GoPro for a Cause Spotlight: The Redford Center

May 06, 2022


GoPro for a Cause is committed to inspiring and enabling all people to make a positive impact on our world. Our mission is to inspire social engagement by leveraging our products and global reach to help non-profits tell their stories.

This year marks our fourth collaboration with the Redford Center Grants environmental impact documentary program. Over the years, we’ve supported 36 cutting-edge environmental films, including Demon Mineral, Reefs at Risk, and Youth v Gov.

Co-founded in 2005 by Robert Redford and his son James Redford, The Redford Center advances environmental solutions through the power of stories that move. Its cross-cutting programs support environmental storytellers and invest in impact-driven narrative strategies. The Redford Center believes we must treat the environmental crisis like the emergency it is, and transform pervasive narratives from defeatist to hopeful, in order to create the conditions where a just transition to a healthier future is not only possible, but actualized.

“The Redford Center is pleased to collaborate once more with GoPro in supporting the fourth cycle of our Redford Center Grants program. Environmental storytelling is an important solution to the global crises we face–because it is essential to education, shifting culture, building empathy, and influencing policy. Our goal is to support environmental filmmakers and frontline storytellers to move forward needed change for people and the planet,” explains Heather Fipps, Program Manager with The Redford Center. “Funding is just one ingredient for bringing a film project to life, which is why we are so thrilled to continue our collaboration with GoPro as part of providing additional resources, training, and insights to the filmmakers we support.”

The Redford Center recently announced an open call to welcome new documentary projects to their grants community and we asked them to share more information about the program.

Tell us about the Redford Center Grants program:

Since launching our grants program in 2016, The Redford Center has remained of the few entities exclusively funding intersectional environmental documentary film projects and filmmakers with multifaceted support systems. To date, over $1 million in grant funding and direct project support has been awarded to 36 films through the program. Our grant investments have supported documentary productions in 21 states, 14 countries, and approximately 900 creative jobs have been made possible by these projects.

Right now, we’re looking for the next cohort of films to join our grants community.This is a rare opportunity that offers direct support for frontline filmmakers who have a story to tell about environmental leadership, progress, solutions, possibility, hope, and innovation.

Environmental storytelling is a truly under-resourced strategy to help solve the environmental crisis. To put things into perspective: according to data from the International Documentary Association, of the roughly 440 organizations who support annual giving to nonfiction filmmakers, only 4% explicitly state that they prioritize environmental stories. Of that 4%, only eight grants exclusively support environmental stories, and two of those grants come from The Redford Center.

Who can apply for the grants program?

In the program’s fourth funding cycle, we’ll award grants to twelve projects. Creators of new and ongoing nonfiction feature films or docu-series at any stage of development, production, or postproduction are eligible to apply. We prioritize films led by artists from historically excluded and environmentally impacted communities as part of our core belief that storytellers and story subjects most impacted by inequities, extraction, and exploitation must drive climate and environmental narratives.

Projects must:

  • be a documentary feature film or series
  • have a clear impact goal or idea for an impact campaign
  • be about, or intersect with, an environmental issue and a proposed or activated solution.

What’s included in the grants?

Each project receives:

  • a first year (2022) $20,000 grant for production and/or impact campaign expenses
  • a GoPro camera package and training supported by GoPro for a Cause
  • and an opportunity to present at a public film showcase with industry leaders.

In year two (2023), The Redford Center will award second-year grants to support the production, completion, and impact campaigns for up to five selected grantee projects. In addition to financial support, we work in a grantee cohort model and provide learning sessions and opportunities, networking and promotional support, and community building to all grantees.

How does working with GoPro for a Cause impact the grants program?

Our mission to ‘advance environmental solutions through the power of stories that move’ aligns so strongly with the core values of GoPro for a Cause. And our continued collaboration has been an important cornerstone of our grants program. As a nonprofit, it means the world when we find mission-aligned supporters who are willing to amplify the stories we believe in and the work of the incredible changemakers that we support. It makes our impact go farther.

Thanks to the generous equipment support and camera training from GoPro for a Cause, our supported filmmakers have been able to document important scenes from around the world. From one of the last expeditions to the north pole (Exposure), to underwater coral restoration projects in Hawaii (Reefs at Risk), and even Indigenous scientists, elders, and activists protecting vital resources of the Navajo Nation while uncovering the radioactive contamination left from abandoned uranium mines (Demon Mineral).

How do your filmmakers use GoPro cameras?

GoPro cameras have helped filmmakers show windows into worlds that are difficult to visualize and create impactful and emotionally charged angles, perspectives, and points of view.

Our filmmakers utilize GoPro cameras in the field because of their flexibility, mobility, and durability in extreme conditions. The image quality of the cameras holds up in cinema quality projects, which is important because our supported films have screened at film festivals around the world including Sundance, Tribeca, and reach home screens across the world. As an example, check out Youth V Gov just released on Netflix! GoPro’s ability to provide a unique point of view, reach difficult angles and perform in extreme conditions makes them an excellent tool for environmental filmmakers in the field and on the frontlines of environmental action.

How can environmental storytellers get involved and apply for a grant?

Now it’s your turn to tell your environmental story. To learn more and apply visit: Redford Center Grants.

Applications are accepted until May 30, 2022.

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