14 documentaries covering an eclectic range of subjects fromLaotian refugees to North Korean espionage are to receive the first wave of2005 grants from the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund.

The fund was set up to support US and international filmmakerswhose projects focus on current human rights issues, freedom of expression,social justice, and civil liberties.

Grants covering work in progress, development, and supplementalare awarded twice a year and selected by a panel of human rights experts and filmprofessionals.

Documentaries in production or post-production are eligible forthe more substantial work in progress grants, while development grants provideseed funds to filmmakers whose projects are in early stages or pre-production,and supplemental grants go to those projects that have previously receiveddevelopment grants and meet the criteria for work in progress grants.

"Many of these filmmakers are expanding the art ofdocumentary filmmaking by pushing cinematic boundaries, and the Sundance DocumentaryFund is proud to support their new work," Diane Weyermann, director of theSundance Documentary Programme, said in a statement.

The 14 Sundance Institute Documentary Fund grant recipients are:


Deborah Dickson, The Secret History Of The Hmong (US)

Portrayal of the large Hmong refugee communities in Thailand andthe US following the Vietnam era "secret war" in Laos.

Mark & Nick Francis, Black Gold (UK)

Explores the link between Western coffee consumption and thecollapse of the Ethiopian coffee economy, leading to starvation for the farmersand a dependence on outside aid.

Victoria Funari & Sergio De La Torre, Maquilopolis (US)

The story of globalisation and the transformation of Tijuanathrough the eyes of Mexican women factory workers.

Maria Teresa Larrain, The Trial Of Pascual Pinchun (Canada/Chile)

Examines the conflict betweenlandowners and the native Chilean Mapuche people as a Canadian multinationalforestry company settles in their land.

Zach Niles & Banker White, The Refugee All Stars (US)

Via the Refugee All Star Band, six Sierra Leoneans, who have beenliving for years as refugees in Guinea struggle to keep their hope and musicalive.

Laura Poitras, The War After (US)

A cinema verite film exploringthe US Military's strategic planning and on-the-ground efforts to implementdemocratic elections in Iraq.

Juan Carlos Rulfo, In The Pit (Mexico)

Investigates the daily lives ofconstruction workers building the Second Deck of Mexico City's PerifericoFreeway.

Rodrigo Vazquez, An American Martyr (UK)

The story of Rachel Corrie, anAmerican peace activist crushed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in March 2003.


Richard Hankin, Home Front (US)

Portrait of a wounded veteran of the Iraq War as he attempts to readjustto friends, family, the community and a new reality.

Azza el-Hassan, The Feather Man (Palestine/Germany)

A rigorous Palestinianexploration of relationships with Israel in times of war.

Melissa Kyu-Jung Lee, Yukai! (Australia)

The abduction of Japanesecitizens in the 1970s and 1980s by North Korean spies and its affect on currentJapan/North Korean relations.

Robb Moss and Peter Gallison, Secrecy (US)

An exploration of thefundamental threat to democracy stemming from the exponential growth of classifiedinformation systems.

Jonathan Stack, Rebirth Of A Nation (US)

Follows the democratisation ofLiberia in a follow-up to Stack and James Brabazon's Liberia: An Uncivil War.


Cristina Ibarra & John Valadez, The Last Conquistador (US)

Explores thecomplex legacy of colonial conquest as a controversial memorial sparks racialtension between the Acoma Indians and Hispanics.