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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

6 films about outdoor equity compete for $25,000 production grant

The Redford Center is highlighting films that present the myriad benefits of being outdoors while also shining a spotlight on the current, historical, and social inequities of nature accessibility.


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Six filmmakers whose documentary films promote equitable access to nature and healing will take center stage at the DOC NYC Festival in New York next month. One of them will walk away with grant money to help share their film—and their message of inclusivity in the outdoors—with a much broader audience.

The films (listed below) are finalists in the inaugural IF/Then x The Redford Center Nature Access Pitch. The Nature Access Pitch was announced earlier this year as a way to honor short document films that “present the social, emotional, physical, mental, and community health benefits of spending time outdoors, while also shining a critical spotlight on the current, historical, and social inequities of nature accessibility.”

The winning filmmaker will be chosen by a jury of film industry heavyweights and environmental experts at the Nov. 16 DOC NYC Festival.

Read more: Eddie Bauer gave 8 BIPOC filmmakers $10,000 each to produce shorts

They will receive a $25,000 production grant along with a year of wraparound mentorship from IF/Then, including production support, creative feedback, distribution consultations, and festival strategy. Two films will receive honorable mention prizes—$5,000 in grants and distribution consultation from IF/Then program staff.

“With public awareness and support for environmental and climate action at an all-time high, it’s important to remember a key marker of our success will be a world where everyone can safely access, connect, and thrive outdoors and in nature,” said Jill Tidman, executive director of the San Francisco-based Redford Center.

The films include such historical accounts as America’s first Black mountain climber to summit the highest peak in North America, the explored memory of native Hawaii, and a group of South Bronx youth navigating uncharted waters.

“Each of these six stories provides a deep look into the historical and ancestral connections to land, water, and nature held by Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, immigrant, and undocumented communities,” The Redford Center said in the announcement. “Forcing viewers to confront and critically reflect on some of our society’s most troubling histories and current norms, these films also highlight the difficult yet resilient ways these communities navigate the residual impacts of forced displacement, generational trauma, and inequity and injustice.”

The Nature Access Pitch finalists are:

  • Something Yet Higher
    Director: Nadia Gill
    Co-Director & Cinematographer: Dominic Gill
    Producer: James Mills

    Location: Utah / Idaho
  • Fruit Of Soil
    Director: Faith Briggs
    Producer: Tracy Nguyen-Chung
    Director of Photography: Ryan Miyamoto

    Location: Portland, Oregon
  • Stay The Course
    Directors: Mariel Rodriguez-McGill and Teresa Cebrián Aranda
    Location: Bronx, New York
  • Between Earth And Sky
    Director: Andrew Nadkarni
    Producers: Swetha Regunathan, Katie Schiller
    Cinematographer: Katelyn Rebelo
    Editor: Peter Zachwieja

    Location: Virginia / Costa Rica
  •  Water Is Our Medicine
    Director: Cathleen Dean
    Producer: Thaddeus Gamory

    Location: South Florida
  • Makana O Ke Mele (Gift Of Song)
    Director: Laurie Sumiye
    Director of Photography: Anne Misawa
    Location: Hawai’i

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