2022 Enterprise Documentary Fund Production Grantees
IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund supports in-depth explorations of original, contemporary stories that integrate journalistic practice into the filmmaking process. The fund is supported by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation with additional support from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation.
This year, eleven projects were selected out of 248 applicants to receive a total of $600,000 in production grants. Awarded projects are currently in production in six countries, including Armenia, Ethiopia, India, Japan, Russia, and the USA. Amongst the filmmakers at the helm of selected projects, 70% are filmmakers of color, 70% are women or gender-non-conforming filmmakers, and 40% identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
This year’s selection panel included Robert Chang (Coordinating Producer at POV), Andre Gary (Director of Documentary Films at National Geographic), Martine Granby (Assistant Professor of Journalism at the University of Connecticut), Christine Kecher (Senior Commissioning Editor, Op-Docs at The New York Times), Rodrigo Reyes (Documentary Filmmaker), and Rintu Thomas (Documentary Filmmaker).
In a statement, the panel noted: “As we confront a restructured world, the jurors were impressed by these documentary filmmakers’ deep commitment to telling stories of resistance and resilience while maintaining care for the relationships with the participants and communities centered in their work. The projects collectively push the boundaries of journalistic engagement with the art of nonfiction as they craft compelling and starkly unique narratives. We hope they will be an inspiration to the field at large.”
2022 IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund Production Grant submissions were reviewed by Imani Altemus-Williams, Che Applewhaite, Aditya Assarat, Jeanelle Augustin, Pauly Denetclaw, Leah Giblin, Gugi Gumilang, Donna Kozloskie, George Lavender, George Myers, Kayla Myers, Habiba Nosheen, Wilfred Okiche, Robert Pluma, Mariana Sanson, Mike Shum, Aisha Sultan, Matt Turner.
BASELINE: Part 1
About the Project
How do you make sense of a story that lasts longer than a human lifetime? BASELINE: Part 1 is a letter to three children growing up on the frontlines of the climate crisis; it promises to revisit their stories in the year 2050.
John D. Sutter, Director/Producer
Sutter is an independent filmmaker and journalist based in Utah. He is a CNN Contributor, a Logan Nonfiction Fellow and a National Geographic Explorer. He’s a two-time EMMY nominee and is the winner of the Peabody Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award and the Livingston Award. He is a former Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT and a Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard. He teaches for the Poynter Institute.
Su Kim, Producer
Kim is an acclaimed documentary producer whose works include the Oscar-nominated Hale County This Morning Evening and Midnight Traveler. Kim is a former Sundance Institute fellow and is the recipient of the 2022 Amazon Studios Nonfiction Producers Award. She produced BITTERBRUSH, which premiered at Telluride and will be distributed this summer by Magnolia Pictures. Free Chol Soo Lee premiered this year at Sundance, as well.
About the Project
From confessional-style iPhone and secret recordings mixed with verite shooting, a staggering account of Shiori's Ito's improbable fight as both victim and journalist against Japan's antiquated rape laws and institutions.
Shiori Ito, Director
Shiori Ito is a journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker. Her primary focus is gender-based, human rights issues.
At the 2018 New York Festivals, Shiori won a silver award for the film she directed, Lonely Death, in the Social Issues category. In 2017, she wrote the book “Black Box” based upon her own experience of rape. The book reveals the sexism in Japan’ s society and institutions, and she won the Free Press Association of Japan Award for Best Journalism in 2018. “Black Box” is now available in Japanese, English, Chinese, French, Korean, and Italian among other languages.
For her contribution to Japan's #MeToo movement, she was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2020. She was also selected by Newsweek in 2019 for The Most Respected Japanese 100.
Eric Nyari, Producer
Based between New York and Tokyo, Eric is President of Cineric Creative as well as International Representative for renowned film restoration house Cineric, Inc.
Eric has produced numerous films in Japan, including director Amir Naderi's CUT, opening Opening Film of the 2011 Venice Film Festival’s Orizzonti section. In documentary, he has produced the critically acclaimed portrait RYUICHI SAKAMOTO: CODA, which premiered at Venice in 2017. The companion concert film, RYUICHI SAKAMOTO: async LIVE AT THE PARK AVENUE ARMORY, premiered at the 2018 Berlinale.
Eric has managed 4K restorations of Kenji Mizoguchi's UGETSU, SANSHO THE BAILIFF, and A STORY FROM CHIKAMATSU with Martin Scorsese's The Film Foundation, as well as Yasujiro Ozu's LATE SPRING.
Recently, he has produced; Ema Ryan Yamazaki's KOSHIEN: JAPAN’S FIELD OF DREAMS, a special co-production with NHK on the occasion of the 100th National High School Baseball Championship, which broadcast on ESPN and featured on the Criterion Channel; Takeshi Fukunaga’s AINU MOSIR, awarded a Special Jury Mention in Tribeca’s International Narrative Competition and released on Netflix through ARRAY.
Hanna Aqvilin, Producer
Hanna is a Swedish journalist and film producer/director based in London. She spent several years at the British BAFTA-winning production company Archer’s Mark, serving as a producer on numerous award-winning films; ‘Being a Human person’, an intimate portrait of the world- renowned film director, Roy Andersson, and ‘Hold Your Breath: The Ice Dive’, which is currently streaming on Netflix.
Her producer credits include for the BBC, Al Jazeera, Nat Geo and Netflix and prior to this, Hanna worked as a broadcast journalist for The Swedish Public Service. Hanna’s projects are often about social issues, women’s empowerment and mental health, and uses intimate and humanizing storytelling. She started to work on this feature documentary together with Shiori Ito back in 2017, and together they are running a UK-based production company, Hanashi films.
Life + Life
About the Project
An incarcerated musician struggles for healing and peace as he comes of age in this documentary-musical odyssey composed behind bars.
Contessa Gayles, Director/Producer
Contessa is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist, and an Emmy-nominated producer. She tells stories about identity, socio-political movement, healing, liberation and radical imagination, with a focus on race and gender. From 2014 - 2018, she was a producer at CNN, where she created, produced, directed, shot and edited award-winning original series and documentaries, including the feature documentary, The Feminist on Cellblock Y, shorts; Women Who March, Women Who March: The Movement, and series; This Is Birth with Lisa Ling and the 2016 News & Documentary Emmy-nominated Feeding America's Most Vulnerable Children. She has additionally contributed to VICE, PBS NewsHour, PBS Frontline, CBS, Time, Al Jazeera, Vox, WIRED, AFROPUNK and documentary features, including SHOWTIME’s Surge, Netflix’s Convergence, and forthcoming films, including Black Mothers Love & Resist and others. Contessa holds a B.A. from Columbia University and an M.A. in Journalism from New York University, with a concentration in Documentary Film. As an independent filmmaker, her work has been supported by Impact Partners, Field of Vision, Artemis Rising Foundation, California Arts Council and others. She was a 2020 SFFILM filmmaker in residence and has been awarded fellowships with the Film Independent/Netflix Amplifier fellowship, the Bay Area Video Coalition MediaMaker fellowship, the Firelight Documentary Lab, the Chicken & Egg Eggcelerator Lab and the Open Society Foundations Soros Justice fellowship.
Richie Reseda, Producer
Richie is a formerly incarcerated music and content producer, abolitionist-feminist community organizer and the founder of Question Culture, the social-impact media company that houses James “88” Jacobs' music. He and James have been friends and collaborators since they met in prison in 2015. Since his release from prison in 2018 he executive produced and produced multiple songs on Defund The Sheriff (The Album) (2020), featuring Vic Mensa, Lauren Juaregui, Aloe Blacc, and more, to bring national support to current #DefundTheSheriff Campaigns in LA County. He produced the mini-doc/music video “YQYG” (2019), which premiered at AFROPUNK Brooklyn, contributed to the Proximity art installation for the release of Just Mercy (2020), and is executive producer alongside Common, Greg Wells and Scott Budnick for an album featuring popular recording artists and currently incarcerated recording artists. In 2016, while serving a 10-year sentence in California state prison, Richie co-founded the prison reform organization Initiate Justice with Taina Vargas-Edmond. He also co-founded Success Stories, a program that encourages young men in prison to challenge patriarchy. Richie and the program were the subject of the 2018 CNN documentary, The Feminist on Cellblock Y, also directed by Gayles.
David Felix Sutcliffe, Producer
David is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker whose work investigates systemic racism and Islamophobia. His film (T)ERROR, co-directed with Lyric R. Cabral, is the first documentary to capture an active FBI terror sting. It received a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Documentary, and was released worldwide on Netflix. David was awarded the Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award from the International Documentary Association and named by Indiewire as a Director To Watch. His films have been broadcast globally and translated into nearly 20 languages. His work has been funded by the Ford Foundation, the Sundance Documentary Fund, the Tribeca Film Institute, the Bertha BRITDOCS Journalism Fund, the International Documentary Association, and the Open Society Foundation. David is an alumni of the Sundance Edit Lab and the Sundance Creative Producing Lab. He has received a Soros Equality Fellowship and a Pew Arts Fellowship. David was a consulting producer on Stephen Maing's Crime + Punishment (Sundance 2018) and Jonathan Olshefski's Quest (Sundance 2017), and a producer on Débora Souza Silva's film Black Mothers Love & Resist (San Francisco International Film Festival 2022).
Made in Ethiopia
About the Project
Three pioneering women navigate the bumpy expansion of the biggest Chinese industrial zone in Ethiopia.
Xinyan Yu, Director/Producer
Xinyan is an award-winning video journalist and filmmaker based in Washington DC. Born and raised in Wuhan, China, Xinyan started her journalism career in 2012 working as a producer for BBC News in Beijing covering the Asia Pacific region. In 2018, she launched the North America video team for Hong Kong’s flagship newspaper South China Morning Post in New York, and later joined the BBC's Washington DC bureau in 2020 as a senior video journalist. Now working as an independent filmmaker, she has directed and produced for the BBC, CNBC, PBS NOVA and Channel New Asia. Xinyan is a Firelight Media Documentary Lab fellow, a Brown Girls Doc Mafia Sustainable Artist fellow and an alumnus of the Yaddo Residency.
Max Duncan, Director/Producer/Cinematographer
Max Duncan is a British filmmaker, journalist and cinematographer. His work has shown on platforms including BBC, Al Jazeera, PBS and the New York Times and been exhibited at galleries including Tate Modern. Now based in Madrid, he previously lived for a decade in China and speaks fluent Mandarin and Spanish. He is an alumnus of Logan and Yaddo fellowships and has received funding from organizations including Pulitzer and Ford Foundation. His half-hour film Down from the Mountains (2018) won a World Press Photo award. Other work has received recognition including Webby and One World Media Awards.
Tamara Dawit, Producer
Tamara Dawit is an Ethiopian-Canadian filmmaker. She is an alumnus of the Berlinale and Durban Talents, EAVE, Apost, Rotterdam Lab and Doha Producers Lab and has been awarded fellowships by Docs in Progress, Logan Nonfiction and TIFF. As a producer, she has overseen documentaries, digital content, formatted television and has recently started producing dramatic films. Her film Finding Sally (CBC/Aljazeera/PBS) premiered in 2020 at Hot Docs and went on to win the Doc Institute Vanguard Award, Adiaha Award at Encounters and the Gordon Park Award at Tallgrass among others.
About the Project
The arrest of three homebirth midwives serving Amish and Mennonite communities in upstate New York ignites a legislative fight for freedom of choice in birthing rights. Through the lens of this modern-day witch hunt the film examines the battle between medicine and midwifery and its impact on maternal child health.
Elaine Epstein, Director/Producer
Elaine Epstein is an award-winning filmmaker born and raised in Durban, South Africa and currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Elaine’s film State of Denial, examining the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2003 and aired on the PBS award-winning series, POV. State of Denial was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Coverage of a Current Issue-Long Form and won the Special Jury Award at the Hot Docs Festival. In 2008 Elaine founded Underdog Films, a creative studio specializing in documentary, branded content, and social media campaigns. Through Underdog, Elaine has created work for a wide variety of clients including Amazon, Facebook, Snapchat, AT&T, and many more. After years of honing her craft on short-from content, Elaine marked her return to documentaries in 2018 when she filmed the award-winning documentary film Nothing Without Us: The Women Who Will End AIDS. My Midwife is Elaine’s second feature documentary film.
About the Project
Sidhanta, a fisherman, fights to protect India's fast-vanishing ape species, the Hoolock Gibbons in his village nestled in Northeast India. However, this endearing tale of human-animal coexistence is threatened when a nearby oilfield blast disrupts the delicate ecosystem.
Ragini Nath, Director
Director Ragini Nath is a documentary filmmaker and photographer. She has training in documentary filmmaking from The New School, New York. She has previously worked at the intersection of journalism, film, and social change. Her first independent documentary production Bar and Girl, 2018 has premiered at national and international film festivals. She has also had experience working on projects for the History Channel, Netflix, Disney Hotstar and Bollywood. Her photography work has been exhibited in the Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival, Angkor Photo Festival, and India Photo Festival. Our Hoolocks is her first feature-length documentary.
Chinmoy Sonowal, Director
Director Chinmoy Sonowal is a documentary filmmaker and a landscape photographer. He has studied creative documentary filmmaking at Sri Aurobindo Center for Arts and Communication, New Delhi. He has a keen interest in working for films that revolve around conservation, natural history, and resource politics. His first film Bound By Us, 2019 looked at the impacts of human intervention on a forest bounded by the city of New Delhi. Bound by Us has been part of several domestic festivals including the Dharamshala International Film Festival and Kolkata International Film Festival Our Hoolocks is also his first feature-length documentary.
Gary Byung-seok, Producer
Producer Gary Byung-seok KAM is the first ever Korean documentary producer nominated for an Oscar and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). He produced Planet of Snail (2011), which was the first Asian documentary that won Best Feature-Length Documentary at the Int’l Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) and many more international awards. His recent filmography includes an Oscar-nominated film In the Absence (2018), a multi-awarded documentary Shadow Flowers (2019), and Crossing Beyond, the official Olympic film for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
Kweighbaye Kotee, Producer
Producer Kweighbaye Kotee is a Liberian-American, film producer and writer. Her filmography includes Bushwick Diaries and Indie Cinema New York: ICNY (2015). Developing creative platforms that equally include women and other underrepresented voices is a personal mission of hers and a significant component of her projects and businesses including Bushwick Film Festival, Bushwick Film Institute, and Local Citizens where she works with corporate companies to build internal programs that support diverse creators and low income-communities. She has delivered a TEDx talk about the need for diversity in Hollywood, moderated and spoken on panels about filmmaking, entrepreneurship, and diversity in entertainment at JPMorgan Chase, Google, Société Générale, Blackstone, and universities including NYU, Pratt University, North Western University and the University of Denver. In 2019, Kweighbaye co-produced a women’s peace film festival in West Africa sponsored by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund featuring documentaries made by local Liberian Women. She has been featured on NBC, Fox, NY1, Huff Post, and AMNY and was featured in a national campaign by PopSugar and Delta Airlines for her work in putting women of color behind the camera. In 2021, Kweighbaye was recognized by Lucy Lui, for her groundbreaking work in Film & Entertainment.
There Was, There Was Not
About the Project
The first line of every Armenian fairy tale, There Was, There Was Not tells the collective myth of a homeland nearly lost to war — and four women’s resistance to that loss.
Emily Mkrtichian, Director
Emily Mkrtichian is an Armenian-American filmmaker & artist whose work touches on themes of memory, place and identity. Her past work includes two documentaries aired on ARTE France/Germany and the immersive, multimedia installation Luys i Luso, an exploration of music’s effect on spaces that were lost to a genocide a century before. Emily’s most recent short documentary, MOTHERLAND, about the women who shake tradition and risk their lives to rid their country of landmines, premiered at Full Frame Film Festival, and has since traveled to over 30 festivals including Camden, Big Sky, Bend, Brooklyn and Hot Springs.
Mara Adina, Producer
Mara Adina is a creative producer and co-founder of Vernon Films where her primary focus is to push the boundaries of hybrid filmmaking and collaborate with creative voices that seek to devise new ways of arriving at story. Mara produced Ilinca Calugareanu’s debut feature film Chuck Norris vs Communism, which premiered in competition at Sundance 2015. She recently became a Sundance Creative Producing Fellow and recently produced Ilinca’s second feature doc A Cops and Robbers Story (supported by the Sundance Institute, Chicken and Egg Pictures and WIFF), and is in development on A Private Wild (supported by Sundance Institute), Heisenbug (supported by SFFilms, CNC Romania, Media) and a slate of projects primarily helmed by female creatives.
Untitled Labor Union Documentary
About the Project
An intimate portrait of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), a group of current and former Amazon workers taking on one of the world’s largest and most powerful companies in the fight to unionize.
Brett Story, Director
Brett Story is an award-winning filmmaker based in Toronto whose films have screened at festivals internationally, including SXSW, True/False, Sheffield Doc Fest, and CPH-DOX. Her 2016 feature documentary, THE PRISON IN TWELVE LANDSCAPES was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. The film was broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens in April of 2017. Brett holds a PhD in geography from the University of Toronto and is currently an assistant professor in the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University. She is the author of the book, PRISON LAND: MAPPING CARCERAL POWER ACROSS NEOLIBERAL AMERICA. Brett was a 2016 Sundance Institute Art of Nonfiction Fellow and a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow. Her award-winning 2019 documentary THE HOTTEST AUGUST, has played over fifty festivals and continues to be programmed around the world.
Stephen Maing, Director
Stephen Maing is an Emmy-award winning filmmaker based in New York City. His feature documentary CRIME + PUNISHMENT, which he directed, filmed and edited over four years, won a Special Jury Award at Sundance, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary and was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary. His previous films, HIGH TECH, LOW LIFE, directed, filmed and edited over five years, and THE SURRENDER, have screened internationally and were released on POV and Field of Vision, respectively. Maing is a 2021 United States Artists Fellow, Sundance Institute Fellow, NBC Original Voices Fellow, John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Reporting Fellow and recipient of the IDA's Courage Under Fire Award. He is a member of the Academy, a frequent visiting artist and lives in Ridgewood, Queens with his partner and young daughter.
Samantha Curley, Producer
Samantha Curley is an award-winning film producer and creative entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. She is the Co-Founder of Level Ground, a 501(c)3 artist collective and production incubator creating experiments in empathy. Together with Chase Joynt, she also founded and runs the collaborative production company, Level Ground Productions. Samantha produced FRAMING AGNES (dir. Chase Joynt), which premiered as a short at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and then premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival as a feature, winning both the NEXT Innovator Award and Audience Award. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and the Kellogg School of Management, is on the founding steering committee of the Eastside Women’s Film Club, and is a community organizer in LA’s Echo Park neighborhood.
Marianne Verrone, Producer
Mars Verrone is a filmmaker and educator from Los Angeles, CA, currently based in Brooklyn, NY. They graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with honors in Modern Culture and Media (Production) and Phi Beta Kappa membership. From 2019-21, Verrone worked as the coordinator of Sundance Institute’s Ignite program for 18 to 25-year-old emerging filmmakers. Verrone is a 2022 Brown Girls Doc Mafia Sustainable Artist Fellow, PGA Create Fellow, and NBC Original Voices fellow.
About the Project
A gripping investigation of unmarked graves at an Indian residential school unearths secrets below and above ground, igniting a reckoning in the lives of survivors and their descendants, including the film’s co-director.
Julian Brave NoiseCat, Director
Julian Brave NoiseCat a member of the Canim Lake Band Tsq’escen and a descendant of the Lil’Wat Nation of Mount Currie, is a writer and filmmaker currently based in the Pacific Northwest. A fellow of the Center for Racial Justice at University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy as well as New America and the Type Media Center, he is currently writing his first book, We Survived the Night, which will be published by Alfred A. Knopf in North America, Profile Books in the United Kingdom, and Commonwealth, Albin Michel in France and Aufbau Verlag in Germany. A columnist for Canada’s National Observer, his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The New Yorker among other publications and has been recognized with numerous awards including the 2022 American Mosaic Journalism Prize, which honors "excellence in long-form, narrative or deep reporting on stories about underrepresented and/or misrepresented groups in the present American landscape." In 2021, he was named to the TIME100 Next list of emerging leaders alongside the starting point guard of his fantasy basketball team, Luka Doncic.
Emily Kassie, Director/Producer
Emily Kassie is an Emmy and Peabody-nominated investigative journalist and filmmaker. She covers geopolitical conflict, humanitarian crises, and the stories of people caught in the crossfire for The New York Times, Netflix, PBS Frontline, and The Guardian, amongst others. Her recent directing credits include, UNDOCUMENTED IN THE PANDEMIC (PBS), ANATOMY OF HATE (Time), and THE END OF OIL EXPLAINED (Netflix). Her work has been honored with multiple Edward R. Murrow, Deadline, Overseas Press Club, World Press Photo, Peabody Future of Media, National Press Photographer, and National Magazine awards. Emily previously oversaw visual journalism at Highline, Huffington Post’s investigative magazine, and at The Marshall Project. In 2019, POYi recognized her as Multimedia Journalist of the Year, and in 2020 she was named to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list. She won the Academy Award for student documentary after graduating from Brown University and was a Gates Scholar at Cambridge, where she completed her masters in International Relations.
Kellen Quinn, Producer
Kellen Quinn is an Oscar-nominated producer. His credits include Garrett Bradley's TIME (Oscar nominated; Sundance 2020 Directing Award: US Documentary Competition), Luke Lorentzen's MIDNIGHT FAMILY (shortlisted for Documentary Feature Oscar; Sundance 2019 Special Jury Award for Cinematography: US Documentary Competition), Noah Hutton’s IN SILICO (DOC NYC 2020), Daniel Hymanson’s SO LATE SO SOON (True/False 2020), and Viktor Jakovleski's BRIMSTONE & GLORY (True/False 2017; POV). Kellen was selected for DOC NYC’s “40 Under 40” class in 2020. He was a Sundance Documentary Producing Fellow from 2017 to 2018, and in 2016 he was among six producers selected for Impact Partners’ Documentary Producers Fellowship. With Luke Lorentzen, Kellen is a co-founder of the independent production company Hedgehog Films.
Untitled Press Freedom Project
About the Project
About the Project
Gena, a queer artist from a small town in Russia, dresses in otherworldly costumes made from junk and tape, and protests the government on the streets of Moscow. She stages radical performances in public that become a new form of art and activism - and put her life in danger.
Agniia Galdanova, Director/Producer
Agniia Galdanova is a Sundance and IDFA-supported documentary film director. Her first feature-length documentary One Step Forward, One Step Back about a family’s dream to live far from civilization in the Altai Mountains premiered at Message to Man International Film Festival. She is currently directing Queendom, a feature-length documentary set to release in 2023.
Igor Myakotin, Producer
Igor Myakotin is an Emmy-nominated BAFTA-winning filmmaker who co-produced feature-length documentary Welcome to Chechnya (Sundance ‘20, Berlinale ‘20). He is a 2022 Sundance Producing Fellow. Igor believes that cinema is not a way to escape reality but a way to embrace it with all its peculiarities and its darkness. Currently, Igor is producing Queendom, a feature-length documentary set to release in 2023.