The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program has announced the 20 projects awarded financial and creative support from the Sundance Documentary Fund.

Nearly 800 film-makers working in more than 70 countries submitted projects in what amounted to twice as many entries as there were last year.

The grant recipients include six first-time feature documentary film-makers. The programme supports worldwide projects that explore critical issues of our times in a cinematic way.

'The films funded in this round tell stories of perseverance and dignity in the face of our world's greatest contemporary challenges,' director of the Sundance Documentary Film Program Cara Mertes said. 'From journalists and lawyers who take on international war criminals, to a small American town confronting its own homophobia, non-fiction storytellers are leading us down new paths as we search for common ground.'

Film-makers and their selected projects will receive year-round creative support through creative labs, work-in-progress screenings, programme staff and advisor consultations and contact with fellow artists. The next deadlines are February 9 and July 7, 2009.


Elinyisia Mosha
Tanzania Project (Tanzania/US)
Explores the impact of foreign direct investment in the film-maker's native Tanzania.

Priya Giri Desai & Ann S Kim
Match +: A Story About Love In The Time Of HIV (US/India)
At India's Y R Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education (YRG CARE) clinic in Chennai, Dr Solomon and her staff launch a matrimonial matchmaking service for their HIV positive patients.

Tina DiFeliciantonio & Jane C. Wagner
Seeking Refuge (US)
At the Bellevue Hospital Center NYU Program For Survivors Of Torture, three patients from around the world come together in a journey of healing.

Marianna Kaat
The Pit (Estonia/Ukraine)
Once prosperous during the Soviet era, the small town of Snezhnoje in East Ukraine now lives in poverty. The town's desperate residents decide to start mining on their own.

Macky Alston
The Truth Will Set You Free (US)
An openly gay bishop from New Hampshire travels to London, where the Anglican Communion will decide to either retain or split gay leadership from their ranks.

Patricio Guzman
Nostalgia De La Luz (Chile/France)
In the desert of North Chile, astronomers study the ancient universe above while women search below for signs of their family members who disappeared during Pinochet's dictatorship of 1973.

Mahmoud Al Massad
This Is My Picture When I Was Dead (Jordan)
The film imagines the future of a four-year old boy who almost died in the assassination of his PLO lieutenant father 25 years ago.


Lynn True & Nelson Walker, with Tsering Perlo
A Nomad's Life (US/Tibet)
In the mountains of Tibet, Locho and Yama struggle to maintain their family and way of life and to reconcile their nomadic traditions amidst rapid modernisation.

Andrew Berends
Delta Boys (US/Nigeria)
In the oil rich Niger Delta, Chima is a 21-year-old who is swept into the world of armed militants after a prison break.

Petr Lom
Letters To The President (US/Iran)
Across Iran, villagers share their hopes and fears through letters to President Ahmadinejad and his Presidential Letter Writing Center.

Mona Nicoara
Our School (Romania)
Roma children struggle to break the barriers of segregation in a small Transylvanian school. Rejected by teachers, they find strength in the friendship of Romanian classmates.

Joe Wilson & Dean Hamer
Out In The Silence (US)
The film-maker's same-sex wedding announcement in the local newspaper ignites a firestorm of controversy in his rural Pennsylvania hometown.

Eric Daniel Metzgar
Reporter (US/Congo)
York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof journeys into the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo and considers the future of journalism.

Danae Elon
The Evil Tongue (US)
In the Orthodox Jewish family, those affected by sexual molestation may be unable to disclose the information to secular authorities.

Pamela Yates
The Reckoning (US)
The film chronicles the history and launch of the International Criminal Court in the Hague.


Edet Belzberg
Watchers Of The Sky (US)
Drawing from Samantha Power's book A Problem From Hell, four visionaries traverse time and continents to explore the world's response to genocide.

Oren Jacoby
Injustice (US)
The film uncovers the backroom maneuvering during the waning days of the Bush Administration which led to the unprecedented and illegal firing of US Attorneys David Iglesias, John McKay and three of their colleagues.

Samba Gadjigo & Jason Silverman
Sembene: Revolutionary Artist (US/Senegal)
The story of independent Senegalese film-maker Ousmane Sembene, providing an alternate history of contemporary Africa and a window into world cinema.

Thomas Wallner
The Guantanamo Trap (Canada/Germany)
Recounts the story of Murat Kurnaz, who was born in Germany of Turkish heritage and detained and tortured at the US military base in Kandar, Afghanistan, and in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and held for five years.

Thomas Allen Harris
Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers And The Emergence Of A People (US)
Using an experimental approach, Harris shows how black communities use photography and imagery to construct political, aesthetic, and cultural representations of themselves in the world.