The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund has announced the 14 projects that will receive funding grants for 2003. Twice a year, the Fund provides funding grants to U.S. and international documentary films and videos that focus on current human rights issues, freedom of expression, social justice, and civil liberties.
A committee of human rights experts and film professionals selected the 14 feature-length documentary film projects from around the world. These projects represent a wide range of topics including a portrait of life in post-Taliban Afghanistan, the domestic effects of America’s war on terrorism, the Ramifications of ongoing violent revolutions around the world; the drive and commitment of individuals to find better lives for themselves and others, and the role the performing arts play for a group of prison inmates.
In supporting such work, the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund encourages the diverse exchange of ideas crucial to developing an open society, raising public consciousness about human rights abuses and restrictions of civil liberties, and fostering an ongoing debate about these issues.
“The recipients of this Fall’s grant cycle show an uncanny ability to get to the heart of crucial issues and events, which are not being covered by the mainstream media,” said Diane Weyermann, Director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund. “These documentary filmmakers are making an extremely important contribution to our understanding of the world and we’re pleased to be able to support their projects.”
The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund considers projects in three categories—Work-in-Progress, Development, and Supplemental. Documentaries in production or postproduction are eligible for the more substantial work-in-progress grants. Development grants provide seed funds to filmmakers whose projects are in the early research stage or in preproduction. Supplemental grants are given to projects that meet the criteria for work-in-progress grants, but have already received Development grants.
The 14 Sundance Documentary Fund grant recipients are:
Daniel Alpert, “A DOULA STORY” (US)
“A DOULA STORY” chronicles one woman’s remarkable commitment to educate and assist pregnant teens and teen mothers living in one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods
Gilles de Maistre, “EUROPE, THE CITADEL” (France)
This film exposes the difficulties of immigration by illuminating the devastating realities faced by African exiles as they journey to Europe in hope of a better life.
Jason Kohn, “MANDA BALA” (SEND A BULLET) (US)
Khon explores kidnapping and corruption in contemporary Brazil through the parallel stories of a plastic surgeon and a frog farmer.
Alison Maclean, “PERSONS OF INTEREST” (US)
“PERSONS OF INTEREST” tells the complex, behind-the-scenes stories of innocent victims of the domestic war on terrorism following the September 11 attacks.
Ellen Perry, “FALL OF FUJIMORI” (US)
“FALL OF FUJIMORI” chronicles the tumultuous ten-year reign of Peru’s former President, Alberto Fujimori, as his battle against terrorism ends in subverting the very system of democracy he was elected to uphold.
Peter Raymont, “THE WORLD STOPPED WATCHING” (Canada)
This documentary explores the fate of ordinary citizens of Nicaragua, the final battleground of the Cold War, now that the media spotlight has turned away.
Rebecca Cammisa, “WHICH WAY HOME” (US)
Every year, thousands of Latin Americans cross the U.S. border illegally in search of employment, leaving their children behind. “WHICH WAY HOME” follows a few of these children as they make the same perilous journey with the hope of a reunion with their parents.
Jon Else, “WONDERS ARE MANY” (US)
“WONDERS ARE MANY” follows the making of Doctor Atomic, the new opera from Peter Sellars and John Adams that creatively explores the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer and the birth of nuclear weapons.
Phil Grabsky, “THE BOY WHO PLAYS ON THE BUDDHAS OF BAMIYAN” (England)
Grabsky paints a revealing portrait of daily life in post-Taliban Afghanistan, as seen through the eyes of an eight-year-old boy, his family, friends, and neighbors, who live in the caves beside the destroyed Buddhas of Bamiyan, Afghanistan.
Cristina Ibarra and John Valadez, “THE LAST CONQUISTADOR” (US)
This film investigates the complex legacy of conquest via the controversial construction of a larger-than-life public memorial to Juan de Oñate in El Paso, Texas and the long-standing racial tension it is reigniting between the Àcoma Indians and proud Hispanics.
Mercedes Moncada, “TALE OF TWO BROTHERS” (Mexico)
Moncada tells the story of twin brothers from Nicaragua who fought on opposite sides of the Contra war during the 1980s, and their present day attempt to reconcile with each other in a divided and devastated country.
Jonathan Stack, “IN PURSUIT OF LIBERTY” (US)
Stack examines the extraordinary current events in Liberia from all sides of the conflict—the rebel army’s attempts to overthrow the government, the government struggling to hold onto power, and the foreign policy response of the United States.
Mark Becker, “ROMANTICO” (US)
“ROMANTICO” is an intimate portrayal of illegal immigrants in the US through two Mexican musicians who play romantica music for tips to support their families in Mexico. The film exposes their struggles as they repeatedly cross the border in both directions in hopes of a better future.
Hank Rogerson, “SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS” (US)
An all-male Shakespeare acting company at a prison in Kentucky confront their pasts as criminals and their futures as convicts while they rehearse and perform a full production of The Tempest.
For more info, visit the Sundance website.