injecting capital into our communities
It has always been a goal at HUDSY to provide direct access to capital for filmmakers to bring local stories to life. As filmmakers ourselves, we know how hard it is to get passion projects off the ground, and we want to help provide a supportive way forward.
The Community Content Fund is HUDSY's first step in that direction.
The local media landscape is changing, and there are fewer and fewer resources going toward telling our stories. HUDSY believes in reinvesting in our region's most meaningful stories — together we can build a robust Hudson Valley-based creative economy, ensuring that artists in our communities are paid for their work.
MEET THE 2021 CCF RECIPIENTS
The 2021 Community Content Fund application period is now closed.
After putting out a call for Hudson Valley content creators to apply for grants of up to $5,000 in 2021, we received almost 40 submissions from creatives throughout the region. Learn more about this year's CCF grant recipients below!
Louise Bartolotta is a filmmaker and educator from Poughkeepsie and a graduate of the SUNY Purchase BFA film program. She fell in love with filmmaking in 2011 as a teen producer at the Children’s Media Project in Poughkeepsie and she’s been making DIY films ever since. Her submitted script “Javelina” is about growing up surrounded by the magic of nature and the fear of losing your childhood wonder, against the backdrop of gentrification. The script is short and contained, taking place over the course of one summer day in locations in and around Beacon. The story is inspired by the Florida Project, Pan’s Labyrinth and Spirit of the Beehive — these three films are about how a child absorbs the adult situations around them.
Walter Hergt is a Hudson Valley-based filmmaker, visual artist, and oral historian who is passionate about making films that create vivid representations of peoples’ lives, particularly those that unsettle our preconceptions and expand our ability to see one another. As a HUDSY Community Content Fund grantee, he will endeavor to tell the powerful story of Rock Steady Farm in Millerton, a queer-owned and operated cooperative vegetable farm located on eleven acres in the Oblong Valley.
With a mission to root their work in sustainable agriculture and social justice, Rock Steady continually works to increase access to fresh, beautiful food for lower-income families in the region, and to serve as a training site for marginalized, up-and-coming farmers.
Christopher Nostrand is an independent filmmaker, owner of a video production company, and a college professor of digital film production (Marist, SUNY New Paltz) based in the Hudson Valley. His video project subject Tay Fisher, a 2004 graduate of Kingston High School, has spring-boarded his dedication, perseverance, and talent into a fantastic career as an internationally known basketball player and Harlem Globetrotter. The future wasn't always so bright for Tay, and he had to face many difficult obstacles on and off the court that led him on this unthinkable journey. Nostrand intends to present a perspective of a Black youth growing up in the City of Kingston in the 1990s-2000s, including his family, life obstacles, Boys & Girls Club experience, high school star-athlete pressure, Harlem Globetrotters tryouts, world travel, and life after the team.
HUDSY CONTENT COMMITTEE
Charged with assessing which Community Content Fund projects were selected to be made into video content for the HUDSY app, set to launch in early 2022, are members of HUDSY’s Content Committee. Read about the diverse, multi-generational group of community stakeholders in their individual bios below.
Tobe Carey is an Ulster County photographer and independent film-maker. His Catskill Mountains / Hudson Valley documentaries include Mountain River - The Esopus Creek: Headwaters to the Hudson, Woodstock Summer of '94, Cancer: Just a Word...Not a Sentence, The Hudson River PCB Story, and Deep Water (with Robbie Dupree and the late Artie Traum). Carey has collaborated with performance artist Linda Mary Montano for more than 20 years, and worked on projects including pioneering documentary Giving Birth, and docu-memoirs Stanley's House and School Board Blues. He is president of Willow Mixed Media, a not-for-profit arts organization working on arts projects and issues of social concern, like The Radiation Workers Project, Indian Point – Nowhere to Run, Sing For the Silenced with musician Marc Black, and All Politics is Local, documenting two years of public political events in Woodstock and Kingston, NY.
Alonzo “AJ” Jordan Jr. is a young filmmaker deeply invested in the youth and community surrounding him, his culture, and family. Growing up in the Hudson Valley, he has a firm grasp of his environment and what can benefit his neighbors. Serving his community is where AJ’s love for filmmaking was first discovered and developed, and he recently merged food and anti-racist social justice work with the Kingston YMCA Farm Project, an extremely important program to him and the local area. AJ acknowledges the power behind his voice and is eager to use his personal experiences, attention to detail, and work ethic to bring the Hudson Valley community a brand new lens to look through with his work and films.
Grace Lodge is committed to creating thriving places by ensuring the people who live in them have the power to design their own futures. Grace is the Director of Communications and Development at a Colorado-based nonprofit called Community Builders. Prior, she worked as the Communications and Community Engagement Specialist at the City of Aspen. Before moving to Colorado, Grace was the Community Engagement Manager at the Good Work Institute (GWI) where she helped develop a network of over 150 local entrepreneurs, public servants, artists, nonprofit leaders and activists working to build a more equitable and regenerative region in the Hudson Valley. Grace is most inspired when working with communities to create a collective vision and plan to drive just and lasting change in their place.
Anusha Mehar is a seasoned storyteller with 10+ years of experience working as an educator, cultural organizer, poet, producer, and public placemaker. She is the Founder of PANJA Culture + Wellness, a global healing network dedicated to decolonizing wellness, and the Co-Director of The Sanctuary, a QTBIPOC centered healing farm and garden, where she is co-creating a safe and accessible public space for people to reconnect with the sacred medicine of nature. Her writing about subcultures, the arts, social justice, and the environment can be found in interventions such as America’s Quarterly, Outdoor Journal, Holysotked, Redbull, Flying Circus Salons, and the Brooklyn Brujeria Festival. Anusha's mantra is "Liberation > Everything," and she strives to be a part of the solution in all of her endeavors.
Chris Rahm is a born and bred Hudson Valley filmmaker who — along with his partners — runs the indie documentary and commercial production company, Northguild. Over the last decade, Chris has documented the Hudson Valley environmental movement through his close involvement with Jon Bowermaster’s Oceans 8 Films, helping to conceive their award winning Hudson River Stories film project, lending his skills as a director, cinematographer and editor across the still ongoing 16 part series. Chris enjoys imparting his skills and experience to others by also serving as an educator for Stockade Works. His work has been featured on networks like VICELAND, Nat Geo and NBC Universal and Netflix.
Aja Schmeltz strongly believes that a successful community is made up of individuals working collaboratively on all fronts to create avenues to build a healthier, thriving, more sustainable environment. During her career, Aja has held a number of professional positions from Art Director to Distillery Consultant, and has spent more than 20 years volunteering throughout the Hudson Valley. While she enjoyed all of these jobs enormously, she was yearning for a position that combined her commitment to social justice reform, community building, her absolute love for this region and her tribes, and her unique skill set. She found that position at the Good Work Institute. In addition to her roles at GWI, Aja sits on the board of The Hudson Valley Current, is a member of the Kingston Trust Hub Advisory Board, a member of the Hudson Valley Food Systems Coalition and is a thought-partner for many initiatives and organizations throughout the region.
Shawn Strong is the recipient of a partial Fine Arts scholarship to St. John’s University with a minor in Communications. He ran a music studio for over seven years before enrolling at SUNY Orange for Visual Communications with a concentration in TV Production, which led to being a filmmaker. Shawn started a digital media and video production company called Phanatiks Entertainment in 2011 and has shot numerous music videos and commercials, produced a creative arts web show, and most recently a series of Sit-In Talks discussing the social justice movement. He is a HUDSY co-founder but not currently involved in operations on a day-to-day basis, and serves on the Board of Directors at Arts Mid-Hudson.