SFFILM, Catapult Film Fund reveal first round of doc fellowships

SFFILM and the Catapult Film Fund are announcing the recipients of the inaugural round of the Catapult Documentary Fellowships. This round of fellowships, designed for filmmakers working in the early stages ...
June 22, 2018

SFFILM and the Catapult Film Fund are announcing the recipients of the inaugural round of the Catapult Documentary Fellowships.

This round of fellowships, designed for filmmakers working in the early stages of developing story-driven doc features, has been awarded to Isabel Castro, Malika Zouhali-Worrall, and Ted Passon and Yoni Brook.

The fellowships, which will run July through December of 2018, support documentary filmmakers during the early development stage of their projects by providing financial support (a US$10,000 cash grant), mentorship, and artistic and industry guidance.

Fellows will also be included in a mentorship program as part of SFFILM’s FilmHouse resident community and a select group of additional documentary advisors. The recipients will also have access to an established network of directors, producers, editors, managers, and legal consultants to help navigate their funding and producing concerns.

“Each of these fellows has taken on a strikingly different project,” said SFFILM director of artist development, Caroline von Kühn in a statement. “This inaugural group of fellows brings us an intimate, acutely relevant story about a family, a closely observed exploration of a political institution, and a hybrid film about a novelist’s inner landscape and acts of resistance. ”

The application period for the next round of SFFILM Catapult Documentary Fellowships opens January 2019. The program is open to documentary filmmakers across the U.S. in the development phase of their projects.

Below are descriptions of the 2018 SFFILM Catapult Documentary Fellowships courtesy of SFFILM:

Isabel Castro: Mixed Status

Isabel Castro is an award-winning Mexican American documentary director, producer, and cinematographer. In addition to winning a 2015 GLAAD Award for her directorial debut Crossing Over, she worked on two seasons of the Emmy-award winning series VICE on HBO and helped launch VICE News Tonight on HBO as a producer covering civil rights and policy. Her work there was nominated for a News Emmy in 2017. She is currently freelancing as a video journalist for the New York Times and producing an interview series about immigration for the Marshall Project.

About Mixed Status: The mother? Undocumented. The father? Deported. The children? One citizen, two Dreamers. Against the backdrop of shifting border immigration policy, the Arvizus, a mixed-status family in El Paso, Texas, navigate love, work, and the desire for a better life.

Ted Passon and Yoni Brook: Philly District Attorney (working title)

Ted Passon is an award-winning filmmaker and video artist. He is a 2016 Sundance Lab Creative Summit Fellow. He is also a recipient of the Pew Foundation Individual Artist Fellowship Grant and the Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant. Passon has exhibited his award-winning short films in festivals and galleries around the US and abroad including exhibitions by the Whitney Museum, French Institute Alliance Francais, and the TBA Festival. Passon was a 2016 Artist in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

Yoni Brook is an Independent Spirit Award-nominated cinematographer and producer. He co-shot and produced the feature Menashe which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was distributed by A24. His cinematography credits include Valley of Saints, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and won the Audience Award and Alfred P. Sloan Award. As a documentary director, his films have premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival (Best Documentary Short), True/False Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).

About Philly District Attorney: A band of activists, led by defense attorney Larry Krasner, takes the reins of the agency at the center of mass incarceration: the district attorney’s office. Embedded behind closed doors, the filmmakers capture an unprecedented criminal justice experiment as it unfolds and asks if real reform is possible.

Malika Zouhali-Worrall: Untitled Dystopia Film

Malika Zouhali-Worrall is an Emmy award-winning director and editor. Her first film, Call me Kuchu, a collaboration with Katherine Fairfax Wright, screened at more than 200 film festivals, and received 20 awards, including the Berlinale’s Teddy Award. Her second film, Thank You for Playing, a collaboration with David Osit and an ITVS/POV co-production, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was broadcast on POV. Zouhali-Worrall is a Chaz and Roger Ebert Directing Fellow and an alum of the Film Independent Documentary Lab, Tribeca All Access, the Garrett Scott Documentary Development grant, and Firelight Producers Lab. In 2012, Filmmaker magazine named Malika one of 25 New Faces of Independent Film.

About Untitled Dystopia Film: Caught in a modern-day dystopia, a novelist uses fiction to examine the very real brutality and absurdity of authoritarian rule.

(Photo L to R: Malika Zouhali-Worrall, Isabel Castro, Ted Passon, Yoni Brook)

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.