BIPOC Women Production Grant

$7,500 Production Grant for BIPOC Women Artists


Congratulations to Miranda Mlilo, first time director and recipient of the $7,500 BIPOC filmmaker grant from BendFilm. Miranda and her cousins Chloe and Paula pitched their project to panelists Yoshi James and Suzi Yonessi and showed incredible vision and passion for her film.

Stay tuned for more information on her project that is set to begin filming next summer and will explore key themes: generational loss of identity and culture, the question of identity and the complexities of diaspora.

Watch their pitch to the panelists and see all incredible projects in full here.

Thank you to all our filmmakers, panelists and funders who participated and the sponsors who helped make it possible!

This fund was made possible by the Braemar Charitable Trust, the Roundhouse Foundation, the Starview Foundation and In Focus EyeCare.

Applications for 2021 coming this summer. Check the 2020 Festival’s live pitch panel that decided the 2020 winner!


On-screen representation affects cultural understanding of BIPOC, women, and LGBTQIA+ characters. Barriers need to be broken down until equal representation is achieved on-screen and behind the camera. Better understanding and exposure between neighboring cultures will help create dialog, cooperation, and partnerships that strengthen the interconnectivity of Central Oregon.

BendFilm’s Underrepresented Voices Grant will support a BIPOC women artist with $7,500 toward making their short or feature film. The grant supports storytellers who are working to tell creative and complex  stories told from a point of view that is unique and authentic. 

Underrepresented filmmakers are less likely to have the funding support to produce their first films to jumpstart their careers. This grant breaks down the economic barrier to democratize the art form which in turn will:

1.) Support the career of an underrepresented artist.
2.) Increase the production of films that accurately portray underrepresented communities.
3.) Lead audiences to a better understanding of themselves (if underrepresented) or to the life experience of someone unlike themselves.


Preferred candidates will produce their film in Oregon, but that is not a mandatory requirement.

BendFilm programmers and independent reviewers will assess each application to narrow down the finalists.

Five (5) to ten (10) final candidates will virtually pitch their projects live to a panel of industry professionals (to be announced soon) during the 17th Annual BendFilm Festival between October 9th and 18th, 2020.

The panel will decide the winner of the $7,500 production grant and may provide mentorship during the filmmaking process at panelists discretion and interest.


  • Submit a proposal (details coming soon). Eligibility guidelines:
    • Director of the film must identify as a woman and person of color
    • The funded film must be made in accordance with the treatment that will be provided in the official RFP.
    • The film must be completed on deadline (details coming soon).
    • The project must credit Braemar Charitable Trust, the Oregon Film Office and BendFilm as Associate Producers.
    • The film must be available to World Premiere during BendFilm’s 19th Annual Festival in October, 2022.


  • Grant application launches Wednesday, August 26
  • Application due Wednesday, September 23.
  • BendFilm will notify finalists on October 1.
  • Live pitches will take place during the BendFilm Festival October 8 – 25



Are there any limitations on how grant funds can be spent?
Yes. The film must be directed by a woman who is a person of color. Preferred applicants will  reside in Oregon and plan to shoot their film in Oregon.

How will applications be evaluated?
A team made up of BendFilm staff, Board Members and two (2) local filmmakers will evaluate initial applications for artistic merit and ensure all minimum requirements are met. Due to the volume of applications we are not able to provide specific feedback on projects that are not selected.

Link to Official RFP:


Thank you!

This grant is made available by the Braemar Charitable Trust, the Roundhouse Foundations, the Starview Foundation and Infocus Eye Care.

2019 Recipient of the $5,000 Local Women Filmmaking Grant: Michelle Alvarado 

“Heaven” by Michelle Alvarado was created with funds from the BendFilm Underrepresented Voices Grant.

A fishy satire, Heaven, dares to ask “Why do we believe in an afterlife?” This short film draws a parallel with human emotions and aspirations to a fish, as a way to comment on humankind’s determination to believe in something existing beyond this life, rather than a more rational or empirical hunch that it is true. Told with Rupert Brooke’s poem Heaven, composed in 1913, we see through the eyes of a fish, implying something suspect about our own ‘fishy’ beliefs about the afterlife.

From Michelle: “I have to say the grant has been beneficial beyond this short film.  It helped me exercise that creative part of my mind that asks ‘what stories are important to tell’  and to think outside the box a bit more. The exercise worked, I have formulated a couple other independent documentary series that I am starting to research now and very excited about.”