Grantees for Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund announced

Jehane Noujaim's Barefoot Engineers (pictured) is one of three films to receive funding through the new Spotlighting Women Documentary Award. In total, nine projects have been chosen as grantees.
June 6, 2011

Nine projects have been chosen as grantees for the 2011 Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, with three earmarked for money from the fund’s inaugural Spotlighting Women Documentary Award.

Now in its fourth year, the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund awards finishing finances as well as year-round support and guidance to international filmmakers who undertake feature-length film projects that highlight and bring a human perspective to social issues from around the world.

This year marks the first funding offered as part of the Spotlighting Women Documentary Award, created by the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund and the PPR Corporate Foundation for Women’s Dignity & Rights. Projects chosen for this award shine the spotlight on the courage, strength of character and compassion of women from around the world, and will receive US$50,000.

The following are the projects that will collectively receive $100,000 total in funding from the 2011 Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, with descriptions provided by the Tribeca Film Institute:

- An American Promise (Directed by Michele Stephenson & Joe Brewster) The film follows filmmaker-parents who spend 12 years with the camera turned on themselves and another African-American family as their firstborn sons enter a prestigious college preparatory school in 1999. An intimate, poignant and complex portrayal of how race and privilege are experienced by African-American middle class families today.

- Caught in the Net (Directed by Hilla Medalia) Caught in the Net follows China as the first country in the world to classify Internet addiction as a clinical disorder. The film features a Beijing treatment center where Chinese teenagers are being de-programmed. The project follows the lives of three teens from the day they arrive throughout their three-month treatment period and their return home.

- Democrats (Directed by Camilla Nielsson, produced by Henrik Veileborg) Democrats is a film about the creation of a new constitution in Zimbabwe. The film follows two top politicians, who have been appointed to lead the country through the reform process. The two men are political opponents, but united in the ambition to make history by giving the nation a new founding document that can give birth to the future Zimbabwe.

- The Great Invisible (Produced and directed by Margaret Brown, produced by Jason Orans) This film is a feature-length look at the global oil economy through the lens of characters that work in the oil and fishing industries on the Gulf Coast. Much like Margaret Brown’s last documentary The Order of Myths, the film will be shot in a vérité style with select interviews to supplement vérité information. In addition to the people in the film, the landscapes of the oil world will be established as a distinct character.

- Untitled Global Health Documentary (Directed by Kief Davidson) This project is the story of Partners In Health, a remarkable public health charity operating in the world’s poorest countries. PIH’s controversial founders, including Dr. Paul Farmer are larger-than-life heroes, fighting to change the way the world cares for the poorest among us, by insisting on healthcare as an inalienable human right.

- Charge (Directed by Mike Plunkett) This film takes a look at the Green Revolution already underway and the conflict over lithium, a key energy resource, which has rapidly escalated. Against a background of conflict, the disparate fates of three men hang in the balance.

The three projects that will collectively receive $50,000 total in funding for the inaugural 2011 Spotlighting Women Documentary Award, with descriptions from the Tribeca Film Institute, are:

- Barefoot Engineers (Directed by Jehane Noujaim) This project follows three women who leave their remote villages to go on a life-changing journey to India with the hopes of becoming Solar Engineers. When they return to their villages, they will wire their communities and turn on the lights. Editor’s note: The project is also known as Solar Grandmothers and is part of the multi-broadcaster Why Poverty? global documentary initiative, which you can read more about here.

- Justice for Sale (Directed by Ilse & Femke van Velzen) This film features a dramatic story which follows two young, courageous human rights lawyers who refuse to accept that justice is indeed “For Sale” in their country. Claudine and her husband Eugene fight for justice to end impunity in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

- The World before Her (Directed by Nisha Pahuja) Beauty pageants – passé in the West. But in India, where women remain second-class citizens, can they actually be empowering? The World before Her follows two converging story lines: that of the girls who want to become Miss India, and that of the forces that want the pageant banned.

For more information on all Tribeca Film Institute programs, click here.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.