SUNDANCE INSTITUTE DOCUMENTARY PROGRAM
ANNOUNCES SPRING 2008 GRANTS
Global Stories Resonate With International Talent
Los Angeles, CA – Today, the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program announced 16 film projects to receive financial and creative support from the Sundance Documentary Fund. Out of 325 applications working in more than 52 countries, the 16 feature-length documentary films selected will receive a total of $512,500 in support for emerging and established filmmakers. The Sundance Documentary Film Program supports U.S. and international documentary filmmakers who explore the critical issues of our times with highly crafted storytelling and stylistic innovation.
"The films funded in this round reflect the Sundance Documentary Film Program’s continuing commitment to identifying and supporting global storytellers” said Cara Mertes, Director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. “From China, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Iran and the United States, the Documentary Film Program considered our most international docket yet. With this round we also introduce Engagement grants which are designed to extend the continuum of support the Fund offers by providing seed money for innovative distribution strategies for films that have received Sundance DFP funding previously. ”
The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund is a central element of Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program, which provides year-round creative support to nonfiction filmmakers through creative labs, work-in-progress screenings, and activities related to the distinct stages of the filmmaking process. Grants are announced twice a year and submissions are judged on their approach to storytelling, artistic treatment and innovation, subject relevance and potential for social engagement. The Sundance Institute Documentary Program considers projects in the Development and Production/Post-Production phases. The film selection of is juried by creative film professionals and human rights experts. In addition to financial support, the artist will receive an abundance of creative and editorial support from Sundance Documentary Program staff and advisors.
Films funded in this round tell
stories of the emotional impact of the death penalty, artists in exile from Burma,
the largest annual migration of Chinese in the world, and Muslims in a
PROJECTS IN DEVELOPMENT
All That Glitters (Kyrgyzstan/Czech Republic)
In a remote village in Kyrgyzstan, the discovery of gold by an international mining company offers life changing benefits --and threats-- to the community and the environment.
Burma Soldier (Burma/Thailand/U.S.)
Myo Myint's dramatic transformation from a soldier of Burma's junta to a pro-democracy activist; from a tortured political prisoner to a refugee making a new life in America, tells the story of modern Burma today.
Maria Teresa Rodriguez
¿Dónde Están? The Disappeared Children of El Salvador (U.S./El Salvador)
Margarita Zamora, an investigator and a survivor of the civil war in El Salvador, tracks down disappeared children and reunites them with their families. Miguel Morales and Jenny Wolf- two disappeared children now residing in the US- represent the war's legacy of unemployment, violence and migration, a legacy that civil society -- both here and there – is struggling to address.
Image: Democracy (India)
India's 350 million citizens must each receive a photo identity card prior to the 2009 elections in the world's largest democracy. Many have never been photographed in their entire life, and the process is creating a new image for modern India.
Bishnu Dev Halder
A Tale of Three Sisters (India)
Two sisters from a remote Indian village leave tradition behind and migrate to the city, New Delhi, for a new life while the third sister awaits her turn in this contemporary, coming-of-age story.
Leonard Retel Helmrich
Position of the Stars (Indonesia/Netherlands)
From the director of EYE OF THE DAY and SHAPE OF THE MOON comes a third film in a trilogy following the life of the Sjamsudin family in Indonesia since the fall of President Suharto.
PROJECTS IN PRODUCTION/POST-PRODUCTION
Camp Victory: Afghanistan (U.S.)
The U.S. National Guard has been deployed to Afghanistan
to train the Afghan National Army. CAMP VICTORY, AFGHANISTAN follows several
Family: The First Circle (U.S./Native American)
Family: The First Circle looks at the Foster Care system and the challenges now faced due to methamphetamines. The film follows families struggling to heal, administrators working for change, and the isolation of a western landscape responsible for both the manufacturing of and liberation from addiction.
Give Up Tomorrow (U.S./Philippines)
A high-profile miscarriage of justice landed a young man on death row in the Philippines. Tireless grass-roots campaigning sets off a chain of events that resulted in historic outcome and the abolition of the death penalty.
Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater
Goundo's Daughter (U.S.)
If Goundo is deported to Mali from Philadelphia, her two year-old daughter will almost certainly be forced to endure female genital mutilation—performed on 92% of the female population in Mali. Goundo's Daughter is the story of Goundo's fight for political asylum in the U.S. and her desperation to protect her daughter and stop the cycle of FGM.
Last Train Home (China)
China experiences the largest internal migration in the world as rural workers travel to cities for jobs. The Zhang family has been torn apart by years of separation in the era of "labor export" and urban migration. They save all year to travel home each Chinese New Year, along with over 100 million other migrant workers, hoping to salvage their relationship with their teenaged daughter.
Jennifer Maytorena Taylor
New Muslim Cool (U.S.)
Jason “Hamza” Perez is a Puerto Rican American and ex-gang member who has converted to Islam. Over the course of three years he struggles to maintain his family, faith and artistic pursuits in contemporary, post 9/11 America.
Orhan Eskiköy and Özgür Dogan
ON THE WAY TO SCHOOL (Turkey)
Since the 1920’s, Kurds in Turkey have resisted the official ban on speaking or writing Kurdish. Made by a Turkish and Kurdish filmmaker, the film follows a year in the life of a Turkish teacher teaching Kurdish children in eastern Turkey, revealing the reality of Turkish policy in the lives of remote Kurdish villagers with intimacy and compassion.
This is the second documentary in a trilogy titled The New American Century about America post 9/11. The first film in the trilogy, MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY, documented the occupation of Iraq. Filmed in Yemen, RELEASE follows the stories of men released from Guantanamo Bay prison and returning home. The final film will focus on domestic surveillance and warrentless wiretapping in the United States.
The Other Chelsea (Germany)
Alexei and Nikolai, two middle-aged Ukrainian miners are trying to keep pace with the political and economical changes in their home country. Discordant worlds, soviet culture and oligarch capitalism, come together in their favourite place: the football stadium. A serious and humorous approach to post-soviet reality.
Virtual Freedom (Australia)
Part animation, part documentary, Virtual Freedom is an innovative portrayal of contemporary Burma via the internet, as seen through the eyes of charismatic Burmese exile, animator, chef and political activist, Maung Maung Aye.
Farid Haerinejad and Mohammad Reza Kazemi
Women in Shroud (Iran/Canada)
A dedicated group of Iranian lawyers and activists work together to counter the injustice of the death penalty. In Tehran, this means risking everything to mount "Stop Stoning Forever," a campaign to end the practice of execution by public stoning, and to lessen this practice's impact on women in Iran.
AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT GRANTS
STATE OF FEAR (U.S./Peru)
Filmed by a U.S./Peruvian team, State of Fear tells a gripping story of repression and resistance as Peruvian leaders used the threat of terrorism to gut the democracy, making Peru a virtual dictatorship. In 2001 a new democratic government established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and granted Skylight Pictures access to bring this timely story to an international audience. The Audience Engagement grant will support the film's first screenings in the Quechua language. The screenings will be part of a multi-platform outreach strategy that uses Google mapping to create a truth and justice hub for Peru. The site will receive live news feeds of the Fujimori trials, facilitate human rights social networks, use Twitter to post cellphone text messages from the field, and support ongoing work with the Quechua version of State of Fear.
Tia Lessin and Carl Deal
TROUBLE THE WATER (US)
An aspiring rap artist and her streetwise husband show what survival is all about when they are trapped in New Orleans by deadly floodwaters and then seize a chance for a new beginning. The Audience Engagement grant will support the filmmakers as they move beyond their theatrical and DVD release to a national youth engagement campaign in partnership with music industry creative executives and national and New Orleans based recording artists.
Sundance Institute’s Documentary Program is made possible by generous support from The Ford Foundation, Open Society Institute, The Charles Engelhard Foundation, The Gill Foundation, S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation, Woodruff Charitable Memorial Trust and the Skoll Foundation. Sundance Institute also gratefully acknowledges the generous assistance provided by the following organizations: Alesis Corporation, Apple Computer, Avid Technology, Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, HP Marketing, JBL Professional, LaCie Limited, Mackie, Mark of the Unicorn, Sony Business and Professional Products, Sony Media, Sony SXRD and Soundcraft.
Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program
The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund is a core initiative of the Sundance Documentary Film Program, dedicated to supporting U.S. and international feature documentary films that focus on current human rights issues, social justice, civil liberties, and other contemporary issues. Since 1996, the Fund has supported over 400 artists in 52 countries, providing a continuum of support throughout the life of a project. Films supported by the Fund have received widespread distribution to their intended audiences via broadcast and theatrical release, and many have garnered a number of awards and exceptional industry recognition. Films have included My Country, My Country; Iraq in Fragments; Why We Fight; Born Into Brothels; The Inner Tour; The Devil Came on Horseback; TRACES OF THE TRADE and TROUBLE THE WATER. In addition to the Fund, The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program provides year-round support to nurture nonfiction filmmakers worldwide through the Documentary Edit and Story Laboratory, the Documentary Composers Lab, at the Sundance Film Festival and the Sundance Independent Producers Conference, and through collaborative international initiatives. Please visit www.sundance.org/documentary or www.sundance.org/DocSource for more information.
Dedicated year-round to the development of artists of independent vision and to the exhibition of their new work, Sundance Institute celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2006. Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, the Institute has grown into an internationally recognized resource for thousands of independent artists through its Sundance Film Festival and artistic development programs which provide a range of concentrated creative and financial support for directors, screenwriters, documentary filmmakers, composers, playwrights and theatre artists. The original values of independence, creative risk-taking, and discovery continue to define and guide the work of Sundance Institute, both with US artists and, increasingly, with artists throughout the world.