EXCLUSIVE: Spotlight production co Topic Studios is teaming with journalism outfit Field of Vision to offer $250,000 in emergency financial help for struggling documentary freelancers during the coronavirus lockdown.
The two companies are divisions of First Look Media, the org set up by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar with doc heavyweights Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras.
Industry freelancers have been particularly hard hit by the economic aspects of the crisis, with film and TV production halted around the world. As such, the fund is aiming to support the most vulnerable by providing life assistance grants, such as for rent, healthcare, bills, groceries, for those who have experienced financial hardship from loss of income or opportunity. The money comes from the operating budgets of the two companies.Field of Vision / Topic Studios
The fund will offer individual grants of up to $2,000 in two chunks, initially in April and then again in May, as the situation evolves. It will open for applications between April 8 and April 10 or until the companies receive 750 applications and then again between May 6 and May 8 or until a further 750 applications are received.
Co-Founder and Executive Producer of Field of Vision, Charlotte Cook said, “This is an incredibly hard time for the documentary field and we're hoping the fund is able to offer some relief. We started with our virtual mentorship and consultation service to try and be as available to filmmakers as possible, but felt it was vitally important to also provide financial assistance. We want to support the artists working in the documentary field every day, but especially now, and will continue to build and add more resources as we can over the next few weeks and months.”
Executive Vice President of Topic Studios, Maria Zuckerman added, “We at Topic Studios are proud to launch this initiative in partnership with our close colleagues at Field of Vision. We hope to respond to the needs of our collaborators in the documentary community and look forward to a time, hopefully soon, when our main focus will again be on making great work together.”
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Vice TV has ordered Shelter in Place with Shane Smith, a new half-hour weekly interview show hosted by the Vice Media Group founder. It’s set to premiere Thursday, April 9 at 10 PM with two back-to-back episodes.
In the series, produced through remote video interviews from Smith’s home in Santa Monica, Smith will tackle the biggest questions of the moment with experts from the fields of science, journalism, entertainment, food and economics.Vice Media
“I'm at home, you're at home and our news cycle is changing by the minute,” said Smith. “So, I decided to dial up some of the world's foremost thinkers to offer us some much needed perspective and get to some truth on what we should be doing in this time like none other.” You can watch a preview clip below.
Smith’s first guest will be whistleblower Edward Snowden, who delves into the world of surveillance, privacy and our future civil liberties as international governments and autocratic regimes enact bold, new policies to curb the virus.
“When any of us look at where this is heading, we need to think about where we’ve been,” said Snowden. “And sadly, these kind of emergency powers that are born out of crises, have a perfect history of abuse”.
The second episode will feature California Governor Gavin Newsom who speaks to Smith about how his state has braced for the pandemic, where the federal government has stumbled, and what is coming next. Dr. Anne Rimoin, a world-leading epidemiologist, is also featured and will speak to how the virus has spread and what we can do about it.
Produced by Vice TV, Shane Smith, Alex Chitty, Maral Usefi are the Executive Producers for Shelter in Place. Jonah Kaplan is Supervising Producer.
Shelter in Place will be available on Vice TV via all major satellite and cable providers; ViceTV.com; and the Vice TV app via iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast. The first two episodes will be available for free on Vice & Munchies YouTube page.
Shelter in Place with Shane Smith is the latest programming from Vice TV produced in response to COVID-19. Vice Quarantine Hour is a limited variety series airing weekdays at 8 AM ET/PT. Vice TV's Emmy-winning nightly newscast is airing dedicated COVID-19 episodes with Vice News Tonight: Remote.
Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising?
This week we overcome being an ugly duckling, spend some more time with those with autism, have our third eye melted, look at some hip hop legends, and get exonerated for crimes we didn’t commit.Autism: The Sequel
Director Tricia Regan is bringing hope at just the right time.
Revisiting the subjects of the 2007 Emmy-winning documentary Autism: The Musical, Autism: The Sequel offers a heartwarming inside look into the daily challenges and triumphs of adults on the autism spectrum.
In 2006, HBO debuted the 2007 Emmy®-winning Autism: The Musical, a poignant, heartwarming film that followed five children on the autism spectrum as they wrote and performed their own musical. We revisit the stars of this musical 12 years later in Autism: The Sequel as the original subjects, now in their early 20s, navigate what independence means to them as they manage challenges and triumphs as adults.
If there was a way to excise the uplifting string arrangement towards the end of the trailer, I would do it. It’s not to say this documentary isn’t an uplifting story, but when you consider that these kids, who are now adults, are still struggling to live day-to-day with autism, it seems like a different approach could have been made to reflect their current accomplishments. This is a story that will continue long after this doc is done. This specific story is a celebration, but, also, there is the very real fact that there are more mountains for them to climb. It’s inspiring.The Innocence Files
True crime aficionados, rejoice!
Through the lens of The Evidence, The Witness and The Prosecution, The Innocence Files shines a powerful light on the untold personal stories behind eight cases of wrongful conviction that the nonprofit organization the Innocence Project and organizations within the Innocence Network have uncovered and worked tirelessly to overturn. The Innocence Files is executive produced and directed by Academy Award® nominee Liz Garbus, Academy Award® winner Alex Gibney, Academy Award® winner Roger Ross Williams; with episodes also directed by Academy Award® nominee Jed Rothstein, Emmy Award® winner Andy Grieve and Sarah Dowland.
You have a veritable who’s who of directing talent who have lined up to tell some very real stories. Stories that, without question, cast a deep and long shadow over the criminal justice system. No one deserves to be wrongfully convicted, much less jailed, for an...
Although “The L Word: Generation Q” may have tried desperately to speak to a “new generation” of queer women and non-binary folks, fresher creative voices quickly rose to the top in its place. Though people still watched. Showtime’s “Work in Progress” was the best queer comedy of the year, Netflix’s “Feel Good” was an unexpected delight, and “Vida” is returning just in time for queer audiences to catch up on the best show about queer women of color on TV. Yet another contender released a promising first trailer today: “Betty” is a stylish and youthful portrait of Brooklyn teen skaters that already appears extremely queer.
The six-part half-hour arrives on HBO from filmmaker Crystal Moselle, who quickly made waves in 2015 with her her riveting documentary hybrid “The Wolfpack.” “Betty” is adapted from her second feature, the similarly hybridized “Skate Kitchen,” which followed a group of teenage girl skaters in New York City. The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews and was released by Magnolia Pictures that year.
In his B+ review of “Skate Kitchen” out of Sundance, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote: “The streetwise alternative to ‘Girls,’ the movie weaves together such a complete vision of its subjects that the rest of the world barely exists. Of course, there's a long-standing precedent to capturing this subculture — ‘Kids’ did it, with more adventurous storytelling twists, more than 20 years ago — but Moselle's subjects hold their own with the surprising ability to clarify their emotions through the cathartic process of hanging out.”
“Betty” features many of the film’s original stars, most of whom had not acted before, including Kabrina Adams, Dede Lovelace, Nina Moran, Rachelle Vinberg, and Ajani Russell. All accomplished skaters in their own right, the first trailer shows the charismatic crew navigating various crushes and friendship trials with compelling panache and humor.
“Betty” is directed, co-written, and executive produced by Moselle. Lesley Arfin and Patricia Breen are also co-writers. Arfin, who also EPs, is a comedy writer best known for co-creating the Netflix series “Love” with Judd Apatow and Paul Rust.
HBO will release “Betty” beginning May 1 at 11 pm ET. Check out the exciting first trailer below: