The Sundance Institutes’ Art of the Nonfiction Program today announced its 2018 fellows and grantees. Launched in 2016 to creatively and financially support filmmakers “exploring inventive artistic practice in story, craft and form,” the program is unusual in that it supports filmmakers and their process, rather than specific projects.
The 2018 Art of Nonfiction Fellows are: Deborah Stratman, Natalia Almada, Sam Green, and Sky Hopinka; biographies at the end of this article. These fellows receive an unrestricted, year-long grant tailored to their creative aspirations and challenges.
The 2018 Art of Nonfiction Fund Grantees are Jem Cohen, Kevin Jerome Everson, Kevin B. Lee and Chloé Galibert-Laîné, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Leilah Weinraub. Each grantee is in the early stages of developing new work. These artists will have access to a range of Sundance Institute programs and opportunities open only to alumni, as well as ongoing strategic and creative support from the Documentary Film Program.
The 10 filmmakers have been chosen for their cinematic approach to documentary filmmaking, and is designed to give them the space and opportunity to continue to explore their unique approaches to the medium.
“This year’s cohort reflects our continuing desire to explore the space in between,” said Tabitha Jackson, Director of the Documentary Film Program. “The space between art and film, between photography and moving image, between poetry and social justice, between artist and audience. And who better to lead us into this space of imaginative possibility, and beyond, than this particular group of creative adventurers.”
“Our intention with this program is to provide artist-based support to nonfiction filmmakers operating outside of formal convention, those contributing unique texture to the documentary landscape,” said John Cardellino, Producer of Art of Nonfiction. “As funders, we are thrilled to be in dialogue with these artists, to bring them into dialogue with each other, and to continue building a program rooted in the encouragement of uncompromisingly exploring one’s artistic ambitions.”
Filmmakers previously supported by the Art of the Nonfiction include Yance Ford (“Strong Island”), Sierra Pettengill (“The Reagan Show”), Theo Anthony (“Rat Film”), Robert Greene (“Bisbee ’17”), Margaret Brown (“The Great Invisible”), and Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq (“These Birds Walk”).
The 2018 Art of Nonfiction Fellows
Deborah Stratman: An artist and filmmaker who makes work that investigates power, control and belief, exploring how places, ideas, and society are intertwined. Her themes range widely, as do the mediums she uses to question them. Recent projects have addressed freedom, expansionism, surveillance, sonic warfare, public speech, ghosts, sinkholes, levitation, propagation, orthoptera, raptors, comets, exodus and faith. She has exhibited internationally at venues including the MoMA (NY), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Hammer Museum (LA), Mercer Union (Toronto), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Tabakalera (San Sebastian), Film Museum (Vienna), Whitney Biennial (NY) and festivals including Sundance, Viennale, Berlinale, CPH/DOX, Toronto, Oberhausen, True/False, and Rotterdam. Stratman is the recipient of Fulbright, Guggenheim and USA Collins Fellowships, an Alpert Award, and grants from Creative Capital, Graham Foundation, and Wexner Center for the Arts. She lives in Chicago where she teaches at the University of Illinois/UIC.
Natalia Almada: Recipient of the 2012 MacArthur “Genius” Award, Almada combines artistic expression with social inquiry to make films that are both personal reflections and critical social commentaries. Her work straddles the boundaries of documentary, fiction, and experimental film. Her most recent film “Todo lo demás” (Everything Else) is a narrative feature starring Academy Award-nominated Adriana Barraza; it premiered at the New York Film Festival and was nominated for a Mexican Academy Award. “El Velador” (“The Night Watchman”) premiered at the 2011 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and broadcast on the award-winning PBS program POV, along with her other two feature documentaries “Al otro lado” (“To The Other Side”)and “El General” (“The General”). Almada was the recipient of the 2009 Best Documentary Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, USA Artists, The Herb Alpert Foundation, and MacDowell Colony. Almada currently lives between Mexico City and San Francisco.
Sam Green: A a documentary filmmaker. He’s made many movies including most recently “A Thousand Thoughts,” a live cinematic collaboration with the Kronos Quartet. Previous “live documentaries” include “The Measure of All Things” and “The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller,” featuring the indie rock band Yo La Tengo. Sam’s documentary “The Weather Underground” was nominated for an Academy Award and included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial.
Sky Hopinka: Born and raised in Ferndale, Washington and spent a number of years in Palm Springs and Riverside, California, Portland, Oregon, Milwaukee, WI, and is currently based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. In Portland he studied and taught chinuk wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. His video work centers around personal positions of Indigenous homeland and landscape, designs of language as containers of culture, and the play between the known and the unknowable. His work has played at various festivals including ImagineNATIVE Media + Arts Festival, Images, Wavelengths, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Sundance, Antimatter, Chicago Underground Film Festival, FLEXfest, and Projections. His work was a part of the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial and the 2017 Whitney Biennial. He is currently a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
The 2018 Art of Nonfiction Grantees
Jem Cohen: Filmmaker/photographer Cohen’s feature-length films include Museum Hours, Counting, Chain, Benjamin Smoke, Instrument, and World Without End (No Reported Incidents). Shorts include Lost Book Found, Little Flags, and Anne Truitt – Working. His films are in the collections of NYC’s Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Jewish Museum, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art, and Melbourne’s Screen Gallery. They have been broadcast by PBS, Arte, and the Sundance Channel. He’s had retrospectives at Harvard Film Archive, London’s Whitechapel Gallery, Indielisboa, BAFICI, Oberhausen, Gijon, and Punto de Vista Film Festivals. His multi-media show with live music, We Have an Anchor, was a main stage production in the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave series, and at London’s Barbican. His current show of film with live soundtracks, Gravity Hill Sound+Image, has been presented in Istanbul, Porto, New York City, Nantes, and Knoxville, TN.
Kevin Jerome Everson: An artist and filmmaker born and raised in Mansfield, Ohio. He has made nine feature length films and over one-hundred and thirty short films including “Tonsler Park” (2017), “Ears, Nose and Throat” (2016), “Park Lanes” (2015), and “Quality Control” (2011). Everson’s films and artwork have been widely shown at venues including Sundance Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Venice International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Tate Modern in London. The work has also been recognized through awards and fellowships such as Guggenheim Fellowship, an Alpert Award, a Creative Capital Fellowship and an NEA Fellowship. Everson is currently a Professor of Art at the University of Virginia, and represented by Picture Palace Pictures and Andrew Kreps Gallery.
Kevin B. Lee and Chloé Galibert-Laîné: A team of videographic essayists developing a collaborative practice that combines filmmaking and media research. Their work explores contemporary audiovisual media through online, amateur and found footage contexts in relation to the politics of authority, self-expression, and the histories and theories of cinema. They have presented their works at the Austrian Film Museum, London Essay Film Festival, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Ars Electronica Festival and the Impakt Festival. In 2018 they were Artists in Residence at m-cult in Helsinki through the European Media Art Platform (EMAP). Lee, a US-born filmmaker and critic, was the first-ever Artist in Residence of the Harun Farocki Institut in Berlin. He is now Professor of Crossmedia Publishing at the Merz Akademie, Stuttgart. Galibert-Laîné, a French filmmaker and researcher, teaches at Université Paris 8 and is currently writing a PhD at the art-research doctoral program SACRe (École normale supérieure de Paris).
LaToya Ruby Frazier: Works in photography and video to build visual archives that address industrialism, rustbelt revitalization, environmental justice, health care inequity, family and communal history. Her most recent use of imagery and storytelling that visually represent and advocate justice on behalf of working-class families have appeared in The New Yorker feature-story “Georgia’s Separate And Unequal Special-Education System,” The New York Times cover story, “Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis,” and ELLE Magazine special-commission story, “Flint Is Family.” Frazier is the recipient of many honors and awards including an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute (2017); the Gordon Parks’ Foundation Award for Photography (2016), fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s MacArthur Fellows Program (2015), TED Fellows (2015), and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2014). Frazier’s work is represented by Gavin Brown’s enterprise in New York City and Rome.
Leilah Weinraub: An artist and director living in New York. A short version of her film “Shakedown” was recently included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. She is the CEO and co-founder of Hood By Air, the New York-based fashion collective known for luxury ready-to-wear. Weinraub helped to radicalize fashion by championing what she calls “modern people”: the rising class of consumers who subvert traditional markers of race, class, and gender and revel in freedom, lawlessness, and spectacle. As a filmmaker, Weinraub has helped document such unacknowledged tastemakers, particularly those belonging to queer, autonomous communities of color whose creative output is often plundered by mass culture but whose stories are rarely told on their own terms.