May 2, 2018

words by Justin Wilkenfeld    

To be able to give back and support good people and causes has always been a goal for many of us in the amazing GoPro family.  The GoPro for a Cause program and the ability to support through cameras, donations and promotion of short form documentaries to GoPro’s robust audience of fans and customers is so rewarding, especially when we are able to help organizations secure additional funding. We have seen some beautiful stories as a result of efforts from the GoPro community around the world.  So cool.

image courtesy of Mark Peters / Reefs at Risk

I’m excited to be working with GoPro for a Cause to partner with The Redford Center and New York Community Trust for the 2018-2019 Redford Center Grants program. This two-year program will distribute six $20,000 grants to filmmakers working on feature-length docs focused on showcasing the exciting things people are doing to protect and preserve our environment.

Filmmakers use the funds and their GoPro gear to create short films that capture the essence of their stories.  Those shorts can be used to help them build audience support and raise additional funding to complete the feature film.

In 2016, GoPro supported Redford Center Grants’ first-ever grants program, providing Hero4 Black cameras and other gear. One of the grantee short films, titled Reefs at Risk, used their GoPro for a sequence of underwater shots in Hawaii to capture reef life. Their film supports the use of zinc sunscreens—which are far less-hazardous to the environment, particularly coral reefs. The award-winning short was picked up by Hawaiian Airlines and made available for viewing on all flights for several months this year.

Another film, Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock, used GoPros on drones to capture sweeping footage of the Dakota Access Pipeline water protector protest camps. The team completed their feature-length film in 2017, and premiered Akicita at Sundance this year.

For Round Two of Redford Center Grants, GoPro for a Cause is getting even more involved to help these adventurous environmental filmmakers get the most out of their GoPro equipment. In addition to providing the latest camera tech, the GoPro team will host an experiential workshop with the filmmakers at the Story Development Summit at the Sundance Mountain Resort October 25-28, 2018. 

image courtesy Cody Lucich

The reason to create an environmental film isn’t simply to shine a light on a problem. It’s about showing solutions, and showing what’s possible so that people will be inspired, and want to get involved. Maximizing the potential of GoPro technology to enhance a viewer’s experience of the story in unexpected ways can really immerse them in the topic—making them feel more like a participant than an armchair enthusiast. Which is essential to motivating people to get involved themselves.

If you’ve got an idea for a character-driven, solutions-based environmental film, then you can apply to receive $20,000, the latest GoPro gear, a travel and lodging grant for the Summit, and other goodies to make it happen.

Redford Center Grants will be accepting submissions from May 1 - June 1, 2018 at redforcenter.org/grants.

I know there are lots of great people and stories to be told that will inspire others to get involved, so please don’t miss your chance to submit your application. This is a great opportunity to get a lot of support to help make your film a success!