BendFilm, Inc announced the winner of its annual $10,000 BIPOC Woman Filmmaker Grant. This annual program created by BendFilm awards a filmmaking grant to a black, indigenous woman of color to promote diversity and inclusion in the film industry. The 2023 winner is writer/director Rachael Moton of Philadelphia, PA for her feature film called Paper Trail, a dark comedy about performative allyship and gentrification in North Philadelphia. Paper Trail was also awarded the 2019 SFFILM Westridge Grant, selected to be a part of the 2020 Sundance Talent Forum and the 2020 IFP Week Project Forum. With the help from the funding from BendFilm, Ms. Moton plans to begin shooting the feature in the summer of 2023.
Rachael Moton is a writer, director and lover of memes. Her obsession with weird indie films and reality television led her to attend Temple University for film school where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film with a concentration in Directing. In 2019, Rachael was a finalist in the ABC Women’s Production Initiative where she was invited to pitch commercial concepts to studio executives. Later, her dark-comedy short Dad’s Dead Damnit was selected for the 2019 Sundance Ignite fellowship.
This year’s competition featured a total of 57 submissions from filmmakers across the country. A panel of industry experts and filmmakers selected Paper Trail from six finalists.
“The BIPOC Woman Filmmaker grant program is an exciting way to incentivize and support women filmmakers and promote diversity in the industry,” Selin Sevinc, BendFilm head programmer said. “Paper Trail was selected because of its humor and timely focus on the issues of race and gentrification. We are excited to continue to support women filmmakers in their quest to break through the typically male-dominated industry.”
“I am so grateful for the opportunity,” said award winner Moton. “I have been working on this project for five years and appreciate how BendFilm is uplifting BIPOC creators. Opportunities like this are the catalyst to help get our projects produced.”
The BIPOC Woman Grant Award video can be viewed on BendFilm’s YouTube Channel and through its website.
Founded in 2003, BendFilm, Inc is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating independent cinema’s unique power to enrich lives, promote diversity and inspire change through vibrant educational programs and film festival experiences across Central Oregon. BendFilm’s signature event is the annual Bend Film Festival, named in 2019 as one of MovieMaker Magazine’s Coolest Festivals in the World and one of only 27 Academy-qualifying film festivals in the United States. With more than 6,000 attendees, the festival showcases more than 130 professional independent and student films and hosts a variety of public educational panels and post-screening talks with visiting filmmakers and award jurors. It also owns and operates the Tin Pan Theater – a boutique arthouse cinema located in downtown Bend’s Tin Pan Alley.
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