Katelyn Bland-Clark on Using Film for Social Justice

Posted by Monica Hoel
Katelyn is a development associate for an organization giving voice to underserved film artists.

The first thing Katelyn Bland-Clark wants us to understand about her work is what it is not.

Katelyn is a Development Associate for the Tribecca Film Institute (TFI)…not to be confused with the Tribecca Film Festival (TFF).

“Tribeca Film Institute is actually separate from the Festival, but we share founders and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship.  While TFF is for-profit, TFI is not-for-profit. TFI’s primary mission is to partner with talented up-and-coming independent filmmakers from systemically excluded communities to ensure they have access to the resources they need.”

Katelyn double-majored at Emory & Henry in math and religion. And she graduated from Candler School of Theology. Some might not see this current position as the logical outcome of that preparation, but Katelyn sees it as an important part of her service to community. “We know storytellers hold the power to spark meaningful change in the world.  And in order for them to do this, TFI provides critical funding, offers professional guidance, and fosters the connections they need to create a sustainable film career. Being a part of the positive change toward diversity, equity, and inclusion is very important to me.”

Katleyn Bland-Clark at the conclusion of her thru-hike on the Appalachian TrailKatleyn Bland-Clark at the conclusion of her thru-hike on the Appalachian TrailKatelyn started work with TFI right after she and her partner, Brian Bland-Clark (E&H ’09), thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. “I was looking for development work in a non-profit whose mission promoted positive change in the world.  I enjoy my job because it allows me to use my skills to contribute to the betterment of society in a way I could not otherwise do.  I am not a filmmaker who can create meaningful work, but I can do my part to fight for equity by supporting media diversification and the filmmakers on the front lines.”

The most difficult part is making the money stretch across all the worthy projects and ideas that are out there. “It is exciting to be able to watch the incredible work that my team’s fundraising helps make possible.  In general, development work is challenging because there is a limited number of grants out there for the taking and a seemingly infinite number of wonderful causes for donors to support.  We have to make sure all our efforts are strategic and well-executed and we have to articulate the necessity of a cultural shift in who society upholds as worthy of storytelling through film.”

So, did all that math and religion help her with the work she’s doing now? The short answer is, yes. “My mathematics degree helped me practice thinking systemically - I am better at identifying processes and improving them to be more efficient.  And, in a way, my religion degree and time at Candler also helped me think systemically - about the systems of oppression that are engrained in society.”

  • Katelyn Clark, E&H Class of 2010.
    Ana Catalá
  • Katleyn Bland-Clark at the conclusion of her thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail
“Being a part of the positive change toward diversity, equity, and inclusion is very important to me.”
Katelyn Bland-Clark
E&H Class of 2010

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