Documentary Film Program Provides $1.5 MM In Grant Support to Filmmakers in FY2014

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Documentary Film Program

The Documentary Film Program’s (DFP) Spring 2014 grants totaled $975,000 awarded to 44 films, including four films from the Documentary Film Initiative in Asia. This total marks an increase from the Fall 2013 funding that totaled $711,500 in grants and awards across all stages of production.

The larger number of projects selected for support by Sundance Institute reflects a funding philosophy designed to embrace both existing and emerging mandates. Films selected include both passionate treatments of human rights issues and contemporary social relevance globally, as well as artful or cinematic documentary films that are compelling, creative, and meaningful for the culture at large. This expansive round has called for a greater number of film awards than ever before, in this case 44 films globally.

The spring round includes in-country filmmakers from Ukraine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Colombia, Turkey, and the People’s Republic of China. Films selected reflect a wide range of storytelling styles and documentary techniques including personal, experimental, found-footage and hybrid. Check out film stills and shots of the filmmakers and their projects below.



500 Years (Pamela Yates, U.S.), Baldwin’s Children (Raoul Peck, U.S.), Canary in a Coal Mine (Jennifer Brea, U.S.), The Changing Map of Lebanon (George Tarabay, Lebanon),Facing the Dragon (Sedika Mojadidi , Afghanistan), Heaven Admits No Slaves (wt) (Lesya Kalynska and Unnamed Co-Director (unnamed for security reasons), Ukraine/ U.S.), Oakland Police Project (Peter Nicks, U.S.),Out of Mind (Kristi Jacobson, U.S.), Sylvia & Marsha (David France, U.S.) Vidal v. Buckley(Morgan Neville and Robert  Gordon, U.S.), Villages of The Absent (Omar Shami and Ola Shami, Lebanon).  


Be Natural (Pamela Green and Jarik Van Sluijs, U.S.), Betrayal – The Story of Mr. Zhang (Jiongjiong Qiu, People’s Republic of China), Blue ID (Burcu Melekoglu and Vuslat Karan, Turkey), Brick (Jessica Dimmock and Christopher LaMarca, U.S.), Cartel Land (wt) (Matthew Heineman, U.S.),Catching The Sun (Shalini Kantayya, U.S.), Coming and Going (wt)  (Tianlin Xu, People’s Republic of China), Censored Voices (Mor Loushy , Israel), A Flickering Truth (Pietra Brettkelly, New Zealand), Where the Marsh Meets the Lake  (Sharon Shattuck, U.S.), Hale County (RaMell Ross, U.S.), In My Father’s House (Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg, U.S.),The Flying  Stars (Ngardy Coneth and Allan Tong, Sierra Leone/Canada), The Movie About Anna (Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti, U.S.), Nuestro Monte Luna (Pablo Alvarez Mesa, Colombia), Out Run (Johnny Symons and S. Leo Chiang, U.S.), The Peacemaker (James Demo, U.S.), Romeo Is Bleeding (Jason Zeldes, U.S.), The Silence of Others  (Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar, Spain), Speed Sisters (Amber Fares, Canada), Strong Island(Yance Ford, U.S.), Uncertain (Anna Sandilands and Ewan McNicol, U.S.), Unlocking the Cage (Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker, U.S.), Untitled Transgender Youth Project (Eric Juhola, U.S.), Very Semi-Serious (Leah Wolchok, U.S.), Warrior Women (Christina D. King and Dr. Elizabeth A. Castle, U.S.), Winter Buoy (Frida  Kempff, Canada/Sweden).               

SPRING 2014 AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT (rolling awards)

Cooked  (Judith Helfand, U.S.), Out In The Night (blair dorosh-walther, U.S.)


Double Happiness Limited (Yuan-chimr Lu and Ko-shang Shen, Taiwan), My Dear Lines  (Nan Zhang, People’s Republic of China), A Peking Opera Master in New York (Haitao Guo, People’s Republic of China), The Spokesperson (Hui-jing Xu, People’s Republic of China).

In addition to financing, the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program offers opportunity for creative support and community through documentary Labs, Fellowships, and editorial consultation. Past films supported include Trouble the Water; The Interrupters; The Queen of Versailles; The Invisible War; Powerless; Dirty Wars; The Square; and Art and Craft.

Panelists have included the likes of Laura Silber of Open Society Foundations, Kirsten Livingston of Ford Foundation, Paul van Zyl formerly of the International Center for Transitional Justice, Rinku Sen of Race Forward, and Cynthia Lopez of POV. Panelists have also included Richard Pena, formerly of Film Society at Lincoln Center, Joslyn Barnes of Louverture Films, Academy Award® winners Rob Epstein and Jessica Yu, Academy Award® nominees Kirby Dick, Marshall Curry, and Arthur Dong. When appropriate, select submissions are supported by subject-area experts from the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights Watch, International Center for Transitional Justice, Open Society Foundations and others to illuminate critical context vital to a thorough understanding of complex global issues.

The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program is supported by Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation, Hilton Worldwide, Skoll Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, TED, CNN Films, The Charles Engelhard Foundation, Compton Foundation, Emerald Data Solutions, Time Warner Foundation, Joan and Lewis Platt Foundation, Candescent Films, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Arcus Foundation, J.A. & H.G. Woodruff, Jr. Charitable Trust, and David desJardins and Nancy Blachman.

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