The International Documentary Association (IDA) has awarded directors Nina Alvarez and Violet Feng the 2019 Logan Elevate Grants. The Elevate Grants are an initiative of IDA’s Enterprise Documentary Fund supported by a grant from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation. The $25,000 grants are awarded to emerging women filmmakers of color whose feature-length projects integrate journalistic practice into the filmmaking process.
The Jonathan Logan Family Foundation supports organizations that advance social justice by promoting world-changing work in investigative journalism, the arts, the environment, education, equity and inclusion, and documentary film.
"I produced my last three films with female directors and two more in the making,” says Violet Feng. “Their sensitivity and courage have inspired me to direct my first feature documentary, Hidden Letters. This is a story I have to tell, about an ancient, secret women-only language that continues to inspire young women today to navigate their lives in a revived patriarchal society. It is also about millions of other women, particularly from the East, trying to find their own voices amidst a culture of deeply ingrained male supremacy. The IDA's grant will give me the validation and freedom to explore the issues through my own lens and find power along the way."
Nina Alvarez’s film This is My Country explores the impact of the U.S.’s current anti-immigration stance as a Salvadoran American family faces the threat of deportation and family separation.
In addition, the IDA announced new members to its Enterprise Documentary Fund Advisory Committee.
Now in its third year, the IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, grants development and production funds totaling $1 million each year. Supported projects have included Nanfu Wang and Lynn Zhang’s One Child Nation and Rachel Lears’ Knock Down the House. The Advisory Committee provides guidance and input on the administration of the fund and related programs.
"The IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund was developed to help fill the journalistic resource gaps that filmmakers face working on high-stakes projects independently,” says Carrie Lozano, director of the Fund. “The Advisory Committee is an invaluable group that helps us and our grantees navigate thorny journalism issues whether editorial, ethical or legal.”
“This is an exciting and perilous time for filmmakers working in the journalistic mode. Never has there been a more extraordinary output of work, much of it committed to exposing wrongdoing for the public good, and yet, never before have the challenges to the journalistic process been so high,” says Sky Sitney, co-creator and co-director of the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival. “Filmmakers and journalists are experiencing an unprecedented erosion of protections, and even physical threats to themselves and their subjects. The support that the IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund offers could not come at a more critical time, strengthening filmmakers’ journalistic practice, and ensuring that this important work remains visible and viable.”
New Advisory members include: Carrol Bogert, President, The Marshall Project; Andrés Cediel, Professor, U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism; Dale Cohen, Director, Documentary Film Legal Clinic, UCLA School of Law; Alex Hannibal, Associate Director of Content Development, CNN Films; Jigar Mehta, Deputy Managing Director, Doha Debates; Marie E. Nelson, Vice President, News & Public Affairs, PBS; Ricardo Sandoval-Palos, Public Editor, PBS; Steve Sapienza, Senior Strategist, Collaborative News Partnerships, Pulitzer Center; Sky Sitney, Co-Creator & Co-Director, Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival.