OXFORD, ENGLAND – Sundance Institute and Skoll Foundation today announced the final five grant recipients of the STORIES OF CHANGE: SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN FOCUS THROUGH DOCUMENTARY initiative, a three-year partnership designed to enable the creation of new, feature-length independent documentary films that frame, examine and amplify social entrepreneurship as an innovative approach to meeting the central challenges of our time. The announcement, which includes a film about Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus among the grantees, was made at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship, the premier annual conference that brings together the world’s foremost practitioners and leaders in the field.
In 2008, STORIES OF CHANGE launched a request for proposals and received more than 300 film projects filmmakers around the world interested in telling the stories of social entrepreneurs. An advisory committee, including CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour, celebrated documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight, The Trials of Henry Kissinger) and Skoll Foundation senior advancement officer Sandy Herz, made recommendations. 10 films have been chosen, with the first films likely to be completed as early as 2010.
On hand for the announcement were Jeff Skoll, Founder & Chairman, Skoll Foundation, Sandy Herz, Senior Advancement Office, Skoll Foundation, Ken Brecher, Executive Director, Sundance Institute, Pat Mitchell, President & CEO, The Paley Center For Media, and Cara Mertes, Director, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program.
The five new STORIES OF CHANGE Grant Award Recipients are:
Director: Jonathan Stack
Social Entrepreneur: Aloy Chife
Nigerian entrepreneur Chife is making an unrelenting effort to shrink Africa’s digital divide by bringing information technology to those who need it most.
EASY LIKE WATER
Director: Glenn Baker
Social Entrepreneur: Abul Hasanat Mohammed Rezwan
In Bangladesh, Architect Abul Hasanat Mohammed Rezwan’s solar-powered floating schools are turning the front lines of climate change into a community of learning.
To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus BANKS ON America (working title)
Director: Gayle Ferraro
Social Entrepreneur: Muhammad Yunus
Muhammad Yunus, known for developing the concept of microcredit, reached seven and a half million poverty-stricken families in Bangladesh with his Grameen Bank. This film profiles the Nobel Prize winner’s newest location in Queens, New York, and 500 women borrowers.
Directors: Annika Gustafson and Phil Jandaly
Social Entrepreneurs: Various
This remarkable film shows viewers how to save the planet, save money while they do it, and have a laugh or two in the meantime.
THE REVOLUTIONARY OPTIMISTS
Directors: Maren Grainger-Monsen, Nicole Newnham
Social Entrepreneur: Amlan Ganguly
In the slums of Calcutta, Ganguly, a lawyer turned social entrepreneur, empowers children to become “health minders” in their communities, which causes malaria and diarrhea rates to drop, and neighborhoods to transform.
“Social entrepreneurs are working on some of the biggest challenges facing humanity: from climate change, to water scarcity, to ethnic, political and socio-economic conflicts. These visionaries have created workable solutions to tough problems, and it is critical to tell their stories, not only to inform but also to inspire,” said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of Skoll Foundation. “We are extremely pleased with the caliber of filmmaker submissions to the STORIES OF CHANGE initiative, and look forward to seeing the outcome of these unique collaborations.”
“It is truly extraordinary to be able to provide funding for these important projects in this difficult economic climate,” said Cara Mertes, Director of the Sundance Documentary Film Program. “In their optimism, integrity and intelligence, the films that are launching today reflect the deep challenges we face as a global community, tempered with the ingenuity and commitment to effective, transformative change that social entrepreneurs exemplify.”
Speaking at the Skoll World Forum Opening Plenary, Sundance Institute Executive Director Ken Brecher said, ” Film is the medium for modern storytelling, and the power of storytelling as an agent for change is tremendous. The goal of STORIES OF CHANGE is to unite these creative forces and bring about not simply awareness but also solutions to the issues of our time.”
This is the third year Sundance Institute has participated in the Skoll World Forum. 2009 Sundance Filmmaker Fellows also participating in the Forum include Robert Kenner (FOOD, INC.), Gayle Ferraro (Muhammad Yunus’ Vision for America (WT)), Greg Barker (SERGIO), and Jon Alpert (BAGHDAD E.R.)
For more information on Sundance Institute at the Skoll World Forum visit www.sundance.org/DocSource.
Previously Announced Recipients:
BACK TO SCHOOL
Producer: Julia Parker Benello
Social Entrepreneur: Sakena Yacoobi
Sakena Yacoobi’s Afghan Institute for Learning, a grassroots organization she founded 12 years ago, brings education to women in Afghanistan, a country driven by war and torn between competing ideologies.
GREEN SHALL OVERCOME
Director/Producer: Megan Gelstein
Social Entrepreneur: Van Jones
Green Shall Overcome examines the national movement for green-collar jobs as both a pathway out of poverty for young adults and a key weapon in the battle against climate change. The film focuses on Van Jones, an Oakland, Calif.-based African-American civil rights lawyer who helped make Oakland the first city in the nation to create a green job corps program.
POOR CONSUELO CONQUERS THE WORLD
Director: Peter Friedman
Producer: Paul Miller
Social Entrepreneur: PCI-Media Impact
Poor Consuelo Conquers the World tells the story of popular soap operas and telenovelas, now being used to combat the effects of poverty around the world.
Director: Patrick Reed
Producer: Peter Raymont
Social Entrepreneurs: John Marks and Susan Collin Marks
Kenyans scramble to produce a dramatic TV soap opera series, hoping taboo storylines can bridge deep ethnic divisions.
YOUTHBUILD DOCUMENTARY (working title)
Director: Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern
Social Entrepreneur: Dorothy Stoneman
This feature length documentary will follow a year in the lives of out-of school young people selected for a high stakes community re-build project in North Philadelphia.
The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program
The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program is dedicated to supporting U.S. and international feature documentary films that focus on human rights, social justice, civil liberties, and other pressing contemporary social issues. Since 1996, the Sundance Documentary Fund has supported more than 450 artists in 52 countries, providing a continuum of support throughout the life of a project. Films supported by the Fund have included My Country, My Country; Iraq in Fragments; Why We Fight; The Inner Tour; The Betrayal (Nerakhoon),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 three Creative Labs, at the Sundance Film Festival and the Sundance Independent Producers Conference, and through collaborative international initiatives. Visit www.sundance.org/documentary or www.sundance.org/DocSource for more information.
Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a not-for-profit organization that fosters the development of original storytelling in film and theatre, and presents the annual Sundance Film Festival. Internationally recognized for its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Angels in America, Spring Awakening, Boys Don’t Cry and Born into Brothels.
The Skoll Foundation was created in 1999 by eBay’s first president, Jeff Skoll, to promote his vision of a more peaceful and prosperous world. Today the Skoll Foundation advances systemic change to benefit communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs – individuals dedicated to innovative, bottom-up solutions that transform unequal and unjust social, environmental and economic systems. The Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship is the foundation’s flagship program. There are currently 50 organizations represented by 59 remarkable social entrepreneurs, working individually and together across regions, countries and continents to evolve the field of social entrepreneurship into a global movement for social change. The Skoll Foundation connects social entrepreneurs and other partners in the field via an online community at www.socialedge.org, and through the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. The foundation also celebrates social entrepreneurs by telling their stories through partnerships with the PBS Foundation and the Sundance Institute, with the goal of promoting large-scale public awareness of social entrepreneurship. For more information, visit www.skollfoundation.org.
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