SIFTMedia 215 Granted Two Year Operating Grant from Independence Public Media Foundation

Philadelphia, PA, July 23, 2021 –(– The Independence Public Media Foundation (IPMF) announced last month another major investment in Philadelphia’s media making community. Thirteen grants totaling $2 million were awarded to a range of organizations and projects, including SIFTMedia 215, a Black & Latinx Women Filmmakers Collective of Philadelphia.

IPMF’s focus with these funds is to give continued support to a group of existing grantees that lift up storytelling and creative expression as pathways for communities building power. The grants in this cycle provide critical ongoing support for media-making organizations (prioritizing organizations which are Black or brown led, women led) and storytelling projects that have been excluded from access to resources that amplify the voices of the communities they serve.

SIFTMedia’s Development Director, Nadine Patterson, finds the fact that IPMF wants to have real conversations about the issues directly affecting communities and give directly at the grassroots level, groundbreaking. Whereas many foundations fund institutions in hopes of it trickling down to those in the field doing the work.

IPMF awarded SIFTMedia 215, aptly, $215,000 for operating expenses, rather than for a specific film project, with the knowledge that flexibility is key for new organizations like SIFT, with an annual budget mainly provided by membership dues and donations.

This grant will assist us in supporting our members in immeasurable and practical ways, says Nikki Harmon SIFTMedia 215’s Program Director, such as offering collaborative funding, screening, and distribution opportunities as well as providing tangible pre-, pro-, and post-production support in the form of equipment and software subscriptions as well as crew and communal supports.

In addition, a portion of the grant will go to a collaborative filmmaking series called SIFT COVID1619. Several SIFT members are in the post-production phase of their short films which bear witness to the systemic racism of COVID-19, while also amplifying the resilience of black and brown communities most harshly hit by the pandemic.

Lois Moses, Executive Committee Member, describes her #SIFTCOVID1619 project entitled, “Phoenix Rising” as “a tributary caption of one yoga practitioner’s and truth seeker’s quest to both, make meaning out of chaos, and stand for justice, in the midst of a global pandemic and the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.”

Throughout the pandemic, SIFT has fostered community among women filmmakers of color and delivered opportunities for virtual screenings and professional development through free Filmmakers Workshops, aimed at providing the hard-to-find information. For instance, “Public Television 101: A Filmmaker’s Guide to Navigating Public Television,” which gave attendees the opportunity to learn the in’s and out’s of getting their work on regional & national PBS stations. Following, a VR Workshop, “Introduction to XR Production and the Digital Reality” provided a foundation for filmmakers looking to tell stories through interactive digital mediums. Both workshops co-presented with valued community based organizations. In an effort to remind filmmakers to reach for the interpersonal and emotional scope of filmmaking, SIFT held workshops “Metaphysical Cinematography: Translating Emotions into Moving Images” and “Soulful Screenwriting: Connecting to Self, Character, and Story.”

About SIFTMedia 215 Collective: A cooperative that centers on Black and Latinx women-identified independent media artists who work in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. As filmmakers, we seek to educate ourselves and the wider community by creating socially conscious, culturally relevant work that challenges mainstream narratives and structures. Our mission is to use our collective strength to amplify the work of and create meaningful opportunities for Black and Latinx Women content creators by providing a community of support to share resources, skills, and creative space.

About Independence Public Media Foundation: IPMF seeks to build power with communities across Greater Philadelphia by investing in community-owned media and community-led media-making. We support work that amplifies voices, ideas, and solutions rarely heard in mainstream media.