What’s happening in your neighborhood? The Block is giving Miami filmmakers and storytellers a total of $32,000 to create a short documentary about Miami’s neighborhoods.
The top three award recipients will have access to the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archive and help making their films from the University of Miami School of Communication’s Film Program.
Thank you to the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Family Foundation for having generously provided lead funding for this program.
Applications are now closed.
Have questions? Please contact Cinematic Arts Manager Danielle Bender.
Second Prize: $8,000
Guadalupe Figueras, for “Isle of Mine”
What is it like to come of age on an island threatened by the effects of climate change? A group of Normandy Isle children explore their own future, by reconstructing an exact replica of their neighborhood on the gaming platform Minecraft. In this virtual world, the children rehearse future scenarios of climate change-induced disasters, in a telling re-enactment of their own trauma post Hurricane Irma. The mixed-media documentary “Isle of Mine” will provide a way for them to both express their feelings about the future, while imagining other possible solutions for their hometown.
Third Prize: $6,000
Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, for “Seminola, Hialeah”
Every two years on a summer Saturday, the descendants of Seminola’s original settlers gather at the Hialeah neighborhood’s central green for Cotson Day, a celebration of community and history. Once a vibrant community of about 2,500 African Americans, the neighborhood has been decimated in recent years. The film documents this history, and follows past and current residents preparing for the big day.
Finalist Award: $2,000
Annik Adey-Babinski, for “Mooring.”
For more than 30 years, 500-plus residents have called the mooring field and anchorage off Dinner Key Marina home. After Hurricane Irma shredded docks and sank boats in 2017, landlubbing city officials left the community bobbing in disrepair. In “Mooring,” Mike and fellow liveaboards reflect on the current state of the neighborhood and its storied past, and face the precarious future of their unique community.
Finalist Award: $2,000
Vincent Rives, for “El Afilador”
El Afilador – the knife sharpener – drives around the neighborhood in what seems like an ice cream truck, complete with its own jingle. Yet a muffled voice blares from the speakerphone, offering the man’s services as a knife sharpener. To those not from the Westchester area, it sounds like a horror story. Why is this man sharpening knives in his truck? Locals know the man has brought a humble, blue collar job from Cuba to the United States, and is, just like everyone else, trying to make a living.
What is The Block?
The Block is an initiative that will fund documentary shorts no more than 12 minutes long about Miami’s neighborhoods. Through a call for submissions, five filmmakers will be selected to participate in a live event where they will pitch their projects in front of a jury of nationally recognized film professionals as well as a live audience. All five filmmakers will receive one of five prizes: $14,000, $8,000, $6,000, and two prizes of $2,000.
When will applications for The Block be accepted?
Applications are now closed. Please check back with us on 2021.
Who is eligible to apply to The Block?
Applicants must be 18 years or older, Miami-Dade County residents and must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.
What are you looking for in applicants to The Block?
We are looking for interesting documentaries about our city’s neighborhoods. To that end, The Block is open to both experienced and amateur filmmakers, the key being a nuanced and informed understanding of the subject and neighborhood being documented. Filmmakers are encouraged to document subjects in a neighborhood in which they currently reside or once lived in, but this is not required.
I have an idea for a feature documentary. Can I submit that?
No. The Block is looking for documentaries that are proposed to run between 5 and 12 minutes long.
I have already started working on a short documentary on this subject. Can I submit?
Yes, you are eligible to submit with a work in progress. However, we will not be reviewing footage during the application process. All judging will be based on the application guidelines.
What does the live pitch event entail?
Each of the five finalist filmmakers will receive five minutes to pitch the merits of their project in front of a jury and a live audience. Within that five minutes, they can also present up to one minute of footage or visual material on screen. Following the pitches and a deliberation session, the jury will award each of the filmmakers one of five prizes: $14000, $8000, $6000 or two prizes of $2000.
Are filmmakers from Broward or Monroe counties eligible to apply?
No. The Block is only open to filmmakers who reside in Miami-Dade County.
Who decides the winners?
The winners of The Block Short Documentary Contest will be determined by a jury of four nationally recognized film professionals with expertise in documentary filmmaking.
When will the winners be announced?
What support will I receive from the University of Miami’s School of Communications Film Program?
The filmmakers who win the top three prizes will receive a consultation with UM professor Edmund Talavera to see how students currently enrolled in UM’s film program can lend production support aligned with the specific needs of each project.
What support will I receive from the Wolfson Archives?
The top three winning filmmakers will receive access to the archives to research archival footage relevant to the subject of their film. Filmmakers will receive a free license to include relevant footage in their films.
How many applications can I submit?
As many as you like, though we’d suggest no more than three. Give us your strongest and most focused material.
Will Oolite Arts own the rights to my film?
No. Each winning filmmaker retains all ownership and rights to their completed film.
Who should I contact with any questions I may have?
Please direct all via questions via email to Cinematic Arts Manager Danielle Bender at [email protected], or attend an information session.