The MacArthur Foundation has awarded grants worth more than US$2 million to 15 documentaries.
Among the projects to receive funding are Cynthia Wade (pictured) and Sasha Friedlander’s Mudflow, about the environmental and social impacts of a gas drilling disaster in Indonesia; Marc Silver’s 3 1/2 Minutes, about Florida’s controversial stand-your-ground laws; and Robert Kenner’s Command and Control, a look at America’s nuclear weapons arsenal.
The organization received more than 400 proposals in response to its Documentary Open Call earlier this year.
“Documentaries play an increasingly important role in informing the American public,” said Elspeth Revere, MacArthur’s VP of media, culture and special initiatives, in a statment. “This year’s films examine serious, timely issues all over the world in creative, engaging ways.”
The complete list of grantees, with descriptions provided by The MacArthur Foundation, is below:
3 1/2 Minutes, which examines the 2012 shooting death of Jordan Davis in Jacksonville, Florida and the state’s stand-your-ground laws. Directed by Marc Silver, Jordan Davis Movie ($300,000)
Ask the Sexpert, about a long-time sex advice columnist who gains popularity against the backdrop of a ban on comprehensive sex education in schools in several Indian states. Directed by Vaishali Sinha, Coast to Coast Films ($50,000)
Command and Control, about the safety of America’s nuclear weapons arsenal based on journalist Eric Schlosser’s book. Directed by Robert Kenner, WGBH Educational Foundation ($200,000)
Count Me In, about the participatory budgeting process in Chicago. Directed by Ines Sommer, WTTW ($150,000)
Death by Design, about the environmental and public health consequences of digital devices. Directed by Sue Williams, Ambrica Productions ($150,000)
Indian Point, about the safety of the nuclear power industry in the United States. Directed by Ivy Meeropol, Indian Point Film ($150,000)
Logs of War, about a network of citizen journalists in Liberia working to document illegal resource extraction and public health issues. Directed by Anjali Nayar and Hawa Essuman, Gabriel Films ($200,000)
Mudflow, about the social and political impacts of an environmental disaster caused by natural gas drilling in Indonesia. Directed by Cynthia Wade and Sasha Friedlander, Cynthia Wade Productions ($200,000)
Night School, about four adults in Indianapolis working to earn a high school diploma and technical certification. Directed by Andrew Cohn, Medora Films ($50,000)
Now Playing, a multi-part series about the importance of play to human and social development. Directed by Gwen Gordon, Spine Films ($50,000)
On the Outside: The Year After Prison, a multimedia documentary that follows 15 people as they rebuild their lives after being released from prison. Directed by Matthew O’Neill, Downtown Community Television Center & Purple States TV ($100,000)
Road to Home, about the difficulties faced by homeless LGBT youth in New York City. Directed by Calvin Skaggs, Lumiere Productions ($150,000)
Sandy Storyline, a participatory documentary that collects and produces stories about the immediate and long-term impacts of Hurricane Sandy. Directed by Rachel Falcone and Michael Premo, Storyline, Inc. ($100,000)
Strong Island, about the 1992 shooting death of William Ford Jr., and the devastation of the Ford family when his killer goes unpunished. Directed by Yance Ford, Yanceville Films ($250,000)
Untitled Forensic Anthropology Documentary, about the work of a group of forensic anthropologists in investigating three decades of conflict in Latin America. Directed by Bernardo Ruiz, Quiet Pictures ($200,000)
The news comes after the MacArthur Foundation in September named filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer (The Act of Killing, The Look of Silence) as one of the 21 recipients of this year’s MacArthur Fellows ‘genius’ grants.