Enterprise Documentary Fund Grantees

The IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund, with major support from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, provides production and development funds to feature-length documentary films taking on in-depth explorations of original, contemporary stories and integrating journalistic practice into the filmmaking process. In addition to funds, grantees will receive additional resources and expertise tailored to the needs of the project. Inclusion and diversity, both in terms of the filmmaking team and subject matter, are a priority of the fund.


2018 Grantees

  • In 1984, Rona Affoumado answered a classified ad in the New York Times for a “Clinic Coordinator” and found herself at the epicenter of the AIDS crisis in New York City. She became the Executive Director of a free-standing clinic before the virus had a name. This film is about the untold history...

  • Ernie & Joe follows two officers with the San Antonio Police Department who are diverting people away from jail and into mental health treatment—one 911 call at a time. They are not only redefining policing and its mandate to “keep people safe,” but also transforming the ways in which law enforcement agencies across the U.S. think about, approach and help those with a mental health diagnosis.

  • In 2018, a young bartender in the Bronx, a coal miner’s daughter in West Virginia, a grieving mother in Nevada and a registered nurse in Missouri join a movement of insurgent candidates challenging powerful incumbents in Congress. Without political experience or corporate money, these women attempt to do what many consider impossible—until one of them pulls off the most shocking political upset in recent American history.

  • Life Overtakes Me explores the stories of three refugee families seeking asylum in Sweden. They each have a child who, like scores of others, has responded to the threat of deportation by withdrawing from the world and entering a baffling coma-like state, lying inert and unresponsive, sometimes...

  • In many rural villages across the Democratic Republic of Congo, there is little to no power or visibility once the sun sets other than from firewood or kerosene lamps. Even in the twenty-first century, less than 10 percent of Congo’s population has electricity, one of the lowest in the world,...

  • Mama Bears is a feature-length documentary that explores the many ways in which the lives of conservative, Christian mothers are impacted and utterly transformed when they decide to affirm and advocate on behalf of their LGBTQ children.

  • MAYOR is a real-life political saga about a search for identity behind the battle lines of a global conflict.

  • Radical civil rights attorney, Larry Krasner, leads a band of activists who set out to end mass incarceration by taking over the agency at its center: the district attorney’s office. Embedded behind closed doors, the film watches an unprecedented criminal justice experiment unfold to ask: can outsiders reform a system from within?

  • A daughter explores the disappearance of her father, a former Libyan Foreign Minister and peaceful opposition leader to Qaddafi, and pieces together her mother's 19-year perilous journey through a political labyrinth to find him.

  • In a polarized America, where the dual forces of white supremacy and patriarchy threaten to further erode our democracy, women of color are claiming power by running for political office. And She Could Be Next, made by a team of women filmmakers of color, asks whether democracy itself can be preserved—and made stronger—by those most marginalized.

  • Skin of Glass is the story of São Paulo’s largest vertical favela, a 25-story office tower that is a treasure of mid-20th-century architecture and Denise Zmekhol’s late-father’s masterpiece. The film follows Zmekhol’s journey to discover her father’s threatened legacy as an artist, as she confronts the harsh reality of inequality destroying the city he loved.

  • Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America follows the stories of LGBT refugees and asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East as they flee persecution in their countries of origin to seek better and safer lives in the U.S.

  • Maisie Crow’s Untitled Border Project examines the impact of Texas' immigration policies on the citizens of a small town on that state’s southern border.

  • Untitled Safe Schools Project explores the landscape of 21st-century school safety in the United States, illuminating the complex ways in which we as a nation struggle to understand and prevent violence and endeavor to create safer schools.

  • A high-profile police shooting rocks the Minneapolis Police Department, and its reform-minded first female chief is forced to resign. Following three women officers— who carry on the fight to transform the MPD and restore community trust—Women in Blue — explores gender, violence and policing in America.

2017 Grantees

  • The Blue Wall is the feature documentary account of the Chicago police killing of Laquan McDonald. The film is a forensic examination of a shooting, an anatomy of a coverup, and a portrait of a city torn apart in the aftermath.

  • Nearly 40 years after China enacted one of the most brutal population-control policies in history – the infamous “one-child” policy, aimed at launching China “from poverty to prosperity” – Born In China explores the ongoing human consequences of that policy, through the lives of Chinese...

  • During three years of unparalleled violence in Baltimore, Charm City delivers an unexpectedly candid, observational portrait of those left on the frontlines. With grit, fury, and compassion, a group of police, citizens, and government officials grapple with the consequences of violence...

  • Amidst a landmark lawsuit over illegal policing quotas, Crime + Punishment (working title) intimately observes the real lives and struggles of a group of black and Latino whistleblower cops and the young minorities they are pressured to arrest and summons in New York City. Over five...

  • An average American family becomes entrenched in a bizarre web of espionage and corporate secrets when their hacker son is targeted by the U.S. government.

  • When a filmmaker investigates rumors of surveillance in her Arab-American neighborhood in Chicago, she uncovers one of the largest FBI terrorism probes conducted before 9/11 and reveals its enduring impact on the community.

  • If you think hazing is a trivial college problem, think again. In Hazing, award-winning filmmaker, Byron Hurt, lifts the veil on a range of secret, underground rituals that are often dehumanizing, abusive, and sometimes, deadly. Byron, a member of a fraternity, places hazing culture...

  • In America’s capital of wrongful conviction, a man is imprisoned at 19 for a murder and rape he didn’t commit – and spends nearly a quarter century fighting to be freed.

  • Three women find purpose carrying babies for strangers in the conservative heartland of Boise, Idaho - the unregulated and unofficial “surrogacy capital” of the United States - even as they put their own lives at risk.

  • Netizens delves into the lives of three women profoundly impacted by online harassment, following as they confront digital abuse and strive for equality and justice online.

  • Trafficked in America tells the story of a group of teenagers from Guatemala who are forced to work against their will at an Ohio egg farm.