The Redford Center Joins Black Public Media’s Climate Open Call


BPM’s 2023 open call to award $230,000 in funding for climate films

NEW YORK — The Redford Center, one of the only US-based nonprofits solely dedicated to environmental impact filmmaking, has joined forces with Black Public Media (BPM) on BPM’s 2023 open call for climate stories. BPM will award a total of $230,000 in production funding for feature-length documentaries and documentary or scripted shorts. Projects in all stages of production (research and development, pre-production, production, or post-production) are invited and should be suitable for public media distribution. The application window for the open call is September 1-25.

Invited are stories on how the climate crisis impacts people of African descent. Eligible projects may focus on how the crisis is being managed, climate education, environmental racism, health impacts, sustainable industries, climate policies and solutions. We also encourage projects that reframe our experience with climate change, find new ways into the issue, or imagine a future worth changing for. One $30,000 award will be granted to a stand-alone or limited series short film (documentary or scripted). Five $40,000 awards will be granted for broadcast- or feature-length nonfiction film projects. Recipients of those awards may also get invited to participate in BPM’s PitchBLACK Forum, the nation’s largest pitch competition for independent filmmakers and creative technologists developing new projects about the global Black experience. PitchBLACK participants will compete for up to $150,000 in additional funding. All Black Public Media (BPM) funding awards are licensing agreements for public media distribution.

The Redford Center, an independent environmental nonprofit co-founded in 2005 by activists and filmmakers Robert Redford and James Redford, will partner with BPM on the open call, offering advice as well as resources.

“We look forward to working with and learning from The Redford Center in this new partnership as we continue toward our goal to improve understanding the urgency of now on climate change,” said NYWIFT Board President and BPM Executive Director Leslie Fields-Cruz.

“We are honored to partner with BPM on this open call, and grateful to BPM for creating this opportunity to center frontline filmmakers and projects focused on increasing knowledge and resonance of the importance of safeguarding our environment,” said The Redford Center Executive Director Jill Tidman. “As more and more people experience the effects of climate change, it is vital that we hear from and learn from communities who are often disproportionately impacted by it. I cannot wait to see what stories come through this effort.”

The open call submissions link will go live on Friday, September 1, at https://blackpublicmedia.org/for-media-makers/open-call/ and close on Monday, September 25 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Applicants must be the project’s producer or director, a US citizen and have a minimum of three years professional producing and/or directing experience or a senior producer attached to the project. Key creative personnel (producer, director, writer or editor) must include at least one person of color.

An independent panel of media professionals will review applications and select the winners, who will be announced in December.

BPM’s Climate Stories initiative is supported by the New York Community Trust Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

To assist filmmakers with the open call submission process, BPM held an information session on Wednesday and will hold additional sessions on August 29 and September 21. Applicants are encouraged to attend one of these free events. Details on the information sessions and the open call will be available at https://blackpublicmedia.org. For more information, email: funding@blackpublicmedia.org or call 212-234-8200.

BPM has long supported and helped to distribute climate projects, including Black Folk Don’t: Go Green (2012), by Emmy-award-winning director Angela Tucker; Pangaea (2016), by Olivia Peace; Midnight Oil (2023), by Bilal Motley (currently streaming in BPM’s new AfroPoP Digital Shorts) series; and Razing Liberty Square (broadcast premiere in Jan. 2024), by Katja Esson.

For more information on Black Public Media, visit www.blackpublicmedia.org, or follow it on Twitter (@BLKPublicMedia), Facebook (@BlackPublicMedia) or Instagram (@blackpublicmedia).


Black Public Media (BPM) supports the development of visionary content creators and distributes stories about the global Black experience to inspire a more equitable and inclusive future. The Harlem-based national nonprofit has invested more than $17 million toward iconic documentaries about the Black experience and, in recent years, has increased its investment in emerging media projects. BPM-funded and supported projects have garnered considerable industry recognition, including five Emmys, two Anthem Awards, nine Peabodys, 14 Emmy nominations and one Oscar nomination. 


Co-founded in 2005 by activists and filmmakers Robert Redford and James Redford, The Redford Center is a nonprofit organization that advances environmental solutions through the power of stories that move. As one of the only US-based nonprofits solely dedicated to environmental impact filmmaking, The Redford Center develops and invests in projects that foster action and strengthen the reach of the grassroots efforts powering the environmental movement. Over the years, The Redford Center has produced three award-winning feature documentaries and more than 40 short films, supported over 150 film and media projects with grants and other services, inspired the creation of 550 student films, and dispersed more than $15 million to environmental film projects, amplifying change-making environmental solutions to millions of people worldwide. Learn more at www.redfordcenter.org.


Katie Chambers

Katie Chambers Katie Chambers is the Senior Director of Community & Public Relations at New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT). She also serves as the Communications Chair of the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs and is a freelance writer, copyeditor, and digital marketing strategist. Follow her @KatieGChambers.

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