Launched in late 2016, the Special Fund for Rapid Story Deployment is designed to give small grants with quick turnaround to support short nonfiction films and/or other visual stories addressing critical issues that can be completed and distributed quickly. The current political climate has driven home the importance of raising up voices and stories that inform and engage. As we look at the big issues on the table in the coming years – immigration, racial justice, gender equality, health care, criminal justice and climate change, to name just a few – we believe it is critical that there be a vibrant public debate grounded in an understanding of the myriad ways these issues affect individuals, families and communities. We have been encouraged by the feedback we have received and the smart and timely applications we have received to date. We are thrilled to share our first group of grantees: Beyond the Wall Directed by Jessica Chance and James Chance Beyond the Wall explores the current political climate through the eyes and voices of the children of undocumented immigrants, their teachers, and business leaders in Denver Colorado. The goal of the film is to “flip the script” on the political rhetoric and enthusiasm around “the wall,” and deporting immigrants and balance it with empathy for innocent children who are living in fear. >> Fledgling committed $10,000 to support production and outreach activities. Love the Sinner Directed by Jessica Devaney and Geeta Gandbhir Love the Sinner is a short documentary exploring the Evangelical roots of homophobia in the wake of the recent gun massacre in Orlando. In the wake of the Pulse massacre, those concerned with the rights, dignity and equality of marginalized communities are grappling with the cost of living in political silos. Love the Sinner looks at the potential for change when one person confronts homophobia in the Evangelical community where she grew up, the community she’s spent over a decade avoiding. >> Fledgling committed $10,000 to support post-production and outreach activities. Quit This Shit Executive Director, Shael Norris A short 3 minute film that will expose the re-victimization that happens to teens in the wake of a sexual assault by a peer. High profile survivors and celebrities will read the real and horrific posts, texts and tweets that sexual assault survivors receive when they disclose. Given the current political climate’s impact on survivors and the pending threats to Title IX (that protects survivors in school), the team intends to use this social media campaign to raise awareness about what young survivors go through and the importance of peer-to-peer education to change student culture around sexual assault. >> Fledgling committed $10,000 to support production and distribution. Marching Forward Directed by Amie Williams Marching Forward is an inspiring video for girls and women to be released within days of the Presidential Inauguration in January, 2017. It shares a message of optimism and boldly encourages girls to use their innate power and courage to carry on the work of feminist pioneers of the past. Produced by GlobalGirl Media, in partnership with The Representation Project, Marching Forward will address the turbulent age we live in with a call to action to all girls and women – not just to march in unity on January 21st, but to march forward to create a better future for everyone. >>Fledgling committed $10,000 to support production. The Hidden Cost of Energy Independence Produced by Amanda Pike A project of the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), The Hidden Costs of Energy Independence will explore the issues underlying the developing story of Standing Rock. These include, among many others: indigenous land rights, environmental racism, the costs of U.S. energy independence, and the myriad forces at work when local communities attempt to participate in business and government decision making that affects their lives, their legacy and their children’s futures. They expect an early Spring 2017 completion. >> Fledgling granted $10,000 to support short video production. Untold America Directed by Andrew Morgan Untold America is a new documentary series focused on the people and places behind the issues facing us today. Each month, the series will focus on one key issue with weekly episodes released online with extended clips and additional content supported through multiple social platforms. Each episode will include stories profiling everyday people as well as conversational interviews with thought leaders and changemakers cut into short, engaging pieces that allow viewers to experience familiar issues from fresh perspectives. The focus will be on better questions rather than easy answers, opening the door to continued conversation and engagement each week as the show unfolds. >> Fledgling committed $10,000 to help launch the series in early 2017.