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Spelman Documentary Film Majors Show Off at South Pitch

November 2021

Stephanie Crawford New Orleans Film Society WinnerStephanie Crawford and Gabrielle Morse are the first Spelman College documentary film majors to present at South Pitch, the New Orleans Film Festival’s pitch competition platform.

After a year-long hiatus, the South Pitch Student Narrative and Documentary competition returned this year as a private virtual event. Participating institutions were Spelman College, University of North Alabama, Florida State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Loyola University, Eckerd University, Wakeforest University, and University of North Carolina School of the Arts. 

Crawford was announced as the winner in this annual competition where filmmakers from across the American South have under ten minutes to pitch their next film production. A senior documentary filmmaking major, film and visual culture minor presented her work to a panels of judges — film professionals and industry insiders — who offered constructive feedback for all participants.

Crawford's film, "Unpacked," is a documentary essay film reckoning with the colonial aspects of tourism by weaving the voices of Black travelers, agents and guides, who are building sustainable and ethical approaches to travel.

As a winner in the documentary category, Crawford received a cash prize of $500. Finalists in all pitch categories received All-Access Passes to the 2021 New Orleans Film Festival and waivers to submit future completed projects for festival consideration. 

Crawford is a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar and works as the General Audience Programming at PBS. She is also a freelance photographer and videographer who aspires to work in the film industry and has an interest in cinematography, directing and editing. Her goal is to use her skills as a filmmaker to center the voices and stories of underrepresented groups, especially Black women. She wants to create stories that highlight the complexity and multifaceted nature of Black women and partner with others to elevate the stories of underrepresented communities.

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