April Dobbins, a graduate student in the motion pictures program, has been awarded a $10,000 WaveMaker grant for her Alabamaland documentary film. WaveMaker grants, administered by Miami-based non-profit Cannonball, recently presented artists with funding. Fourteen WaveMaker Grants winners were selected from more than 100 applicants. Each WaveMaker grantee was awarded up to $10,000 and $100,000 was awarded in total.

Dobbins works full-time as the director of prestigious awards and fellowships in the Office of Academic Enhancement and is half-time in the motion pictures M.F.A. program. 

She used the funds to shoot the summer season of her documentary in July in rural Alabama. Her documentary explores the challenges that black farm families face in the South. Her crew includes a number of School of Communication alumni and current students, including Barrett Dennison, Andrea Garcia Marquez, Isaac Mead-Long, and Sam Koay.

“When you are making films, money is always the challenge,” Dobbins says. “You are constantly struggling to tell really compelling stories, but the financial burden is a real barrier. This grant just propelled my project forward in ways that I could never imagine. I’m honored.”

Grantees were selected by an independent juror panel of distinguished artists and arts professionals, including Meg Leary, director of programs at United States Artists; Diana Reichenbach, professor of animation at Maryland Institute College of Art; Felice Grodin, artist and 2015 WaveMaker Grantee; and Rene Morales, curator of Perez Art Museum Miami. The jurors selected the grant recipients based on the projects’ conceptual rigor and relevance to the local cultural, geographic, and socio-economic context, uniquely innovative and visionary impact on the local community, and the accessibility of the resulting project to the public.

For more information on the 2016 WaveMaker grantees, visit http://www.wavemakergrants.org .