©2016 PhillyCAM – Philadelphia Community Access Media


Good Pitch Local 2020 Wrap Up

  • Gretjen Clausing
  • |
  • June 30, 2020

PhillyCAM and Doc Society together are pleased to announce the results of the grantmaking initiative of the Good Pitch Local program from September 2020. With the support of the Independence Public Media Foundation and a core curatorial team, $63,500 was granted to participating projects. These grants will go towards production costs, paying artists and outreach planning.

In September PhillyCAM and Doc Society presented the first ever virtual Good Pitch event produced from the PhillyCAM studios and over 300 audience members participated via Zoom. The re-envisioned model allowed for pitch teams and audience members to safely collaborate and synthesis new connections to further their work. Participating projects were then eligible to apply for grant support, more about the granted projects appears below.

“I can’t think of a better way to close out this challenging year than by announcing support for these local media projects that have the possibility to present transformative solutions to systemic problems,” noted PhillyCAM Executive Director Gretjen Clausing. “And we are pleased that Good Pitch Local will return to Philadelphia in 2021.”

The program will feature up to 10 project pitches, from media makers and local organizations. Chosen projects will engage in a workshop series and mentorship program as part of Good Pitch Local. Dates will be announced in early 2021.  “We are so excited to continue this relationship with PhillyCAM and build on the foundation of Good Pitch Local in Philadelphia. There is such a wealth of talent and dedication we cannot wait to work with more artists and storytellers next year.“ noted Doc Society’s program manager Shannon Thomas.


Grants to Media Makers and Community Organizations
Supported by Independence Public Media Foundation

Another Life: A Black Family in WITSEC
Media maker: Yolonda Johnson-Young           
Based upon the childhood experiences of filmmaker Yolonda Johnson-Young Another Life - A Black Family in WITSEC aka the Federal Witness Protection Program (which provides for the security and safety of government witnesses). As a child in the years 1977-79, filmmaker Yolonda Johnson-Young’s family was part of that program. Following up her short doc directing debut, “Finding Elijah” (Good Pitch Local Philly 2018) Johnson-Young crafts a journey of discovery using memory, personal photographs, archival footage, and interviews that puts the pieces of her life back together.  Grant Amount: $4,500

Bonfire Media Collective
Presented by:  Alex Wiles         
Bonfire Media Collective is a cooperative video production company telling human stories that catalyze social change. This team of six worker-owners and seven freelancers grounded in movements for social change include  filmmakers, photographers, writers, communicators, strategists, organizers, educators, musicians and artists with deep professional and personal roots in the Philadelphia region. They offer clients access to this diverse team and create new video production all sustained by a nurturing and vibrant work environment. Grant Amount: $3,000

Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration
Presented by:  Lorraine Haw & Songster Kempis    
The Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration (CADBI) is a grassroots organization led by people most impacted by mass incarceration: the men and women serving life without parole, their families, friends and advocates. They plan to use short documentaries to share their personal stories, change the dialogue around those who are harmed by mass incarceration, and change the conversation about ‘justice’ and ‘punishment.’ Grant Amount: $6,000

Digital Defense Project
Presented by:  Will Bentley & Akeem Sims      
Participatory Defense is a movement across 33 cities. In participatory defense, community groups meet weekly and assist a person facing charges through the criminal justice process, week to week, and attend court dates. The Digital Defense Project collaborators include: staff, facilitators and volunteers of Participatory Defense hubs and PhillyCAM.  They create video social biographies for people facing charges so that DAs and judges see people facing charges beyond their open case and/or criminal record. Grant Amount: $4,500

Escape Artist Mixtape
Media maker: Li Sumpter           
Multi-disciplinary artist Li Sumpter explores the ‘art of survival’ through the stories of everyday escape artists, and creative problem solvers responding to structural violence, climate crisis, and now Covid-19. In the spirit of the classic mixtape, episodes are curated in a mixed media collage including musical interludes, performative PSAs and recurring thematic segments designed to engage listening audiences live in real time and offline at their leisure. Grant Amount: $5,000

The Inside Look
Media maker: Jere Edmunds          
"The Inside Look" features accomplished African American elders working as artists in Philadelphia. Through a series of short video portraits, their histories, philosophies, and practices are shared with young artists. There is much to learn through their experience, perspectives, and insights. This piece is intended to highlight the role of art as a healing modality in the face of issues such as mental illness and trauma. Grant Amount: $4,500

Life Beyond Life
Media makers: Madeleine Hunt Ehrlich  & Wren Rene         
After successfully fighting to have their juvenile life sentences be cut short, four women in Philadelphia use a collaborative film process to visualize their experiences, struggles, and dreams as they face a new world upon re-entry.  Each woman was sentenced to life in prison as juveniles, collectively they served over 140 years. “Life Beyond Life” will be an intimate conversation between resilient, hopeful women who have much to share with their sisters still incarcerated and the outside world. Grant Amount: $6,000

Midnight Oil
Media Makers:  Bilal Motley & Dan Papa           
“Midnight Oil” tells the controversial story of the explosive last days of Philadelphia’s 150 year old PES oil refinery from the inside. Former refinery worker and first-time filmmaker Bilal Motley struggles to reconcile his love and kinship for his distressed refinery brothers and his sisters and growing awareness of the surrounding communities of color, fighting for environmental justice. Grant Amount: $6,000

Philadelphia Unsolved
Media maker: Brett Roman Williams       
Inspired by the loss of his own brother to an unsolved homicide, Brett  Williams’ investigates the low homicide clearance rate in Philadelphia and explores the impact of gun violence on those left behind. This project seeks to help co-victims-- the families of the deceased  whose cases remain unsolved, get closure and achieve justice for their loved ones; those left in the dark. Grant Amount: $4,500

Presented by:  Stormydhae Kelsey       
Presenting Our Perspective on Philly Youth News (POPPYN)  is presented by The University Community Collaborative at Temple University. It is run by high school and college students who seek to create a counter-narrative to mainstream news media by telling the stories of positive things youth are doing in the city of Philadelphia. Grant Amount: $3,500

¡Presente! Media
Presented by: Melissa Beatriz, Gabriela Watson Burkett & Kristal Sotomayor “¡Presente!” means “I’m here” and is a popular rally cry used throughout Latin American movements. It acknowledges those whose lives have unjustly ended due to social struggles and the importance of unity in community building. ¡Presente! Media is a media production collective led by Latinx filmmakers that produce bilingual content focused on social justice. Currently working on a multimedia solutions journalism project, they utilize a community-focused journalism approach that centers the perspective and stories of those most impacted by social inequities. Grant Amount: $4,500

TTYL...Or Not!
Media maker: Reverend Da Saint           
TTYL… Or Not!  aims to shift the way people see, hear and experience G-d/ The Divine and/or Spirit.  During the season of Covid-19 where folks look to process feelings and emotions around the big question, the series asks “where is G-d in all of this?” and will share stories of individuals whose spiritual practices have sustained them throughout life’s journey and how it has hindered, helped and heal. Grant Amount: $3,000

What’s In A Name?
Media makers:  Malkia Lydia & Khalil Munir           
A portrait of performance artist Khalil Abdul Malik Raheem Munir who feels compelled to make sense of the divergent paths blazed by the men in his family—from Jim Crow South to South Philadelphia business empire, incarceration to Islam, and streets to spotlight—both on and off stage. Grant Amount: $5,000

12 Plus
Presented by:  Ebony Welch          
12+ is an education non-profit dedicated to increasing educational equity by building school cultures that inspire academic achievement and empower students to pursue education beyond the 12th grade. In Philadelphia, only 10% of public school students go on to earn a post-secondary degree, thus limiting their economic and social prospects.  They’re here to change that. Grant Amount: $3,500


Good Pitch Local Philly is presented by PhillyCAM with the support of Independence Public Media Foundation and in collaboration with Black Star Film Festival,, CultureWorks, Leeway Foundation, Media Mobilizing Project, Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, Philadelphia Latino Film Festival, Resolve Philly and Scribe Video Center.