You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

Short Film Challenge by Sundance Who Invites Global Storytellers To Put A Human Face On Extreme Poverty

Short Film Challenge by Sundance Who Invites Global Storytellers To Put A Human Face On Extreme Poverty

Sundance Institute, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, today announced a new project that will harness the power of independent film to create a global conversation about extreme hunger and poverty. The Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge will spur the production of documentary and narrative films – through a global open call for three-to-eight-minute submissions – that will celebrate imaginative solutions real people are creating to overcome the challenges of extreme hunger and poverty. The project supports Sundance Institute’s mission to empower independent storytellers and connect their work to communities around the world.

The Institute is working with to manage the online call for entries. Winning films will receive a $10,000 grant and travel to a premiere at a private event at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Users can submit through July 1, 2014. There is no fee to apply. More information can be found at

Five new films made with production grants to launch the project premiered earlier today at a private screening co-hosted with the Gates Foundation at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. These five films will become available to audiences online throughout the year via digital media platforms. 

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, “With the support of the Gates Foundation, we are proud to launch this short film challenge and support filmmakers around the world in telling stories that inform and engage audiences in ways that are as innovative and imaginative as the solutions people are putting into action every day. ” 

The first five films for the Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge are:

After My Garden

Director: Megan Mylan

India / Documentary 

A young girl in rural India tills a small plot of land to feed
her family and plant seeds of independence and financial freedom in her male
dominated community.  

Director Megan Mylan directed and produced the Oscar-winning
, which broadcast on HBO and the Sundance
Channel. Her film, 
Lost Boys of Sudan, had a 70-city
theatrical release and a national television broadcast on PBS’s POV.  

Am I Going Too Fast?

Directors: Hank Willis Thomas, Christopher

Kenya / Experimental Doc 

I Going Too Fast?
 is a digital tapestry of the intersecting worlds and
interactions of craftspeople, shopkeepers, and ordinary folks whose lives have
been transformed by new technologies, cell phone banking, and micro-finance;
threads that weave together to form a web of connection and possibility in
contemporary Nairobi. 

Hank Willis Thomas is the creator of Question Bridge: Black
, a non-fiction new media project and
recipient of a New Media Fellowship, New Media Fund grant from the Tribeca Film
Institute and Aperture West Book Prize.  

Co-Director Christopher Myers is an artist and writer best known
for his books for young people, which have garnered Caldecott Honors and been
shortlisted for the National Book Award.


Directors: Jeff Reichert, Farihah Zaman

Haiti / Documentary

Haiti’s internally displaced people start a micro-garden
movement to combat post-earthquake hunger and despair. 

Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman produced and directed the
feature documentary 
Remote Area Medical, which premiered at the
2013 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and was supported by the Sundance
Institute Documentary Film Program.

The Masterchef

Director: Ritesh Batra

India / Narrative


Akhil, a young shoeshine boy, dreams of becoming a gourmet chef
when he has a chance encounter with India’s most popular TV cuisiner.


Director Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox will screen at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. It won the Grand
Rail d’Or at Cannes 2013 and was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics for North
America. Batra also won the Best Director prize at the Odessa International
Film Festival.


Director: Tod Lending

Africa, Madagascar / Documentary


A 9-year-old girl tells a tale about how her family and village
came back from near starvation after their fishing village adopted sustainable
fishing practices. 

Director Tod Lending is an Academy Award-nominated and national
Emmy-winning producer, director, and cinematographer whose work has aired
nationally on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, HBO, Al Jazeera. 

While on the subject of shorts, you can watch and vote for 15 Sundance shorts on You Tube right HERE.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: News and tagged