The IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund, with major support from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, provides production and development funds to 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.


2021 Grantees

  • Raymond Valenzuela runs into Sylvester, another member of the O'odham community in Sonora, while on a run to collect firewood.

    Synopsis

    When the U.S.- Mexico border was established, it cut through the lands of the Tohono O’odham tribe, partitioning it in two. Today, what is left of this small Native-American community in Sonora, Mexico, makes a last stand to survive as U.S. border...

  • illustration of main character and activist Sarah Hegazi

    Synopsis

    Sarah Hegazi was an Egyptian LGBTQ, feminist, and political activist. She was among the first to publicly raise the rainbow flag in Egypt but the act cost her imprisonment, torture, and ultimately her life. This partially-animated documentary tells her...

  • Synopsis

    Holder of the Sky is a documentary film that tells the story of one tribe’s pursuit to take back their treaty territory in the face of longstanding racism and a lingering lust for their land -- a story of colonization’s continuum in modern-day...

  • Chris Smalls, former Amazon worker and founder of the Congress of Essential Workers, speaking to the press at a protest on the anniversary of his March 2020 walkout.

    An intimate portrait of current and former Amazon workers taking on one of the world’s largest and most exploitative companies in the fight for labor rights.

  • A group of Peruvian fishermen going into the ocean at dawn.

    Synopsis

    These Peruvian fishermen rely on their millenary tradition, which combines the wetlands and the ocean, to support their families. Now, this aging generation is witnessing the disappearance of their livelihood and their ancestral practices due to climate...

  • Javier Zamora stands near the wall built on the USA - Mexico Border as he searches for the place through where he crossed as a child.

    Synopsis

    Some twenty years after crossing the US-Mexico border as a nine-year-old, Poet Javier Zamora has taken it upon himself to revisit his past and retrace his journey. exploring how it impacted his life and how it has changed for those who form part of the...

  • Fredrick Brennan sitting in wheelchair with his dog holding a blue 'Q' sign

    Synopsis

    Q: Into The Storm, a six-part documentary series from director Cullen Hoback (Terms and Conditions May Apply) and executive producer Adam McKay (HBO’s Succession), charts a labyrinthine journey to uncover the forces behind QAnon...

  • A man is in the shadows standing at the doorway with the US State Capital across the street

    As President Trump doubles down on his war against immigrants, both undocumented and documented, a Salvadoran American family faces the threat of deportation and a family separation crisis. With the termination of Temporary Protected Status an estimated 192,000 U.S. born citizens are at risk of...

  • holographic image of Sunni inside of an art gallery

    an abolitionist science fiction hybrid documentary. The film is set in a future where there are no prisons or police, looking back at how today's movements built that future.

  • Vrej pauses with a dove days after being displaced from his hometown as a result of the 2020 war in The Republic of Artsakh.

    Synopsis

    Swinging Fields follows an eleven-year-old boy who was born as a result of a mass wedding in the internationally unrecognized region of Nagorno-Karabakh “Republic of Artsakh” as he journeys back from displacement, into his war torn home. Born in a...

  • A boy and a girl is looking out at a window.

    Through the Night is a verite documentary that explores the personal cost of our modern economy through the stories of two working mothers and a child care provider - whose lives intersect at a 24-hour daycare center in New Rochelle, NY.

  • The 19th* News Editor-at-Large and Reporter, Errin Haines, during a virtual interview

    Synopsis

    The Untitled 19th* News Film (working title) documents the first years of a revolutionary news startup that is challenging the status quo of the mostly white, majority male legacy newsrooms. Our observational film follows The 19th*'s diverse group...

2020 Grantees

  • 11 Questions investigates one of the most lethal yet often invisible forms of domestic violence, a growing crisis told through the stories of those fighting to bring it to light.

  • Black father holds smiling child upside down in playful manner

    Through one family’s tragic loss and fight for justice, Aftershock examines one of the most pressing and shameful national crises in America and the growing movement that surrounds it: The U.S. maternal-mortality crisis.

  • young actress stands topless as a male gazes at her chest; snippet of sex-scene contract lays over image

    Synopsis

    Body Parts viscerally investigates the making of Hollywood “sex” scenes, revealing movie magic processes while candidly exploring the toll on those involved. Using a hybrid storytelling approach, the film traces how a cinematic legacy of...

  • still of female truck driver starring at their truck in the middle of the night

    Synopsis

    DRIVER follows long-haul truck driver Desiree Wood and a dynamic community of women truckers.Taking on routine sexual violence and an industry where multibillion-dollar megacarriers conspire to make individual drivers anonymous and disposable,...

  • group of people stare into sink hole cause by underground methane explosions

    As the reindeer herding Nenets community living on Siberia’s Yamal peninsula begin their summer migration, a gas plant kicks into high gear on their land. Meanwhile, climate scientists examine a new phenomenon occurring here: since 2014, and in tandem with unprecedented permafrost thaw,...

  • protesters from the town of Minden, WV hold signs about local contamination

    For four decades, the town of Minden, West Virginia has languished in a toxic cesspool stuck between a sewage treatment facility and a water park. Cancer rates hover around four times the national average, and nearly every one of the town’s 247 residents has a friend or family member who’s...

  • Filmmaker Jialing Zhang

    Jialing is an Emmy Award-nominated independent Chinese filmmaker based in Massachusetts.

  • Black and white torn photo of theatre children some of which were victims of sexual assult.

    The story of long-buried, widespread sexual abuse at America’s preeminent children’s theater, and the survivors who came forward to hold their abusers and the institution that harbored them accountable.

  • Synopsis

    Miami is ground zero for sea level rise. So the rich must move inland from the low-lying beaches, but where will they go? When residents of Miami’s infamous Liberty Square public housing project learn about a $300-million-dollar revitalization project,...

  • white male standing behind clapper board and in front of map labeled Riotsville with marked locations

    Synopsis

    1968: Massive civil unrest, followed by a rare chance for justice. Riotsville, USA is the untold story of what we did instead. Told through a series of all-archival chapters chronicling forgotten and increasingly bizarre events, the film reveals the...

  • Pulitzer prize winning journalist Art Cullen in scene of Storm Lake film

    Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Art Cullen and his family fight to be the journalistic voice of their rural Iowan farming community through their biweekly newspaper, The Storm Lake Times.

  • There’s a new drug on the horizon that promises to make little people taller—but it’s threatening to erase the very community it claims to serve. As little people grapple with their uncertain future, director Julie Wyman confronts her own complicated diagnosis of dwarfism.  At the heart of the...

  • Themes of culture, diversity, and internet freedom clash in this study of how social media has reshaped our lives and upended decades of technological, journalistic, and political norms.

  • After helping achieve independence for South Sudan in 2011, an activist and military officer left behind the government and its abuses. Hiding in the bush, far away from his family, the former officer worked to form an opposition party in the hopes of ending the cycle of violence and bringing...

2019 Grantees

  • two incarcerated woman sitting on a bench

    In a Midwestern state caught between the opioid epidemic and surging incarceration rates, three unforgettable mothers prepare to leave prison and rebuild their lives after being separated from their children for years.

  • A group of high school students are in training, wearing tactical vest, helmets and fake guns

    Home to one of the region's largest law enforcement education programs, students at Horizon High School in El Paso train to become police officers and Border Patrol agents as they discover the realities of their dream jobs may be at odds with the truths and people they hold most dear.

  • image of two people embracing eachother through the U.S/Mexico border wall

    An exploration of the nexus of political and social forces roiling our southern border and acts of resistance by Americans to U.S immigration policies.

  • Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project pushes the boundaries of biographical documentary film to reveal the enduring influence of one of America’s greatest living artists and social commentators.

  • young boy sitting on top of one of three drainage tunnels expelling blue water color paint

    Hollow Tree tells the stories of three teenagers coming of age in Southeast Louisiana; a parable of climate adaptation worldwide.

  • Three young boys living in a refugee camp on a rooftop playing

    Synopsis

    Hossain is a coming-of-age story set within the backdrop of the Rohingya refugee crisis. Shot over the course of three years, the film follows six-year-old Hossain Johar as he fills his days with the grand adventure of childhood while living in the world’s...

  • Main subject of film looks away from camera towards his town in a suit.

    With startling and unprecedented access, MAYOR follows a charismatic leader's quest to build the city of the future in a land paralyzed by its past.

  • two people in Godzilla costumes stare at each other

    Cosricans follows a close-knit group of friends on their journey to redefine their own lives through their art and the power of their community.

  • Zimbabwe is at a crossroads. The new leader of the opposition party, MDC, Nelson Chamisa, is challenging the old guard, ZANU-PF, represented by the acting president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

  • white male looking out of window

    A group of survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests battle for justice and collaborate to create fictional scenes depicting rituals of power in the church.

  • Q

    Through a generational lens, Q explores the filmmaker, her mother, and her grandmother's relationship to God, trauma and womanhood.

  • filmmaker filming mural of indigenous woman

    Exploring the unsolved murder of celebrated Indigenous activist Annie Mae Aquash, we uncover a mysterious and complicated web of deception spun over the course of several decades. Annie Mae is one of thousands who make up the staggering number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. By reframing her story, the film hopes to shed light on this current epidemic.

  • An animated documentary exploring the crisis in the criminal justice system and US racial divide through the eyes of one family.

  • A man sitting in an empty small room looking down at his feet

    Synopsis

    Before Big Data, there was the Stasi -- East Germany’s secret police that gathered and weaponized the personal information of its citizens to maintain control of the ruling communist party. In Untitled Stasi, a former prisoner of the Stasi goes on a quest...

  • Millions of American Evangelicals are praying for the State of Israel. Among them are the Binghams, a dynasty of Kentucky pastors, and their Evangelical congregants in an impoverished coal mining town.

  • When a news publisher in Arkansas, an attorney in Arizona, and a speech therapist in Texas are told they must choose between their jobs and their political beliefs, they launch legal battles that expose an attack on freedom of speech across 30 states in America.

  • Users (working title) explores the unintended and often dehumanizing consequences of our society's embedded belief that technological progress will lead to the betterment of humanity.

2018 Grantees

  • hand of person uses small replica of school classroom to teach gun related safety protocols

    What does it mean to be safe in school in the United States? Safe from what, and from whom? Bulletproof poses and complicates these questions through a provocative exploration of fear and American violence.

  • Rona Affoumado stands in front of fellow Community Health Project workers

    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 and Joe, middled aged white men wearing polos, in their patrol car

    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.

  • AOC looks through chainlink fence of detention center

    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 build a movement of insurgent candidates challenging powerful incumbents in Congress. One of their races will become the most shocking political upset in recent American history.

  • A girl with dark brown hair is lying on the bed, being nourished via feeding tube

    Facing deportation, hundreds of refugee children in Sweden have become afflicted with Resignation Syndrome, withdrawing from the world into a coma-like state, as if frozen, for months, or even years.

  • line worker works on electric tower in the Congo

    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,...

  • Filmmaker Loira Limbal

    Loira Limbal is an Afro-Dominican filmmaker and DJ interested in the creation of art that is nuanced and revelatory for communities of color.

  • Transgender child and main subject of Mama Bears holding a stuffed toy.

    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.

  • 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.

  • 2 people inside a high-rise, standing next to an elevator. The window's glass is shattered.

    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.

  • Kenyan women advocate for land rights in Testament

    Synopsis

    A Kenyan woman's search for her father's remains becomes an investigation into British colonial atrocities including concentration camps and land theft. As her personal mission expands, she transforms into a powerful advocate, exposing colonial secrets,...

  • In 2016, outsider candidate Rodrigo Duterte upset the political establishment in the Philippines by winning the presidency and promising vengeance and violence.

  • 4 individuals looking out at LA skyline.

    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.

  • Searing urgency is a guiding force as Welcome to Chechnya shadows a group of activists who risk unimaginable peril to confront the ongoing anti-LGBTQ+ pogrom raging in the repressive and closed Russian republic. Since 2016, Chechnya’s tyrannical leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has waged a...

  • 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

  • diagram of male body with markings of bullet entrance wounds

    16 Shots, (formerly 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.

  • a few Black male Baltimore residents sit together in conversation

    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 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 years of rare...

  • white couple with young son pose for family portrait with their eyes covered by black censor bars

    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.

  • two women dressed in traditional muslim attire walk through parking lot with male

    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.

  • photo of hands holding image of a victim of hazing

    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...

  • Black male smiles at bystanders as he shows his t-shirt with the word "Justice" on it.

    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.

  • Mother swaddles her newborn who was conceived through surrogacy.

    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.

  • After becoming a mother, a filmmaker uncovers the untold history of China’s one-child policy and the generations of parents and children forever shaped by this social experiment.

  • 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.