Detroit Narrative Agency Announces Recipients of Seed Grant Program for Moving Image Projects

The Detroit Narrative Agency, a new program of Allied Media Projects, is excited to announce ten recipients of the Seed Grant Program for moving image projects. The Seed Grant Program nurtures Detroit-based storytellers who are advancing the narratives of justice and liberation through compelling, quality, moving-image projects.

“Detroiters are ready to shift the narrative landscape of Detroit. What we could feel throughout the 148 applications for seed grants was such deep love for our city. These ten projects are part of a larger pattern of creators who are crucial to shaping and uplifting resistance and resilience in the city,” said adrienne maree brown, DNA Facilitator.

The ten selected projects, developed by Detroit-based storytellers ranging from ages 19 - 53, were chosen for their strong narrative shifting, moving image and community engagement components. The projects range in format from documentary film and web series, to virtual reality and interactive installation.

All ten projects will participate in a series of “capacity building” activities, presented by the Detroit Narrative Agency between August 2016 to March 2017. Through these activities, DNA will provide technical support, skill development, community engagement opportunities, mentorship opportunities, and other forms of consultation. Each project will receive a $5,000 mini-grant to support their project’s research and development, and then will be provided with an opportunity to present completed project pitches to potential funders.

“The future grows up from the soil of our imaginations, our stories, and memories. With these grants we are seeding projects that will draw from and enrich that soil in Detroit,” said Jenny Lee, executive director of Allied Media Projects. “We are especially thrilled to be supporting moving image projects led by lifelong Black and Brown Detroiters that are embedded in the work for community transformation happening at our city’s grassroots.”

DNA info session
DNA Info Session. Photo by Gregg Newsom

2016 DNA Seed Grant Recipients

The Growers

A short narrative film about a day in the life of 27 year-old Ali Jones, lifelong Detroiter, hip-hop enthusiast, gardener and master natural dyer. This film explores themes of urban gardening and environmental justice. Developed by Ash Arder with support from Sterling Toles.

Nobody Moves!

A video series and web-based campaign that profiles the forced gentrification and illegal evictions happening throughout the city of Detroit. Developed by Justin L. Ivory and David Brooks of SpaceMonkey Productions.

When It All Changed

An interactive, science fiction short film that incorporates virtual reality to showcase the resilience of Detroit youth. Developed by Sultan Sharrief, Davonte Ford, and Jillian Craighead of Street Cred' Youth Crew.

What's the T?: Exploring the Narratives of Transgender Women of Color in Detroit

A documentary film series that illuminates the stories of ten transgender women of color from Detroit. Developed by John A. Trimble of the Trans Sistas of Color Project.

Riding With Aunt DDot: A Street Fashion Film Series

A documentary photography and film short series about commuting via public transportation in Detroit featuring interviews, moving fashion portraits, and experimental fiction. Developed by Bree Gant and Stephanie Blair Watts of Rock City Lookbook with curator Hanniyah Cross.

Who is Sitting on Our Land?

A documentary film that investigates, documents, and critiques the Detroit City Government and Land Bank Authority's reluctance to issue land at affordable and equitable prices to the community for food production. Developed by Atieno Nyar Kasagam and Olivia Hubert.

Where the Heart Is

A documentary film featuring interviews of Detroiters at the homes they grew up in, sharing the histories of their neighborhoods and how their lives have been impacted by issues such as mass incarceration and emergency management. Developed by Willie O. Ford of Iktomeproductions.

Raising Voices!

A video archive that uplifts and preserves the stories of queer, trans, and women musicians of color in Detroit. Developed by Vanessa Reynolds, Bri Wilson, and Jova Lynne.

Dangerous Times/Rebellious Responses (DTRR)

A gallery-based installation and web-based interactive archive juxtaposing late 20th century and current refugee practices with an emphasis on Detroit. Developed by Alicia M. Diaz and Consuela F. Barber-Lopez.


A science-fiction narrative film that shares the coming-of-age story of Ada, a black, teenage girl who learns that a millennia and a half ago, her mother was a general for the Liberation Army. Developed by Alissa Jenkins.

In addition to the capacity building program for seed grant recipients, DNA will offer public educational and networking opportunities for Detroiters to develop skills related to video storytelling and moving image projects. Please follow the DNA Facebook page,, to stay up to date with these opportunities.

DNA is a project of Allied Media Projects, supported by Ford Foundation Just Films Initiative. DNA is coordinated and advised by a group of Detroiters who understand that the “DNA” of this city is made up of many stories, and who seek to shift the stories that are currently being told in and of Detroit. Learn more at

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