WASHINGTON (May 17, 2006)–National Geographic has promoted Francene Blythe to director, All Roads Film Project. Blythe previously managed the All Roads seed grant program, which identifies and funds new talent from indigenous and under-represented culture communities around the world. She will continue in that role along with her new responsibilities. Blythe assumes the position from Mark Bauman, who launched the All Roads Film Project and served as its director in its first two years of operation. Bauman was recently named vice president, media programs, for National Geographic.
This year’s National Geographic All Roads Film Festival is planned for Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles, and Oct. 5-8 at the National Geographic Society in Washington.
In her expanded role, Blythe is tasked with leading the full-scale production of the four-day All Roads Film Festivals in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and programmed events at partner festivals around the world. She is responsible for developing and expanding the global reach of the All Roads Film Project by seeking partnerships with affiliated festivals in the United States and abroad, as well as with indigenous communities. She also oversees all aspects of the All Roads seed grant program.
“In the first two years of the All Roads Film Project we sought to develop our mission, define our audience and establish our identity within the film and indigenous communities,” said Bauman. “In the next year we hope to further integrate ourselves within those communities and expand our program to new markets. As an active member of the creative and indigenous communities, Francene is in a unique position to help facilitate these connections and help us reach new audiences.”
Blythe came to National Geographic from the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), where she served as theater manager and programmer. She was instrumental in programming NMAI’s opening event, the First Americans Festival. Blythe has served on the screenwriting and grant selection committee for Sundance’s Native Playwright’s Workshop and is an accomplished producer, director and touring performer of Native American plays.
In 1999 Blythe was a nominee for Nebraska’s Commission on the Status of Women “Woman of Distinction” award and was honored by the YWCA in 1998 with a “Tribute to Women” award. She has served as an American Indian Ambassador and is an alumna of AmeriCorps. She is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band Cherokee and is also of Navajo and Dakota descent.
The All Roads Film Project is a National Geographic initiative that provides a global platform for indigenous and under-represented minority-culture storytellers around the world by showcasing their talents and teaching a broad audience about their cultures. In addition to providing a venue for their films with the All Roads Film Festival, the project offers its filmmakers and photographers a series of networking opportunities with leaders of the film and photographic community.
The All Roads Film Project awards up to 10 seed grants a year to support the development and production of film and video projects by and about the indigenous and under-represented minority-culture film community. Through its International Film Nights, All Roads also has been a proud supporter of quality films incorporating perspectives from the indigenous community, including the Oscar-winning “Tsotsi” and the Oscar-nominated “Paradise Now.”
Each year the All Roads Film Project produces the All Roads Film Festival, a dynamic, four-day, multimedia event in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., featuring the best in indigenous film and photography. Past programs have included “Women Hold Up Half the Sky: A Salute to Women Filmmakers”; “A Short Trip Around the World,” featuring short-subject films; and spotlights on Islam, South Africa and Australia. All Roads also has affiliations with the Santa Fe Film Festival and New Zealand’s Wairoa Film Festival, and is currently collaborating with the New Mexico Film Office on its annual Governor’s Cup screenwriting competition.
To learn more about the National Geographic All Roads Film Project, visit www.nationalgeographic.com/allroads.