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Field of Vision Launches Fellowship Program for Rising Documentary Filmmakers

Field of Vision, the documentary unit of First Look Media, has announced a fellowship for rising documentary filmmakers, naming four inaugural fellows who will work with the unit led by Oscar-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras and executive producer Charlotte Cook.

The program is a year-long effort intended to support filmmakers by providing access to resources like researchers, legal assistance, and unspecified grant money. The four fellows are director Garrett Bradley (“Alone” and “Below Dreams”); actor-director and activist Michelle Latimer (“Rise” and “Choke”); filmmaker Charlie Lyne (“Fish Story” and “Beyond Clueless”); and Lyric Cabral, co-director of the Emmy-winning documentary “(T)error.”

“We know how documentary filmmakers work,” Poitras told Variety. “They’re making work happen on their own with a very small team. We’re fortunate that we have an infrastructure that includes legal support and a research team, most of the things you have in a newsroom.”

Cook said filmmakers often work in isolation, but the fellowship can offer opportunities to collaborate with Field of Vision’s broad network. “It’s something we had been talking about since the early days of Field of Vision,” Cook said. “We were trying to find a space in which we could support that process,” adding that the fellowship gives filmmakers “the time and space to cultivate ideas and give them space to experiment.”

Field of Vision is a unit launched in 2015 that commissions and creates original, short-form, episodic, and feature-length nonfiction films about developing and ongoing stories around the world. Among projects supported by Field of Vision are Yance Ford’s “Strong Island,” produced by Yanceville Films and Louverture Films, which earned an Academy Award nomination last month, the first for an openly transgender director.

Bradley, one of the newly named fellows, is a New Orleans-based director who said Field of Vision stands out because the venture is largely filmmaker-driven. The resources available are a huge perk, she said. “When you’re able to combine really practical work flows and you have an ethical research team, in combination with something that is creatively innovative, it’s thrilling,” she said.

For the inaugural fellowship, Cook and Poitras said they selected filmmakers they had previously known. Bradley’s recent Field of Vision films include “Like,” which screened at SXSW in 2016, and her upcoming doc “The Earth is Humming,” which will soon be released.

Field of Vision has also named its first-ever artist-in-residence, Josh Begley, a data artist whose first project as artist-in-residence is “Concussion Protocol,” a short film about NFL concussions.

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