Check us out on Generocity with a great interview from Bryan Mercer, the Executive Director of Media Mobilizing Project, about the spark that set Bonfire on its way!
As a media-making business, Bonfire aims to tell stories of humanity, community and social change.
As a worker-owned cooperative, it is committed to fair pay for its employees, democratic leadership and “respectful working conditions in an industry that is plagued by low wages, inconsistent income and long hours,” per its website.
Bonfire just met its crowdfunding goal to cover startup costs, including legal fees, marketing, rent, administrative salary, insurance and production software licenses. MMP Executive Director Bryan Mercer shared some info about the co-op via email.
Generocity: Why was Bonfire Media formed?
MMP: Bonfire was formed to generate more capacity for telling movement stories, as well as sustainable work for the growing pool of movement media makers trained by and connected to MMP. A group of people working with MMP to produce for-hire work, including current and former staff, freelancers, fellows and community partners, started thinking about what it would look like to create a cooperative of media makers.
The cooperative model was a natural evolution from our process of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and horizontal leadership within production at MMP.
Who are the people working for Bonfire? Are members of MMP also working in this new business, or have they done work with you before?
Bonfire’s members came together through their work with MMP. Many were Movement Media Fellows with MMP in 2016; others are former and current staff and freelancers with MMP. Part of what makes them a strong team is that they come from a ton of different personal and professional backgrounds — they are filmmakers, but they’re also educators, artists, musicians, organizers, facilitators, journalists and designers.
What need is Bonfire filling?
After MMP produced [the documentary] Groundwork in 2015, more requests for for-hire projects started coming in. It became clear that there was a growing need for high-quality video production with people behind the camera who really understood movement work and storytelling.
Bonfire formed to be an entity entirely dedicated to video production work, primarily for movement groups. But by being outside the non-profit umbrella (Bonfire is an LLC), Bonfire is open to a world of possibility to take their work in any direction that makes sense for them and the needs of their clients.