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"The BFF DV Lab enables socially concerned filmmakers of color to present their stories, ideas, and images on their own terms without seeking the permission, approval, or sanction of media gatekeepers."

- Warrington Hudlin, Executive Producer, BFF Lab
BFF LAB: Micro-Budget Digital Filmmaking

Launched with a grant from the Ford Foundation in 1999 and extended by a grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation in 2002, the BFF DV Lab provided digital video equipment and micro budget commissions to filmmakers of color to produce digital films developed in the Lab that are 1) entertainment-driven, 2) socially-concerned, 3) linked to human rights and racial justice activist organizations and movements., and 4) included an interactive, online component that allowed visitors to track, question, and comment on each step in its filmmaking process and when motivated, make financial contribution toward its completion.

The diverse ethnic heritages of the participating filmmakers included: African American, Colombian, Curacao, Dominican, Indian, Mexican, Pakistani, and Puerto Rican media artist. The films employed a variety of genres including fiction, non-fiction, comedy, dance, reality, flash animation, and most recently, online interactive narratives.

Once Upon A Ride (2002)
Haters (2002)
The Anti-Vigilante(2003)
The Breach (2003)
Big Head People (2003)
Weapons of Misdirection (2004)
Ancestors Watching(2005)

The BFF Lab is on hiatus pending new funding.
BFF LAB: Interactive Online Narratives


Weapons of Misdirection is an interactive film about the war in Iraq. For a month in the Spring of 2004, Weapons of Misdirection followed three characters, a soldier gone AWOL in Iraq (Dave), his wife who is in Kentucky raising her son alone (Heather), and a formerly embedded journalist who is in crisis in Baghdad (Lorna). The film followed the characters in real time, over 30 days, so the audience came back to the website again and again and follow the characters' online journals, which included videos, photos, blogs and audio transmissions.

Weapons of Misdirection feels like a documentary, but in reality the characters are written, although they are all based on real people who blogged about the war. We asked the audience to participate: to write in and talk about the war, and to dialogue with each other and the characters.



Where My Ladies At?
is a “next generation” interactive online film about women, Hip Hop and sexuality. (2007)

The film brings the realities of women’s place in Hip Hop to spark debate on the intersections of commercial Hip Hop and the sex industry, in real time with real people. For 30 days, the film’s subjects upload video and blog in real time, interacting daily with the audience.


Produced by Leba Haber
Digital Artist in Residence
BFF Lab and MTV Networks (2004-2007)

BFF's success in identifying and developing new talent led to a contract with MTV networks to set up a dedicated Lab to assist with their diversity outreach.

For the Spike TV channel, the Lab developed and produced three TV pilots: BIG HEAD PEOPLE; HERE COMES MUSTAFA; and WATCHMEN: DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRACY.

For The N Channel, the Lab developed and produced the TV pilot, KATRINA.

DV Republic facilitated a FAKE interactive documentary about the war. Find out why we tricked you...

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Choreographer/director Gabri Christa, in collaboration with dancer/cinematographer Evann Siebens, has created The Breach, a series that makes social commentary with short dance films. Each episode follows a young foster child, Dizzy, while he roams the city looking for his mother. All stories are danced on real locations.

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When a Caribbean-born South Asian man is roughed up on the street because he "looks like a Arab", his American-born son is outraged. Ignoring his parent's advice to let it go, this young man dresses up in traditional Arabic dress and walks the street as a kind of shark bait for bigots. This politicized Kung Fu film raises issues of racial profiling and vigilantism.

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This Latino dramatic series Produced by Diana Duque and Nestor Miranda takes a look into the lives of the newest Americans, immigrants in search of the American dream. Each episode is seen through the eyes of Moses, a Latino cab driver working in Jackson Heights (one of the most multi-cultural communities in New York City).

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Charismatic and controversial activist, Mustafa Majeed takes on institutionalized racism in this cross between the film Roger & Me and the Cops TV series. Corporate criminals beware, Mustafa is coming to the defense of those who can not defend themselves.

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This important new 30-minute documentary film by Tania Cuevas-Martinez and Lubna Khalid focuses on the current issues of racial profiling and hate crimes on the rise in the United States since September 11. "Haters," journeys through key historical periods and contains personal accounts from victims as well as interviews with prominent activists and theorists. Featuring spoken word by Suheir Hammad (currently performing in "Def Poetry Jam," the hot new cutting edge presentation of performance poetry on Broadway.)

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This public access talk show features in depth conversations with socially concerned artists and entertainers and presents film clips from their work.

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BIG HEAD PEOPLE is an animated political sketch comedy series created by Monteria Ivey & Stephan Dweck, featuring the voices of the "Goon Squad" comedy troupe (with animation by Andre Sutherland). Why "Big Head People" Because the world they inhabit is remarkably similar to ours... filled with provocative, politically explosive situations that require BIG ideas, from people with BIG mouths, and BIG heads to match. In an age where political correctness is used as a buzzword to mean "keep quiet," the BIG HEAD PEOPLE have something to say... and they'll make you laugh while you think.

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