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Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program awards 20

A lucky 20 projects out of the 800 submitted are receiving grants from the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program.

A lucky 20 projects out of the 800 submitted are receiving grants from the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. Split among projects that are in development and docs that are in the post-production stage (meaning we might actually have a chance to see them at this year’s festival, this year’s batch is once again calling on docu ideas and filmmakers from all corners of the globe. The film selection is juried by creative film professionals and human rights experts. I’ve taken a peak at some of the projects….look for site links, trailers and further info. Pictured above: Pamela Yates’s doc film on the role of the Hague.

 
DEVELOPMENT
 
Elinyisia Mosha
TANZANIA PROJECT (Tanzania/U.S.)
This film explores the impact of foreign direct investment in the filmmakers native Tanzania.
 
Priya Giri Desai and  Ann S. Kim
MATCH +: A STORY ABOUT LOVE IN THE TIME OF HIV (U.S./India)
At the Y.R. Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education (YRG CARE) clinic in Chennai, India, Dr. Solomon and her staff launch a matrimonial matchmaking service for their positive patients.
 
Tina DiFeliciantonio and Jane C. Wagner
SEEKING REFUGE (U.S.)                                                                        
At the Bellevue Hospital Center N.Y.U. Program for Survivors of Torture, three patients from around the world come together in a journey of healing.
 
Marianna Kaat
THE PIT (Estonia/Ukraine)                                                                                    
Once prosperous during the Soviet era, the small town of Snezhnoje in East Ukraine now lives in poverty. The town’s desperate residents decide to start mining on their own.

Macky Alston
THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE (U.S.)
An openly gay bishop from New Hampshire travels to London, where the Anglican Communion will decide to either retain or split gay leadership from their ranks.

Patricio Guzman
NOSTALGIA DE LA LUZ (Chile/France)                                   
In the desert of North Chile, astronomers study the ancient universe above, while women search below for signs of their family members disappeared under Pinochet’s dictatorship of 1973.
 
Mahmoud Al Massad
THIS IS MY PICTURE WHEN I WAS DEAD (Jordan)                                               
This is a film that artfully imagines the future of a four-year old boy who almost died in the assassination of his PLO lieutenant father 25 years ago.
 
PRODUCTION/POST-PRODUCTION

Lynn True and Nelson Walker, with Tsering Perlo
A NOMAD’S LIFE  (U.S./Tibet)http://www.khamfilmproject.org/projects.html                                                                            
In the mountains of Tibet, Locho and Yama struggle to maintain their family and way of life, and to reconcile their nomadic traditions amidst rapid modernization.
 
Andrew Berends
DELTA BOYS (U.S./Nigeria)http://deltaboys.com/                                                                                           
In the oil rich Niger Delta, Chima is a 21-year-old who is swept into the world of armed militants after a prison break. His story is part of a complex tale of oil, power, poverty and corruption.
 
Petr Lom
LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT (U.S./Iran)                                                    
Across Iran, villagers share their hopes and fears through letters to President Ahmadinejad and his Presidential Letter Writing Center. 
 
Mona Nicoara
OUR SCHOOL (Romania)                                                                         
Roma children struggle to break the barriers of segregation in a small Transylvanian school. Rejected by teachers, they find strength in the friendship of Romanian classmates.
 
Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer
OUT IN THE SILENCE (U.S.)
http://www.outinthesilence.com
The filmmaker’s same-sex wedding announcement in the local newspaper ignites a firestorm of controversy in his rural Pennsylvania hometown.
 
Eric Daniel Metzgar
REPORTER (U.S./Congo)                         
New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof journeys into the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, inviting a consideration of the future of journalism.
 
Danae Elon
THE EVIL TONGUE (U.S.) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1109467/                                                                                  
In the Orthodox Jewish family, those affected by sexual molestation may be unable to disclose the information to secular authorities.
 
Pamela Yates
THE RECKONING (U.S.) http://www.skylightpictures.com/                                                                          
The film chronicles the history and launch of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, the world’s first institution created to prosecute individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
 
DISCRETIONARY
 
Edet Belzberg
Watchers of the Sky (U.S.)                                                                       
Drawing from Samantha Power’s book “A Problem from Hell” four exceptional visionaries traverse time and continents to explore the world’s response to genocide. 
 
Oren Jacoby
INJUSTICE (U.S.)  
This film uncovers the backroom maneuvering during the waning days of the Bush Administration which led to the unprecedented and illegal firing of U.S. Attorneys David Iglesias, John McKay and three of their colleagues.
 
Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman
SEMBENE: REVOLUTIONARY ARTIST (U.S./Senegal)  
The story of independent filmmaker Senegal’s Ousmane Sembene, providing an alternate history of contemporary Africa and a window into world cinema.
 
Thomas Wallner
THE GUANTANAMO TRAP (Canada/Germany)                                             
Murat Kurnaz, born in Germany of Turkish heritage, was detained, tortured at the U.S. military base in Kandar, Afghanistan and in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and held for five years. This is his story.
 
Thomas Allen Harris
THROUGH A LENS DARKLY: BLACK PHOTOGRAPHERS AND THE EMERGENCE OF A PEOPLE  (U.S.)
Using an experimental approach, Harris shows how black communities use photography and imagery to construct political, aesthetic, and cultural representations of themselves in the world.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at IONCINEMA.com (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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