Last year, POV partnered with the WBGH Lab in Boston to support the great work they are doing there. The Lab assists young mediamakers in creating short films and encourages them to experiment with new ways of making and interacting with content. It’s very cool, cutting-edge stuff. Every few months, the Lab announces an open call on their website offering filmmakers the opportunity to submit proposals for short films or media projects related to a specific theme. Selected applicants receive funding to complete their projects, input during the production process from professional media makers and a place to showcase their work.

Earlier this week, the Lab and the National Black Programming Consortium announced the five selected filmmakers who will receive funding and editorial support for their three-minute films, which explore issues of racism, expulsion of African Americans from communities, and reparations.

Three stills from Open Call: Rough Cuts

The works-in-progress will be up on their site through Sunday with the hope that site visitors will offer reactions and suggestions for improving the films. The shorts are pretty amazing for a first cut, very provocative and worth a look. My favorite featured some students from John Jay High School in my old neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn, talking about their tense relationship with the community. I probably walked by that high school over a hundred times during my five years in the Slope, and I have to admit I never knew anything about it, or the students that went there. It’s so great to see these teenagers picking up cameras and telling their own stories, rather than letting others tell their stories for them.

So support independent, new-media filmmaking and go give the filmmakers some feedback on the shorts they’ve spent the last month creating!

Update: The WGBH Lab has announced a new Open Call for submissions today. It’s called “Watch Over Me.” Forty-four million Americans are caring for aging relatives and friends. Are you one of them? If so, tell them your story. (Monday, January 28)

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