2016 Grantees

Brujos by Ricardo Gamboa
Brujos is a web-series blending Latin American soap opera, American sitcom, and critical theory as it follows four gay Latino grad students—who are also witches—as they navigate magic, nightlife, intimacy, and final papers while trying to survive a witch-hunt. These unlikely heroes confront historical and present racial and gendered inequality as they battle the secret society of white, heteronormative male descendants of the first New World colonizers leading the witch-hunt. Politically, Brujos centers the lives, struggles, and resilience of non-normative people.

Stranded By The State by Liz Kaar
Stranded By The State is an eight-part web series that examines the impact of the Illinois budget crisis on average workers and social service users, by telling stories in their own voices.

Mainstream media covers the Illinois state budget crisis regularly, but often times the tangible impact on those relying on the state, either for work or for social services, becomes subsumed by the political coverage. Each episode will focus attention to where it belongs—on the people. They will share how their life was before, and how it changed after the cuts. Each episode gives viewers a glimpse into their lives. The resulting personal stories– their struggles, their hopes, and their humor–help connect the viewer to the larger social issue at play.

The Doula Is In by Katy Collins, Lizi Breit, Maren Celest, Sarah Fornace, Jillian Hansen-Lewis, Julia VanArsdale Miller, Erin Turney
The Doula Is In is an animated web series created by a group of female filmmakers, animators, and a professional doula. Its purpose is to provide practical, educational, and emotional support to women concerning reproduction and childbirth. Each episode will deal with a different theme that ranges from the origin of midwives to the chemical breakdown of the birth process. The video series will adapt a dialogue between millennial women and a practicing doula (Katy Collins) into five video episodes that illustrate scientifically (and humorously) what happens to women’s bodies during the birth process.

The Orange Story - Erika Street and Eugene Park
The Orange Story employs the power of cinema and transmedia platforms to introduce the history of Japanese American incarceration during WWII, its aftermath, and the implications for future generations of Americans by emphasizing both the historical importance and continued relevance of these events, with the aim of reaching the broadest possible audience through a powerful, accessible, and unique interactive website.

Zero Weeks - Ky Dickens
Zero Weeks will be the first feature documentary to analyze America’s desperate need for modern paid family leave policies. Through Ellen’s passionate career, we follow the historical arc of family and medical leave and how our nation arrived to where it is now. Zero Weeks argues an economic, social, medical, political and global case for paid family leave by creating a poignant, hopeful and honest snapshot of how the work-life balance impacts American families and businesses. The film follows various American families from different socioeconomic backgrounds as they are forced to choose between the family they love and the job they need.
Samantha Bailey - Brown Girls

‘Brown Girls’ is an intimate, fictional series putting the stories of two young women of color front and center. It follows the friends as they explore their sexuality, personal aspirations, and familial relationships in the vibrant Chicago neighborhood of Pilsen.