Documentary filmmaker Kim Zanti.
PHOTO BY WENDY SKOLFIELD
Community Engagement of Orange County, CA, has awarded Topangan Kim Zanti of Catalyst Muse a $10,000 grant to make a short, documentary film about the Third Annual Akumal Arts Festival (AAF) on Mexicoâs Caribbean coast. Public festival programs will be held January 28-30, 2022.
It all started in 2018 in Akumal, a small town situated between the beach and the jungle. A conversation about safety between a business owner and a civic leader led to talk about better lighting on the bridge over the main highway, which led to the thought of beautifying the bridge, which led to the idea of beautifying the town, which began to unify the town.
All of this led to a community-wide festival that quickly tapped into a global network of street artists. One hundred and twenty artists from 12 countries are scheduled to paint murals throughout the town.
Community Engagement is a longtime supporter of the festival and proponent of âcreative placemaking.â According to the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts, creative placemaking is the practice of âintegrating arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities.â
Artists engage the community on many levels. Festival themes are woven into in-school and after-school curriculum and activities, and artists will teach youth and adult workshops. Arts-integrated education is but one benefit of the festival.
An increase in public health, mental and emotional well being, youth engagement, and economic activity that directly benefit residents are more of its positive impacts. The documentary will investigate the full power of the festival that has transformed this sleepy pueblo into an engaged powerhouse of change! Through the lens of creative placemaking, Kim Zanti will direct the film. She will collaborate with AAF co-producer and longtime colleague Marti Johnston, who originally suggested that Catalyst Muse submit a proposal, and videographers Melissa âZippyâ Downing of COLabs and Joe Schipani of Flint Art Project in Michigan. A Dream Team!
Our plan is to share the untitled film with audiences who care about community empowerment through the arts, with those who are curious about this visionary practice, and with documentary film festival audiences.
Community Engagementâs $10,000 grant covers 50% of the film budget. The project needs to secure an additional $10,000 to cover production and post-production expenses. All donations are greatly appreciated and will be acknowledged in the filmâs end credits. Donations of $2,500 or more receive an additional producer acknowledgment in the end credits. If we raise more than budgeted, we will donate a percentage of funds to the vibrant local library, Hekab Be Biblioteca.
NOTE: In accordance with the IRS tax regulations, donations will be received by a 501c3, tax-exempt fiscal sponsor. Weâre thrilled to welcome our new fiscal sponsor, Everybody Dance Now!, a Los Angeles-based organization that uses hip hop and street dance to inspire, educate, and build community. You will receive a confirmation letter from Catalyst Muse so that you know we received your contribution.