DAILY NEWS: Sundance Institute Announces Doc Grants; and Denver Fest Names Winners
by Brian Brooks/indieWIRE with an article by Caroline Wells
>> Sundance Unveils First Doc Fund Recipients
(indieWIRE: 10.24.02) -- The Sundance Documentary Fund, a new Sundance
Institute program which was previously known as the Soros Documentary Fund, has announced 23 documentary films and videos that will receive funding grants
for 2002. A Sundance Doc Fund panel of human rights experts and film industry
professionals selected feature-length documentary projects from around the
world for the new grants. The fund focuses on films that raise public
consciousness concerning issues of human rights, civil liberties, social
justice, and freedom of expression with a global perspective.
"The international documentary community is shining a light on compelling,
important stories that might never reach as large as audience through any
other medium," said Diane Weyermann of the Sundance Documentary Film program in a prepared statement.
The work-in-progress grant recipient documentaries are Raed Andoni's "Nizar
Hassan," "13 Days in Jenin Camp" (Palestine), Malek Bensmail and Thierry Leclerc's "Algeria At What Cost" (Algeria/France), Maziar Bahari's "And Along Came a Spider" (Iran), Carlos Sandoval's "The Farmingville Project" (US), Jocelyn Glatzer's "The Flute Player" (US), Anne Aghion's "Gacaca, Living Together Again in Rwanda?" (US/France), Amit Goren's "Golan" (Israel), Thierry
Michel and Christine Pireaux's "Iran: Veiled Appearances" (Belgium), Rene Tajima-Pena and Gita Saedi's "Kansas Stories" (US), Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman's "The Kids of Sonagachi" (US), Megan Mylan and Jon Shenk's "The Lost Boys of Sudan" (US), Micha Peled's "Made In China" (US), Mercedes Moncada's "The Passion of Maria Elena" (Mexico), Jane Greenberg's "Standards of Decency"
(US), and Francois Verster's "When The War Is Over" (South Africa).
In addition to the works-in-progress grant, the organization will also provide
development seed funds for docs that are in the early stages of research or
pre-production. Recipients include Michael Offer and Jeanne Charuet's "Child Soldiers" (France), Sabiha Sumar's "A Feminised Islam?" (France/Pakistan), Adi Barash and Ruthie Shatz's "Garden" (Israel), Danae Elon's "The Iron" (US), Evaldo Mocarzel and Ugo Cesar Giorgetti's "On the Fringes of Sao Paolo: Squatting" (Brazil), Mark Becker's "Romantico" (US), Hank Rogerson and Jilann Spitzmiller's "Shakespeare Behind Bars" (US) and Ghada Terawi's "The Way Back
Home" (Palestine). [Caroline Wells]
[For more information, visit the Sundance Documentary Fund]
>> Denver Closes Event with Awards and Packed Screening of "Bowling for Columbine"
(indieWIRE: 10.24.02) -- The Denver premiere of Michael Moore's "Bowling for
Columbine" closed the 25th Starz Denver International Film Festival Saturday evening with a standing-room screening at the 2600+ seat Buell Theatre. Moore appeared following the film with three Columbine student victims. The following
day, the festival unveiled its winners and presented silver anniversary
retrospective screenings of "DIFF's Greatest Hits." Paul Justman's "Standing
in the Shadows of Motown" took the Starz People's Choice Award, which was voted on by festival attendees. The film, which explores the impact on the Motown
sound by the unsung musicians that helped develop the genre, includes footage
of the Funk Brothers, working with Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and a young Stevie Wonder.
Phillip Noyce received the award in the feature-length fiction category for his
film "Rabbit-Proof Fence." The film, set in Australia, tells the story of
Aboriginal children who were kidnapped to serve as domestic staff for white
families who then escape to return to their home. Ken Loach's "Sweet Sixteen" took the Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for Best European Film, the event's only
juried prize. Also receiving accolades was Denver-native producer-director
John Wells who received the Mayor's Lifetime Achievement Award. The festival also screened three of Wells' feature films as part of this year's tribute,
including the opening night film, "White Oleander" (Peter Kosminsky), "Far From Heaven" (Todd Haynes), and "The Grey Zone" (Tim Blake Nelson).
In other honors, Nick Nolte received the John Cassavetes Award for "artistry in independent film." Alan Rudolph, director of Nick Nolte's latest film
"Investigating Sex," accepted the award on Nolte's behalf. This year's
festival also included a salute to Chinese cinema with a screening of Chen
Kaige's "Together," a coming-of-age story about a 13-year old boy who moves
to Beijing to study violin and finds his first love. Additionally, the
spotlight on Chinese cinema included a martial arts showcase with three
recently restored films from the Shaw Brothers Library. The DIFF featured
more than 200 programs screening to almost 35,000 attendees over 10 days, a
new record attendance for the festival. [Brian Brooks]