Hamline News

Richard Pelster-Wiebe Named 2021 McKnight Media Artist Fellow

FilmNorth announced that Hamline University creative writing program lecturer Richard Pelster-Wiebe is one of four Minnesota artists selected to receive the 2021 McKnight Fellowships for Media Artists. 

This year’s other fellows are Susan Brightbill of Minnetonka, Andy Graydon of Minneapolis and Norah Shapiro of Minneapolis.

Out of a field of 55 applicants, the four fellows were chosen by a national panel of media artists, writers and curators: Laurence Andries, a longtime television writer and producer (BLUE BLOODS, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER, SIX FEET UNDER); Zandashé Brown, independent filmmaker (BENEDICTION) and Artist Development Coordinator/Programming Manager for the New Orleans Film Society; Chloe Gbai, Manager of Original Documentary Films team at Netflix; and Peter Knegt, a writer (Indiewire), curator, and filmmaker (CANADA’S A DRAG, SUPERQUEEROES).

"Once again, the national panel that chose these four fellows was blown away by our Minnesota artists,” said Andrew Peterson, FilmNorth's Executive Director. “This year’s fellows show the incredible variety of work being created in Minnesota: from traditional narrative and documentary films, to experimental, personal essays and multi-channel video installations."

The McKnight Fellowships for Media Artists support mid-career artists residing in Minnesota whose work is of exceptional artistic merit. The $25,000 fellowships will enable these four artists to study, reflect, experiment, and explore over a twelve month period with support and assistance from FilmNorth and the McKnight Foundation.

In addition to the cash award, the program supports its fellows by creating opportunities to meet with local and national art professionals, by providing assistance to attend the annual Film Independent Forum in Los Angeles, by offering a one- to two-week artist residency at one of 16 locations around the world, and by offering special class and workshop opportunities through FilmNorth.

The fellowships are funded by a generous grant from The McKnight Foundation and administered by FilmNorth.

Richard Pelster-Wiebe makes movies at the intersections of documentary, collage, sound art, and the essay. His award-winning work has screened widely at international venues including IFF Rotterdam, Media City, FID Marseille, Festival du nouveau cinéma, UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and several others. He has received grants from the Jerome Foundation, the Princess Grace Foundation, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Richard teaches at the Minnesota Prison Writing Program, Macalester College, and Hamline University. His teaching and moviemaking are influenced by interests in DIY methods of production, deep listening, history, memory, and the fragility of life.

Founded on the belief that Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive, the McKnight Foundation’s arts program is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. Support for individual working Minnesota artists has been a cornerstone of the program since it began in 1982. The McKnight Artist Fellowships Program provides annual, unrestricted cash awards to outstanding mid-career Minnesota artists in 14 different creative disciplines. Program partner organizations administer the fellowships and structure them to respond to the unique challenges of different disciplines. Currently the foundation contributes about $2.8 million per year to its statewide fellowships. For more information, visit the website.

The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. Established in 1953, the McKnight Foundation is deeply committed to advancing climate solutions in the Midwest; building an equitable and inclusive Minnesota; and supporting the arts in Minnesota, neuroscience, and international crop research.

FilmNorth’s mission is to empower artists to tell their stories, launch and sustain successful careers, and advance The North as a leader in the national network of independent filmmakers. We achieve our mission by nurturing a vibrant, diverse community of film and media artists; providing education and resources at every stage of their careers; and celebrating their achievements.