Advancing Social Change Through Digital Media

Chicago Filmmakers is a nonprofit media arts organization that fosters the creation, appreciation, and understanding of film and video as media for artistic and personal expression, as well as media of important social and community impact. With Voqal’s support, Chicago Filmmakers continued to support digital media artists working to advance social change through the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund.

In 2019, the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund awarded eight grants ranging from $3,000 to $20,000 with a total of $100,000 being awarded. These projects explored a variety of social issues from gentrification and disinvestment in underserved communities to the intersection of religion and gun laws to the impact of climate change and environmental justice. The projects also addressed marginalized communities, including survivors of human sex trafficking as well as those living with disabilities. It is clear the support from the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund made a real difference for the artists and their projects highlighting these important issues.

Artists like Karari Olvera, co-producer of America in Transition, who had the following to say about her support from the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund: “Although diverse voices have always been important, now more than ever we need to ensure that the most marginalized communities are represented in film and media. As a trans people of color-led media project, we are grateful for the support Chicago Filmmakers has provided for us. Thanks to the CDMPF grant, we are able to continue to share stories that make change possible.”

The Chicago Digital Media Production Fund also helped artist Resita Cox’s project, Regrowth, reach its full potential. According to Cox, “My project Regrowth started out as a written story, and then we realized, wait, this is so visual, it could be a film. So, then it turned into a seven-minute short film, and it just kept growing from there. Once we got the grant from Chicago Filmmakers, all the different parts came together, and it became the project we really wanted it to be. Chicago Filmmakers helped the film realize its full potential.”

At Voqal, we believe an engaged and educated public is vital to creating a more socially equitable world. The Chicago Digital Media Production Fund’s support of digital artists that are highlighting important social justice issues is key to creating that public. We are proud to be a supporter of this program and look forward to its continued success.