39TH MIAMI FILM FESTIVAL CELEBRATES RETURN OF KNIGHT HEROES 

WITH NEW IF/THEN SHORTS PARTNERSHIP 

IN SUPPORT OF SOUTH FLORIDA FILMMAKERS

Local filmmakers encouraged to submit their ideas for the

Short Documentary Development Funding & Consultation program from Jan. 10-24, 2022

MIAMI (January 6, 2022) – Announcing a new direction for its popular Knight Heroes program, Miami-Dade College’s acclaimed 39th annual Miami Film Festival is proud to launch a new partnership with Field of Vision’s IF/Then Shorts initiative, a fund and mentorship program for short documentary filmmakers. This inaugural collaboration will provide grants and direct mentorship to eight local filmmakers, along with a major panel focused on both narrative and documentary short-form series development that will be open to the entire community. The deadline to submit applications is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.

“Since its inception in 2019, Miami Film Festival’s Knight Heroes program has inspired confidence in South Florida film creatives to find personal paths to realize their own cinematic visions,” said Jaie Laplante, Miami Film Festival’s executive director & co-director of programming. “With the support of Knight Foundation, we are thrilled to take this program to a new place of resonance by collaborating with the celebrated experts at IF/Then Shorts.”

Now in its fourth edition, Knight Heroes is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where bright and bold filmmakers share their insights, observations, and advice about their creative paths and future outlooks through conversations about their own creative heroes. Last year’s edition featured filmmaker Radha Blank (The Forty-Year Version) with her inspiration Gina Prince-Bythewood (Beyond the LightsThe Old Guard) and filmmaker/actress Amy Seimetz (She Dies Tomorrow) accompanied by producer Adele Romanski (MoonlightNever Really Sometimes Always).  

The 2022 Knight Heroes program consists of two parts:

●      Open Call for Short Documentary Development Funding & Consultation program applications – South Florida filmmakers are invited to submit their short documentary project ideas for development funding and expert consultation on a wide range of topics at miamifilmfestival.com/knightheroes2022. IF/Then Shorts Co-Directors Caitlin Mae Burke and Merrill Sterritt will select eight filmmaker projects to receive a development grant of $500 each from the Knight Heroes program. The winners will be announced in mid-February. Additionally, each filmmaker will receive a one-hour consultation with a distinguished expert in the field on industry tropics tailored to their specific areas of interest. 

This program is open to filmmakers living and working in the South Florida counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe. Online applications open at 10am on Monday, Jan. 10 and close at 11:59 pm on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. For more information on how to apply, visit miamifilmfestival.com/knightheroes2022.

●      “Scaling a Short Film into a Short Form Series” Festival Panel – On Saturday, Mar. 5 at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Downtown Miami, Miami Film Festival will host a public 120-minute panel that is open to the entire South Florida film community. The theme of the panel is “Scaling a Short Film into a Short Form Series” with panelists to discuss their expertise in development, acquisition/streaming and short film or short form series filmmaking. Panelists will share what they look for in series pitches (scripted and non-fiction), how they program standalone shorts for their platforms and answer questions from the audience. A happy hour event for filmmakers and registered guests of the Miami Film Festival 2022 will follow. COVID safety protocols in accordance with CDC and Miami-Dade County guidelines for event gatherings will apply and be enforced.

“We’re so grateful that the Miami Film Festival and Knight Foundation recognize the value in supporting regional documentary shorts,” said Merrill Sterritt, Co-Director of IF/Then Shorts. “The Knight Heroes program has created an exciting opportunity for IF/Then Shorts to deepen our longstanding work in the South by connecting with and supporting South Florida filmmakers. As we further our commitment to regional and community-inspired filmmaking, we can’t wait to hear what stories these filmmakers want to tell and how we can be helpful collaborators.”

The 10-day Miami Film Festival is scheduled to take place March 4-13, 2022. For updates, visit miamifilmfestival.com and follow @MiamiFilmFestival on Facebook, @MiamiFilm on Instagram and @MiamiFilmFest on Twitter. #MiamiFF

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About Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival   

      Miami Film Festival is an international film event that serves as a major film showcase for world cinema. Considered the preeminent film festival for highlighting Ibero-American cinema in the U.S, Miami Film Festival has become renowned for championing films made by the South Florida community, first-time feature filmmakers, and International Feature Film submissions to the Academy Awards. The annual Festival, produced and presented by Miami Dade College, attracts more than 60,000 audience members and more than 400 filmmakers, producers, talent, and industry professionals. Since 1984, the Festival has screened over 2,500 films from more than 75 countries and given out more than $2 million USD in cash awards to filmmakers and distributors. Miami Film Festival is the oldest major festival housed in a university or college and also operates a year-round art cinema, Tower Theater Miami and Miami Film Festival GEMS in November. For more information, visit miamifilmfestival.com or call 305-237-FILM (3456). 

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation


Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more information, visit knightfoundation.org.

About IF/Then Shorts

Launched in 2017 with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, IF/Then Shorts is a fund and mentorship program at Field of Vision that supports storytellers in breaking barriers to access, exposure, and sustainability in both documentary film and the larger media ecosystem. A program of Field of Vision at First Look Institute, IF/Then works with creators who experience inequity based on factors such as race, gender, class, sexuality, ability, ethnicity, age, citizenship, and/or geography. Since its founding, IF/Then has supported 65+ U.S. and international short documentary films, many of which have achieved prestigious festival premieres, awards, and extensive media broadcasts on The New York Times Op-Docs, Al Jazeera English, PBS Reel South, POV Shorts, Cathay Pacific Airlines, Netflix, and more. In addition to founding support from the MacArthur Foundation, IF/Then is supported by The Redford Center, Kalliopeia Foundation, and Hulu, and has partnered with a diverse network of philanthropic funders and distribution partners including the Surdna Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, ESPN Films, RYOT Films, and others. 

About First Look Institute

First Look Institute (FLI) is committed to fearless reporting, bold storytelling, and speaking truth to power: essential elements of a healthy democracy and vibrant culture. Since its founding in 2013, FLI has spared no effort to create a more informed, engaged, and responsive public. We expose injustice, invest in diverse and innovative filmmakers and journalists, and defend those who cannot defend themselves. FLI is home to The Intercept, producing fearless, adversarial journalism that holds authority accountable; Field of Vision, a filmmaker-driven documentary unit that pushes the boundaries of nonfiction filmmaking; and Press Freedom Defense Fund, which assists journalists and whistleblowers who challenge press freedom restrictions, providing them with financial and legal support wherever a substantial public interest is at stake. First Look Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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