“Paddle Together” about the Paradise City Dragon Boat team of breast cancer survivors and supporters will stream July 13 – July 24. 

For the ninth year, the festival will come to all PBS digital platforms and will feature 25 short-form independent films presented in five categories: culture, environment, family, humanity and race. 

Survivorship and sportsmanship

Small Forces is excited to bring “Paddle Together” to the festival in the culture category. The story shows the intersection of survivorship and sportsmanship. Brought together by their experiences of fighting breast cancer, the Paradise City Dragon Boat team offers year-round support and camaraderie, while also providing necessary muscle-building fitness in an exciting and rewarding sport. 

Starting July 13, viewers can watch, share and vote for their favorite film to win the “Most Popular” award. In addition, a distinguished panel of eight jury members will select their favorite film of the festival for the “Juried Prize.”

There are several ways to cast a vote for our film, and you’re welcome to do them all!

  1. Visit pbs.org and click on the “Heart” button
  2. Visit youtube.com and click on the thumbs-up icon
  3. Follow PBS Short Film Festival on Facebook here: facebook.com/PBSFilmFest, and “like” or “love” Paddle Together when it goes live on July 18th
  4. Simply watch the film on all platforms!

Most Popular Film

Last year, Small Forces was honored to win the “Most Popular Film” award in this festival with our film “BT Lives in the Stitch.” The festival allowed us to reach new audiences and provide a national platform for the story, which led to an increase in donations and interest in the BT Lives in the Stitch program. 

We’re excited for the impact that the 2020 festival can have for the Paradise City Dragon Boat team.

Thank you for watching, sharing, and voting for Paddle Together. We appreciate your support and hope you enjoy the selection of films in the festival!

You can follow along at the Small Forces Facebook page for updates throughout the festival.

Small Forces caught up with Bandwith at Learn Charter School during their annual Black History Month concert. Bandwith has grown their program offerings to many new schools since Small Forces first highlighted their work of providing free music programs to students in need in Chicago.

In addition to band programs at new schools, Bandwith also launched a new drumline group. Listen here to hear the drumline in action – and hear an update on Bandwith’s growth.

This story was produced by Avery Van Etten.

Small Forces had the opportunity to catch up with The Viola Project. Their programming has expanded since we first spotlighted their important work of giving girls and nonbinary youth a voice through the works of Shakespeare.

Now, The Viola Project runs after school programs across Chicagoland. This spring, their program at Hayt elementary school focuses on the concept of standing up for others – using the characters of the Bard, of course. Listen here for a spotlight on that program.

This story was produced by Avery Van Etten.

Katie Prentiss on SiriusXM’s Dot Complicated with Randi Zuckerberg


Author and businesswoman Randi Zuckerberg has been feeling the Small Forces love lately; not only did she spend an hour speaking with our Executive Producer, Katie Prentiss, on her SiriusXM show Dot Complicated, which is devoted to female entrepreneurs, but she also featured Katie in her LinkedIn column #52Women52Weeks!

Randi welcomed Katie to the Giving Back episode of her show on SiriusXM Business Radio (Channel 111), Dot Complicated. Katie was featured alongside the remarkable Komal Minhas, a writer, investor and film producer who produced the documentary Dream, Girl, which is about female entrepreneurs and had an all-female crew. We recommend learning more about Komal and Dream, Girl here.

Listen to a selection of highlights from Katie’s interview with Randi below, where she talks about Small Forces and some of the incredible organizations we’ve worked with.

Randi’s Q&A with Katie gives great insight into the Small Forces mission. It’s definitely worth a read; find it here!

Learn more about Small Forces from team members Jamie Fleischel and Katie Prentiss


Small Forces Executive Producer Katie Prentiss and Senior Executive Producer Jamie Fleischel have been telling our story on different radio shows around the country. Want to learn more about them (and us)? Check these out:

The Boston area got an interesting Small Forces wake-up call when Katie Prentiss was featured as Loren’s Badass Chick of the Week on 103.3 AMP Radio’s The TJ Show. It’s a great feature, and we love that show co-host Loren called our site a “go-to of good.” Read more and hear from Katie on The TJ Show’s website.

Next, Jamie Fleischel sat down with Chicago radio veteran Brooke Hunter to talk about Small Forces on a piece that aired on 93.9 MYFM, 103.5 KISS FM, and BIG 95.5. You can listen to their talk right here.

Stay tuned for more Small Forces in the news!