Sundance Doc Fund To Support 14 New Projects and Sets MoMA Screening Series
by Eugene Hernandez
As it prepares to present a series of documentaries at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Sundance Institute has announced fourteen projects that will receive funding grants for 2003. The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund supports U.S. and international docs that “focus on current human rights issues, freedom of expression, social justice, and civil liberties.”
Works are considered in three categories: work-in-progress, development and supplemental. The developmental grants support movies that are at an early reseaerch stage or pre-production, while supplemental grants support works that are in the work-in-progress stage but have already received a developmental grant.
“These 14 projects are powerful stories from Latin America to Scandinavia, the Middle East to Eastern Europe, and the U.S. to South Africa,” said Diane Weyermann, Director, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, in a prepared statement. “From the legacy of the Vietnam war to the current crisis in the Middle East, they illuminate the global society we live in. There could not be a more urgent time for supporting international documentary filmmakers whose work is intended to inform, heal, and inspire.”
The 14 Sundance Documentary Fund grant recipients are (information provided by Sundance Institute):
WORK IN PROGRESS GRANTS
Michael Christoffersen, “Milosovic on Trial,” (Denmark) This film follows the case of Slobodan Milosevic from his trial before the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague through the appeals process.
Saleem Daw, “Mafeteeh” (Palestine/ Israel) “Mafeteeh” (The Keys) tells the stories of loss experienced by Israeli Palestinian refugees who still retain the keys to the homes from which they were evicted.
Fabrizio Lazzaretti, “Justice” (Italy) “Justice” follows Sisto Turra, the father of a young man murdered by police in Colombia, and his groundbreaking struggle to bring the Colombian government to justice.
Hart Perry, “Valley of the Tears” (US) Explores the ethnic divisions and inequalities within a small south Texas farming community that is home to a large population of Mexican/American migrant workers.
Foke Ryden, “The Boy With No Face” (Sweden) Follows a Swedish man’s attempts to help a young Vietnamese boy severely disfigured by an American phosphorus bomb nearly 30 years after the end of the Vietnam War.
Jamie Stobie, “Freedom Machines” (US) Explores the struggles of people with disabilities as they contend with the promise of new technologies and the realities of governmental paralysis, economic hurdles, and pervasive discrimination.
Shiri Tsur, “On The Objection Front A Personal Journey” (Israel) Presents the stories of Israeli combat soldiers who refuse to serve in the Occupied Territories of Palestine and are willing to voice their objections.
Simone Bitton, “The Wall” (France) Studies the Israeli/Palestinian conflict by tracking the Israeli construction of a gigantic wall, designed to prevent Palestinian terrorist infiltration, along the northern West Bank.
Doug Block, “Two Men Talking” (US) Investigates the complexities of South Africa’s human rights issues through the autobiographical storytelling performance of two white, gay South African expatriates who return home to tell their story.
Angelika Schuster and Tristan Sindelgruber, “Operation Spring” (Austria) Follows the developments surrounding the trials of black Austrians arrested as suspected drug dealers in 1999. The film focuses on several cases that are currently being appealed, and questions the motives of “Operation Spring”, the police code name for the massive arrests.
David Van Taylor, “Advise and Dissent” (US) This film will chronicle the potential controversy around the next U.S. Supreme Court justice confirmation battle, and explores fundamental questions of the Judiciary¹s role in an open society.
Adi Barash and Ruthie Shatz, “Garden” (Israel) Through the stories of four teenage boys from Israel, Palestine, Russia, and Jordan, who work as prostitutes in downtown Tel Aviv, the film reveals the plight of rejected young immigrants struggling for a better future.
Meema Spadola, “Red Hook Justice” (US) Explores a controversial new approach to justice for low-income neighborhoods, by following the daily activities of the Red Hook Community Justice Center, a pilot project in Brooklyn that houses a court and an array of social services.
Liliana Sulzbach, “Pink Inferno/Four Prison Stories” (Brazil) This film depicts daily life at a correction house in Brazil, run by nuns, as the female inmates struggle with loss of freedom and autonomy and reintegration into society.
From April 25 – May 2, Sundance, in its first collaboration with MoMA, will screen 20 documentaries from 15 countries at the MoMA Gramercy Theater. The event, which will become an annual presentation, will showcase works previously funded by the fund (formerly known as the Soros Documentary Fund). It was organized by Diane Weyermann and MoMA associate curator Jyette Jensen.
Among the films that were funded by the Sundance Documentary Fund are Gail Dolgin and Vicente Franco’s “Daughter From Danang,” winner of the 2002 Sundance Documentary Grand Jury Prize and nominated for an Academy Award, Kate Davis’ “Southern Comfort,” winner the 2001 Sundance Documentary Grand Jury Prize, Edet Belzberg’s “Children Underground,” winner of a 2001 Sundance Special Jury Prize, and “Long’s Nights Journey Into Day,” winner of the 2000 Sundance Documentary Grand Jury Prize and an Academy Award nominee.