ODYSSEY FELLOW PROGRAM
FALL 2020 – SPRING 2021

Application for National Fellowship Opportunities
for 2020-2021 Academic Year Internships
Deadline for application: Wednesday, April 1, 2020

 

Program Description:

Odyssey Impact, in partnership with the Office of Professional Formation at Iliff School of Theology, is pleased to announce a new fellowship opportunity for up to three students during the 2020-21 academic year. This is an opportunity for students who will be doing Internship as part of their Iliff degree requirement.

The theme for next year’s Odyssey Fellows program is “Brave and Healing Conversations,” uplifting the power of relationship across lines of difference, even when faced with conversations about the most divisive civic issues. In the context of a polarized national landscape, Odyssey believes that training emerging faith leaders to conduct difficult yet healing community conversations, utilizing the power of storytelling, is more important than ever.  

Applicants will propose a project, to be completed in the 2020-21 academic year, which will creatively enact this theme of “Brave and Healing Conversations” within the context of an internship site at which, ideally, the applicant will already have some established experience and relationships. See further details below.

In addition to other compensation arrangements specific to the internship site, the Odyssey Fellow will receive a $4,000 stipend for participation in a program and up to $1,000 for project-related expenses. All Odyssey Fellows (at Iliff School of Theology and other theological education institutions) will attend a mandatory training and cohort-building session August 24-26, 2020 in Denver, CO; all travel expenses will be covered by Odyssey Impact and other participating institutions. Tentatively, there will be a spring gathering in Atlanta, GA, depending on available funding. Students are to concurrently enroll in the Internship Seminar and complete all curricular and program requirements for Internship at Iliff.

Who is Odyssey Impact? 

Odyssey Impact is a team of film and social justice professionals based in NYC who believe that powerful storytelling can motivate transformational conversations and social change. As a non-profit, part of Odyssey’s mission is to partner with faith communities and theological education institutions on issues of civic concern, such as racial justice, mass incarceration, gender-based violence, and faith communities healing in the wake of violent trauma. More info at www.odyssey-impact.org.

What sort of project proposals will be best?

The selection committee hopes to be surprised by ideas we never could have imagined! Especially impressive will be concrete, achievable projects that creatively attend to the particulars of the candidate’s context. Potential strong project proposal elements include:

  • Community screenings of documentary films as entry points to transformative conversations;
  • New strategies for fostering brave and healing community conversations (in secular or faith settings) on important but difficult civic topics affecting the surrounding community—civic dinners are one potential example;
  • Powerful storytelling as a way to create new and meaningful partnerships between groups/institutions which were previously unacquainted, and/or across lines of difference (race, socioeconomic, religious, etc.).

How can candidates view Odyssey Impact films?

First, we invite candidates to view trailers for films (long-form and short-form) across Odyssey Impact’s catalog. Contact Rev. Dr. Katie Givens Kime (info below) if, after watching any of the trailers, you would like to view the entire piece.  

Successful Candidacy:

The successful candidate for the Odyssey Fellowship will have passion for and experience in ministry, in a faith or secular setting, related to particular justice issues that connect in some way with one or more of Odyssey Impact’s documentary films. The successful candidate will propose a creative, achievable project on the theme of “Brave and Healing Conversations” to be completed in the 2020-21 academic year as part of their Iliff Internship. Ideally, the successful candidate will have previous experience at the internship site which is the context for the project proposal, though this is not required. Students beginning their academic program in fall 2020 will not be considered. 

Participating students will receive:

  1. A $4,000 stipend, to be paid directly from Odyssey to Iliff School of Theology and applied to the Fellow’s student account. $1,333 will be applied at the beginning of each quarter (fall, winter, spring), assuming the student’s excellent and continued participation in the program each quarter as part of their i (Please note: Because funds are allocated to student accounts, they may automatically be applied toward tuition and fees. Please contact Iliff’s Financial Aid Director with questions.)
  2. A $1,000 fund to be used for expenses related to the Fellow’s project; subject to Odyssey and Iliff School of Theology approval.
  3. Expenses covering attendance at a mandatory 3-day training and cohort-building session August 24-26, 2020 in Denver, CO. (Pending funding availability, another training will take place tentatively in Atlanta, GA in spring 2021.)
  4. Fluency in using film to create the opportunity for dialogue, new partnerships, and faithful action.
  5. Capacities for fostering brave and healing conversations around difficult civic issues, specific to the Fellow’s internship context.

Application Instructions:

  1. Write a 2-3 page essay on why you have chosen to apply for the Odyssey Fellow program, your vocational goals, your particular skills for ministry and leadership, and the things you would like to practice, experience, and learn through the internship; the specific issues related to “brave and healing conversations” that you intend to explore; how this relates to any of the issues uplifted in Odyssey’s film catalogue, and how this will deepen your leadership ability. Essays should be written in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced with 1” margins on all four sides.
  2. Current resume/CV
  3. Name of one Iliff School of Theology faculty member (other than the OPF Director) who can serve as a reference.
  4. A letter from your internship site supervisor indicating that they are aware of the application and proposed project.
  5. Submit these materials by midnight on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 to: , OPF Director and . Late or incomplete applications may not be considered.

A selection committee will read proposals and interview candidates in early April 2020. Questions may be directed to , Director of Religion and Civic Engagement at Odyssey.

Application deadline is Wednesday, April 1, 2020!

Selections from Odyssey Impact film catalogue:

(all links lead to trailers; contact Rev. Dr. Kime for private screening links to entire films)

Stranger/Sister

(TO BE RELEASED SPRING 2020) The United States is experiencing a surge in hate crimes as a tide of white supremacy gathers momentum nationwide. Muslim and Jewish communities are particularly at risk. Stranger/Sister is the story of two ordinary women, one Muslim and one Jewish, who dare to believe they can join hands to stop the wave of hate. Overcoming a long history of distrust between their two religions, they build a movement that turns strangers into sisters, challenging our assumptions about how to fight hate in America. Intimately following women from Sisterhood chapters in Austin, Chicago and across the Nation, the Sisters build a powerful network of hope in a time of chaos and hate.

The Sentence

The Sentence is about Cindy Shank, a mother of three young children serving a 15-year sentence in federal prison for her tangential involvement in a Michigan drug ring years before. The Sentence explores the devastating consequences of mass incarceration and mandatory minimum drug sentencing. The film documented over 10 years by Cindy’s younger brother, filmmaker Rudy Valdez, follows Cindy’s struggles to be present in her children’s lives from behind bars and her daughters’ experiences growing up without their mother at home, while her husband, parents, and siblings fight for her release before the last months of the Obama administration’s Clemency Project. The campaign will uplift the voices of incarcerated women, criminal justice reform, mandatory minimum sentencing and the effects of mass incarceration on children and families. In 2018 The Sentence was awarded the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and last month the film was awarded a Creative Arts Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking. 

The Rape of Recy Taylor

Directed by Nancy Buirski, tells the story of Recy, a 24-year-old African American mother and sharecropper, who was gang raped by six white boys in 1944 Alabama. A common occurrence in the Jim Crow South, few women spoke up in fear for their lives. Not Recy Taylor, who instead bravely identified her rapists. The NAACP sent Rosa Parks to Alabama, who rallied support and triggered an unprecedented outcry for justice. The Rape of Recy Taylor exposes the legacy of physical abuse inflicted upon black women and reveals Rosa Parks’ intimate role in Recy Taylor’s story. An attempted rape against Parks was but one inspiration for her ongoing fight for justice for countless women like Taylor. Parks’ 1955 bus boycott was the result of decades of activist work, not the beginning. More and more women are now speaking up after their assault. The Rape of Recy Taylor shines a light on the black women who spoke up when danger was greatest; it was their noble efforts to reclaim control of their bodies that paved the way for today’s generation of activists. The film made its National Television debut on STARZ on July 2, 2018 and won the special prize for Human Rights Award (2017) at the 74th Annual Venice International Film Festival. 

Healing the Healers 

Healing the Healers is a new media resource intended to support clergy, laity, social workers, first responders and other spiritual care providers facing community-level trauma. The five-part film series is accompanied by a discussion guide including written reflections by scholars, clergy and other experts.
In the series, Rev. Matthew Crebbin of Newtown Congregational Church, leads an important conversation with faith leaders who’ve experienced mass trauma, either suddenly, as at Newtown or during 9/11, or through ministering to a community facing chronic violence, such as Hartford, CT or St. Louis, MO.

Milwaukee 53206

The documentary film Milwaukee 53206 chronicles the harsh reality of those living in the ZIP code that incarcerates the highest proportion of African American men, up to 62%. Through the intimate stories of Beverly Walker, Dennis Walton and Chad Wilson, we witness the high toll that excessive sentencing and mass incarceration takes on individuals and families. These stories depict a disenfranchised community’s ongoing battle to move forward even as the majority of its young men wind up imprisoned. The film not only examines Milwaukee’s ZIP code 53206, but also illuminates the story of people from across the United States who live with the daily effects of mass incarceration.

Run For His Life 

The short film Run For His Life highlights the compelling story of “Pete” Monsanto as he prepares for the biggest challenge of his life. Pete runs the NYC Marathon to connect with his father who is serving life without parole. The short film focuses on the impact of incarceration on the children of incarcerated parents.

Serving Life

Serving Life is the first original documentary commissioned for the OWN Documentary Club, narrated and executive produced by Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker, and directed by Lisa Cohen.

The film takes viewers inside Louisiana’s maximum-security prison at Angola, where the average sentence is more than 90 years. The prisoners within its walls are the worst of the worst – rapists, kidnappers and murderers. With prison sentences so long, 85 percent will never again live in the outside world. Instead, they will grow old and die in Angola.

Serving Life documents an extraordinary hospice program where hardened criminals care for their dying fellow inmates. In doing so, they embark on a journey that may end in personal rehabilitation. “Serving Life reveals the humanity that exists inside each and every one of us,” said Whitaker. “In the Angola prison’s hospice, we meet inmates who decide to take an opportunity for redemption, reminding us of the connection that exists between each and every human being.” The volunteers are trained, pushed and tested. Some fail, but some succeed and discover that the human touch can reach the soul. “I thought maybe if I helped somebody else,” one inmate says, “that would help relieve some of the guilt.” The documentary has now won over 10 awards, including the CINE Master Series Award and the Humanitas Prize.