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14 Projects in Focus for Sundance Doc Fund

14 Projects in Focus for Sundance Doc Fund

14 Projects in Focus for Sundance Doc Fund

by Eugene Hernandez

The Sundance Institute has announced the complete list of 14 projects that will receive funding from the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund for 2005. A total of $490,000 in grants will be distributed by the organization. Since its formation, the fund has provided more than $2 million to a total of 84 doc projects that, in the words of the Institute “focus on current human rights issues, freedom of expression, social justice, and civil liberties.”

“Ranging from depictions of the broad topic of globalization to very personal explorations of individual identity, the films in this slate reveal the human stories within larger events and forces that shape our world” said Diane Weyermann, Director of the Sundance Documentary Program, in a statement. “Many of these filmmakers are expanding the art of documentary filmmaking by pushing cinematic boundaries, and the Sundance Documentary Fund is proud to support their new work.”

Doc Fund projects are considered in three stages: Work In Progress, Development, and Supplemental.

The fourteen Sundance Institute Documentary Fund grant recipients are (information provided by Sundance Institute)


Deborah Dickson, “The Secret History of the Hmong” (US)
A touching portrayal of the large Hmong refugee communities in Thailand and the United States as a result of the “secret war” in Laos.

Mark and Nick Francis, “Black Gold” (UK)
An exposition on the relationship between Western coffee consumption and the collapse of the Ethiopian coffee economy, leading to starvation for the farmers and a dependence on outside aid.

Victoria Funari and Sergio De La Torre, “Maquilopolis” (US)
The story of globalization and the transformation of Tijuana through the eyes of Mexican women factory workers.

Maria Teresa Larrain, “The Trian of Pascual Pinshun” (Canada/Chile)
Focuses on the conflict between landowners and Mapuches (Native people of Chile), when MININCO, a Canadian multinational forestry company, settles in Mapuche land.

Zach Niles and Banker White, “The Refugee All Stars” (US)
Via the Refugee All Star Band, six Sierra Leoneans, who have been living for years as refugees in Guinea, struggle to keep their hope and music alive.

Laura Poitras, “The War After” (US)
A cinema verité film that explores US Military’s strategic planning and on-the-ground efforts to implement democratic elections in Iraq.

Juan Carlos Rulfo, “In The Pit” (Mexico)
A cinematic eye into the daily lives of construction workers building the Second Deck of Mexico City’s Periférico Freeway.

Rodrigo Vázquez, “An American Martyr” (UK)
The story of Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist, crushed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in March of 2003.


Richard Hankin, “Home Front” (US)
A portrait of a wounded veteran of the Iraq war as he attempts to readjust not only to friends, family and the community but also to his new reality.

Azza el-Hassan, “The Feather Man” (Palestine/Germany)
A Palestinian attempt to project, dismantle and interrogate relationships with the other side (Israel) in times of war.

Melissa Kyu-Jung Lee, “Yukai!” (Australia)
The abduction of Japanese citizens in the 70s and 80s by North Korean spies and its affect on current Japan/North Korean relations as an extraordinary tale of political maneuverings and international espionage.

Robb Moss and Peter Gallison, “Secrecy” (US)
An exploration of the fundamental threat to democracy stemming from the exponential growth of systems of classified information.

Jonathan Stack, “Rebirth of a Nation” (US)
Follows the democratization of Liberia as the second installment to “Liberia: An Uncivil War.”


Cristina Ibarra and John Valadez, “The Last Conquistador” (US)
Explores the complex legacy of conquest via the controversial construction of a larger-than-life public memorial to Juan de Oñate in El Paso, TX and the long-standing racial tension it is re-igniting between the Àcoma Indians and Hispanics.

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