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Points North Forum sets 2018 programming

Sep 04, 2018
Points North Pitch is a chance to learn about the process of developing a documentary film and see how leading decision makers evaluate projects. Six teams of filmmakers selected for the Points North Fellowship will make 7-minute pitches of their works-in-progress to a panel of funders, broadcasters, distributors and producers, followed by 12 minutes of feedback.

Camden — The Points North Institute has unveiled the lineup for its 10th annual Points North Forum, as well as the 30 documentary filmmakers selected for its 2018 Artist Programs. Industry delegates include Maxyne Franklin (Doc Society), Ryan Harrington (Pulse Films), Hayley Pappas (RYOT Films), Chi-hui Yang (Ford Foundation / JustFilms) and many more.

The Points North Forum runs concurrently with the Camden International Film Festival. CIFF opens Thursday night, Sept. 13, to run through Sunday, Sept. 16, at venues in Camden, Rockport and Rockland; the Points North Forum runs Friday, Sept. 14, through Sunday at the Camden Opera House and Camden’s High Mountain Hall.

Points North workshops, master classes and panel discussions are presented in tandem with CIFF screenings, parties and receptions, presenting attendees with numerous opportunities to connect — both formally and informally — with an impressive roster of the documentary film industry’s most accomplished storytellers and influential decision makers.

One of the Forum’s most popular events is the annual Points North Pitch, culmination of the yearlong long Points North Fellowship. Six teams of filmmakers work with industry mentors to present their feature documentary works-in-progress to a top-level panel of funders, producers and broadcasters — all before a live audience at the Camden Opera House. For the second year, Showtime Documentary Films is the Presenting Sponsor of the Fellowship.

For the first time, nearly 500 audience members at the 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, pitch will have an opportunity to contribute to a live crowdfunding campaign, providing direct funding to all six projects. Following the pitch, panelists will select one winner of the Points North Pitch Award, which includes an in-kind post-production package from Boston-based Modulus Studios. As part of new partnership with the Chicago Media Project, Points North Fellows also have an opportunity to participate in a second public pitch session at CMP’s DOC 10 festival in April.

In keeping with CIFF’s mission to foster and support rising talent, the Points North Institute, parent organization of the film fest, runs a suite of year-round artist support programs. The Fellowship and Pitch, along with the week-long North Star Residency and Shortform Editing Residency, are among the PNI Artist Programs designed to connect filmmakers with mentors, funders and potential collaborators, using the Camden International Film Festival as a platform to build a community of support, nurture the careers of diverse nonfiction storytellers and help them develop a stronger artistic voice.

Since 2015, the number of filmmakers and artists supported annually by the Points North Institute has multiplied more than five-fold, thanks to new or expanded industry support and partnerships with Showtime Documentary Films, Kickstarter, RYOT Films, Chicago Media Project, POV, Maine Media Workshops, Modulus Studios, School of Visual Arts MFA Social Documentary Film, LEF Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, the MAE Private Foundation, Cohen Gardner LLC, Documentary Educational Resources, CNN Films, National Endowment for the Arts and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“It’s a privilege to bring together such a diverse, talented and accomplished group of filmmakers in Camden, where they can find creative inspiration and a welcoming, inclusive community,” said Points North Institute Program Director Sean Flynn. “Even better, these programs create opportunities to connect with major funders, distributors and producers in more personal ways than you’d find at most festivals or markets.”

Other highlighted Forum events include a conversation between filmmakers Talal Derki and James Longley; a master class with Russian iconoclast Vitaly Mansky; and two Director’s Commentary Sessions, one on Sound and Score with directors Mike Palmieri and Donal Mosher and the second on Narrative Construction with Gabrielle Brady. The Forum also has an editing master class with editors Lindsay Utz and Enat Sidi; and an extended conversation between filmmaker and contemporary artist Jill Magid and Academy-Award nominated director Nathaniel Kahn.

Central to the 2018 Forum is the new Points North Agora: a series of informal yet rigorous conversations about the role of documentary, journalism and co-creation models in this age of murky realities, post-truth and political polarization. Key speakers at the Agora will be Astra Taylor; Alexis Bloom and Alex Gibney; and Maxim Pozdorovkin. All have/have had films in the fest.

Access to the full conference program is open to all CIFF passholders. Passes are on sale, and the full CIFF and Points North Forum schedule may be perused, online at

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

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