from SDF’s Executive Director Rachel Raney
I’m writing today with some bittersweet news. At the end of the year I will be stepping down as the Executive Director of the Southern Documentary Fund.
There are a couple of factors involved, both personal and professional.
For over a year now, my husband and I have been working to rebuild our family through adoption. We’ve recently received news of a promising referral, and will hopefully travel internationally in the next few weeks to make this dream a reality. When we return from our trip in early 2016 I will be starting a new position at UNC-TV, as Director of Independent Productions.
It has been a privilege to lead SDF for the past 4 years, and I am incredibly proud of all we’ve accomplished — working closely with our staff, board of directors, sponsored artists, and many supporters and friends.
Since 2011 we have doubled our slate of fiscally sponsored projects, projects that yes, are winning prestigious awards, but just as importantly, telling urgent Southern stories. We re-launched our monthly, work-in-progress series Fresh Docs, screening two dozen films since. For two years now we’ve organized the ambitious SDF Artists Convening, bringing close to a hundred filmmakers to Durham for critical training and community building. We created the SDF Filmmaking Grants, providing critical cash grants directly to Southern documentary makers, and the SDF Filmmaking Residency, providing a creative respite to propel projects forward in a meaningful way. Just last month we unveiled our new website with a re-freshed logo and look. And as a partner on Reel South, many of SDF’s sponsored films will be broadcast into thousands of homes across the Southeast and beyond.
But I’m most proud of the strong relationships I’ve built with our talented and passionate filmmakers and artists, and grateful for the opportunity to help launch their projects out into the world.
We will post more news soon regarding this leadership transition. The SDF Board will be organizing a search/hiring committee in the coming weeks for our new Executive Director. If you have ideas of possible folks who you think could lead SDF, please point them in our direction.
SDF has come incredibly far over these many months, and the organization’s future is bright indeed. Support from our community will be critical in helping us write the next chapter of the Southern Documentary Fund. For my part, I will continue to be a proud SDF co-conspirator and cheerleader. In my new role at UNC-TV, I hope to collaborate with SDF, furthering the mission and vision of the organization and supporting its many inspiring projects.
Onward and upward with Southern storytelling!
Warm regards, Rachel Raney