"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)
The Breach (2003)
Big Head People (2003)
Weapons of Misdirection (2004)
The BFF Lab is on hiatus pending new funding.
BFF LAB: Interactive Online Narratives
WEAPONS OF MISDIRECTION (2005) WEBBY AWARD WINNER
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?
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.