Baltimore artists to receive funding for film, media projects from Johns Hopkins fund

Nine upcoming projects from local artists will receive thousands of dollars from Johns Hopkins University's Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund in Film and Media to help create documentaries, movies, TV series and more in Baltimore.

The fund will provide a total of $215,000 to those selected for its second Bold Voices, New Paradigms Incubator program, said director Roberto Busó-García. Earlier this year, the fund awarded $195,000 to nine artists in the initial incubator program.


The money is allocated for two types of grants — development ($5,000-$20,000) and production ($40,000-$70,000). All of the artists are Baltimore residents, and the fund requires each project be made here, Busó-García said.

The six projects selected for development grants include Theo Anthony's "Body Builder," Andrea Conte's "Meet the Ungers," Jackie McTear's "Wayward Girls," Marissa O Guinn and Andy Dahl's "Mobility," Thomas Ventimiglia's "When We Fall" and Darryl Wharton-Rigby's "Water Works."

Three projects received production grants: Sage Okolo's "Alongside the Car," Lisa Moren's "NONUMENT01::The McKeldin Fountain" and Kevin Blackistone's "Who's Watching."

The projects are all very different. The documentary "Body Builder" explores the world of bodybuilding through the world's strongest 14-year-old, for example, while Moren's multimedia project is "a virtual memorial to a demolished fountain in Baltimore's Inner Harbor's free speech zone," according to a news release.

Busó-García said all of the projects are forward thinking, and not just in how they're made.

While innovation is often associated with technology, "innovation is also about telling stories that have not been told, or telling stories that have been told by people who don't usually tell them," he said. "All of these projects respond to that."

Johns Hopkins founded the fund in March 2016 through a $1 million grant from the Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation. (It is named after the three-time Oscar-winning producer who died in 2014.)

Baltimore residents, local college students (Johns Hopkins, Maryland Institute College of Art and the Peabody Institute) and Johns Hopkins alumni with media-related projects can submit an application for free here for the third incubator program, which begins in late April, he said. The deadline is March 31.

The goal of the fund, Busó-García said, is to "show and approximate diversity in Baltimore — not only in race and ethnicity and gender, but also point of view."

"Baltimore is not just one thing," he said.