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Three podcasters selected as finalists for Pitch Party at RESONATE Podcast Festival

RESONATE Pitch Party Finalists
RESONATE Podcast Festival's Pitch Party Finalists

On October 15, the VPM + ICA Community Media Center will host a pitch party as a part of the 2022 RESONATE Podcast Festival.  

The Pitch Party will bring together established and aspiring podcasters to pitch their best idea for a chance to receive funding and production support to produce a pilot episode of their show.  

After a submission and review process that featured numerous original podcast proposals, three finalists were selected to pitch their podcast in front of a live audience and a panel of expert judges for a chance to win the top prize — a $10,000 production contract to create a pilot episode of their podcast with VPM. 

Tickets to the RESONATE Podcast Festival are currently available for both students and adults 18 and older. 

In advance of the Pitch Party, read how the finalists describe their podcast ideas in their submissions. 

The Ex-Files, Host: Katy Sewall  

Overview: Two people who were once in a relationship (romantic, business, etc.) and aren't anymore explore what went wrong from their perspectives, showing that our perceptions of reality don't always match. Each episode interviews two individuals who were once in a relationship and aren't anymore. Each person reflects on the relationship from their perspective and explains what ultimately ended it. Those interviews are then edited and juxtaposed so the listener can easily hear and understand the different perspectives of the story.   
More details: The goal is to illustrate that two people can have very different experiences and interpretations of the same relationship, and that, in many cases, both perspectives are valid. The goal is to not only entertain, but also fuel curiosity in the listener that causes them to seek out the perspectives of others instead of relying on answers and assumptions based on societal scripts.   

In a time of great division, social media and pandemic isolation have made it easy for us to experience the world only from our point of view. There is nothing closer to us than our relationships—those we keep and those we end. Learning that our perception is not always the only truth is important to curiosity, forgiveness and taking a step beyond societal scripts to a deeper understanding of the humans around us—those we love and those we don't. 

The Leaving Legacy: Letters from Black Fathers Podcast, Host/Producer: Jahi Whitehead  

Overview: This podcast takes the listener on a journey of what African-American men go through raising their children in America and the things that Black men must think about once they decide to bring a child into a divisive world. To examine that, we will hear from Black men from different backgrounds. Their task will be to write letters to their unborn child and/or current child or children about life lessons that they want to teach them through their experiences.   

More details: Many men think about having children to carry on their legacy. Black men are no different. What makes a Black man's journey of raising a son in America different are the interactions he knows his son will encounter with police, stereotypes from co-workers, self-image due to the media and more. This is not to discount the relationship between Black fathers and their daughters. Having a father around for a young girl is as important for daughters as it is for sons, if not more so. Over the years we have seen the rise of the "girl dad,” especially with the untimely death of NBA great Kobe Bryant. It is important to have a strong Black man in their lives to instill confidence in them as well. 

This podcast seeks to show that Black men, just like other men in this country, simply want to raise their children in peace and be happy.  

Indoctrinated, Host: Mav Viola, Lead Producer: Natalie Gregory   

Overview: This podcast is an investigative series into the indoctrination of youth by way of Young Life, a global Christian youth organization, hosted by sexual assault survivor and comedian, Mav Viola.  

More details: Mav grew up in Virginia Beach where, at the age of fifteen, she was introduced to an organization she became immersed in called Young Life. Through Young Life, Mav met and formed a mentor relationship with pastor Jeffrey Bondi. After years of grooming, Bondi sexually assaulted Mav when she was 18. Bondi suffered little consequence, resigning from his position though continuing to attend the church. Mav, on the other hand, lost the support of her entire community and slipped into a deep depression. Once Mav moved to Los Angeles, she was able to rebuild, discover her sexuality, distance herself from religion and reflect on her experiences by way of writing and stand-up comedy.   

Fifteen years later, Mav worked with the Commonwealth of Virginia to press criminal charges against Bondi wherein she conducted a sting operation with the LAPD and ultimately helped secure a conviction sentencing him to ten years in prison. After finally receiving some justice, Mav began to think more broadly about the incident. How did a youth pastor, with a prior alleged assault on a minor, get hired to work with youth?  

Indoctrinated is a vital series that meets the current need for heightened awareness around sexual assault, LGBTQ+ issues, policy, religion and a climate ripe for the continual exposure of organizations and persons that undermine our collective right to autonomy and our bodies.  

The RESONATE Pitch Party will take place on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 12-1:45 p.m. in the auditorium of the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. Tickets to RESONATE are on sale now.  

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