Sundancing in Virtual Space

Screenshot of BPM screening room aboard New Frontier’s Spaceship by Eboni Johnson

Sundancing in Virtual Space

by Leslie Fields-Cruz

Last Friday evening, my colleagues and I hosted our first BPMplus mixer since 2019. The virtual event was one of the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier offerings and took place on The Spaceship, an interactive, online venue designed to accommodate emerging media projects as well as traditional films and social gatherings.

We are grateful to the folks at New Frontier for inviting us to host an event in their Spaceship, and to all who opted to spend their evening mingling there with us. After the short program, which introduced visitors to our BPMplus artists, we all were instantly transported from the virtual screening room to a BPM party lounge — all without leaving the comfort of wherever on the planet we were physically.

Screenshot of The BPM Lounge aboard New Frontier’s Spaceship by Cheryl D. Fields.

Kudos to BPM Emerging Media Director Lisa Osborne for producing the event with the help of her assistant Aja Evans and the BPM marketing, communications and engagement team. And a special thanks to all the BPM makers who agreed to participate in the program: Ayana Baraka, Carla LynDale Bishop, Stephanie Dinkins, Ngardy Conteh George, Alton Glass, Fabiano Mixo, Bayeté Ross Smith, Leonardo Souza, Andrea Walls, Jonathan Williams, Josie Williams, and Tamara Shogaolu.

I’m thrilled that technology is not only opening new frontiers for Black storytellers, but also allowing organizations like ours to seamlessly continue the work of supporting public media content creators, despite the pandemic. By providing opportunities for makers to gain experience using these new storytelling and engagement platforms, and by hosting virtual events where they can share their work, exchange best practices, network and explore opportunities for mentorship and collaboration, we remain true to our mission; all while also reaching creatives in parts of the world to which we’ve previously had limited access.

The Sundance Film Festival continues through Jan. 30. In addition to checking out offerings on the New Frontier program, I encourage you to screen films and attend their other events. I’ve already seen several films that I’d highly recommend and will continue to fest virtually throughout the rest of the week.

Looking forward, I encourage you all to add the following events to your Black History Month calendars:

THURS., FEB. 3

BPM hosts a special virtual screening of Ailey on OVEE, which will be followed on Sun., Feb. 6, by a BPM/MoAD conversation with the filmmaker during our monthly African Diaspora Film Club.

TUES., FEB. 8

Rita Coburn’s Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands premieres on PBS’s American Masters

WED., FEB. 9

Black Women Radicals’ IG Takeover will feature a conversation with Lisa Osborne and BPMplus fellow Andrea Walls about the latter’s Museum of Black Joy project.

TUES., FEB 15

Leola Calzolai-Stewart’s The American Diplomat airs on PBS’ American Experience

TUES., FEB. 22

Monica Land’s Fannie Lou Hamer’s America, premieres as PBS/World Channel launch the 10th anniversary season of the award-winning series, America ReFramed

TUES., FEB. 24

BPM hosts a Black History Month mixer, 7–9 p.m., ET, on its virtual party spot.

Details about these and other upcoming events will appear in next month’s newsletter. We invite you to celebrate Black History Month by joining us for some, if not all, of these events, and encourage you to invite your network to do the same.

— Fields-Cruz is the executive director of Black Public Media

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Black Public Media (BPM) develops, produces, funds, and distributes media content about the African American and global Black experience.

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Black Public Media

Black Public Media

Black Public Media (BPM) develops, produces, funds, and distributes media content about the African American and global Black experience.

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