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Thursday, JUNE 6  2024

6:30 - 8:00 pm

John Lightfoot, Director of Media & Journalism Programs at California Humanities. Interested in CDP but have questions about whether your project is a good fit? Or what kind of subjects California Humanities is looking for? What should you submit as a work sample? Or what does a humanities advisor do and where do I find one? Bring your questions with you and have them answered during this session.


Join us for an informational session about the California Documentary Project (CDP) grant program. CDP supports original independent documentary film, audio, and interactive media productions that explore California in all its complexity. Funding is available in two categories—Research and Development Grants up to $15,000 and Production Grants up to $50,00—for projects that explore California subjects and issues, have the potential to reach and engage audiences both statewide and nationally, and use the humanities to provide context, depth, and perspective. Productions of any documentary style and length are eligible—shorts, features, podcasts, web series, VR, (and more). This year’s deadline is November 4, 2024 and California residency is not required to apply. 




Thursday, May 2, 2024

6:30 - 8:00 pm
Filmmakers working on their documentary projects can show 10 minutes of a work-in-progress video and receive 10 minutes of constructive feedback from fellow filmmakers. The videos will be shown via Zoom Share Screen.

Sign up for Show 10/Talk 10 is on a first come-first serve basis. Only five (5) work-in-progress films will be screened. BADWest members have first priority. Documentary filmmakers from all disciplines are welcome. Please include the title of the work and a brief synopsis at


Even if you're not working on a project at this time, these conversations are most valuable. 

Thursday, April 4, 2024
6:30pm - 8:00pm PST





We invite you to join us for "International Film Festivals", Thursday, April 4, 2024 at 6:30PM conducted by Medea Brown ans Melissa Randle.


Medea will explore the intricacies of navigating international film festivals, including identifying the most advantageous ones for Black filmmakers, understanding associated costs, evaluating the necessity of submission, and uncovering the potential benefits thereof.


Medea Brown

Associate Programmer Pan AFrican Film Festival

Medea Brown is an Associate Programmer for the Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF), the largest and longest-running international Black film festival in the United States. She was hired by PAFF thirty-two years ago as a Corporate Development person to establish relationships with industry executives and raise funds for the prestigious non-profit Black History Month event.


IShe took on the role of Associate Programmer under Asantewa Olatunji, the Head of Programming, a few years after joining PAFF. Medea works long hours viewing and critiquing over 800 film submissions annually on the FilmFreeway platform, grading all short narratives and documentaries submitted.


In addition to her work at PAFF, Medea has served as a juror for many international film festivals, including the Durban International Film Festival in Durban, South Africa; the Zanzibar International Film Festival in Zanzibar, Tanzania; and the Rwanda International Film Festival in Kigali, Rwanda. She has also traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she participated in a question and answer panel about filmmaking technique with filmmakers and theater owner Teddy Teshome.

Medea has traveled numerous times to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, West Africa, to attend FESPACO, the largest Black film festival in the world. FESPACO is held once every two years and attracts filmmakers, directors, actors, and actresses from all over Africa and the African Diaspora.

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Melissa Randle

Traffic Coordinator , Pan African Film Festival

Melissa is an industry professional with over 18 years experience working in film, television and commercial production. Simultaneously she's provided support & consultation services for professional organizations and various film festivals in Atlanta, GA including BronzeLens Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, and Atlanta Korean Film Festival. Her diverse experience includes a dozen TV shows, 20+ films, and hundreds of Commercial/ Corporate videos & live events. She’s worked with award-winning Directors and A-List talent, for clients including - 20th Century Fox, Funny or Die, Turner Studios, New Line Cinema & BET just to name a few.  Currently she serves as a Programmer and Film Traffic Controller with the Pan African Film Festival.  Melissa is passionate about independent content and supporting underrepresented talent by increasing their exposure to larger audiences. She is a mainstay on the festival circuit both domestically & internationally, venturing as far as South Korea to attend the Busan International Film Festival. A respected producer, Melissa most notably, served as Consulting Producer for 4 seasons of Magic Johnson’s Aspire TV signature series Urban Indie Film Block (formerly known as ABFF Independent), where she acquired short film content globally for the network.  She is a member of both Women in Film Los Angeles, and Atlanta (where she is also a past president & lifetime member), Programmers of Color Collective, Film Festival Alliance, Film Independent & First Fifteen LA.  As a guest speaker Melissa has been asked to cover a variety of industry topics including maximizing your film festival results, intro to the film business, script supervising, producing and more. 

Thursday, MARCH 14th

6:30p - 8:00p PST

Virtual Program 


Meet Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, the directors of the Sundance award-winning and Spirit Awards-nominated documentary film, Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project. Join them for an insightful discussion about their extensive body of work, where they will candidly share their experiences, challenges, and triumphs as filmmakers. Delve into their storytelling journey and explore the artistry behind documentary filmmaking with these accomplished directors.

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Michèle Stephenson  

Director and Producer


Joe Brewster

Director and Producer

Diem Van Groth

Executive Producer at Diem Van Groth Productions, Business Leader and Filmmaker

Thursday, March 7, 2024

at 6:30PM - 8:00PM

Virtual via Zoom


conducted by Diem Van Groth,

Executive Producer at Diem Van Groth Productions,

Business Leader and Filmmaker.


In the dynamic world of filmmaking, producers often face complex challenges and shifting requirements throughout the production process. When the need arises to enlist the support of a film production company, careful planning, strategic decision-making, and effective collaboration become paramount. Diem will discuss the steps and considerations involved in bringing on a production company to assist in completing a film.

As the Executive Producer at Diem Van Groth Productions, Diem focuses on impactful projects like "612," a documentary addressing social justice in Minneapolis. Simultaneously, his roles as a pro-bono Strategic Consultant for V3 Sports and a Communications Consultant for the City of Compton underscore his dedication to community development.


FEBRUARY 1st, 2024

6:30PM - 8:00PM PST



We invite you to join us for "How to Creat a Dynamic Pitch Deck", conducted by graphic designer Aaron Davis of Aaron Davis Graphic Design Studios, who specializes in pitch decks.

A dynamic pitch deck is a crucial tool to convey the ideas, concept and story of your film. This workshop aims to provide participants with the skills and knowledge needed to create a compelling and engaging pitch deck that captures the attention of investors, partners, procuers and stakeholder. The session will cover essential elements, design principles, and strategies to make your pitch deck stand out.


Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis Graphic Design Studios

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JANUARY 4th, 2023

6:30PM - 8:00PM PST



Join is for "I Need Help" - a BADWest workshop designed for both members and non-members actively engaged in documentary projects seeking advice on specific aspects such as editing, crew, script, equipment, clearances, and more.  Projects at any stage of development are welsome.

This interactive session allows eveyone in attendance to listen and learn from the advice given to fellow filmmakers.  Registration for "I Need Help" operates on a first-come, first served basis.  When signing up, please indicate the particular area in which you seek advice.

NOVEMBER 2, 2023

6:30PM - 8:00PM PST



From discussing the technical nuances of lighting and camera techniques to exploring the emotional aspects of storytelling through visuals. "Meet the DP's" will delve deep into the creative minds behind the lens; aimed at providing invaluable insights into the art and craft of cinematography and how to work with them in the world of documentary filmmaking.


Johnny Simmons



Crystal Kelley



Steven Farrier




Everyone must Register or RSVP 24 hours in advance.

The Zoom link/information will be emailed to all confirmed participants the day before the meeting.


Join BADWest for $45, and reap all the benefits of being a member, including free monthly meetings, screenings and other special events.

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