Facet embraces creative non-fiction filmmaking by visionary artists, works that push the cinematic form and explore universal and timeless themes, and a robust US-based independent non-fiction ecosystem. – Maida Lynn
I founded Genuine Article Pictures in 2015 when I was brand new to documentary film. For practical and legal reasons, it seemed like a good idea to form an LLC, and I was excited to create an entity that could hold all this work together and, through a name and brand, signal to the industry a set of core values: humility, authenticity, creativity, and joy.
Six years, 22 projects, and expanded institutional support later, I felt like the Genuine Article brand was no longer accurately reflecting my work as it unfolded – and the direction I see it heading in the future. While I value earnestness, I felt the name foregrounded that value too much and didn’t provide enough room for exploration and expansiveness. I also wanted a name that more directly relates to aesthetic beauty and the complexity and collaboration of the work I do.
I see the work I do as one facet, or component, of a larger whole; and that the whole, whether it’s a film, or collaboration, or funded organization, is beautiful and sparkles like a gemstone. Each engagement, and the role I play, is unique and shaped to meet its specific needs. Extending the metaphor, I see myself and the work I do as multi-faceted, simultaneously wearing multiple hats and adapting to the demands of the moment and context.
While the name change reflections an evolution, one thing remains constant: a passion for, and commitment to, immersive works of cinematic non-fiction that expand the heart and mind, inspire wonder and awe, and generate more questions than answers.
I entered the indie film industry as a philanthropist and remain a committed grantmaker. As an individual with the tremendous privilege of independent wealth living in a country that, sadly, provides scant federal arts funding, I embrace the opportunity to contribute what I can to a risk-taking, free-thinking, and diverse US independent filmmaking ecosystem via grants. While there are commercial pathways to creative sustainability and profitmaking, my commitment is to focus resources on the makers and organizations that exist outside the mainstream. Grants provide creative cover and financial security in an industry rife with uncertainty and both perceived and real scarcity.
While my annual budget fluctuates a bit each year, my average total grantmaking in the non-fiction film world is about US$500,000, split roughly evenly among three categories:
2022 saw the launch of the Dear Producer Award, a $50,000 unrestricted grant to four mid-career independent producers, in both scripted and non-fiction filmmaking. The year-long fellowship also includes a summer retreat focused on rest and connection, a commitment to mentor one emerging producer, and monthly group check-ins.
Unrestricted, multi-year operating grants to US-based instructions that champion the art of non-fiction film and those who create it.
At any given time, I actively support a slate of four or five films in various stages of production. Every engagement includes a grant plus whatever sweat equity is most useful to the team.
I am still a company of one, who has so far resisted the occasional pull to institutionalize and expand this operation. I am reluctant to spend resources that could be going into the field on overhead and administration, and I deeply value the direct relationships I have with artists and partners. What this means is I do not have the bandwidth for an open call or scheduled application process, and that grant decisions are made solely by me and are largely based on my networks and word of mouth. I fear this limits the possibility to diversify access to resources, and it’s a tension I grapple with. To address this gap. I am open to receiving ‘cold’ email messages but will honestly and apologetically say I can’t guarantee a response: firstname.lastname@example.org.