“Stories of Change: Social Entrepreneurship in Focus Through Documentary,” an initiative spearheaded by the Sundance Institute and Skoll Foundation, has named five recipients who will take part in “a three-year partnership designed to enable the creation of new, feature-length independent documentary films that frame, examine and amplify social entrepreneurship as an innovative approach to meeting the central challenges of our time.” Over three hundred projects applied for the program from filmmakers worldwide.
An advisory committee, including CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki (“Why We Fight”) and Skoll Foundation senior advancement officer Sandy Herz, made recommendations. 10 films have been chosen, with the first films likely to be completed as early as 2010. A film by Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus are among this year’s roster of grantees.
“It is truly extraordinary to be able to provide funding for these important projects in this difficult economic climate,” commented Cara Mertes, director of the Sundance Documentary Film Program in a statement. “In their optimism, integrity and intelligence, the films that are launching today reflect the deep challenges we face as a global community, tempered with the ingenuity and commitment to effective, transformative change that social entrepreneurs exemplify.”
The five new Stories of Change Grant Award recipients with escriptions provided by Sundance Institute:
“Connected,” directed by Jonathan Stack
Social Entrepreneur: Aloy Chife
Nigerian entrepreneur Chife is making an unrelenting effort to shrink Africa’s digital divide by bringing information technology to those who need it most.
“Easy Like Water,” directed by Glenn Baker
Social Entrepreneur: Abul Hasanat Mohammed Rezwan
In Bangladesh, Architect Abul Hasanat Mohammed Rezwan’s solar-powered floating schools are turning the front lines of climate change into a community of learning.
“To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America” (Working Title), directed by Gayle Ferraro
Social Entrepreneur: Muhammad Yunus
Muhammad Yunus, known for developing the concept of microcredit, reached seven and a half million poverty-stricken families in Bangladesh with his Grameen Bank. This film profiles the Nobel Prize winner’s newest location in Queens, New York, and 500 women borrowers.
“SH*T!” directed by Annika Gustafson and Phil Jandaly
Social Entrepreneurs: Various
This remarkable film shows viewers how to save the planet, save money while they do it, and have a laugh or two in the meantime.
“The Revolutionary Optimists,” directed by Maren Grainger-Monsen, Nicole Newnham
Social Entrepreneur: Amlan Ganguly
In the slums of Calcutta, Ganguly, a lawyer turned social entrepreneur, empowers children to become “health minders” in their communities, which causes malaria and diarrhea rates to drop, and neighborhoods to transform.
Previously Announced Recipients:
“Back to School,” produced by Julia Parker Benello
Social Entrepreneur: Sakena Yacoobi
Sakena Yacoobi’s Afghan Institute for Learning, a grassroots organization she founded 12 years ago, brings education to women in Afghanistan, a country driven by war and torn between competing ideologies.
“Green Shall Overcome,” director/producer: Megan Gelstein
Social Entrepreneur: Van Jones
Green Shall Overcome examines the national movement for green-collar jobs as both a pathway out of poverty for young adults and a key weapon in the battle against climate change. The film focuses on Van Jones, an Oakland, Calif.-based African-American civil rights lawyer who helped make Oakland the first city in the nation to create a green job corps program.
“Poor Consuelo Conquers the World,” directed by Peter Friedman
Producer: Paul Miller
Social Entrepreneur: PCI-Media Impact
Poor Consuelo Conquers the World tells the story of popular soap operas and telenovelas, now being used to combat the effects of poverty around the world.
“The Team,” directed by Patrick Reed
Producer: Peter Raymont
Social Entrepreneurs: John Marks and Susan Collin Marks
Kenyans scramble to produce a dramatic TV soap opera series, hoping taboo storylines can bridge deep ethnic divisions.
“Youthbuild Documentary” (working title), directed by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern
Social Entrepreneur: Dorothy Stoneman
This feature length documentary will follow a year in the lives of out-of school young people selected for a high stakes community re-build project in North Philadelphia.