Friday, April 9, 2010

Alternate ROOTS Artistic Assistance Grant

We are pleased to announce that we were recently awarded another grant on behalf of our current and developing artistic endeavors.  Alternate ROOTS, with support from the Ford Foundation, has partially matched our KFW Artist Enrichment Grant with an Artistic Assistance Grant toward the purchase of a new video camera!

Tambone & Bobby-B Fivin' & Jivin' at the 2009 AM
As I've mentioned previously, Alternate ROOTS is an amazing organization/network of artist-activists in the Southern region.  I was privileged to be nominated for a scholarship by Bobby-B to attend my first Annual Meeting (AM) last year, and this year I plan to nominate Timi because I know she would enjoy the experience as well.  Any affiliation with Alt ROOTS is an honor, and to receive financial support from the organization is a double blessing!  

We are continuing our research as we begin the actual production phase of the documentary.  The Artist Enrichment and Artistic Assistance grants are two of the very few programs that fund support for the purchase of durable equipment, so both of our proposals focused on our immediate need to upgrade our video equipment expenses for conducting interviews and acquiring cutaway and B-roll footage for the ongoing documentary project.

Our current camera is a Sony DCR-HC30 prosumer model that has served us well for the past 6+ years.  Recently however, its touch-screen camera functions have stopped working reliably (and increasingly not at all), which severely limits productivity.  A high-quality camera is absolutely necessary for interviews and footage that will help tell a substantial part of the story.  An additional camera would also enable us to shoot simultaneously with two cameras from different angles.  The sound recorder will also provide another measure of back-up for ensuring that we capture high-quality sound for the interviews.

We researched cameras with the help of knowledgeable friends and colleagues, and our dream camera is the Panasonic AG-HMC150 AVCCAM camcorder, which has multiple recording modes, including a native 24P (24 frames progressive) mode that resembles the look of film, and shoots 16:9 native aspect.  It can produce HD footage quality that is suitable for projection, broadcast, and DVD/TV.  Unlike our current camera, it includes a headphone jack and XLR inputs for higher quality audio monitoringand recording.  It also has uses SD memory cards (rather than mini-DV tapes) as the recording medium, which can be directly uploaded to a computer for editing. The Panasonic AG-HVX200 is a similar, slightly more expensive camera that records on both MiniDV and specialized (and expensive) P2 cards.

Even both of these grants combined will only fund a portion of the total cost for either of these cameras.  So we plan to shop around online for affordable used model and then personally match the remaining funds required to buy the high-quality camera best suited to our needs.  Our search now begins in earnest now that we have significant funds for this specific purpose.  Any potential leads to good deals on these or similar cameras would be greatly appreciated.

Another important component of both the Artistic Assistance and Artist Enrichment grants is demonstrating the equipment's role in our ongoing artistic development.  The Reedy documentary is a much larger project compared to our previous short productions.  Access to better equipment will ensure that this project, as well as all future endeavors, is as high-quality in production value as the content and story already are.  In addition to our personal artistic development and backgrounds, this documentary will also strengthen our collaboration skills in the creation of a collective artistic vision.

One of the requirements of this grant is to exhibit work at the next Annual Meeting and the option of critical response from peers and mentors.  So with the existing media we've already collected, we plan to use the new interview footage to edit a short trailer for the documentary-in-progress, which will serve as the final report project for the Artistic Assistance grant as well as a completed project for consideration to be screened at the 2010 Clear Creek Film Festival in September.  Ultimately, the completion of a 5-minute trailer, with feedback from other artists, will help us articulate the vision of the feature-length documentary for other potential funding sources.

We are humbled and grateful for the encouragement and support we have received throughout the documentary process so far.  And special thanks to Alternate ROOTS for the Artistic Assistance grant and for providing a powerful network for Southern artist-activists who are committed to social change, collaboration, and making art wherever they are.