By Eugene Hernandez | Indiewire August 14, 2008 at 3:54AM
Seven projects have been selected for the Tribeca Film Institute's inaugural Gucci Tribeca Documentary Finishing Fund. Selected from 450 applicants, the projects will receive a total of $80,000 in finishing funds and post production guidance from the Institute. The new fund is aimed at supporting, in the words of the Institute, "independent filmmakers in need of finances to complete feature length documentaries that promote social change and illuminate issues in need of comprehensive coverage currently missing from mainstream media."
"All of the selected films are distinguished by their intimate access to their subjects, and the attention to detail being shown in crafting their stories," said TFI CEO Brian Newman, "It's a terrific group and we are delighted to welcome these filmmakers into the Tribeca fold."
The projects were chosen by a committee that included John Battsek, Gael Garcia Bernal, Alex Gibney, Jacquie Jones, Rory Kennedy, Diego Luna, Albert Maysles, and Diane Weyermann after a roster of 12 finalists was selected by the Tribeca Film Institute.
The complete list of selected projects follows (information provided by TFI):
"The Fixer" by Ian Olds focuses on the relationship between an Afghan translator, Ajmal Naqshbandi, and his American client, the war journalist, Christian Parenti. What begins as an intimate portrait of two colleagues at work turns dark when Taliban fighters in Southern Afghanistan kidnap Ajmal and an Italian journalist during a dangerous trip to interview a high-level commander. What follows is the tragic story of one man forgotten in the crossfire set against a failing state slowly losing the faith of its people.
"Release" by Laura Poitras is the second documentary in a trilogy titled The New American Century about America post 9/11. Filmed in Yemen, "Release" follows the stories of men released from Guantanamo Bay prison and returning home. The first film in the trilogy, "My Country, My Country," documented the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The final film will focus on domestic surveillance in the United States.
"Sons of Perdition" by Jennilyn Merten & Tyler Measom is a rare, inside look at polygamist teens who have become religious refugees in mainstream America. The film reveals the hidden world of polygamy through the eyes of five exiled teens and the dictatorial prophet who has banished them from their families, community, and religious salvation. With unprecedented access, "Sons of Perdition" captures the raw, daily struggle of polygamy's lost children and their extraordinary quest to survive, succeed and belong.
"Delta Boys" by Andrew Berends is an unprecedented intimate look at the daily lives, culture, hardships and mindset of the young rebel men who have taken up arms on the brutal Niger Delta. Their stated goal -- to localize control of Nigeria's oil, to secure reparations for environmental destruction caused by foreign oil companies, and to obtain amnesty for themselves.
"Give Up Tomorrow" by Martin Syjuco and Michael Collins tells the story of Paco Larranaga, who was sentenced to death at age 19 for the alleged kidnapping of two sisters in a sensational mistrial in the Philippines in 1998. Charting the ordeal of Paco's ten years in prison, the film is a moving and poetic investigative documentary that reveals the human cost of endemic corruption in a country still recovering from years of colonial rule and the democratic instability of the Marcos era.
"If a Tree Falls" by Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman is a rare, behind-the-curtain look at the Earth Liberation Front, the radical environmental group that the FBI calls America's "number one domestic terrorist threat." Following the story of convicted ELF member, Daniel McGowan, the film asks urgent and timely questions about environmentalism and terrorism.
"Vida Ballet" by Beadie Finzi defies the idea that ballet is an art form steeped in the history of the wealthy white elite as it captures the dreams of two black children from the Favela in Brazil, who, despite constant prejudice and doubt, are both determined to beat the odds and follow their dreams to use dancing as an escape rarely found in their tough day-to-day lives.