Young Chicago Filmmakers Receive $5,000 Grant for Documentary on Hoda Katebi’s Co-op Blue Tin Production
We’re so excited to announce the recipients of the Full STEM Ahead Film Grant! We were so happy with all of the submissions that we received, and the judges really had their work cut out for them to choose a winner.
We found our perfect match with Chicago natives Jonah Ocuto and Amaya Benbow. Ocuto and Benbow were chosen to receive the $5,000 grant to produce a short-form documentary about the STEM program of their choice, Blue Tin Production. Blue Tin Production will receive a matching $5,000 donation, and the final documentary will receive a showing at a local theater alongside a Q&A with the documentarians.
The Full STEM Ahead Filmmaker’s Initiative is a first-year initiative designed to not only encourage STEM education and careers in STEM but to also cultivate the filmmakers of tomorrow in the process.
“As filmmakers, we are fascinated with how Blue Tin is using their platform in the fashion industry to create sweeping change in the lives of thousands of Chicagoans, and want to shine a light on the reality behind the clothes we wear,” said Ocuto and Benbow. “Led by BIPOC women, Blue Tin embodies the ways in which STEM programs can empower citizens to create drastic change, against all odds. We are inspired by those who, despite all circumstances, persevere, believing in a community’s power to better the lives of others. Like Blue Tin says, “It takes a village.’”
Blue Tin Production is an apparel manufacturing workers co-operative run by immigrant, refugee, and working-class women of color. Founded by author and founder of political fashion publication JooJoo Azad, Hoda Katebi, Blue Tin has been featured in various news outlets, including VOGUE and WBEZ 91.5, Chicago’s NPR news station.
"For our inaugural year doing this grant, it was inspiring seeing all of the amazing applications we received and the ideas that were shared. It was difficult having to choose just one project in the end,” said Andrew Nuño, a video producer at Lightswitch Video who helped judge the submissions. “That being said, we couldn't be more thrilled to be moving forward with Jonah and Amaya on their project and I'm excited to see what they end up creating."
Ocuto and Benbow will receive free consultations with Lightswitch producers on best production practices and post-production support from our world-class editing team – and we can’t wait to show you the finished product! Pre-production is already underway. The grant is sponsored by ZEISS Industrial Quality Solutions.