Female Filmmaker Grant Program


THE JOY JAMES, aka Livity The Poet Memorial Grant

Joy James, aka Livity The Poet

Joy James (1979-2021) was an integral part of the Wilmington Theater, Film, and Poetry community. Joy was born in St. Croix and moved to Wilmington in 2015. She performed her poetry at several Cinema Sisters film festivals and wrote, directed, and starred in “Judging Eyes” which was shown at CSIFF 2020. Joy had a magnetic personality, a gentle spirit, and a passion for film. Cinema Sisters is honored to name our New Hanover County resident female filmmaker grant, The Joy James, aka Livity The Poet Memorial Grant.

The Francine DeCoursey Grant

Francine DeCoursey

“Writer, Producer, Director of Independent films, documentaries, political campaigns, promotional & music videos, that begins to describe her… But you have to add film industry ambassador, lobbyist, a community activist for social and economic justice, and most of all…”
(excerpt from) Cinematic Wilmington

Filmmaker and Activist, FRANCINE DeCOURSEY has supplied Locations, Cast, Crew,
and Support Services for over 100 feature film, television, and video productions.
Early on the NC Film scene, DeCoursey combined her commitment to ‘positive social change’ with the budget-conscious requirements of filmmaking by producing crowd scenes in movies as ‘Casting Events’ with volunteer extras. She staged the carnival scene in Sleeping with the Enemy as a fundraiser for the Domestic Violence Shelter.
The ballroom scene in Stompin’ at the Savoy created scholarships for local minority performers. The train carnival scene in Track 29 raised funds for Historic Wilmington’s Downtown Revitalization Effort.

A consistent force in the promotion of the NC Film & TV industry and the Independent Film movement, she initiated and helped launch ‘NC VISIONS,’ a PBS–TV showcase of NC independent films which ran for 20 years.

Based on Screen Gems Studios lot for over a decade with the Telemedia Group, her award-winning documentaries include Remembering 1898: A Community Effort toward Racial Reconciliation, The Wilmington Ten: Justice Denied, Begin to Live on domestic violence, Women Leaders in NC Community Colleges, a Governor’s Award winner, Women in the Arts, and Vote Yes for NC Film Incentives, which assisted in the NC Legislature’s passage of the film incentives.

Honored as a ‘Women of Distinction’ by Ladies of the Cape Fear’s ‘Women of Hope’ for her activism and community leadership, Ms. DeCoursey is also the recipient of the Outstanding North Carolinian of the Year Award, the YWCA’s ‘Woman of Achievement’ Award, UNC-Greensboro ‘Distinguished Alumni’ Award, and the NC Commission on the Status of Women’s ‘Women in Success.’ A life-long advocate for justice and equality, she was honored with the Bahai’s ‘Cultural Diversity Leadership’ Award, and the Governor’s Award for her positive impact on the lives of women and minorities in our state.

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