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by Brian Brooks
December 19, 2011 3:56 PM
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Tribeca Film Institute Announces 10 Documentaries That Will Share $150,000 in Grants

Alma Ha'rel and Doug Block are among the filmmakers who will benefit from the 2012 Tribeca Film Institute's Documentary Fund, which distributes $150,000 in grants for 10 documentary projects in various stages of development.

Topics include the evolution of love and marriage, Richard Nixon’s presidency and the 1988 Olympics steroids scandal. Grantees will also receive guidance and consulation from TFI for their various productions.

"The 2012 selections highlight the ingenuity of filmmakers and the power of character-driven stories which are an essential contribution to our cultural conversation," said Ryan Harrington, Director of Documentary Programming at TFI in a statement. "We are delighted to be among the first institutional supporters of many of these projects, and hope that in helping to fund the development and completion of such work, we will continue to drive industry recognition and increase opportunities for the often-overlooked genre of character-driven film."

The list of grantees follow with descriptions and credits provided by Tribeca Film Institute.

Grantees for films in various stages of development:

"I Wuv You," directed and produced by Alma Har’el
Following Bombay Beach, Tribeca Film Festival winner Alma Har’el will continue to push the documentary genre into new realms. Her new film will follow people alongside their imaginary younger and older selves (portrayed by actors) in the midst of a love story that shapes their lives. The result is an exploration of our past and future through reenactments of our inner dialogues. The actors that will portray the younger and older selves of the documentary’s protagonists will come in and out of scenes, slowly blurring the line between fiction and nonfiction.

"The Lovers and the Despot," directed by Ross Adam and Robert Cannan, produced by Sandra Whipham
Following the collapse of their glamorous, movie-world romance, a celebrity director and actress are kidnapped by loony dictator Kim Jong-il. Forced to make films in the world’s weirdest state, they get a second chance at love but only one chance at escape.

"Teatro," directed and produced by Jeff Malmberg, produced by Chris Shellen
"Teatro" is the story of an Italian farming town which turns inhabitants’ lives into a play in order to solve their problems and save their ways of life. Told through intertwining portraits of the town’s characters, the film examines the power of art to heal and transform.


Grantees for films in various stages of Production:

"112 Weddings," directed and produced by Doug Block, produced by Lori Cheatle
For the past two decades, documentary filmmaker Doug Block (51 Birch Street, The Kids Grow Up) has supported his work by videotaping weddings.  Approaching his own 25th wedding anniversary, Block revisits some of his most memorable couples to see how their marriages are faring.  Juxtaposing intimate wedding moments with revealing present-day interviews, 112 Weddings is a fascinating look at love and long-term marriage.

"The Manor," directed by Shawney Cohen, co-directed by Mike Gallay, produced by Paul Scherzer, executive produced by Laurie Gwen Shapiro
After years apart, filmmaker Shawney Cohen returns home to find his once “normal” family replaced by a strip-club-owner father, anorexic mother, and sociopathic brother.

"The Race," directed and produced by Daniel Gordon, executive produced by John Battsek
The 100-meter men’s final at the 1988 Seoul Olympics was the fastest – and most thrilling - ever run but within 48 hours, gold medalist Ben Johnson had tested positive for anabolic steroids, and scandal reigned. This one race still haunts the eight men who took part.
 

Grantees for films in various stages of Post-Production:

"All of Me," directed and produced by Alexandra Lescaze -- The "girls" have been friends, and morbidly obese, for years. Now they are choosing to have weight-loss surgeries to lose hundreds of pounds. The experience presents a host of issues and consequences – some they knew they were in for; some they feared; and some they never could have imagined. Their health, marriages and friendships are all at stake.

"Cutie and the Boxer," directed by Zachary Heinzerling, produced by Sierra Pettengill
"Cutie and the Boxer" is a love story that explores the bond between two New York-based, Japanese artists, Ushio and Noriko Shinohara. Set over the course of their chaotic 40-year marriage, this candid look at two headstrong, yet overall complimentary personalities, forms a graceful rumination on companionship, sacrifice, and the creative spirit.

"Homegoings," directed and produced by Christine Turner
"Homegoings" explores the African-American funeral home, a 150-year-old institution that is now vanishing, through the eyes of a renowned Harlem undertaker.

"Our Nixon," directed and produced by Penny Lane and Brian Frye, executive produced by Dan Cogan and Jenny Raskin
Forty years after Watergate, the forgotten Super 8 home movies of Richard Nixon's closest aides – and convicted Watergate conspirators – offer an intimate and surprising new glimpse into his presidency.
 

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