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.

  • 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,...

  • When 32-year-old activist and father Ady Barkan is diagnosed with ALS and given four years to live, he finds himself in a deep depression, struggling to connect with his young son, whose presence reminds him of the future he will miss. But after a chance confrontation on an airplane with Senator...

  • 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...

  • A sexual abuse scandal Involving multiple perpetrators at America’s preeminent children’s theater has been buried for decades. This film unearths the story, and follows the survivors who come forward in an attempt to hold their abusers and the institution that harbored them accountable. ...

  • An intimate set of portraits offer a window into the experience of growing up female in the Deep South through the lens of race, religion and the political establishment.

  • When a thriving, highly-successful African American public elementary school is threatened to be replaced by a new high school that favors the community’s wealthier residents, parents, students and educators fight for the elementary school’s survival.

  • A former Marine and a public school teacher find themselves unable to sustain their livelihoods through their jobs. Swept along with the energy of the 2016 Sanders presidential run and the murmurs of a state-wide teacher strike, both turn to socialism, a once-fringe ideology, to tackle problems...

  • 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.

  • When housing on the lowest rung of the American dream is being devoured by the wealthiest of the wealthy, whose dream are we serving? That’s How We Roll addresses urgent issues of class and economic (im)mobility through the lives of mobile home park residents who can’t afford housing anywhere...

  • 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

  • Jones Farm is a lush, 688-acre farm situated in the heart of western Alabama. Three generations of black women explore their very different ties to this place that shaped them and continues to exert a strange hold on their identities. This is the same plot of land that their ancestors once worked as slaves—a history that is important to their identities and to how they navigate the world.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • In the Hamptons, playground of the rich, land for the development of luxury property is bought and sold at a premium. Members of the Shinnecock Nation, tell a different story about the meaning and value of this beautiful peninsula and long to preserve what remains of their cultural heritage.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Hu Xin and Simu are two young Chinese Millennials living in rural and metropolitan China respectively. As they navigate their own career and family choices in a male-dominant world, they look toward the wisdom of Nushu - an ancient secret woman-only script.

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

  • A six-year-old Rohingya boy named Hossain Johar grows up in the world’s biggest refugee camp in Bangladesh. But soon, he’s forced to grow up when deadly monsoons hit and a deal is made to return his people to Myanmar.

  • An in depth look into the bond between Evangelical Christians and the Jewish State. Set in Israel and the USA, the film weaves together stories of individuals from two initially separate communities as they intersect to reveal a unique faith based alliance.

  • A kaleidoscopic portrait of the aftermath of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • As cowboys meet at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, they confront myths, old and new, to try and save the land they love.

  • Q

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

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

  • The Sacred & The Snake follows several Indigenous women and two-spirit activists as they discover their power in the act of collective resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline. But as each returns home empowered to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma and abuse, they realize their battle has just begun.

  • 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.

  • As President Trump doubles down on his war against immigrants, documented and undocumented, a Washington DC family faces the threat of deportation and a family separation crisis. They step out of the normalcy of life as law-abiding taxpayers to confront the U.S. government. Their lawsuit pulls back the curtain to reveal the motivations behind the Trump administration's decision to terminate their legal status.

  • When a news publisher in Arkansas, an attorney in Arizona and a speech pathologist 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 28 states in America.

  • STASI examines former East Germany’s information gathering police state through the eyes of those who are now confronting their past by opening and investigating their files on camera for the first time.

  • 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

  • When 17-year-old Lennon Lacy is found hanging from a swing set in rural North Carolina in 2014, his mother’s search for justice and reconciliation begins while the trauma of more than a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present.

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • Steeped in the humor and music of the era, Crip Camp explores the universal experience of summer camp awakenings that would transform lives and shape the future of the disability rights movement.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • To make ends meet, Americans are working longer hours across multiple jobs. This modern reality of non-stop work has resulted in an unexpected phenomenon: the flourishing of 24-hour daycare centers.

  • 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...

  • "When We Walk" is a follow-up to the Emmy-Award winning film "When I Walk". It is the second part of a documentary trilogy that follows the life of filmmaker Jason DaSilva as he deals with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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.

2016 Grantees

  • 93QUEEN follows a group of tenacious Hasidic women who are shattering the glass ceiling in their neighborhood to create the first all-female volunteer ambulance corps in NYC.

  • A Navajo coal miner raising his secretive daughter on his own, struggles with his part in the irreversible destruction of their sacred mountain.

  • In the Fourth Kingdom, cans and bottles are exchanged for coins, and the waste of the society becomes the dreams of their inhabitants.

  • HOME TRUTH follows the life of Jessica Gonzales Lenahan, a Latina and Native American domestic violence survivor, who, after the death of her three young daughters, sues her local police department in Castle Rock, Colorado, for not adequately enforcing a restraining order, and pursues her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and an international human rights tribunal.

  • A multi-billion dollar American development is poised to engulf a small coastal community in Mexico with a mega hotel/condo complex. But local people are banding together to save their way of life and the delicate ecosystem on which they all depend. What rights do indigenous communities have...

  • QUEST is an intimate documentary film that captures ten years in the life of an African-American family living in North Philadelphia.

  • Set in the Canadian Arctic, against the threat of climate change, THOSE THAT BREATHE is the powerful and intimate story of an Inuit community struggling to hold on to their culture and their land.

2015 Grantees

  • At a remote Mojave Desert high school, extraordinary educators believe that empathy and life skills, more than academics, give at-risk students command of their own futures. This coming-of-age story watches education combat the crippling effects of poverty in the lives of these so-called "bad kids."

  • A former football star and refugee of Hurricane Katrina shakes up a troubled West Oakland high school with his edgy and unorthodox approach to keeping Black and Latino kids in school.

  • Denial is a movie about electricity, about gender, about filmmaking, and about all the ways we lie to ourselves even when faced with overwhelming facts. It is the story of a family coming to terms with hard personal truths against the backdrop of a global crisis.

  • In the aftermath of the worst mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history, Newtown documents a traumatized community fractured by grief and driven toward a sense of purpose. Joining the ranks of a growing club to which no one wants to belong, a cast of characters within Newtown and beyond interconnect to weave an intimate story of community resilience.

  • The Radicals tells the harrowing story of ISIS from the perspective of the mothers of “foreign fighters”, as they attempt to grapple with the sudden and disruptive transformation of the world around them.

  • At a moment of national reckoning on mass incarceration, what can California's experiment teach the nation?

  • A story about giant swamp rats invading coastal Louisiana and the defiant people on the edge of the world, who are defending their communities, culture, and livelihoods from the onslaught of this curious and unexpected invasive species.

  • The story of a football town divided, ROLL RED ROLL is an true crime thriller examining sexual assault in small town America.

  • A first-hand look at how the murder of a teenage boy became the last straw for a community under siege. Whose Streets? is a story of love, loss, conflict, and ambition; the journey of everyday people turned freedom fighters, whose lives intertwined with a burgeoning national movement for black liberation.

2014 Grantees

  • ALMOST SUNRISE is the inspiring true story of two friends who embark on an epic journey to heal from their time in combat.

    Filled with hope for veterans who’ve left the battlefield behind and are now seeking peace on the home front, ALMOST SUNRISE follows ex-soldiers Tom and Anthony as...

  • For Ahkeem follows 17-year-old Daje Shelton as she struggles to beat the odds and earn a high school diploma in one of the most volatile places in the country. After getting into a fight at her North St. Louis high school, a juvenile court judge sends Daje to an experimental program that offers...

  • In 1965, Wendell Berry returned home to Henry County, where he bought a small farm house and began a life of farming, writing and teaching.  This lifelong relationship with the land and community would come to form the core of his prolific writings. A half century later, Henry County, like many...

  • Overburden is the story of a fiery, pro-coal right-winger and a tenacious, environmentalist grandmother whose lives are thrust together when a mine disaster shatters their community. Through an intimate story unfolding over seven years, Overburden underscores the need for reconciliation as a...

  • RICH HILL chronicles the tormented lives of impoverished kids in a dying Midwestern town, who struggle to discover self-worth and to imagine a brighter future.

  • College is supposed to be the best years of a young adult’s life, filled with personal exploration, sex, parties and intellectual growth. Yet on many campuses there has been a general attitude of “boys will be boys,” allowing misogyny, bigotry, cyber-harassment and violence to permeate student...

2013 Grantees

  • Check It is a feature-length documentary about a gay African-American gang struggling to survive in one Washington D.C.’s most violent neighborhoods.

  • Children of the Arctic is a portrait of five Native Alaskan teenagers coming of age in Barrow, Alaska - the northern-most community of the United States. As they embark on their journey into adulthood in and outside of Barrow, they wrestle with their roles as inheritors of a jeopardized culture...

  • My Country, No More takes an intimate look inside the lives and hopes of one North Dakota farming community in response to a fundamental question: what are we willing to sacrifice in our pursuit of progress?

  • “The Punch” tells the story of a fateful relationship of a father and his son and their shared fragile dream. It is a tale of failure and hope – and what it means to live with dignity.

    Coach Sims sacrifices everything for one goal: to make his 17 year old son Kenny a boxing champion and...

  • (T)ERROR is the story of Saeed "Shariff" Torres, a 63-year-old former Black Panther-turned-counterterrorism informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The film is the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during an active FBI counterterrorism sting operation. (T)ERROR...

2012 Grantees

  • Since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas in May 2009, there are only four American doctors left who openly provide third-trimester abortions. After Tiller paints a complex, compassionate portrait of these physicians—Dr. LeRoy Carhart, Dr. Warren Hern, Dr. Susan Robinson and Dr....

  • This a story about how Wisconsin - birthplace of the Republican party, government unions and Paul Ryan - becomes a test market in the campaign to buy Democracy, and ground zero in the battle for the future of the GOP. Please make a charitable donation now to help us ensure this film has an...

  • Each year in the United States, 650,000 convicts are released from our state and federal prisons. Four Walls Around Me follows three of them as they embark on the jarring odyssey known as “re-entry.”

    Jake Diepenbrock and his former gang comrades, Junior and Troy, will struggle to find...

  • The New Black is a documentary that tells the story of how the African-American community is grappling with the gay rights issue in light of the recent gay marriage movement and the fight over civil rights. The film documents activists, families and clergy on both sides of the campaign to...

  • A debate over healthcare has been raging nationwide, but what's been lost in the discussion are the American citizens who live day after day, year after year without solutions for their most basic needs. REMOTE AREA MEDICAL documents the annual three-day "pop-up" medical clinic organized by the...

2011 Grantees

  • If you were impoverished, politically voiceless, and believed you didn’t matter, ACORN hoped to change your mind. For 40 years, the controversial community-organizing group sought to empower marginalized communities. Its critics, though, believed ACORN exemplified everything wrong with liberal...

  • Baltimore, 1972: Henry Selhorst, father of thirteen children, is murdered blocks from his home by three young men.

    Decades later, his granddaughter Emily Topper tries to find out what really happened that fatal day. 'Racism', people said back then. But is that really all there was to it...

  • AS GOES JANESVILLE reports from ground zero of America’s recession-ridden heartland — the city of Janesville, Wisconsin. When bankrupt GM shuts down the community’s century-old plant, forcing workers to leave their families in search of decent jobs, local business leaders seize the moment to woo...

  • They came to have their babies.  They went home sterilized.  No Más Bebés is the story of Mexican immigrant mothers who were sterilized while giving birth at Los Angeles County hospital during the 1970s. Alongside a young Chicana lawyer and armed with hospital records secretly gathered by a...