Festival, events, awards and deadlines

Who's getting a Sundance Doc Fund grant; Banff Rockie nominees; Docs in a Box
April 10, 2003

The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, which supports docs that focus on issues related to human rights and social justice, announced its 2003 grant recipients. The 14 projects were chosen by a committee of human rights experts and film professionals. Work-in-progress grants, for projects in production or post-production, were awarded to: Michael Christoffersen, Milosevic On Trial (Denmark); Saleem Daw, Mafeteeh (The Keys) (Palestine/ Israel); Fabrizio Lazzaretti, Justice (Italy); Hart Perry, Valley of Tears (US); Folke Ryden, The Boy With No Face (Sweden); Jamie Stobie, Freedom Machines (US); and Shiri Tsur, On the Objection Front – A Personal Journey (Israel). Development grants, providing seed money to projects in development or preproduction, went to Simone Bitton, The Wall (France); Doug Block, Two Men Talking (US); Angelika Schuster and Tristan Sindelgruber, Operation Spring (Austria); and David Van Taylor, Advise and Dissent (US). Supplemental grants, for projects that previously received work-in-progress grants, were given to Adi Barash and Ruthie Shatz, Garden (Israel); Meema Spadola, Red Hook Justice (US); and Liliana Sulzbach, Pink Inferno/Four Prison Stories (Brazil).

Organizers of Canada’s 24th Banff Television Festival (June 8 to 13, 2003) announced the 83 nominees for this year’s Banff Rockie Awards. The programs were selected from over 900 entries to the 14 categories. Seventeen countries are represented among the nominated programs, including, for the first time, Egypt. The documentary categories include arts; information and current affairs programs; popular science and natural history; history and biography; and social and political. Among the nominees are Vampire from the Abyss (NHK, Japan) in the popular science and natural history programs category; Morning Sun (Long Bow Group/ITVS/ARTE/BBC/NAATA, USA, England, France, Germany) in the history and biography programs category; and Our Friend Saddam (ARTE/G.E.I.E./PDJ Production, Germany, France) in the information & current affairs programs category. The winners will be announced on June 9. For a complete list of nominees, visit

The Banff fest will also include special events to mark Japanese pubcaster NHK’s 50 years as a television broadcaster. There will be a commemorative presentation at the opening ceremonies, a discussion on high-definition television and an HDTV pitch session. The winning pitch takes home $15,000. Finally, at the closing ceremony, a US$25,000 NHK President’s Prize will be handed out for best HDTV production.

The San Francisco, U.S.-based Independent Television Service has launched a seminar in Beverly Hills, U.S., to teach documentary funding and distribution. Called Docs in a Box, the one-day class to be held on May 10, 2003, will include a pitch session (a real one, not a dry run). The seminar will be conducted by ITVS programming manager Richard Saiz, producer/author Patric Hedlund and producer Gary Meyer. For more information, visit or contact Saiz at 818-461-9211.

The MILIA 2003 market for interactive entertainment and digital content, which ran concurrently with MIPTV for the first time, ended on March 28 in Cannes, France. Organizer Reed Midem announced that 1,450 delegates from 53 countries participated. Next year’s event will take place from March 31 to April 2, 2004. For more information about the event, visit

The fifth Tel-Aviv International Documentary Festival, DocAviv, went ahead as scheduled, from April 2 to 7. In the international competition, the best film award went to Balseros, by Spanish directors Carles Bosch and Josep M. Domenech. An honorary mention went to Iran, Veiled Appearances, by Belgian director Thierry Michel. In addition, a certificate of merit was given to Latvian director Herz Frank (Flashback) for his contribution to the field of documentary filmmaking. Taking the main prize in the Israeli competition was No. 17 Is Anonymous, by director David Ofek.

The Full Frame Documentary Festival in Durham, U.S., started April 10. Nearly 750 films were submitted to the New Docs: Films in Competition section. Among the final 65 are Bonhoeffer, by Alexandria-U.S.-based Martin Doblmeier, and Now, then, forever, by New York, U.S.-based Eugene Richards, both world premieres; as well as Raymundo, by Argentina’s Ernesto Ardito and Virna Molina. The event runs until April 13.

The 46th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 17 to May 1) gets under way next week and will be screening a total of 25 docs. Among them are The Day I Will Never Forget, by London, U.K.-based Kim Longinotto; Gabriel Orozco, by Mexico City, Mexico-based Juan Carlos Martin; and Eat, Sleep, No Women, by Pilsting, Germany-based Heiner Stadler.

Finale Plzen, the 16th Festival of Czech Film, wrapped up on April 5 in Plzen, Czech Republic. For the first time, it included a competition section for documentary films. This year’s inaugural winner for best doc over 30 minutes in length was Hitler, Stalin and I, directed by Helena Trestikova. The film recounts the life of a hapless couple who suffered both as Jews and communists under ‘two crushing totalitarian regimes.’.

The jury has been announced for the PLANET Documentary Film Prize 2004, which awards a novice filmmaker full funding for their project and a broadcast on German doc channel Planet (see RealScreen Plus, March 7, 2003). Chairing the jury will be German actress Barbara Rudnik. The remaining members include German filmmaker and professor Andres Veiel (Black Box Germany); Swiss doc-maker Christian Frei (War Photographer); and Polish doc-maker Andrzej Titkow (Terrarium).


The deadline for the Show & Tell section of the 2003 Innoversity Creative Summit (May 22 to 23) in Toronto, Canada, has been extended to April 11. The winner will receive a post-production award from the National Film Board of Canada. The summit, a two-day event focusing on cultural diversity in Canadian media will include such events as a breakfast session with founder and former head of Citytv Moses Znaimer. Visit for details.

The deadline for entries to the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (September 22 to 27, 2003) in Jackson Hole, U.S., is June 1, 2003. Enter online at

The Jackson Hole festival board is also offering a number of fellowships to independent and emerging filmmakers who require financial assistance. To apply, visit and download an application form. Applications must be received by August 1, 2003.

Doc-makers in the vicinity of New York, U.S., are invited to apply for the chance to practice their pitching at a workshop on April 26, 2003. Organized by the Museum of Television & Radio, The Art of the Documentary Pitch: How to Turn an Idea into a Reality will take place during the Television Documentary Festival (April 22 to May 3, 2003). Apply for the chance to pitch a new film idea or work-in-progress before a panel that includes Diana Holtzberg (acquisitions & project development director, USA, Films Transit International), Lauren Lazin (executive producer/senior VP, MTV news and documentaries ), Cara Mertes, executive director, PBS’ P.O.V.’) and Steve Rosenbaum, (president/CEO, CameraPlanet Pictures). Submissions should be emailed to by April 21, 2003. For more information about the festival, visit

The Pritchard School of Digital Arts in Williamstown, U.S., has issued a call for entries to the 2003 artistsON Digital Filmfest, a documentary film competition showcasing digital films about creative artists. The festival organizers’ goal is to promote new and emerging directors. Selected films will be shown online as well as at different venues around the world throughout 2003 and 2004 as part of an ongoing festival. The winning entries will be shown on the festival website on July 4, 2003. For more information, visit

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.