Field of Vision announced July 22 that the IF/Then Shorts program, previously part of the Tribeca Film Institute which plans to shut down operations in September, will join the NY-based filmmaker-driven documentary commissioning and production unit. As part of the move, IF/Then Program Director Chloe Gbai and Supervising Producer Caitlin Mae Burke will also join Field of Vision.
Founded in 2017 with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the IF/Then Shorts is a fund and mentorship program that supports storytellers in breaking barriers to access, exposure, and sustainability in the media landscape. IF/Then works with creators who experience inequity based on factors such as race, gender, class, sexuality, ability, ethnicity, age, citizenship, and/or geography.
Founded in 2015 and led by Co-Founder and Executive Producer Charlotte Cook, Field of Vision has commissioned, produced and/or supported more than 130 films – 45 features, 5 episodic series, and 85 short films. Recent projects have included the Oscar®-winning feature American Factory; the Oscar®-nominated features Strong Island and Hale County This Morning, This Evening; the Oscar®-nominated shorts A Night At The Garden and In The Absence; as well as the Emmy®-winning feature Crime + Punishment and Emmy®-nominated short The Surrender. Anders Hammer’s Do Not Splitwon the Special Jury Prize at AFI Docs 2020.
Field of Vision operates as part of First Look Media Works, a 501c3 non-profit organization, and has an ongoing commitment to support innovation and inclusion. The July 22 statement stresses that 54% of Field of Vision-supported films have been directed by women and 43% by filmmakers of colour.
“IF/Then Shorts is an incredible program, and one that’s vital to the field. We’re so glad that they can find their new home with Field of Vision,” said Charlotte Cook, FOV Co-Founder and Executive Producer. “The program’s values align perfectly with Field of Vision, and further our overall commitment to shorts and advocating for filmmakers. Chloe and Caitlin are phenomenal, and I feel so lucky that they’ll be joining our team.”
The July 22 release states how “IF/Then Shorts taps into the need for broader geographical representation in the stories that get told through its regional pitch events. It holistically supports short documentary storytellers in their creation of compelling, character-led, community-inspired stories that embody the breadth and diversity of the people and places they represent.”
“The program addresses the imbalance of representation, perspective, power, compensation, and career longevity among independent filmmakers and media artists. IF/Then Shorts leverages access, expertise, network, and brand to address these challenges. Through grants, mentorship, industry connections, and professional development, IF/Then Shorts helps to ensure that storytellers from a multitude of backgrounds have access to the resources and tools they need to tell their stories, connect with audiences, and thrive in their careers,” the statement continues.
IF/Then Program Director Chloe Gbai said of the move, “We’re so excited that thanks to the MacArthur Foundation and Field of Vision, we can keep this funding and development pipeline open to diverse, creative nonfiction talent past TFI’s pause this September. This program will have a new life and is ready to uplift the voices that we need to champion during these interesting times.
Supervising Producer Caitlin Mae Burke added “As a former Field of Vision filmmaker myself, I know how beneficial it is to work with these trailblazers in the short documentary space. I’m overjoyed that all of our active projects and future supported filmmakers will benefit so immensely from this move, and we look forward to the tremendous growth potential for IF/Then under the Field of Vision umbrella.”