Black women creative technologists to compete in $75K immersive pitch competition

Their projects leverage artificial intelligence, AR, VR, and e-textiles

Creative technologists from Brazil, Canada, South Africa, and the United States will pitch for $75K USD in Black Public Media’s PitchBLACK Forum, including two filmmakers and an AI developer who won fellowships from BPM in 2021. The online competition is the culmination of three fellowship programs: The MIT & Black Public Media Visiting Artist Program, the Nonso Christian Ugbode Fellowship, and the BPMplus Fellowships. The competition will take place on Wednesday, April 27th, at 10 AM PT/1 PM ET. Register here to watch the pitches.

All of their projects, below, have completed R&D and are seeking funding to begin pre-production or production. 

40 Acres

by Tamara Shogaolu (Amsterdam & Los Angeles)

Technologies: Electronic textiles, video, augmented reality 

40 Acres, which includes both a film documentary and an immersive installation, focuses on the relationship between Black people in America and land. Shogaolu received a BPMplus Fellowship in 2021. She is the founder and creative director of Ado Ato Pictures, a film, TV, animation, and XR studio.

Filmmaker and creative technologist Tamara Shogaolu, director of “40 Acres.”

Ancestral Archives

by Josie Williams (New York)

Technologies: WebXR and AI

Ancestral Archives uses artificial intelligence chatbots to introduce young people to the work of Black thinkers, such as Zora Neale Hurston and Octavia Butler. BPM awarded Williams the 2021 Nonso Christian Ugbode Fellowship, which is earmarked for a maker under age 30.

 

AI developer Josie Williams, creator of “Ancestral Archives.”

Wa’Omoni Rising

by Ngardy Conteh George (Toronto)

Technologies: 360VR and a mobile app

Wa’Omoni Rising details the chipping away of communal land rights in Barbuda. The project encompasses three components: A film documentary, a 360VR documentary, and a 360VR mobile app. Conteh George is an MIT & Black Public Media Visiting Artist. Co-founder of OYA Media Group, a film, TV and virtual reality production company, she was recently invited to join the board of HotDocs. 

 

Filmmaker Ngardy Conteh George, director of the “Wa’Omoni Rising” suite of projects. 

PitchBLACK Forum is America’s largest funding competition for Black, independent filmmakers and creative technologists. The Forum’s first day features film projects, while day two showcases creative technology pitches. Unlike most tech pitch competitions, which tend to focus on funding startups or tech products, the participants at PitchBLACK Forum: Immersive are filmmakers and artists, with half of them owning their own creative studios. 

BPM is a 43-year-old nonprofit based in New York City. It supports the development of visionary content creators and distributes stories about the global Black experience to inspire a more equitable and inclusive future. 

BPM is also a founding member of Black Innovation Alliance, a national coalition of more than 60 innovator support organizations that work with small businesses, startup founders, and creative technologists. 

PitchBLACK Forum will award almost half a million dollars in grants after two days of pitches on April 26-27, 2022. The immersive program, which is free and open to the public, is curated and produced by Lisa Osborne, director of emerging media at Black Public Media. Winners will be announced on April 28th at the PitchBLACK Awards.

Learn more about the immersive projects competing in the 2022 PitchBLACK Forum. 

Register by April 25th to watch the online pitches on April 27th at 10 AM PT/1 PM ET/7 PM SAST. Tickets are free.

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This article was provided by Black Public Media. Learn more about BPMplus, our collection of emerging-tech programs for Black filmmakers and artists.

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