By Brian Brooks | Indiewire June 1, 2011 at 4:14AM
Nine projects will share $150,000 in funding by the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund. Now in its fourth year, the initiative provides finishing finances, year-round support and guidance to domestic and international documentary filmmakers with feature-length films "highlighting and humanizing issues of social importance from around the world." The nine were selected from 450 submissions from 38 countries.
Six of the projects will share $100,000 directly from the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, including "An American Promise," directed Michele Stephenson and Joe Brewster; "Caught in the Net," directed by Hilla Medalia; "Democrats," directed by Camilla Nielsson and produced by Henrik Veileborg; "The Great Invisible," directed and produced by Margaret Brown and produced by Jason Orans; Untitled Global Health Documentary, directed by Kief Davidson; and "Charge," directed by Mike Plunkett.
New in this year's round of funding is The PPR Corporate Foundation for Women’s Dignity & Rights, which has joined with the Gucci/Tribeca to create the "Spotlighting Women Documentary Award," providing $50,000 annually for women filmmakers worldwide. Three projects sharing this allocation include "Barefoot Engineers," directed by Jehane Noujaim; "Justice for Sale" by Ilse adn Femke van Velzen and "The World Before Her" by Nisha Pahuja.
The 2011 projects were selected by jury members Jessica Alba, Amir Bar-Lev, Wendy Ettinger, Frida Giannini, Edward Norton and Mariane Pearl. The committee chose the recipients from finalists selected by TFI. In addition to funding, grantees will each receive year-round support from TFI, including one-on-one guidance and consultation.
"We recognize the invaluable role that documentary films play in helping to bring important social concerns out into the open and thus create meaningful conversation," commented Beth Janson, Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Institute in a statement. "We are proud of this year's selections and are committed to our ongoing partnership with Gucci and new relationship with the PPR Foundation to continue to help inspire change through film."
The 2011 Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund recipients with descriptions provided by Tribeca Film Institute:
"An American Promise," directed by Michele Stephenson & Joe Brewster
"An American Promise" follows filmmaker-parents who spend 12 years with the camera turned on themselves and another African-American family as their firstborn sons enter a prestigious college preparatory school in 1999. An intimate, poignant and complex portrayal of how race and privilege are experienced by African American middle class families today.
"Caught in the Net," directed by Hilla Medalia
"Caught in the Net" follows China as the first country in the world to classify Internet Addiction as a clinical disorder. The film features a Beijing treatment center where Chinese teenagers are being de-programmed. We follow the lives of three teens from the day they arrive throughout their three month treatment period and their return home.
"Democrats," directed by Camilla Nielsson and Produced by Henrik Veileborg
"Democrats" is a film about the creation of a new constitution in Zimbabwe. The film follows two top politicians, who have been appointed to lead the country through the reform process. The two men are political opponents, but united in the ambition to make history by giving the nation a new founding document - that can give birth to the future's Zimbabwe.
"The Great Invisible," produced and directed by Margaret Brown and produced by Jason Orans
"The Great Invisible" is a feature-length look at the global oil economy through the lens of characters that work in the oil and fishing industries on the Gulf Coast. Much like Margaret Brown’s last documentary "The Order of Myths," this film will be shot in a verité style with select interviews to supplement verité information. In addition to the people in the film, the landscapes of the oil world will be established as a distinct character.
Untitled Global Health Documentary, directed by Kief Davidson
The project is the story of Partners In Health, a remarkable public health charity operating in the world's poorest countries PIH's controversial founders, including Dr. Paul Farmer are larger-than-life heroes, fighting to change the way the world cares for the poorest among us, by insisting on healthcare as an inalienable human right.
"Charge," directed by Mike Plunkett
"Charge" is a look at the Green Revolution already underway and the conflict over lithium, a key energy resource, which has rapidly escalated. Against a background of conflict, the disparate fates of three men hang in the balance.
Spotlighting Women Documentary Awards:
"Barefoot Engineers," directed by Jehane Noujaim
"Barefoot Engineers" follows three women who leave their remote villages to go on a life-changing journey to India with the hopes of becoming Solar Engineers. When they return to their villages, they will wire their communities and turn on the lights.
"Justice for Sale," directed by Ilse and Femke van Velzen
"Justice for Sale" is a dramatic story which follows two young, courageous human rights lawyers who refuse to accept that justice is indeed "For Sale" in their country. Claudine and her husband Eugene, fight for justice to end impunity in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"The World Before Her," directed by Nisha Pahuja
"The World Before Her" asks: Beauty Pageants - passé in the West- but in India, where women remain second-class citizens, can they actually be empowering? "The World Before Her" follows two converging story lines - that of the girls who want to become Miss India, and that of the forces that want the pageant banned.
The Tribeca Film Institute is a 501(c)3 year round nonprofit arts organization founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff. TFI seks to "empower filmmakers through grants and professional development, and is a resource and advocate for individual artists in the field."