We entered our Film Festival in an application for a grant for small businesses creating change in their community.
We need 250 votes by June 19th to qualify for the next round of reviews. Please give us a vote!
Read our grant application questionnaire!
1. Tell us about your business and what makes it unique. Please provide a general description of your product, customers, competitive landscape, and overall performance.
The New Urbanism Film Festival showcases short and feature length films that celebrate, explain, and inspire quality urban design. The festival also hosts workshops, lectures, panels, tours, community events, and group bike rides, all of which seek to engage people in shaping their neighborhoods. Planning and council meetings tend to happen at city hall during working hours, when most residents can’t attend, and where usually only one side of an issue is presented. The films and events at NUFF expose attendees to current trends in urban planning and activism in cities worldwide, especially grassroots planning actions organized by communities themselves in conjunction with (and sometimes in spite of) traditional top-down city planning. There are other film festivals about architecture, but they often focus on “starchitecture,” large corporate projects that often ignore the needs of the everyday citizen. Our festival presents films and events that focus on the pedestrian-level urban fabric, the intimate street functions that support the life, health, and income of every city.
2 What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? Describe both your greatest achievements and biggest challenges.
After helping produce several other festivals, I wanted to create a festival celebrating a topic I am passionate about. I believe people can make their city a better place through civic engagement, neighborhood-scale projects and hyper-local urbanism, such as “tactical urbanism.” After two editions of the festival, I’ve achieved notoriety in several niche groups, but still struggle to market the festival to a broader audience.
3 How is your business involved with the community you serve? Examples include: giving back to the community, sourcing locally, and/or contributing to economic development via hiring.
During the four days of the festival, we bring together various community leaders and activists. We pride ourselves on creating a space for this intermingling. Architects meet bicyclists, mayors meet small business owners, etc. The crossover is essential because a city works best when it works for everyone. We’ve nurtured a lot of good connections between leaders and citizens in Los Angeles. Our films also inspire activism. People see good ideas succeeding in other cities and leave inspired to tackle projects in their own communities. Whether it is converting their lawn to drought tolerant landscaping, building a little library or urban farm, buying a bus pass, joining a bike train, or attending a city hall hearing about a new freeway project, projects get new attention after people attend events at the New Urbanism Film Festival.
4 What would a $100,000 grant mean to your business and how will you utilize the funds? Please be as specific as possible.
Our first two years have been produced for under $15,000 each. Obviously $100,000 will be a game changer. If awarded the grant, we will convert two volunteer positions into two paid staff positions. We will also market the festival more effectively and attract bigger audiences, as well as rent a larger hall for screenings and workshops. We’ll also be able to broaden our call for films and offer rewards to entice more filmmakers to submit their work to the festival. All of that means more stories to inspire audiences. Additionally, we’ve received requests from other cities to take the festival on tour. Presently we can take a small “sampler” version of the fest on the road; with the grant money, we will stage the entire festivals in cities around the U.S.
5 What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term growth plans for the business? How will this grant contribute to your plan?
Our short-term goal is to make the festival self-sustaining. Our primary funding is submission fees, ticket sales, program advertising, and personal contributions. We need to expand our profile in order to increase film submissions, to boost ticket sales, and attract advertisers and sponsors. Within two years, the festival should be able to make an operating profit, offer stipends to volunteers, filmmakers, and speakers. After the festival is sustaining, the second phase of the festival will be to grow into a year-round hub of events to increase interest and participation in civic life and art. With the help of the grant, we will be able to advance to the second phase within a year.