Category Archives: award

Just when I was about to give up…

Font graphic reads, just when I was about to give up.

“With 1 day left”, as stated in my previous newsletter, I had embarrassed the reality of not reaching my $6K goal on iFundWomen. Although I would have liked a different turnout, in all honesty I was at peace with this realization and the idea of retiring my project without the completion of the final cut.

In that moment of feeling at harmony with my decision, a few hours later… just when I was about to give up… I received an email notification from the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County notifying me of a grant award.

I received the funding needed to complete I Am More Than My Hair.

The Universe is miraculous.
 

In the spirit of transparency, I wasn’t able to raise the funds to create an accessible exhibition as I hoped for my exhibits next year. However, I will seek support from foundations in order to make this happen.

What does this mean?

I will see I Am More Than My Hair film into completion, as far as I can possibly reach. First focusing on the expenses related to accessibly (for blind and deaf audiences) and the sound mixing and color correction

Once it’s complete in the film festival circuit (December 2020) I will make it available online. I’m not sure of the platform as yet but I promise I’ll figure it out. Once I do, you’ll be the first to know.

This has been a 6 year journey.

As I wind down on the completion of, I Am More Than My Hair, I’m off working on other projects –  another documentary film and my first horror film!

I am forever grateful for the people who supported me and believed in my projects along the years. Thank you to everyone who took the time to support my campaign (it remains open in order to qualify for current grants on the iFundWomen platform). 

Please know that I appreciate you.

With gratitude,

Alyscia Cunningham
Director | Producer | Cinematographer
www.Alyscia.com

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“I Am More Than My Hair” wins Best Documentary Short at Through Women’s Eyes International Film Festival 2020!

What a beautifully challenging journey this has been (all bottled in one). I Am More Than my Hair is my first film. Although it still needs a few finishing touches, I am beyond proud of myself, my film editor Tiffany Lewis (who weaved the stories together so beautifully) and the courageous little girl and women who trusted me to share their stories.

I am thankful for Through Women’s Eyes (TWE) International Film Festival committee, judges and volunteers, for the powerful selection of film, assuring the festival went smoothly, and the audience votes which determined the awards.

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The response from the audience was undeniably positive and the topic of alopecia is evidently moving from taboo to an openly relatable conversation. The number of viewers that spoke with me about their personal story, a “sister”, “friend” or “mom” was a pleasant surprise.

Overall, seeing a weekend full of films directed by women, was an empowering experience. We laughed, we cried, we were outraged. In the end, we all discovered something new though the lens of these filmmakers. If I could share the dynamic impact of these films with you I would. It was so powerful on multiple levels.

Here’s a few of my personal favorites…
Medicating Normal – by Directors Lynn Cunningham and Wendy Ractliffe
#Female Pleasure – by Director Barbara Miller
SEMA – by Director Macherie Ekwa
LUZ– by Director Jon Banana

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Unfortunately, I missed a handful of films but you can take a look at TWE 2020 Film Lineup.

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I am also very grateful for my homestay host, Lurline, a local resident of Sarasota that opened her home to me as a guest. TWE couldn’t have paired me with a better host. I love how the Universe aligns so that I cross paths with genuine people. Our similarities are amazing.


I think back to me as a little girl…

staying up late at night (while my family was asleep) to watch documentary films on television. I gained an enormous amount of knowledge, often unheard of by my peers, and always spoke about something interesting that I learned (my thoughts on the direction of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Mission Mars, and the New World Order didn’t sit so well with my classmates, and I quickly learned that it’s best to keep some topics to myself – LOL). Regardless it’s rewarding to see that I’ve created what I’ve always loved.

At this point, I’m awaiting the “yay” or “nay” response from ten other film festivals. Actually, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival recently responded, “nay”, so… I have nine more to go.

And my journey continues…

Image of Alyscia Cunningham with the sunset in the background.

Kickstarter Launch – To Be Or Not?

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“To be or not to be?” This has been my exact thoughts for the past 2 weeks. Crowdfunding is not the funnest thing to do but, at times it’s necessary.

This is the time and it’s necessary 🙂

You may not know this but I’ve been working on making my exhibitions and film screenings accessible for people with disabilities. It’s literally a whole new world and I wish more galleries and museums were on board with it.

Why Kickstarter?
I’ve decided to launch a Kickstarter to cover the cost of accessibility for my presentations of photography exhibitions, film festivals and screenings and author talks.

To make the exhibitions and screenings accessible for the blind and low vision audiences, I also plan to use the funds to hire an Audio Describer to create the audio description (AD) for my film. AD is a service for people who are blind or low vision where a recorded narrator explains the artwork or what’s happening on screen in gaps in the dialogue.

To make my film accessible for deaf or low hearing audiences, I plan on using closed captioning. This allows the words to appear and show (on the screen) what is being said in the film. I will also hire a sign language interpreter during my artist talks for film screenings and exhibitions.

The Final Cut
The final cut is when the project is handed over to the sound department for final sound effects, audio mixing and color correction. AD and closed captioning is also created during this phase.

The feedback I receive from film festivals has been consistent. My film has a powerful impact but it needs to be a final cut. I have the professionals in line to do the job, but funding is needed in order to complete this phase.

What’s the launch date?
It’s not set in stone as yet but I will share the pre-launch page for everyone to view on March 3, 2020If you’re interested in reviewing and providing feedback please contact meIf you have crowdfunding experience and interested in helping with my campaign I’ll give you one of the Kickstarter awardsContact me for more info and to discuss.

I’ve also been connecting with and submitting my proposal to several family foundations for funding as well as the Arts & Humanities Council. In other words, I’m putting my eggs in multiple baskets.

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Thanks to your support I’m headed to Sarasota!

I Am More Than My Hair was awarded an Official Selection and will screen at the 2020 Through Women’s Eyes International Film Festival, taking place place on March 6 – 8, in Sarasota, FL. If you’re in the area, consider attending the film festival.

I Am More Than My Hair screens on Sunday March 8th. Read more and purchase tickets

Donate $50+ & I’ll send you a copy of the book and a bookmark!

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Your support is appreciated! Here’s a few ways you can offer support: 

1Make a donation – Donate $50 or more and I’ll mail you a copy of I Am More Than My Hair book. As an added bonus, I’ll send you a bookmark!

  • Want a tax-deduction? Donate via my fiscal sponsor, Docs In Progress. Please note that it will take longer to ship as the funds aren’t immediately available. I’ll keep you posted on the ETA. Please confirm your donation by sending me an email.
  • Not interested in the tax-deduction? Contact me and I’ll send you an invoice via PayPal. Simply click the button below to send an email letting me know your preference.
  • Prefer not to make an online payment? Not a problem. Feel free to mail a check. Please include your reward preference (book, calendar, tote or mouse pad) on the check. Contact me for the mailing address

2. Purchase a copy on Amazon. If you prefer to purchase a copy of I Am More Than My Hair on Amazon, please purchase directly from me (AC Media). 10% of proceeds from book sales are donated to Children’s Alopecia Project (CAP). Please note, I am only able to donate to CAP if you make a purchase via AC Media. I won’t receive payment for books sold via the other companies.

3. Interested in hosting a private screening? Contact me for more info.

Thank you for your continued support!

“I Am More Than My Hair” is an Official Selection in the 2020 Through Women’s Eyes International Film Festival

I Am More Than My Hair has been selected to screen at Through Women’s Eyes International Film Festival 2020 taking place place on March 6 – 8, in Sarasota, FL. If you’re in the area, consider attending the film festival.

TWE is a fundraiser for the US National Committee for UN Women (USNC), an arm of the United Nations. UN Women works in more than 90 countries in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment. TWE is a volunteer-staffed festival and all net proceeds of TWE are donated to the USNC for advocacy programs and to support the work of UN Women worldwide. Read more and purchase tickets

Film Festivals

movie theatre marquee of I Am More Than My Hair

It’s a hefty price of $25 – $100 per submission as well as travel/lodging expenses, if my film continues to be selected (a great problem to have). That’s an average of $1K per festival (give or take a few hundred $).

With that in mind… your support is still appreciated! 

Here’s a few ways you can support:

1Make a tax-deductible donation via my fiscal sponsor, Docs In Progress. Donate $50 or more and I’ll mail you a copy of my book (please forward the confirmation email to Alyscia@momsinfilm.org). If you’d like me to write a special message for someone, once you make the donation contact me and let me know who the book should be autographed to and the message you’d like to share.

2. Purchase a copy on Amazon. If you prefer to purchase a copy of “I Am More Than My Hair” on Amazon, please purchase directly from me (AC Media). 10% of proceeds from book sales are donated to Children’s Alopecia Project (CAP). Please note, I am only able to donate to CAP  if you make a purchase via AC Media. I won’t receive payment for book sold via the other companies.

3. Mail a check. If you don’t care to make a tax-deductible donation, feel free to make a donation via check and mail it. Once again, if you make a donation of $50 or more. I’ll send you a copy of “I Am More Than My Hair” Contact me for the mailing address.

4. Host a private screening. Interested in a private screening? Contact me for more info.

Thank you for your continued support!

 

“I Am More Than My Hair” Wins Award in Best Shorts Film Competition and A Show For Change Film Festival

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I am honored to inform you that I Am More Than My Hair has been recognized with an Award of Merit by the Best of Short Film Competition. The Best Shorts Competition demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity, and those who contribute to profound social change. Knowing that is confirmation that I’ve my film is making a difference in society.

Storytelling

I was also recently informed that my film won the Storytelling Award for November’s A Show For A Change Film Festival. a socially conscious entertainment company that changes the world through the power of story.

 

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Thank you!

I am so grateful for the outpouring of support along the years. The patience, resources, donations and cheer leading me through my challenges hasn’t gone by unnoticed.

I Am More Than My Hair has been a 4 year journey. The funds raised were a huge contributing factor from the start of my film to its current stage. I can’t thank my supporters enough. If this is you… THANK YOU!

Would you like to support my film? Please consider making a tax-deductible donation via my fiscal sponsor, Docs In Progress.

I Almost Threw In The Towel

As much as I love to give good news, I always want to be open and honest about my hurdles along the way.

I’m exhausted.

It’s as simple as that.

I excitedly reached out to my grantor to inform them that I finally use my grant funding as planned. Keep in mind, the remainder of my grant was supposed to have been released, but because I did not use my previous year’s grant as yet, it has been withheld. {It’s only fair but this is my first grant award and I’m learning that there’s a lot more logistics to the entire process than originally thought it to be.}

My excitement quickly turned to disappointment when I receive the response…

“Is your project complete?”

They can’t be referring to having to the 1,000 copies of I Am More Than My Hair, printed and available for sale? Or so I thought.

I assumed that using my grant money was sufficient for releasing the remaining award and moving on with my project. I thought wrong.

Damn it, another hurdle!

Not only has a set back been obtaining the stories necessary to accompany the photos of all the women in my book, but also obtaining the funding needed to complete it. That’s why the grant was so vital.

My initial response (in my own head)…

“I can’t do this. I’m done!”

It has been frustrating, to say the least, working as a one-woman show. As much as I don’t like to admit this, unfortunately, I’ve had to eliminate multiple women from my project because they either haven’t sent their stories to me on time or have been unresponsive.

If there’s one thing I understand, it is that we all have lives and sometimes making the time to complete “another task” isn’t as urging as our daily routines. Then add the challenges the Universe throws at us from time-to-time.

Today, I made my last attempt to collect the story of one individual, whom hasn’t respond to my emails in over a year. I finally figured I should Google her name to see if her contact info may have changed.

Instead of finding any updates, I found an obituary.

Katie had passed away and I didn’t even know it. I was so stuck in tunnel zone I never thought to reach out to her in another way before this day.

Katie was the first individual to respond to my call for participants {outside of the first groups of women from SWAG and NAAF‘s Facebook post}.  Despite her diagnosed with breast cancer, Katie happily volunteered and often sent positive words of encouragement, especially when I lost the patience with myself and my project. She was never critical and never questioned my timing.

Instead she said…

“It will happen when it’s supposed to. There’s no rush.”

So today, I had to pull myself out of my pity party, say prayers for Katie to rest in peace and the condolences of her family, and remind myself why I started in the first place.

To use my creativity as a pedestal to cultivate awareness, and dispel the myth of a “beauty standard”. I Am More Than My Hair aids in the awareness of alopecia.

And…

I am the vessel given the opportunity to bring it to life.

It has been undeniably challenging, which I am sure is no different from anything you give as a labor of love.

So I move forward knowing that I have to work 10 times harder, but believing that it can and will be done. And although not having the grant on-hand has caused a delay, I can’t give up.

Actually, I take back, because I can.

I won’t.

I thank you for your patience and belief in the work I create, that in some way contributes to social-good, through art.

Enjoy the Holiday!

I Am More Than My Hair -  Katie

Katie… May you continue to Rest In Peace. To her family… I send my condolences and lots of love and light your way.

Peace & Blessings,
Alyscia

MoCo Grantee Awards

Last week I attended Montgomery County’s 15th Annual County Executive Awards for Excellence for the Arts & Humanities (#ExecAwards2016). This event recognizes the individual artist, art organizations and art projects awarded grants for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

It includes the grant I was awarded to cover production cost of I Am More Than My Hair. Seeing my name on the screen at the ceremony, as an individual artist grantee award recipient, was confirmation that I’m headed in the right direction.

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In that moment, I felt an immense amount of gratification as I thought back to all of the hard work and time I’ve invested, and continue to invest, into my art. Not only has it opened a new door and path for me but also also proven that passion and dedication makes dreams come true.

I’m feeling thankful!