SDF Rebrands With New Logo And Website

Over the past year, the Southern Documentary Fund has worked to re-align resources and programs to better serve our Southern makers. We’ve awarded 15 Emergency Research & Development grants, hosted virtual events, and provided opportunities for feedback from our makers. We felt it was time our branding better reflect this new direction and had the pleasure of working with a talented pair of creatives in this reimagining.  Designer Kaliq Ray breaks down the philosophy behind this process, starting with our new logo:

“For the SDF logo, I tried to think of the most unifying element of the South, its soil. The South exists due to its unique relationship to the ground, and as a consequence, so do its inhabitants. Metaphorically, the South is like soil, new things are growing all the time, and if you dig deeper, there are many older stories yet to be discovered. In the dirt, there is a constant dance of life and death taking place. Southern storytellers are products of that process, and SDF gives them the ability to document that complex relationship.”

We look forward to continuing to serve our Southern storytellers!


Meet the designers behind SDF’s new look:

Kaliq Ray is a creative specializing in illustration, motion, graphic, and interaction design. Kaliq approaches his work with a collaborative spirit, inviting feedback and research to attain the most effective design solution. Deeply influenced by design history, Kaliq likes to use the past to reference his creative process. In his quest to be a better designer, Kaliq has been fortunate to meet Spot Co’s Gail Anderson, Pentagram’s Michael Beirut, and Paula Scher.
When Kaliq is not designing, he can be found watching vast amounts of video essays on YouTube, engaging in community events, trying new foods, or playing guitar. Kaliq is always looking to meet new people and learn something new. If you want to know more, add Kaliq on Linkedin or follow him on Instagram @kaliqray.

Delandro Taylor is a Brand & Web Designer from the beautiful island of Barbados. He runs his business with his wife Katrina who handles the project management and sales operations. Delandro has a Masters Degree in Graphic Design from the AI Miami International University of Art & Design and his experience with websites started in 2012 at a Florida Marketing Agency where he worked on hundreds of websites with clients all across the globe.
He started 3.0 Design, LLC in 2016 expanding from branding, web and graphic design services to also include digital interior design, business consulting and customer service training. He enjoys every part of assisting partners, contractors and customers in Barbados and the USA along with being a budding children’s book author for his little boy and girl. Follow him @go3point0 on Facebook or Instagram or visit to get in touch!

Meet Kristy Breneman, SDF’s New Artist Development Director

Durham, NC – November 13, 2020 –  The Southern Documentary Fund is proud to announce the appointment of Kristy Breneman in the role of Artist Development Director. Kristy will oversee the organization’s many programs serving documentary makers living or working in the American South, including Fiscal Sponsorships. SDF is currently sponsoring over 75 inspiring and important documentaries, collaborating closely on getting these projects funded, made, and seen.

Kristy comes to Southern Documentary Fund with a wealth of knowledge and extensive background working closely with filmmakers, distributors and film festivals across the South. Kristy has been in the field of artist services for over 15 years and has worked for organizations including Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the Atlanta Film Society, and the Austin Film Festival. She has also served on the Board of Directors for a number of non-profit arts organizations, including her current appointment at the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh, NC. Kristy has a Masters degree in Moving Image Studies from Georgia State University.

“We are thrilled to have Kristy join the SDF team. Kristy successfully spearheaded our Covid Response Development Grant cycle this summer. She will be a great empathetic conduit to our makers in her new position. Kristy will continue her role building innovative programs to support the SDF community,” says, Peter Gilbert, Southern Documentary Fund’s Interim Executive Director.

SDF Receives South Arts Resilience Fund Grant to Upgrade Technology and Create NEW VIRTUAL PROGRAMMING

The Southern Documentary Fund today announced receipt of a grant from The South Arts Resilience Fund in the amount of $30,000. With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the fund aims to build the long-term resiliency of our arts organization amidst the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. SDF will fulfill these aims principally by upgrading our technology systems to deliver new virtual programming to our Southern documentary media community.

“We are so thrilled to receive this vital support from South Arts. Updating our technology will allow us to continue to broaden our reach into all 12 Southern states that we serve. Today’s unprecedented times compel us to be more isolated than usual. The South Arts grant funds will be used to create virtual programs and offer services that will be accessible to people throughout the South. We are excited about the enhanced possibilities to build community and to improve our resiliency,” said Peter Gilbert, Interim Executive Director, SDF.

This initiative will empower SDF to provide high-quality virtual experiences for our Southern media makers, including our Educational Forums, Fresh Docs film screenings and Maker Mentoring Sessions. These opportunities will connect our makers with industry experts, seasoned film directors, and documentary producers. Importantly, the funds will enable SDF to expand its capacity to understand the challenges our makers experience during this COVID-19 pandemic. Our slogan is “nothing about us without us” and we rededicate ourselves to this commitment each time the stories of one of our makers makes its way into the world.

SDF is a nonprofit arts organization that cultivates documentary film and media made in or about the American South. It is our mission to empower Southern makers to tell Southern stories through Southern eyes and experience. We prioritize underrepresented voices, especially those with long connections to the American South, including black American descendants of US slavery and Native American populations. Inspired by our core belief that media has the power to change lives and communities, we aim to provide makers with diverse resources, including grants, fiscal sponsorship, mentorship programs, continuing education and training–all with the intent of lowering barriers to entry for Southern makers.

Through the South Arts Resilience Fund, significant grants have been made available to small and mid-sized arts organizations with a history of visionary leadership and impact. This fund is one of several support mechanisms created by South Arts in an effort to be responsive to the needs of arts organizations across the region. South Arts continues to seek additional funds to further build the South Arts Resilience Fund and its grant-making capabilities as the pandemic and its effects continue to evolve. #ArtsResilienceFund.

Rockfish Stew

We are a documentary company that employs a process and style that poet Ross Gay calls “lyric research”, in reference to Sam Stephenson’s book, Gene Smith’s Sink. Gay writes, “It’s a wandering and associative research, and in this way, it has as much to do with poetry as ‘documentary’ or ‘non-fiction’.” As a collective, we work with words, films, photographs, collected materials – whatever is the best way to render what we find.

Education & Health|History & Biography

Founder and Director – Sam Stephenson

This Belongs to Us

The practice of brewing beer is as old as human civilization. It is a craft that was originally practiced by women in parts of the world we now refer to as Africa and the East, but looking at the modern, craft brewing industry in the United States, you would never know.
The epicenter of this industry in the American South is the State of North Carolina. Each year, North Carolina breweries contribute over $9 billion dollars to North Carolina’s economy. The State boasts over 300 breweries– the largest number in the American South — only 2 are owned by African-Americans. Following the journey of one of these brewmasters, This Belongs To Us will explore how American beer culture became synonymous with white, male identity, and how Black, Southern craft brewers reclaim it

Arts & Culture|Civil Rights & Social Justice|History & Biography

Director: Atinuke Akintola Diver


Some say that grief is love that has nowhere to go. This film paints the image that grief is an everlasting love that’s begging to be repurposed. This feature-length documentary intimately displays a mother’s love during her dying days and her three grieving sons’ quest to honor her memory through comedy, music, and fly fishing. Using archived family home videos and present-day performance footage of the three brothers, the many forms of never-ending grief are on full display.

Education & Health|Environment & Nature

Director, Writer, Producer  –  Taylor Sharp

 Editor/Producer – Holland Randolph Gallagher

The Lost Cause: A New Southern History

The Lost Cause: A New Southern History is a feature documentary about the unexpected removal of Confederate monuments in Raleigh, North Carolina from the capitol grounds. The film will be told from the perspective of black and brown activists working to increase police accountability in the city.

Civil Rights & Social Justice|History & Biography

Director: Devine Utley
Producer: Sage Wallace – Williams
Executive Producer: Courtney Symone Staton

Mending Walls

In Richmond, VA public art is one of the city’s biggest assets in the downtown area. As a city with one of the largest collections of public art in the United States  we now have the unique opportunity to use public art as a tool to bring empathy and connect at a time when we need it the most.

Mending Walls was derived from a Robert Frost poem published in 1914. Mending Wall narrates a story of two neighbors working on a wall between their two farms. As the men work, the narrator questions the purpose of a wall “where it is we do not need the wall” but as the story goes on his neighbor replies twice with the proverb, “Good fences make good neighbors”.  It’s this concept of why we, as Americans, put up walls, literally and figuratively, that inspired the title of Glass’ project.

From July-September 2020, Hamilton Glass paired together Richmond based artists from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and perspectives to create murals that reflect deep conversations about race and equality in the hopes that it sparks a larger conversation within our community.  

The documentary takes viewers behind the scenes of this three-month public art project by being present in these conversations between painters, the design process, the painting of the murals, and the civic engagement activities that will follow

Arts & Culture|Civil Rights & Social Justice
Producer Pam Hervey
Director Todd Hervey
Co-Producer Hamilton Glass
Senior Editor George Parker

Captain Scott B and the Ingredients for a Magical Life (working title)

Betsy’s father, Scott, was her best friend. When he dies following a 4-year dance with cancer, Betsy finds herself lost in dark sadness unlike any she’d known, until her dad’s old home movies and journals cast a light. Something in the unmitigated joy of Scott’s storytelling stirs her soul and she sets about finishing the video project her father began decades earlier. Betsy’s journey takes her from the mountains to the sea of North Carolina, where she explores the people, places, and grand adventures of Scott’s extraordinary life, and uncovers ingredients of healing, scattered along the trail he left.

Environment & Nature|History & Biography

Project Director:
Matthew Chenet – Director / Producer
Key team:
Betsy Betram – Writer / Producer
Erin Essenmacher – Executive Producer
Brett Mullen – Director of Photography

Saltwata Vibes: Sankofa Seeds from Geechee Roots (working title)

Saltwata follows the brother and sister – children of Ron and Natalie Daise, from popular 1990s Nickelodeon TV show “Gullah Gullah Island”. Chronicling their generation of Gullah Geechee, together they face the challenges of finding an identity when you are born within a culture, that is within a culture, that is within a culture. The film also explores how music, as a creative vehicle, can evolve and modernize a culture – a journey that takes them from South Carolina to Sierra Leone and back. Is there a new, contemporary sound that can represent the Gullah Geechee? 

Civil Rights & Social Justice | Environment & Nature | History & Biography

Director/Producer   Sherard “Shekeese” Duvall

Executive Producers    Simeon Daise, Sara Makeba Daise, Sherard “Shekeese” Duvall