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Watch: Oscar-Nominated Directors Bring Small Business Success Stories to Light in New Doc Series

Watch: Oscar-Nominated Directors Bring Small Business Success Stories to Light in New Doc Series

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A trio of documentary shorts centering on American small business success stories has just launched across online and cable VOD platforms.

Co-produced by Tribeca Digital Studios and American Express, these three films come from Oscar-nominated directors and explore the origin stories and subsequent impact of a collection of small businesses, while also profiling their creators.

“These exciting new projects further Tribeca Digital Studios’ commitment to showcasing intimate stories and remarkable individuals dealing with strife and triumph — a vision that we earlier embodied with Emmy-winning documentary ‘We Could Be King,'” said Paula Weinstein, EVP Tribeca Enterprises. “It was important for us to enlist the help of these incredible directors to capture the entrepreneurial spirit on the local level, and the often underestimated impact of these small businesses.”

Watch the films below. (Synopses courtesy of Tribeca.)

“Buffalo Returns,” directed by Gini Reticker: In the face of a powerful recession, crippling unemployment and a housing crisis, a small, creative and energetic band of Native American businesspeople, with the help of the buffalo, rebuild their community through a growing business, Native American Natural Foods, the company behind Tanka energy bars. Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Gini Reticker weaves together beautiful imagery set to the pulse of the Sioux Nation to carefully tell the story of two entrepreneurs who use tradition and ingenuity to bring opportunity and hope to the people on the Pine Ridge Reservation. After nearly going extinct, the buffalo has returned, bringing a chance for prosperity to the Lakota people.

“A Dream Preferred,” directed by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing: The future of Taharka Brothers, purveyors of ice cream and social change, hinges on the success of a crowdfunding campaign. If successful, they will be able to grow their business by launching a “Food for Thought” ice cream truck, a literal vehicle for change. With a looming deadline, and what seems like an insurmountable goal ($28,000 in 29 days), Taharka Brothers takes to the streets to raise awareness, inspire, and turn out some supremely delicious ice cream — voted Best in Baltimore. Progress is slow and defeat starts to set in, until a pivotal phone call. Filmmakers Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing take us behind the scenes in a fun, yet poignant portrayal of young men from Baltimore’s toughest neighborhoods as they struggle with entrepreneurship, sharpen their business strategy and inspire their community. Baltimore has a positive and empowering story to tell. The Taharka Brothers’ ingenuity and character are an inspiration to all. When you fight for what you believe in, dreams happen.

“The Downtown Project,” directed by Morgan Spurlock:  Far from the bright lights and the resounding ka-ching of booming commerce on the Vegas strip is another side of Sin City; Downtown Vegas prides itself on hard work and the development of local businesses to inspire a growing entrepreneurial spirit within the community. A local initiative known as The Downtown Project champions small businesses by partnering with owners to make dreams happen and to bring a community out of the shadows. 

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