by Leslie Fields-Cruz


November 24, 2020

Here's Why We're Embracing the Spirit of Gratitude

The craziness of 2020 has made me ever mindful of how fortunate I am to do the work that I do with BPM’s staff, board and our broader community of makers, programmers and funders. You all give me a reason to start each new day with a spirit of determination and gratitude.

It is uplifting to know that we’ve helped bring films like Belly of the Beast, which premiered on PBS yesterday (Nov. 23), and Through the Night, which won Special Jury Recognition for Ethics of Care at DOC NYC last week, to the public. By giving voice to the voiceless, these powerful documentaries are informing national policy discussions about how we treat women and children in the United States, particularly those who are Black, Brown and low income.

It is satisfying to see that our 2020 BeHeard! campaign was instrumental in generating the nation’s highest voter turnout in more than a century. A whopping 65% percent of eligible voters participated in the general election and, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, this included as many as 55% of voters age 18-29 — that’s a big jump up from 44% in 2016.

It is fun to be able to remind you that the tongue-tantalizing seafood recipe Master Chef Ricky (The Hook) created for BPM’s 40th anniversary could be a savory complement to your traditional Thanksgiving feast.

And it is exciting to know that we’ve got a strong slate of programs scheduled to roll out over the next several months, including our 360 Incubator+ and PitchBLACK programs; a new virtual pair of BPMPlus VR classes; and our 13th season of AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, among others.

This year, for Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), we’re formalizing the BPM Emergency Relief Fund (which we initiated last spring) so that we’re in a stronger position to help creatives in our community weather economic crises such as the one Covid-19 brought. You’ll hear more about that in our December newsletter and, if you are able, we hope you will contribute generously.

In closing, I’m pleased to announce that our friends at DOC NYC have just added a 10-day Encore to their festival, running through Sun., Nov. 29. The BPM community can continue to use this discount code at check out to receive $3 off the regular ticket price ($12) on more than 70 features from DOC NYC’s 2020 edition, including select award winners. The Encore includes DOC NYC Live filmmaker conversations, presented on Facebook Live, daily through Nov. 24. For a lineup of DOC NYC Live events and a list of Encore films, visit

Despite the challenges thrown at us lately, the BPM community grows stronger, more resilient and more connected each year. It is why we are especially grateful this Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

Through The Night photo courtesy of ITVS