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Bringing together mediamakers from around the country with engaged citizens who collectively support the creation and distribution of media that will trigger social change.

Leg Up Fund & Other Support

CMP SUPPORTS IMPACT MEDIA

The Leg Up Fund

CMP’s signature granting program is our Leg Up Fund, designed to pool our members’ donations to give seed funding to new projects in production. Our goal is to use our resources to cultivate projects in their early stages that will lead to larger grants later on. In the process our members discover and nurture new impact projects that can truly change the landscape.

The Leg Up Fund does not host an open call or a formal submissions process; instead, projects typically come to us from affiliated organizations, strategic partners, and our network of CMP members. Filmmakers can always send a short project description and link via the CONTACT US page, but as a small organization we do not have the capacity to respond to every submission.


THE RETURN TEAM: Kelly Duane de la Vega, Katie Galloway SUPPORT: Leg Up Fund Grant, 2014 SYNOPSIS: In 2012, California amended its "Three Strikes" law, marking the first time in U.S. history that citizens voted to shorten sentences of those currently incarcerated. THE RETURN examines this unprecedented reform through the eyes of those on the front lines — prisoners suddenly freed, families turned upside down, reentry providers helping navigate complex transitions and attorneys and judges wrestling with an untested law. STATUS: THE RETURN premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award, and was then broadcast nationally on PBS’s POV in May. CMP hosted a community screening for 100+ audience members just before the broadcast, including a powerful discussion with ex-offenders, policy experts, and service providers in the reentry field. This summer THE RETURN continues its impact campaign to align stakeholders and leaders on the issues surrounding prisoner re-entry.

THE RETURN

TEAM: Kelly Duane de la Vega, Katie Galloway

SUPPORT: Leg Up Fund Grant, 2014

SYNOPSIS: In 2012, California amended its "Three Strikes" law, marking the first time in U.S. history that citizens voted to shorten sentences of those currently incarcerated. THE RETURN examines this unprecedented reform through the eyes of those on the front lines — prisoners suddenly freed, families turned upside down, reentry providers helping navigate complex transitions and attorneys and judges wrestling with an untested law.

STATUS: THE RETURN premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award, and was then broadcast nationally on PBS’s POV in May. CMP hosted a community screening for 100+ audience members just before the broadcast, including a powerful discussion with ex-offenders, policy experts, and service providers in the reentry field. This summer THE RETURN continues its impact campaign to align stakeholders and leaders on the issues surrounding prisoner re-entry.

THE NEWBURGH STING TEAM: David Heilbroner, Kate Davis SUPPORT: Leg Up Fund Grant, 2014 SYNOPSIS: On May 20, 2009, four men from the impoverished and largely African-American city of Newburgh, NY, were apprehended for an alleged terror plot. They had no history of violence or terrorist ties, but had been drawn by a Pakistani FBI informant into a carefully orchestrated scheme to bomb synagogues and fire Stinger missiles at U.S. military supply planes. THE NEWBURGH STING delves deeply into this case – one of many cases across the country where people have been allegedly drawn into a plot with extreme consequences. STATUS: THE NEWBURGH STING premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was broadcast on HBO in 2014. It was nominated for an Emmy and won a Peabody Award for its in-depth reporting. CMP hosted a screening of the film to launch our Justice Initiative in the fall of 2014, where the filmmakers and their impact campaign adviser discussed the impact of the film on national policy makers, community groups, and human rights advocates. 

THE NEWBURGH STING

TEAM: David Heilbroner, Kate Davis

SUPPORT: Leg Up Fund Grant, 2014

SYNOPSIS: On May 20, 2009, four men from the impoverished and largely African-American city of Newburgh, NY, were apprehended for an alleged terror plot. They had no history of violence or terrorist ties, but had been drawn by a Pakistani FBI informant into a carefully orchestrated scheme to bomb synagogues and fire Stinger missiles at U.S. military supply planes. THE NEWBURGH STING delves deeply into this case – one of many cases across the country where people have been allegedly drawn into a plot with extreme consequences.

STATUS: THE NEWBURGH STING premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was broadcast on HBO in 2014. It was nominated for an Emmy and won a Peabody Award for its in-depth reporting. CMP hosted a screening of the film to launch our Justice Initiative in the fall of 2014, where the filmmakers and their impact campaign adviser discussed the impact of the film on national policy makers, community groups, and human rights advocates. 

MEET THE PATELS TEAM: Geeta Patel, Ravi Patel SUPPORT: Leg Up Fund Grant, 2015 SYNOPSIS: MEET THE PATELS is a laugh-out-loud real life romantic comedy about Ravi Patel, an almost-30-year-old Indian-American who enters a love triangle between the woman of his dreams . . . and his parents. Filmed by Ravi’s sister in what started as a family vacation video, this hilarious and heartbreaking film reveals how love is a family affair. Geeta and Ravi, along with their quirky parents, keep audiences entertained and glued to the screen. MEET THE PATELS is a film everyone can relate to regardless of gender, age, or cultural background. STATUS: After winning audience awards at festival after festival, MEET THE PATELS had an extremely strong theatrical run, totaling $1.7 million gross box-office, making it one of the highest grossing documentaries of 2015. In the winter of 2016 it became available on Netflix and other digital platforms. Fox Searchlight acquired the rights to a narrative version and is currently developing the remake with directors/siblings Ravi and Geeta

MEET THE PATELS

TEAM: Geeta Patel, Ravi Patel

SUPPORT: Leg Up Fund Grant, 2015

SYNOPSIS: MEET THE PATELS is a laugh-out-loud real life romantic comedy about Ravi Patel, an almost-30-year-old Indian-American who enters a love triangle between the woman of his dreams . . . and his parents. Filmed by Ravi’s sister in what started as a family vacation video, this hilarious and heartbreaking film reveals how love is a family affair. Geeta and Ravi, along with their quirky parents, keep audiences entertained and glued to the screen. MEET THE PATELS is a film everyone can relate to regardless of gender, age, or cultural background.

STATUS: After winning audience awards at festival after festival, MEET THE PATELS had an extremely strong theatrical run, totaling $1.7 million gross box-office, making it one of the highest grossing documentaries of 2015. In the winter of 2016 it became available on Netflix and other digital platforms. Fox Searchlight acquired the rights to a narrative version and is currently developing the remake with directors/siblings Ravi and Geeta


THE OPPOSITION TEAM: Hollie Fifer, Rebecca Barry SUPPORT: Leg Up Fund Grant, 2014 SYNOPSIS: Told through the story of Paga Hill, the luscious mountain peninsula in Papua New Guinea, THE OPPOSITION asks the important question of how can we ethically build sustainable industry in developing countries? STATUS: IN PRODUCTION

THE OPPOSITION

TEAM: Hollie Fifer, Rebecca Barry

SUPPORT: Leg Up Fund Grant, 2014

SYNOPSIS: Told through the story of Paga Hill, the luscious mountain peninsula in Papua New Guinea, THE OPPOSITION asks the important question of how can we ethically build sustainable industry in developing countries?

STATUS: IN PRODUCTION

SERVING TIME TEAM: Phil Koch, Gary Sherman SUPPORT: Leg Up Fund Grant, 2014 SYNOPSIS: SERVING TIME tells the story of chef Bruno Abate bringing hope and dignity to inmates at Cook County Jail by teaching them the finer skills of culinary arts, giving them a reason and a chance not to come back to jail. The film will raise awareness of the necessity to establish rehabilitation programs for prisoners. STATUS: IN PRODUCTION

SERVING TIME

TEAM: Phil Koch, Gary Sherman

SUPPORT: Leg Up Fund Grant, 2014

SYNOPSIS: SERVING TIME tells the story of chef Bruno Abate bringing hope and dignity to inmates at Cook County Jail by teaching them the finer skills of culinary arts, giving them a reason and a chance not to come back to jail. The film will raise awareness of the necessity to establish rehabilitation programs for prisoners.

STATUS: IN PRODUCTION

WHOSE STREETS? TEAM: Sabaah Jordan, Damon Davis SUPPORT: Leg Up Fund Grant, 2016 SYNOPSIS: WHOSE STREETS? is the Ferguson story told through the eyes of freedom fighters on the front lines. The team began filming in the days that followed the shooting of Michael Brown, capturing ordinary citizens, artists, musicians, teachers, and parents as they organized themselves to provoke a national conversation about the systemic problems brought to the forefront by Brown's death. STATUS: IN PRODUCTION

WHOSE STREETS?

TEAM: Sabaah Jordan, Damon Davis

SUPPORT: Leg Up Fund Grant, 2016

SYNOPSIS: WHOSE STREETS? is the Ferguson story told through the eyes of freedom fighters on the front lines. The team began filming in the days that followed the shooting of Michael Brown, capturing ordinary citizens, artists, musicians, teachers, and parents as they organized themselves to provoke a national conversation about the systemic problems brought to the forefront by Brown's death.

STATUS: IN PRODUCTION


FISCAL SPONSORSHIP & EQUITY FUNDING

CMP accepts a limited number of fiscal sponsorship agreements with exciting new film projects that need a 501(c)(3) sponsor to assist with grants and fundraising. The fiscal sponsor role extends to targeted mentorship and other forms of support, which leads CMP to be highly selective in developing our fiscal sponsor relationships. As an organization, we have also invested in an equity position in one of our fiscal-sponsored film to date, in addition to our robust investment arm CMP Invest/Impact.

SERVED LIKE A GIRL TEAM: Lysa Heslov, Seth Gordon, Danielle Renfrew Behrens SUPPORT: Equity Investor & Fiscal Sponsor  SYNOPSIS: SERVED LIKE A GIRL follows women veterans on a quest to take the crown in the Ms. Veteran America competition. By focusing on this sisterhood of unforgettable women, the film deepens our understanding of how poorly the military prepares its soldiers for the high stakes shift from deployment back to civilian life. STATUS: POST PRODUCTION

SERVED LIKE A GIRL

TEAM: Lysa Heslov, Seth Gordon, Danielle Renfrew Behrens

SUPPORT: Equity Investor & Fiscal Sponsor 

SYNOPSIS: SERVED LIKE A GIRL follows women veterans on a quest to take the crown in the Ms. Veteran America competition. By focusing on this sisterhood of unforgettable women, the film deepens our understanding of how poorly the military prepares its soldiers for the high stakes shift from deployment back to civilian life.

STATUS: POST PRODUCTION


Good pitch chicago films

Chicago Media Project was born from the first Good Pitch Chicago in 2013, and many of our founding members supported impact films from that first GPC. In 2015 CMP hosted the second Good Pitch Chicago, where six fantastic films pitched to an audience of 300+ stakeholders, raising over $100,000 in one day for these worthy projects. CMP continues to track and support these films through our app, imPact.