“Baldwin’s Children,” “500 Years” among Sundance doc grantees

Docs on the first U.S. trial to prosecute indigenous genocide, and an exploration of author James Baldwin (pictured), are among 44 global projects that have received spring grants totaling US$975,000 from the Sundance Institute's Documentary Film Program.
July 17, 2014

Documentaries on the first U.S. trial to prosecute indigenous genocide and an exploration of author James Baldwin (pictured) are among 44 global projects that have received spring grants totaling US$975,000 from the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program (DFP).

This latest spring batch represents the largest number of films to have received funding from the DFP to date, and covers everything from projects on human rights issues to artful docs commenting on culture at large. The amount of funding marks an increase from the fall round, which totaled $711,500 in grants and awards.

The larger number of projects “reflects a funding philosophy designed to embrace both existing and emerging mandates,” according to a statement on the institute’s website. They include work from in-country filmmakers from Ukraine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Colombia, Turkey and China – all reflecting a range of storytelling styles and documentary techniques, including personal, experimental, found-footage and hybrid.

The “Development” group includes films such as Pamela Yates’ 500 Years, a courtroom drama covering the first trial in the history of the Americas to prosecute the genocide of indigenous peoples; and Raoul Peck’s Baldwin’s Children, on the writer’s thesis about his friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

Meanwhile the “Production/Post-Production” batch offers Pamela Green’s Be Natural, on the first female director, Alice Guy-Blaché; and Jason Zeldes’ Romeo is Bleeding, about Bay Area poet Donte Clark.

The recipients of the Spring 2014 Audience Engagement awards are Judith Helfand’s Cooked, on an extreme heat wave in Chicago, and Blair Dorosh-Walther’s Out in the Night, the story of a group of lesbians who defended themselves during an attack.

Finally, selections from the “Documentary Film Initiative in Asia” group include Yuan-chimr Lu and Ko-shang Shen’s Double Happiness Lines; Nan Zhang’s My Dear Lines; Haitao Guo’s A Peking Opera Master in New York and Hui-jing Xu’s The Spokesperson.

Please see below for a full list of projects:


500 Years (Pamela Yates, U.S.), Baldwin’s Children (Raoul Peck, U.S.), Canary in a Coal Mine (Jennifer Brea, U.S.), The Changing Map of Lebanon (George Tarabay, Lebanon),Facing the Dragon (Sedika Mojadidi , Afghanistan), Heaven Admits No Slaves (wt) (Lesya Kalynska and Ruslan Batytskyi, Ukraine/ U.S.), Oakland Police Project (Peter Nicks, U.S.),Out of Mind (Kristi Jacobson, U.S.), Sylvia & Marsha (David France, U.S.) Vidal v. Buckley(Morgan Neville and Robert  Gordon, U.S.), Villages of The Absent (Omar Shami and Ola Shami, Lebanon).


Be Natural (Pamela Green, U.S.), Betrayal – The Story of Mr. Zhang (Jiongjiong Qiu, People’s Republic of China), Blue ID (Burcu Melekoglu and Vuslat Karan, Turkey), Brick (Jessica Dimmock and Christopher LaMarca, U.S.), Cartel Land (wt) (Matthew Heineman, U.S.),Catching The Sun (Shalini Kantayya, U.S.), Coming and Going (wt)  (Tianlin Xu, People’s Republic of China), Censored Voices (Mor Loushy , Israel), A Flickering Truth (Pietra Brettkelly, New Zealand), Where the Marsh Meets the Lake  (Sharon Shattuck, U.S.), Hale County (RaMell Ross, U.S.), In My Father’s House (Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg, U.S.),The Flying  Stars (Ngardy Coneth and Allan Tong, Sierra Leone/Canada), The Movie About Anna (Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti, U.S.), Nuestro Monte Luna (Pablo Alvarez Mesa, Colombia), Out Run (Johnny Symons and S. Leo Chiang, U.S.), The Peacemaker (James Demo, U.S.), Romeo Is Bleeding (Jason Zeldes, U.S.), The Silence of Others  (Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar, Spain), Speed Sisters (Amber Fares, Canada), Strong Island(Yance Ford, U.S.), Uncertain (Anna Sandilands and Ewan McNicol, U.S.), Unlocking the Cage (Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker, U.S.), Untitled Transgender Youth Project (Eric Juhola, U.S.), Very Semi-Serious (Leah Wolchok, U.S.), Warrior Women (Christina D. King and Dr. Elizabeth A. Castle, U.S.), Winter Buoy (Frida  Kempff, Canada/Sweden).

SPRING 2014 AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT (rolling awards)

Cooked  (Judith Helfand, U.S.), Out In The Night (blair dorosh-walther, U.S.)


Double Happiness Limited (Yuan-chimr Lu and Ko-shang Shen, Taiwan), My Dear Lines  (Nan Zhang, People’s Republic of China), A Peking Opera Master in New York (Haitao Guo, People’s Republic of China), The Spokesperson (Hui-jing Xu, People’s Republic of China).

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