determined, while forging its own unique narrative of Black achievement.


For all these programs, be sure to check local listings for air times in your area.


Then in March, BPM and our partners at the National Network for Innovation on Covid-19 and Adult Vaccine Equity (NNICE) will convene a second Black Media Story Summit on Vaccine Equity. This time, the targeted communities are in Michigan and North Carolina and the summit is virtual. Watch the BPM website, our social channels and this blog for registration details. If you’re a filmmaker working on a vaccine equity-related media project in these areas, we’d love for you to join us.

I hope you’re as ready as we are to get started. Happy New Year!

Black Public Media is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with further funding from the MacArthur Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and Acton Family Giving.  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

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