New York City Community

Cardozo School of Law

Good Neighbor Grant

The Illumination Fund has a long partnership with Cardozo School of Law, having endowed the school’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program, which helps graduates who work in public service or for a non-profit organization repay their student loans.  In 2014, the Fund initiated support for the Indie Film Clinic at Cardozo, which provides free legal services to filmmakers producing independent, documentary, and student films and to artists providing services in independent and documentary film. The clinic fills a previously underserved and vitally important niche in the City’s film and arts community: the need for a free or low-cost legal services clinic for independent filmmakers in the greater New York City area who would have difficulty obtaining affordable legal services.

Since the Indie Film Clinic opened in January 2011, the program has served more than 50 filmmakers. Of the projects, approximately 60 percent were directed or produced by filmmakers from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds, and 40 percent were directed by women. Client films have regularly screened in leading U.S. and International film festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Rotterdam, South by Southwest, The Los Angeles Film Festival, and Hot Docs, DOC NYC.

The Illumination Fund’s support is enabling Cardozo to expand the program’s staffing, increase the clinic’s class size and caseload, expand the range of legal services provided to clients, and create referral and collaborative partnerships with other organizations and institutions active in indie film production and distribution. In addition, the funding is enabling the creation of new educational panel discussions covering legal issues important to the indie film community

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