Wednesday, November 08, 2017

The Chris Clark Fellowship

Filmmaker Petra Daher, Chris Clark Fellow

I’m excited to announce that I received a 2017 Chris Clark Fellowship in support of my documentary film work.  This support comes thanks to the Arts Council of Greater Lansing and Chris Clark.  

Chris Clark created a memorable legacy; he passed at 29 and left his inheritance to the arts.  He was a businessman and nationally known DJ who bequest his life insurance policy to the Arts Council of Greater Lansing to support working artists.  Each year 8 artits from Michigan receive the fellowship.

I’m an independent film producer and director, who is a one-woman production company.  My goal as a digital storyteller is to create and share stories that make a difference.  I’ve been making documentaries since I was a teenager and I still love the process; being a filmmaker is a labor of love.  Documentary film production is long, complicated and undefined, money is scarce and grants are rare and very competitive.  Equipment is expensive and software and equipment standards are always changing.  So gifts like the Chris Clark Fellowship are rare and I am very grateful.  I’ll use the money to purchase a state of the art 4k video camera.  I’ve been working with a DSLR camera and I can’t wait to have a video camera in my kit again.  Video cameras offer a completely different approach to cinematography, but that’s another story.  

Currently, I’m independently producing two documentary projects: Tree Hugger Travel and Great Lakes Water Warriors.  Tree Hugger Travel is travel and nature documentary project.  I create environmentally centered travel guides focusing on eco-tourism and activities that support local economies.  I do this through photographs, pod casts, video postcards, documentaries, and website design.  The series includes digital storytelling about Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and I’m currently writing the script for Michigan.  

Petra Productions editing Pipe Out Paddle Protest footage highlighting the need to end Enbridge Line 5

Great Lakes Water Warriors, my latest project, is a series of short documentaries about Michigan Water advocates who are working to protect water and enforce healthy environmental policies.  I explore the Flint Water Crisis, Water Shutoffs in Detroit, and the movement to shut down Enbridge Line 5.  The Great Lakes Water Warrior Series will be used as an educational tool and shared at teach-ins throughout the great lakes region.  I’ve spent the past two years working with community leaders and activists from Lansing, Flint, Detroit and Northern Michigan and I am in the unique position to capture their stories in a very personal way.  These grassroots activists need and deserve to have their stories shared.

I’m also partnering with the Lansing based non-profit group the Meta Peace Team, and am in the postproduction stage of Empowered Peacemaking.  This 30-minute documentary is about the mission and philosophy of The Meta Peace Team.  The group teaches peace studies and conflict resolution and places peace teams both domestically and abroad.  The documentary will help share the mission and philosophy of this very important group.

We are living during a critical moment in history.  Art, humanities, human rights and the environment are under attack.  I have set the goal to center my work around projects that support humanities, human and environmental health and the arts.  As a Media Arts Activists and Collector of Stories, I believe the arts are part of the solution and necessary to create paths for understanding and healing.

Staff and Award winners at Arts Council of Greater Lansing

 “Documentary filmmaking serves an important role in society; I love the process of capturing stories and the ability to be a media activist and artist who promote stories with a purpose."

Petra Daher