upcoming grant deadline: 03/01/2019

upcoming grant deadline: 03/01/2019

REEL Change: Leeway’s 25th Anniversary Film Festival

Thursday, November 1, 2018 All-Day Event

A moving collage of short films and feature-length work from Leeway community of artists over the years. All November long on PhillyCAM (Comcast Xfinity 66/ 966HD/ 967 and Verizon FIOS 29/30) Everywhere on Roku and online at phillycam.org/watch

10:00pm every night in November

Features every Saturday & Shorts programs on Sunday through Friday


Kick-off program 
(airing Thurs Nov 1)


Tina Morton & Roxana Walker-Canton 

Belly of the Basin 

Morton's film Belly of the Basin, a documentary on Hurricane Katrina, focuses on marginalized groups affected by the disaster: people from the Ninth Ward, the Black Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans and the Native American Houma Tribe. (Bombarded with demoralizing media coverage of Hurricane Katrina survivors, Belly of the Basin tells its story through the voices of ordinary residents from Black, indigenous, and poor communities.)

Features (Saturdays Nov 3, 10, 17, 24 at 10pm

Feature 1
Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater

BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez

For 81-year-old Sonia Sanchez, writing is both a personal and political act. She emerged as a seminal figure in the 1960s Black Arts Movement, raising her voice in the name of black culture, civil rights, women's liberation, and peace as a poet, playwright, teacher, activist and early champion of the spoken word. She is among the earliest poets to have incorporated urban black English into her poetry; she was one of the first activists to secure the inclusion of African American studies in university curricula. Deemed "a lion in literature's forest" by poet Maya Angelou and winner of major literary awards including the American Book Award, Sonia Sanchez is best known for 17 books of poetry that explore a wide range of global and humanist themes, particularly the struggles and triumphs of women and people of color.

Feature 2
Catherine Pancake

Black Diamonds: Mountaintop Removal and the Fight for Coalfield Justice 

A feature-length narrative documentary addressing large-scale coal surface mining techniques in Appalachian states and local community resistance to these destructive operations. In many cases, citizens are fighting not just to maintain their heritage and sense of culture, but also for their very lives as they witness heightened water contamination, deaths from flooding, and other mining calamities. Having been born and raised in West Virginia, the artist undertook the project with a sense of "creative triage" in hopes of not only alerting a wider audience to these critical problems, but also to document the communities and cultural values formative to her as a child that are being lost to large scale strip mining.

Feature 3
Kathryn Smith Pyle and María Theresa Rodríguez

Children of Memory

Hundreds of children disappeared without a trace during the Salvadoran civil war. Many were survivors of massacres carried out by the U.S.-trained Salvadoran army. Taken away from the massacre sites by soldiers, some grew up in orphanages or were "sold" into adoption abroad, not knowing their true history or identity. The film follows Margarita Zamora, an investigator with human rights organization Pro-Búsqueda as she traverses the Salvadoran countryside probing memory, swabbing DNA samples, and searching for disappeared children - including her own four siblings.

Produced by Kathryn Smith Pyle and María Teresa Rodríguez; Directed by María Teresa Rodríguez

Feature 4
Kimi Takesue

Looking For Adventure

A stylized observational documentary exploring the pleasures, strains, and choreography of Western group tourism in Peru.

Maori Holmes

Scene Not Heard: Women in Philadelphia Hip Hop

While Philly’s hip-hop contributions often go overlooked, one of its most unique qualities is the abundance of powerful female voices including Lady B, Bahamadia, Ursula Rucker, and Jazzyfatnastees.


Shorts Compilation Programs 

Repeating each week of November Sunday - Friday at 10pm

(Starting Friday Nov. 2)



Michelle Parkerson

A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde 
Poet, lover, mother, warrior — Audre Lorde writes passionately of love and anger, civil rights and sexuality, family politics and the glories of nature. In this 20 minute version of the film, Ada Gay Griffin and Michelle Parkerson reveal the potent legacy of this celebrated African American poet, whose life was cut short after her second battle with cancer.

Anula Shetty

Paddana: Song of the Ancestors 
Shot on location in South India, this narrative film examines the changing lives of three generations of Indian women living in a house inhabited by ancestral spirits.

Writer & Director - Anula Shetty; Producer & Cinematographer - Michael Kuetemeyer.



Ants On A Log

EPA Song

In May 2017, the US government solicited public comments in response to proposed EPA funding cuts. Ants on a Log produced this video, asking our fans to write in to save the EPA!

Bernadine Mellis

The Forest For the Trees is an intimate look at an unlikely team of young activists and old lefties who come together to battle the U.S. government following environmental activist Judi Bari’s arrest on terrorism charges in 1990. Filmmaker Bernadine Mellis, the daughter of Bari’s attorney, Dennis Cunningham, documents her morally driven, very tired dad, while offering us access into the life of the extraordinary Judi Bari and a piece of U.S. history that is increasingly resonant.

SHORTS PROGRAM 3  (Mondays) 

Carman Spoto


A transgender woman begins to lose track of reality as she navigates the space between what is natural and what is artificial.

Iris Devins

After the Date

The film portrays a romance between a trans woman and a straight man. The relationship flourishes, and the two face oppression from the outside world.

Misia Denéa

Bi/Black/BodyPositive/Bliss is a blazing emblem for plus-sized, queer, African/Indigenous ancestry often rejected by the world.

Wesley Flash

Pride & Process

A meditation on the Stonewall Riots featuring the voices of Judy Garland, Sylvia Rivera, and Nelson Sullivan. In this reproduction of Garland's classic "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," two LGBTQ activists tell alternating versions of the same history using layered sound. (Meditations on the Stonewall Riots featuring Sylvia Rivera, Nelson Sullivan, and Judy Garland. Starring Wesley Flash in the role of Dorothy, the eternal Judy Queen.)

Kavi Ade 

Two poems.

Irit Reinheimer

Of Origins is a series of short experimental documentary films about the lives and afterlives of a group of Jewish feminists in Germany in the early and mid-20th century. Each short film is a speculative love letter, spun out of strange incidents in the archives and the filmmakers's fantasy of finding her radical prehistory. This first installment describes a love rooted in its own time and place, neither apocalyptic nor nostalgic. Hannah uses archival footage, home movies, and rotoscoping to orient the viewer in queer bond forged across time.


Muthi Reed

PORTAL Black Infinity Hitchhike series

Old School documents an encounter while hitchhiking for car rides in Philadelphia. The video documents Mr. Calvin Townes and I's first meeting. Unscripted and minimally edited.

SHORTS PROGRAM 4  (Tuesdays)

M. Asli Dukan

Resistance: the battle of philadelphia (prologue)

Set in a dystopian, near-future West Philadelphia, this stand-alone prologue to the Resistance web series follows a stealthy hacker’s attempts to dismantle the surveillance tools used by the police to control her community after she learns that two young activists have been tracked down and brutally beaten by riot cops.

Melissa Beatriz

When Life Gives You Lemons

When Life Gives You Lemons tells the story of Colwin Williams, a Philadelphia-based activist who was formerly incarcerated, and is advocating for city-level changes.  This film was produced with the Philadelphia Reentry Think Tank.

Luisa Dantas

How does one begin?

Poet and activist Sunni Patterson performs powerful monologues on the streets of her beloved and battered New Orleans.

Milena Velis

Groundwork (38 mins.)

Groundwork is a documentary series profiling social justice movements in the Philadelphia area. The films follow half a dozen local organizers and explores how their involvement in movements has transformed them as individuals.

SHORTS PROGRAM 5 (Wednesdays)

Jennie Shanker

Ms. Jo

An interview with Joanne Simmons, a resident from Norris Homes, a PHA housing community that is in the process of being re-engineered by a federal Choice Neighborhoods grant. (Profile of Joanne Simmons, a 25+ year resident of PHA's Norris Homes, which will soon be razed and replaced by mixed-income housing. This film documents Jo's life and her role in the community.)

Laura Deutch

Hot Tea

A collaborative project by Katya Gorker, Kate Sclavi and Laura Deutch, supported by the Asian Arts Initiative.

Portia Cobb

Performing Grace  

A meditation on loss, grace, mercy, forgiveness and forced forgetting in four short performances. Portia's subjects include her nonagenarian Mother (age 97). "I began to think about the many meanings of the concept of grace and the contradiction of the word and these meanings. People perform their "grace" via a forced silence. I love using my mother as an actor, perhaps because I anticipate the loss of her in my life. The first segment is a directed interaction between us, a performance of stopping time."

Heidi Saman

The Maid

Rasha is an Egyptian housemaid who is not so skilled at her job. When Rasha’s suspicions of her employers are strangely confirmed, she must come to terms with her perceptions of trust, duty, and her place within the family household.

Sara Zia Ebrahimi

The FBI Blew Up My Ice Skates

The FBI Blew Up My Ice Skates is a short animated film co-directed by Sara Zia Ebrahimi and Lindsey Martin with an original score by Joel Roston. Based on a true story, the film tells a story from the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1980 from the perspective of Haleh, an eight year old who just wants to enjoy her ice skates. The film raises questions about the human cost of surveillance and the criminalization of immigrant communities, linking past policy decisions with current national discussions around security and xenophobia.  

SHORTS PROGRAM 6  (Thursdays)  
Julie Rainbow

Standing the Test of Time

The film highlights the stories of African American couples that have been married thirty years or more. They share information about the trials and tribulations of their relationships. "Embrace Love, Embrace Us, Embrace You" - Listen to African American elders share their stories about long-lasting love. Couples featured in "Standing the Test of Time: Love Stories of African American Elders" speak about how their love has lasted.

Debbie Rudman 

City Harvest 

This is the story of the City Harvest program, a collaborative partnership in gardening addressing institutional rehabilitation, community integration and improved nutrition. Through cycles of change and growth, prison inmates taking part in the “roots of re-entry” greenhouse program, network with neighborhood gardens to grow produce to be distributed to local food cupboards across Philadelphia. The documentary is an uplifting look at a radical social program changing people’s lives for the better

what makes a

Leeway Artist or Cultural Producer?

The following does not describe one kind of artist; rather, it paints a larger picture of the many aspects of different Leeway artists. [read more]

Join our mailing list

Stay up to date with Leeway. to stay informed of upcoming events, latest news, grant info and more!

Upcoming events
10/167:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Changemakers Cabaret

The Changemakers Cabaret returns after almost ten years to celebrate the artists, cultural producers and community partners who have been part of Leeway’s journey.

[learn more]

11/01All Day

REEL Change: Leeway’s 25th Anniversary Film Festival

A moving collage of short films and feature-length work from Leeway community of artists over the years, featured during the month of November.

[learn more]