Gabby Sumney is an Experimental Media Arist. Here, they handpaint designs on celluloid in their home studio.

New Affiliated Faculty member Gabby Sumney, who joins Digital Filmmaking in Spring of 2021, is one of 10 recipients of the 2020 LEF Foundation Early Development and Pre-Production grants.

The grants are funded through the LEF Moving Image Fund, and awarded to “films that demonstrate excellence in technique, strong storytelling ability, and originality of artistic vision and voice,” (LEF Foundation).

The LEF Program Officer Genevieve Carmel further elaborated, “‘This was the first year that LEF offered a new Early Development grant for four New England-based documentary filmmakers at the earliest stages of their process. We couldn’t be more excited to explore an expansion of LEF’s Moving Image Fund in this way, and this will be a learning process for us, informing how we approach future funding programs. By removing the current visual sample requirement at the Early Development stage, our goal was to learn more about and support projects in development by filmmakers who have not been able to create a visual sample for their current work, whether due to COVID-19 or where some initial seed funding might address the unique requirements of a project.'”

Sumney’s project Paradise, is a personal documentary exploring race, immigration, and imperialism through the filmmaker’s multiracial Caribbean American family. The film is produced by Women in Film & Video New England Board member Nerissa Williams – Scott.

On receiving the grant, Sumney remarked “Paradise started as short film I made in a Visual Ethnography class way back in 2015. It was called Fake Patty then, and it was basically a conversation I had with my grandmother on FaceTime about our heritage intercut with me making a food item that my great grandmother taught me how to cook when I was a child. I had to write a paper about the process as part of my final project, and in that paper I wrote that I could see myself revisiting this as part of a longer film. The LEF Foundation has really provided me with the financial buffer to continue working on this project in a way that I didn’t think would be possible in the pandemic times. I’m still in shock that I was selected and deeply grateful for the support. I look forward to challenges ahead. As someone who gets paid per class, the money from this grant will allow me to ‘buy my time’ to work on this project.”

Gabby joins Digital Filmmaking starting spring semester!