Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program are taking its initiative “Good Pitch” for its final stop in North America in 2009. Good Pitch is a day-long forum where selected filmmakers present their social issue documentaries and outreach campaigns to “potential funders, brands, NGOs and broadcasters for the purpose of amplifying the impact of their projects.” It will be held on Thursday, September 24 in New York in conjunction with IFP’s Independent Film Week, the oldest and largest forum in the U.S. singularly focused on projects still in development.
“We launched the Good Pitch at the BRITDOC Festival in Oxford in July 2008,” said Katie Bradford, Director of the Good Pitch, in a statement. “The success of that event made us realize that this twist on the classic documentary pitch format had huge scope not only in the UK, but also in North America, where there is a much longer-standing tradition of filmmakers working with non-profit funders and NGOs. The live setting of the Good Pitch is a powerful way to get concrete partnerships off the ground for each of the 8 films taking part and we are excited to evolve the format further at IFP’s Independent Film Week in September.”
Throughout 2009, the Good Pitch program has made stops at the Toronto Documentary Forum, Silverdocs and its last stop will be New York City for the final day of IFP’s Independent Film Week. The September edition of the Good Pitch builds on IFP’s collaborative program with the UN’s Department of Public Information entitled “Envision – Addressing Global Issues through Documentaries.” Each of the selected film projects intersects with one or more of the UN’s eight Millennium Development Goals, including poverty reduction, maternal health, gender equality and AIDS.
“Through Independent Film Week, IFP has facilitated connections between social issue filmmakers and the film industry for the past 31 years,” says IFP Executive Director Michelle Byrd, in a statement. “We’re pleased to welcome the Good Pitch and its embrace of a wider audience of concerned parties in support of these types of films, as well as the pressing issues upon which they seek to bring awareness.”
Successes from the two prior editions of the Good Pitch in North America include: a $10,000 commitment by the Calvert Foundation toward the outreach campaign for Green Shall Overcome and a collective NGO partnership commitment of $600,000 for the project Hungry in America.
“Good Pitch North America has already opened doors for films pitched in Toronto and Silver Spring,” Cara Mertes, Director of the Sundance Documentary Film Program, said in a statement. “This final 2009 session in New York ends on a set of outstanding projects which are strong character-driven stories, addressing issues from HIV / AIDS to poverty, and from children’s health to the health of the planet. We anticipate that this forum will engage funders and activists alike in meeting the challenges of this millennium.”
Projects for the upcoming edition of the Good Pitch were selected by the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation, the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP). A total of 200 projects were submitted for consideration. The projects selected for IFP’s Independent Film Week (with descriptions provided by Good Pitch):
25 to Life, directed by Michael L. Brown William Brawner was infected with HIV before he turned two and kept it a secret for over twenty years. Now he seeks redemption from the women of his promiscuous past and embarks on a new phase of life with his pregnant wife, who is HIV-negative.
Easy Like Water, directed by Glenn Baker In Bangladesh, solar-powered floating schools are turning the front lines of climate change into a community of learning. As the water steals the land, one man’s vision is re-casting the rising rivers as channels of communication, and transforming people’s lives.
Garbage Dreams, directed by Mai Iskander Garbage Dreams follows three teenage boys born into the trash trade and growing up in the world’s largest garbage village, on the outskirts of Cairo. When their community is suddenly faced with the globalization of their trade, each boy is forced to make choices that will impact the survival of his community.
Rose & Nangabire, directed by Beth Davenport and Elizabeth Mandel (Election Day) In the late 1990s, Rose Mapendo lost her family and home to the ethnic violence that engulfed the Democratic Republic of Congo, yet she emerged from the suffering advocating peace and reconciliation. But after helping numerous victims to recover and rebuild their lives, there is one person Rose must still teach to forgive – her daughter Nangabire.
To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America, directed by Gayle Ferraro To Catch a Dollar weaves two stories as they intersect in a common goal: Muhammad Yunus as he builds upon the millennium development goals through micro credit and while opening the Grameen Bank in Queens, NY giving 500 immigrant women unsecured loans of up to $3000 to invest in money-making projects.
What Tomorrow Brings, directed by Beth Murphy What Tomorrow Brings follows a year at the Zabuli Afghan girls’ school, where the battle to educate girls mirrors the battle to save Afghanistan from again becoming a failed state. Intertwining the stories of students and teachers, it is a portrait of innocence and idealism in the midst of war.
Youthbuild, directors Annie Sundberg & Ricki Stern (The Devil Came on Horseback, the Trials of Darryl Hunt). This film follows a year in the life of young people selected for a high stakes community rebuilding project in Newark, one of the toughest cities in America. The film interweaves dramatic stories of poverty and opportunity, exploring the personal struggles to reclaim cities and to reinvent fragile lives.
Zhinan, directed by Mary Ann Smothers Bruni (Quest for Honor) Americans are poised to leave Iraq, and the national election that may change the status of Iraqi Kurdistan looms. Three Kurdish women activists – an architect, a surgeon, and a refugee turned entrepreneur – must use the talents they honed rebuilding their Kurdish homeland to bring it effectively into the new Iraq.