Docs

Deirdre Fishel, Ben Lear win AFI doc funding

The American Film Institute and NBCUniversal have awarded US$75,000 in funding to six documentary films that screened at AFI Docs 2016. Inaugurated last year, the AFI/NBCUniversal Impact Grants initiative is a ...
December 16, 2016

The American Film Institute and NBCUniversal have awarded US$75,000 in funding to six documentary films that screened at AFI Docs 2016. 

Inaugurated last year, the AFI/NBCUniversal Impact Grants initiative is a recent addition to the AFI’s roster of programs and events. The grant supplements the AFI’s overarching mandate to animate social change through documentary storytelling, allocating funds to the outreach and social action campaigns of critical doc projects. 

Michael Collins, Deirdre Fishel, Toby Oppenheimer, Dana Flor, Kim A. Snyder, Margaret Byrne and Ben Lear are the directors behind this year’s winning docs.

All six films demonstrated an ability to leverage distribution, according to an AFI media statement, and compellingly assess critical, yet under-examined social issues in the U.S. Among the subjects of focus were infrastructures of care for elderly Americans (Fishel’s Care); trauma amongst veterans of the Iraq War (Collins’ Almost Sunrise); and juvenile justice reform (Lear’s They Call Us Monsters; pictured). Oppenheimer and Flor’s Check It, Snyder’s Newtown and Byrne’s Raising Bertie were the other three selections.

The selected filmmakers had participated in the AFI’s 2016 Impact Lab, a two-day workshop that had taken place during this year’s AFI Docs and connected filmmakers to policymakers. 

The 15th edition of AFI Docs will take place from June 14 to 18, 2017 in Washington, D.C. 

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.

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