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Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program Creative International Partnerships

The Documentary Film Program and Fund has spearheaded innovative international partnerships, presentations, and convenings to provide funding and support for emerging independent documentary practices globally. Activities include workshops, presentations, mentoring, funding, and building regional partnerships. DFP has had a special focus on the Middle East and China since 2009. Other regional cultivation and artist support extends through gatherings in Iran, Dubai, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Syria, Eastern Europe, the UK, South Africa, South and Central America, Taiwan, and India. Future target regions include Indonesia and sub-Saharan Africa. Current creative partnerships include:

  • Stories of Change partnership with the Skoll Foundation
  • Good Pitch with Britdoc Foundation
  • Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, Middle East
  • Greenhouse Documentary Development Program, Mediterranean Region
  • Sundance | CNEX Documentary Workshop and Summit, China

SUNDANCE INSTITUTE | TED PRIZE FILMMAKER AWARD
Sundance Institute and TED believe in the power of non-fiction storytelling, and are announcing an initiative to create a short film and multi-platform campaign around the annual TED Prize winner with the goal of raising awareness of the work of the TED Prize winner. Click for more information.

Stories of Change/ Skoll Foundation
Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and the Skoll Foundation have partnered in an innovative multi-year partnership, Stories of Change: Social Entrepreneurship in Focus Through Documentary. This initiative brings filmmakers and social entrepreneurs together through invited gatherings at the Sundance Film Festival, the Skoll World Forum, and the Impact Lab, in addition to documentary film project funding for nine feature-length films and several short projects. Stories of Change believes that powerful storytellers and innovative change-makers can benefit from each other, and together can benefit society as a whole.

Good Pitch
Launched at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival as a partnership between the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and the UK-based BritDoc Foundation, Good Pitch brings together filmmakers with NGOs, foundations, philanthropists, brands, and media around leading social issues to forge coalitions and campaigns that are good for all these partners, good for the films, and good for society. To date, more than 90 documentary projects have been presented at Good Pitch events in London, Oxford, New York, Washington D.C., Toronto, San Francisco, and Johannesburg. In that time, more than 1,500 organizations have attended and over $3 million dollars raised in additional funding and resources for participating films. For more information on BritDoc and GoodPitch visit their website.

Arab Fund Documentary Film Program
The Arab Fund Documentary Film Program is a partnership between the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program (DFP). Based in Beirut, Lebanon, this program is dedicated to supporting contemporary nonfiction films produced by Arab filmmakers working in the Middle East, targeting audiences in the Arab World. To date, the DFP has advised on four rounds of funding, totaling over $1 million, and designed and implemented two workshops for grantees and a range of other activities for AFAC. For further information visit ArabCultureFund.org.

Sundance | CNEX Workshop and Documentary Summit
Partners since 2010, the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program | CNEX Workshop and Documentary Summit in Beijing has taken place in the spring in 2011 and 2012 and is projected for spring 2013. Each year, 10 invited Chinese documentary project teams from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan participate in the immersive multi-day workshop and summit. Designed by the DFP in collaboration with CNEX, the DFP invites international advisors offers workshops designed to nurture documentary storytelling and encourage the diverse exchange of ideas. Activities include one-on-one creative feedback meetings, pitch sessions, discussions with international advisors, presentations, panels, and productive discussions for larger audiences of artists, film professionals, broadcasters, educators, cultural leaders, and stakeholders. The subsequent Documentary Summit is a one-day, public schedule of panel discussions on topics of direct relevance to Chinese documentary filmmakers, such as crowd funding and international best practices. International advisors have included Robb Moss (Secrecy), Jean Tsien (Music from the Heart), Arthur Dong (Hollywood Chinese), Ruby Yang (The Blood of Yingzhou District), and Andrea Meditch (Buck). Each year, $25,000 in granting is available to participating projects. (cnex.org.tw)

Greenhouse Project
Greenhouse is an advanced contemporary development program for documentary films aimed at Mediterranean Cinema School Graduates and emerging filmmakers from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, and Tunisia. Hosting 10-12 projects annually, selected filmmakers are invited to participate in three seminars in which they develop a full international production package and a professional trailer, which will be presented in a pitching forum in front of international commissioning editors, film funds directors, producers, and distributors from the documentary international market. In its 6 years of activity, 77 projects and 100 filmmakers participated from 9 Southern Mediterranean countries, establishing Greenhouse as a leading organization for documentary filmmaking internationally. For more information please visit their website.