Independence Public Media Foundation Announces $500,000 Awarded to 30 Local Film Projects

a woman wearing a hijab speaks in a congress of local Delaware politicians

PHILADELPHIA, April 16, 2024—The Independence Public Media Foundation (IPMF) announces $500,000 in grants awarded to 30 film projects through its Local Filmmaker Fund.

The fund aims to support Greater Philadelphia emerging and professional storytellers with the development of their films and gaining additional skills to hone their craft. The foundation has awarded more than $2.3 million in grants to Greater Philadelphia filmmakers since the fund's inception in 2020.

IPMF partners with a panel of local filmmakers and film advocates each year to select the fund grant recipients. Through this community-led grantmaking process, IPMF is shifting power to communities harmed by systems of oppression and media erasure.

Read IPMF Program Officer Nuala Cabral’s conversation with Zainab Sultan and Heather Tenzer, two film grant recipients challenging harmful narratives about Palestine.

The following are the 2024 Local Filmmaker Fund grant recipients:


  • Philly and the Beautiful Game, directed by Cameron M. Robinson. "Philly and the Beautiful Game" is a documentary that aims to highlight Philadelphia's vibrant soccer culture in anticipation of the 2026 World Cup. From its international community and youth programs, to its historic supporter groups and pubs, the film will showcase how soccer unites diverse communities and challenges stereotypes in Philadelphia. ($20,000)
  • Love in the Time of Migration, directed by Chelsea G. Abbas. "Love in the Time of Migration" is a short multimedia documentary film that follows Ronny and Suly’s long distance love story and examines their journey to each other as one of sacrifice, commitment, and faith. The film explores the modern-day romance between two individuals from a community deeply impacted by migration, and asks the question: "Can love conquer all?" ($20,000)
  • The Rabbi's Intifada, directed by Heather Tenzer. A personal film told from the perspective of a Philadelphia woman who grew up in a Orthodox Jewish community that supports Israel unconditionally, "The Rabbis' Intifada" follows the journeys of four Orthodox rabbis as they speak out in support of Palestinian liberation. ($10,000)
  • Broken: A Series on Black Men's Mental Health, directed by Jawara A Lee Sr. and Tyrone Richardson. "Broken” is documentary series that aims to shed light on the complexities of Black men's mental health, challenge stereotypes and stigmas, and foster a deeper understanding of the cultural, social, and historical factors that contribute to mental health disparities among Black men. ($10,000)
  • Treehuggers, directed by Jeannine Cook. Inspired by the legacy of environmentalist Wangari Maathai and the 20th anniversary of her Nobel Peace Prize, "TREEHUGGERS" is a poignant documentary that follows the transformative journey of communities in Philadelphia as they honor loved ones and deepen their connection to nature through the installation of dedication monuments on newly planted trees. ($10,000)
  • Victory Love: The Lois Kukcinovich Story, directed by Kamryn D. Bonds. Lois Kuckinovich, aged 93, recounts her life journey, reminiscing about her childhood, early adulthood within the Father Divine Peace Mission, departure from the Mission, marriage, motherhood, and her path to ultimate liberation. This documentary will explore Lois' life through the experiences and wisdom she has gained on her journey. ($10,000)
  • Coming Home, directed by Kate Steiker-Ginzberg and Fábio Erdos. An immersive, vérité style film, "Coming Home" follows Kempis Songster—a man sentenced at 15 years old to spend the rest of his life in prison—as he fights to change how society addresses harm and healing, and grapples with the responsibilities of an extraordinary second chance. ($20,000)
  • Love, Lusine, directed by Maria Vattimo. Amidst war and social unrest, jazz musician Lusine Yeghiazaryan embarks on a journey back home to Armenia to reconnect with her father and fortify her nation’s heritage with her voice. ($25,000)
  • Without Vision, directed by Patrice Worthy. "Without Vision" explores how music builds and informs relationships and connections not just for the artists, but also for the community. The documentary follows the trajectory of singer/songwriter/pianist Kayla Childs as she develops music and a live performance with Philadelphia's up-and-coming jazz greats. ($10,000)
  • Untitled Pennhurst Documentary, directed by Katarina Poljak. After a class action lawsuit shutters an institution for disabled people due to years of horrific abuse, a new group of disabled actors reclaims the space to create a haunted house inspired by their own collective history. ($10,000)
  • Reconnecting through Rhythm, directed by Rafael Bitanga. When 50-year-old Filipina immigrant Alma Manabat Parker travels back to the Philippines for the first time since infancy, she immerses in her native culture and learns traditional dances to bring back to her Filipino-American community in Alaska, hoping to spark cultural engagement and identity amongst youth increasingly disconnected from their heritage. ($15,000)
  • Steelpan Now! Notes on Where Pan Gone, directed by Ryan Saunders. "SteelPan Now!" is a one-hour documentary that delves into the current world of the steelpan movement, its innovators, its players, the instrument, and the music that reverberates from it. The documentary follows the work of several key individuals and organizations in several states in North America who have spent decades involved in the steelpan movement and its development. ($10,000)
  • SOFT, directed by Sarah Krusen. "SOFT" is an experimental visual documentary seeking to restore the humanity of Black women by highlighting moments of gentleness and relaxation rarely seen in mainstream media. Through interviews and archival footage, the film underscores rest as a form of resistance against systemic oppression, inviting three notable Black women to discuss the significance of rest amidst historical trauma and capitalist pressures in the United States. ($15,000)
  • Stand Up for Madinah, directed by Zainab Sultan. “Stand Up for Madinah” follows Delaware's first female Muslim legislator, Madinah Wilson-Anton, as she challenges the Biden administration on the ongoing war in Gaza. When not confronting the establishment, Madinah spends her spare time at local comedy clubs trying to find success as a standup comedian. ($10,000)
  • The Nile Splits, directed by Zuff Dries. In the months leading to a civil conflict, a filmmaker reunites with his family in Sudan after fifteen years apart. Along his journey, he encounters colorful characters and explores his connection to an ancient tribe that has lived on the Nile for millennia. ($30,000)


  • Tonight, We Eat Flowers, directed by Bettina Escauriza. "Tonight, We Eat Flowers" is a romantic comedy that centers the lives of Luis, a recent immigrant, and Jamilah, a foodie stuck in a hellish 9 to 5 job. The two fall in love as they navigate the struggle for connection in a highly individualized world and the soul crushing grind of working at underpaid and uninspiring jobs. ($10,000)
  • You Were Dead Yesterday, directed by Destiny Cox. At the height of a zombie apocalypse, a resilient Black rural family discovers the outbreak that is destroying their community was a conspiracy led by the federal government. Amid the chaos, each family member questions their faith and struggles to reconcile their beliefs with the harsh realities they face. ($20,000)
  • A Song For Nia, directed by Eboni Zamani. "A Song for Nia" is a digital dramedy series about Nia, a Los Angeles-based creative's homecoming to Philadelphia. This series will be an intimate look into the personal life of a Black woman and the Black communities she was part of in Philadelphia. ($30,000)
  • The Cure for Depression, directed by Elijah Crawford. A depressed young woman, Edie stumbles upon a self-help cassette tape promising to cure her woes and help her fit into a world of toxic positivity. Her descent into madness accelerates as she blindly follows its instructions, revealing the absurdity of conformity and the dangers of suppressing emotions in a society obsessed with superficial happiness. ($25,000)
  • Animal, directed by Eunice Levis. "Animal" is an environmental science fiction horror short that follows two siblings who befriend a genetically altered rat and use it to defend their Kensington, Philadelphia neighborhood from sinister land developers who carelessly dump poisonous materials into the Delaware River. ($15,000)
  • Paper Trail, directed by Rachael Moton. In rapidly gentrifying North Philadelphia, two genius Black siblings at risk of eviction begin doing the coursework of local college students in exchange for cash. When one of their clients, a white woman, goes viral from an essay they wrote, they’re forced to come to terms with her using their voices for personal gain. ($15,000)
  • Swerve, directed by Raphael Xavier. In "Swerve," a talented out-of-work actor trying to figure out life and a talented high school kid looking to fit into the local bicycle wheelie scene unite over a stolen bicycle that unknowingly belongs to someone they both know. They'll have to ride to get it back. ($20,000)
  • The Dennis Boys, directed by Stephen Schaffer. "The Dennis Boys" is a film about two brothers—a realist and a dreamer—who struggle to find common ground when their sick mother's condition worsens. ($20,000)
  • Tell Me When You Get Home, directed by Tshay Williams. "Tell Me When You Get Home," is an animated short film that follows Honest Cardamom, a 15-year-old girl who encounters the spirit of an ancestor that reconnects her to her origin story. ($20,000)
  • Lavender Boy, directed by Vernon Jordan. “Lavender Boy” is a semi-autobiographical coming of age feature film about a young boy named Les who is queered by his ancestral ability to see ghosts. ($10,000)


  • Lanterns, directed by Amy Lee Ketchum. "Lanterns" is an experimental stop-animation film that explores the connection between xenophobia and the spotted lanternfly, an invasive species. ($30,000)
  • Eros: Fragile as it is Free, directed by Caitlin Green. "Eros: Fragile as it is Free" is an experimental dance film that explores the confusing emotions that emerge postpartum and how those feelings can create an isolated perception of self while mirroring that of the collective unconscious. The film questions the social conditioning of the nuclear family and individualism in the U.S. ($10,000)


Hybrid films are a combination of two or more film genres, i.e. an experimental documentary.

  • The Unknown Tales of Lewis and Mary Latimer, directed by Nadine Patterson. “The Unknown Tales of Lewis and Mary Latimer" reveals the hidden story of innovation and triumph as 19th century Americans of African descent emerge from enslavement after the Civil War. The story of Latimer's creation of the modern day light bulb serves as a metaphor for the emergence of a people from darkness into light. ($15,000)
  • The Revolution Will Be Televised, directed by Taj DeVore-Bey. "The Revolution Will Be Televised" is an experimental film journey into the imagination of a young student who can't seem to focus in class. The film is an ode to the Gil Scott Heron quote: "The revolution will not be televised." ($15,000)
  • Love Jawns, directed by Yolanda Wisher. "Love Jawns: A Writers Room" is a short film that captures the creative journey of an intergenerational cohort of five emerging Black Philadelphia women writers. ($20,000)

The Local Filmmaker Fund, in addition to a grant, includes a 12-month cohort that will provide filmmakers with capacity-building workshops to gain more industry knowledge. To gain more public interest and following, filmmakers can also screen their projects at IPMF’s annual Fall Film Screening.

For more information or if you have questions or feedback, contact Enni Aigbomian,

Click here to explore our grant database.

About Independence Public Media Foundation
Formerly known as WYBE Channel 35, Independence Public Media Foundation was founded in 2018 when WYBE sold its broadcast license as part of the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadcast Incentive Auction and received a one-time payment of $131.5 million. With these funds, IPMF supports community-owned and -led media and internet projects in the Greater Philadelphia area. The foundation envisions a local media landscape that truly reflects the diverse and complex lived experiences of its residents by moving resources to communities historically harmed by systems of oppression and media erasure.

Enni Aigbomian

Enni Aigbomian

Enni uses storytelling and visual media to advocate for disenfranchised communities in the U.S. and abroad. Her work focuses on the African diaspora and Indigenous communities in the Americas, as well as the socio-economic rights of women and children. A communicator for social change, Enni has collaborated with international community media and nonprofits such as World Young Women’s Christian Association, Fundación CEDESOCIAL, Vokaribe Radio, and HOPE Worldwide, Bolivia.

Enni has worked with Philadelphia community media and nonprofits such as the American Friends Service Committee, FunTimes Magazine, and Philatinos Radio. She also served as the first head of communications at Read by 4th, Philadelphia’s grade-level reading campaign managed by the Free Library of Philadelphia. She sits on the board of Shelterforce Magazine, an independent publication that covers the worlds of community development, affordable housing, and neighborhood stabilization.

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