Two new funds for socially conscious docs launched

The Sundance Institute partners with production company and granting body Cinereach on a grant program to aid filmmakers working on socially conscious projects, and The Tipping Point Film Fund launches in the UK.
July 8, 2009

The Sundance Institute has announced a new grant program with production company and granting body Cinereach that will aid filmmakers working on socially conscious projects.

The Cinereach Project at Sundance Institute will be a $1.5 million three-year project which will support a minimum of 12 socially conscious docs and feature films throughout its duration. The project, which is underwritten by Cinereach, will consist of a discretionary fund that can be used for films participating in Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program and Documentary Film Program if they need emergency support. It will also start a Fellowship program for emerging socially conscious film directors who will be chosen from existing Sundance Lab projects as well as projects recruited by both organizations. Fellows will have access to resources from the Sundance Institute and special funding and support from Cinereach.

‘For nearly 30 years, Sundance Institute has been discovering and developing emerging independent artists. This long record of nurturing diverse and authentic stories that foster empathy and understanding dovetails directly with the Cinereach mission,’ says Philipp Engelhorn, founder and executive director of Cinereach.

‘We have long admired the work of Philipp and his team and commend them for their vision and dedication to promoting storytelling and awareness,’ said Jill Miller, managing director of the Sundance Institute. ‘Their long-term commitment comes at a crucial moment as the current global financial crisis threatens to constrict film artists’ possibilities of connecting to audiences.’

This announcement comes at the same time as another documentary film fund aimed at social and environmental films launches. The Tipping Point Film Fund launches today in London, supported by The Co-operative, a retailer, financial institution and farmer in the UK. The initiative extends The Co-operative’s commitment to supporting socially conscious films, which it announced at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

‘As feature documentaries about social and environmental issues find a growing global audience, the struggle for production funding remains constant – despite the recognition that such films can and do contribute to significant social change,’ said Tipping Point Film Fund co-founder Deborah Burton. ‘We want to create a new funding stream for accessible and cinematically strong social issue feature documentaries.’

For more on this fund visit

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.