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Tribeca, MacArthur Announce Doc Grants

By KJ Relth

This week, both the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) and the MacArthur Foundation announced the latest recipients of their respective documentary funds for the 2014 granting cycle.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, a supporter of independently produced film and video for more than 30 years, announced today the recipients of 18 grants totaling $2 million for documentary film projects. The documentaries address a range of important issues, including immigration, wrongful convictions, and the aftermath of genocide. Several IDA Members make up the list of grantees for this funding cycle, including Pamela Yates (500 Years), Heidi Ewing (The Arrivals), Jamie Meltzer (Freedom Fighters), Byron Hurt (Hazing), and Danny Alpert (The Schools Project). View a full list of all 18 films set to receive funds from MacFound in 2014.

Also earlier this week, TFI announced the grantees of its TFI Documentary Fund for 2014. The fund "aims to advance character-driven, non-fiction filmmaking featuring creative and unexplored perspectives from around the world." For the 2014 funding cycle, TFI has chosen 11 films who will together receive a total of $175,000 to fund their projects in various stages of development.

The IDA is proud to see Diamond, Silver & Gold, which is a part of our Fiscal Sponsorship Program, among one of the 11 films to receive funding this year. Directed and produced by Jason Kohn, Diamond, Silver & Gold is a story about the origins of life, synthetic diamonds and other nagging issues. Our fiscal sponsorship program has been helping hundreds of independent documentaries, which may otherwise have been unable to secure funding, get funded and finished since 1988.

TFI also announced winners of the second annual TFI/ESPN Prize and of the inaugural Influence Award, part of TFI’s new multi-year partnership with the Europe-based Influence Film Foundation. This year, the two prizes went to Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund grantees The Punch and Check It, respectively. A program of the International Documentary Association, the Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund—made possible by The New York Community Trust—supports full-length documentary films that exhibit objective research, artful storytelling, strong visual style, high production values, artistic writing and outstanding music composition.

The Punch, directed by Andre Hörmann, tells the story of a fateful relationship of a father and his son living a shared fragile dream in their little boxing community. The film is a tale about failure and hope—and what it means to live with dignity. The Punch was the recipient of the TFI/ESPN Prize, an annual grant extension of the TFI Documentary Fund given to a feature-length work-in-progress documentary that presents sports, competition and athleticism as a backdrop within a character-driven story.

Directed and produced by Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer, Check It is about a gay African-American gang struggling to survive in one of Washington, DC’s roughest neighborhoods. Started by a group of bullied 9th graders, the crew is trying to claw themselves out of gang life through an unlikely avenue: fashion. The film received a grant through the Influence Award, which supports documentaries through grants, equity investments and audience development. The award provides an annual matching grant to a feature-length work-in-progress documentary that sparks meaningful dialogue around an area or issue that has been overlooked or under-represented in the media.

View the full list of films to receive funding from the TFI Documentary Fund