About Sara Zia Ebrahimi

Persian bohemian, indie films cheerleader, Social Media Specialist at American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Love to: write, read, sew, eat, cook, run.

POV accepting submissions for digital documentaries

pov-callforentries-200POV is seeking digital documentaries from independent media creators and technologists that push the boundaries of nonfiction media for co-production. Co-productions will be funded in the range of $15,000-$50,000 and producers do not necessarily need to be based on the United States. Funded projects are more likely to be focused on mobile and emerging technologies.

POV is also seeking to license short web-native documentaries or chapters of web-native documentaries. These productions must be based in the United States, and will be funded in the range of $2,500 to $10,000.

Deadline is May 30, 2014. More information and submission form available here.

Call for film and screenplay submissions: BlackStar Film Festival


The Philadelphia BlackStar Film Festival is gearing up for another year and has opened the call for submissions for short and feature-length films and screenplays. Deadline to submit is May 15, 2014.

To be eligible for consideration:

  1. Films must be directed by a person of African descent, feature persons of African descent, or tell a story of the Black experience.

  2. Narrative feature films and documentary films must not exceed running time of 120 minutes.

  3. Shorts must not exceed running time of 30 minutes.

  4. Non-English language works must have English subtitles at the time submitted. Dialogue lists will not be accepted.

  5. Though not required for eligibility, preference is given to Philadelphia premieres.

More details and an application can be found here.

SUNDANCE INSTITUTE PRESENTS: Shorts Lab! A short filmmaking seminar, screening, and panel discussion in Philadelphia

ShortsLab LA

ShortsLab LA

Recognizing the important role shorts have in cinema, storytelling, and culture, Sundance Institute presents ShortsLab to help empower the next generation of artists. Filmmakers are invited to participate in this seminar of Sundance-organized panels and discussions to offer firsthand insight and access into the world of story development,  production, working with cast and crew, and how to get the most out of making a short film.

SUNDAY March 16, 2014

@The International House
3701 Chestnut Street

Tickets are free, but attendees must RSVP. Visit ihousephilly.org/shortslab for RSVP information.


Korean film series at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (March 16-April 30)

KoreanFilmSeriesJoe Kim, from the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, is curating this great line up of films (and a K-Pop dance party!) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art over the next month. For more info on these events, click here or scroll below.

Sunday, March 16th, 1pm
We kick off the Korean film series with a screening of the North Korean documentary “A State of Mind”, filmmaker Daniel Gordon’s beautifully photographed film that takes the viewer deep into the culture of this isolated land than ever before. This program begins with a conversation with British director Daniel Gordon (who also recently directed the ESPN 30 For 30 film “9.79*”) followed by a screening of A State of Mind.  It should be a great program and discussion.

The film series continues each Wednesday in April at 6pm with screenings of:

April 2: Chi-hwa-seon (Painted Fire)
A vivid portrait of the life of one of Korea’s greatest artists, renowned painter Jang Seung-eop.  Directed by master filmmaker Im Kwon-taek.
April 9: Sunny
An unexpectedly big hit in South Korea, “Sunny” is a heartwarming coming of age comedy that will alternately make you laugh and cry as these long-lost friends discover they can still change one another’s lives.  Featuring a soundtrack of American 80′s pop hits.  Feel free to come dressed in your 80′s best!
April 16: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring
Award-winning Korean writer/director/editor Kim Ki-duk has crafted a lushly exotic, yet universal story about the human spirit and its evolution, from innocence to love, evil to enlightenment, and ultimately to rebirth.
April 23: Planet B-Boy
Korean-American filmmaker Benson Lee (who grew up in Philadelphia) sought to answer the question of how South Korea became the epicenter of the global phenomenon known as breakdancing, which originated in the Bronx in the 1970s. Weaving between the vivid backdrops of Osaka, Paris, Las Vegas, and Seoul, unforgettable images frame the intimate stories of international teams of dancers who struggle to fulfill their dreams.  Featuring a b-boy performance after the film.

April 30: The Yellow Sea

Screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, The Yellow Sea is an impressive crime thriller with amazing action reminiscent of the Bourne series from director Na Hong-jin (The Chaser).

For more info, please visit: http://koreanfilmseries.tumblr.com/

Also, please check out:
Fri, March 28, 5-9:45pm: Art After 5 K-Pop Dance Party & Fashion Show (FREE Event)

Student designers from the fashion department of the Art Institute of Philadelphia kick off the evening by showcasing runway looks using professional models. This evening also features a K-pop (Korean pop) performance, a mini dance class, and a dance party in the museum!

Korean Drama Series: Sungkyunkwan Scandal
Wednesdays 5:30-8:30pm (Mar 19, 26, May 7, 14, 21)
Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010) is a South Korean drama about a girl who disguises herself as a boy while attending Sungkyunkwan, the Joseon Dynasty’s highest educational institute, where no women were allowed. Each screening features three episodes and is presented by Drama Fever, the largest online video site for the distribution of international televised content.

FUTURESTATES: Free online collection of short sci-fi/dystopian films by indie filmmakers

Still from "Refuge" by Mohammad Gorjestani

I somehow slept on the release of Season 4 of FUTURESTATES earlier in 2013 and am just now catching up on this collection of short films online. FUTURESTATES is one of the more understated and exciting of ITVS’ projects–each season they solicit indie filmmakers to create short narrative pieces that transform complex social issues into visions of our world in the decades to come. Season 4 features shorts by seven filmmakers including Rose Troche (Go FishL Word), Andrew Okpeaha MacLean (On the Ice) and several others whose work you may be familiar with (even if you don’t know them by name).

Literary Boot Camp – A free creative writing workshop for women of color at Kelly Writers House

kwhDATES: March 19, March 26, April 2, April 9 & April 16
TIME: Wednesday evenings, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
LOCATION: Kelly Writers House, University of Pennsylvania (3805 Locust Walk)

A boot camp for women writers of color, this multi-genre workshop invites literary artists working in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry to share and develop their writing and transform their work habits. Each participant will submit their work for discussion and critique by their peers. Participants will complete in-class writing exercises and prompts, as well as short homework assignments. This workshop will be most useful for writers who are working on a project on which they would like feedback, or who are ready to jumpstart a new project. It will meet for a total of five sessions, the first of which will be an organizational meeting. Enrollment is limited to 12.

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60th annual Flaherty Seminar open for registration

Flaherty 60thThe Flaherty Seminar has announced their 2014 theme–Turning the Inside Out–and curators, Caspar Stracke and Gabriela Monroy. Early registration is now open!

Description of this year’s program:

The Flaherty’s 60th Anniversary Seminar probes the essence and frontiers of the form that inspired its beginnings: the documentary. Turning the Inside Out examines the state of documentary as it travels between the art gallery, the cinema, and the interactive screen. In an era of colliding genres and mediums, what holds documentary together from the inside out? What can a radical, Godardian, focus on the form of documentary reveal about the politics, poetics, and ethics of making media today?

To answer these questions, we turn to a unique group of documentary artists – some of whom produce new aesthetic idioms for documentary beyond the black box, and others who move seamlessly between media without changing their vocabulary. Together they ask: which genre (essay film, autobiography, docufiction) and exhibition form (gallery installation, web-based platform) best supports the expression of an idea? That is, how can form optimize documentary’s potential to connect us to unfamiliar places, objects, or situations? In confronting the effectiveness of form, these works amplify new and unexpected tensions: between the need to participate and the desire to withdraw, between aesthetic expression and direct action, between staying inside or going out.

FREE TO LOVE film series on “sexual revolution” at IHouse Philadelphia through February

Bob Carol Ted Alice.jpgThe International House of Philadelphia is hosting an unique line up of over 60 avant-garde and commercial films that have been key to redefining sex in the West explore the “political and artistic tumult of the 1960s and ‘70s and its effect on contemporary culture.” The series, which runs through February 15th, features appearances and talks by several of the original filmmakers and influential film historians. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I understand, but for those of you who are film history buffs it’s not to be missed!  If it helps appease your prudish side, the series is funded by a grant from Pew. How’s that for official endorsement as “art”? More details and schedule (with work safe images!) here.