Documentaries exploring themurder of Iranian prostitutes, the rebirth of culture in post-Khmer RougeCambodia and the plight of illegal Mexican workers in the US are among 23recipients of grant funding announced today by the Sundance Documentary Fund (SDF).Formerly known as the Soros Documentary Fund and launched under the auspices ofthe Sundance Institute in 1996, the SDF awards development and work-in-progressgrants for feature-length projects that focus on current human rights-relatedissues. The fund is made possible by a $4.6m grant from the New York-based OpenSociety Institute and has launched such award-winning titles as Gail Dolgin andVicente Franco's Daughter From Danang and Kate Davis's Southern Comfort, which won the 2002 and 2001 Sundance Documentary Grand Jury Prizerespectively.
Ina statement issued yesterday, Sundance Documentary Film Program director DianeWeyermann said: 'The international documentary community is shining alight on compelling, important stories that might never reach as large anaudience through any other medium. Film-makers across the globe continue tosurmount overwhelming obstacles in promoting ideas that might otherwise beignored. They are making insightful and thought-provoking films that mightactually change the world. The Sundance Documentary Fund helps that process.This year's grant recipients continue the Fund's long-tradition of supportingprojects that open new windows, present new perspectives, and provide a glimpseinto the workings of different cultures.'
The 23 recipients are:
13 Days In Jenin Camp by Raed Andoni and Nizar Hassan (Palestine)
13 Days In Jenin Camp explores the Israeli/Palestinian conflict throughthe stories of Palestinian residents and Israeli soldiers involved in therecent battle inside the Jenin Refugee camp.
Algeria At What Cost by Malek Bensmail and Thierry Leclere(Algeria/France)
The film-makers investigatethe corridors of power at the heart of Algerian society through previouslyunpublished archive materials and interviews relating to the Algerian civilwar.
And Along Came A Spider by Maziar Bahari, (Iran)
And Along Came A Spider examines the murders of 16 prostitutes in Iran.Through interviews with the killer, his family, and the families of thevictims, the project seeks to understand the murderer's motivations for killingand the religious and political contexts that inspired and allowed the murdersto take place.
The Farmingville Project by Carlos Sandoval (US)
The use of undocumentedworkers is an ongoing controversy in American society. The FarmingvilleProject explores these workers'impact on local communities, and an increasingly global economy, through thestory of a small, deeply conflicted, Long Island community.
The Flute Player by Jocelyn Glatzer (US)
The Flute Player tells the story of Arn Chorn Pond, a survivor of theKhmer Rouge military regime, who is now striving to heal the scars of Pol Pot'sgenocide by bringing Cambodia's once outlawed traditional music back to hispeople.
Gacaca, Living TogetherAgain In Rwanda' by Anne Aghion(US/France)
This project tells the storyof the Rwandans' attempt to reconcile and live together again after the 1994massacre, through the Gacaca, a participatory form of justice that traces itsorigins to pre-colonial times.
Golan by Amit Goren (Israel)
Golan explores the lives of the Israeli settlers in theformerly Syrian Golan Heights, a controversial area on the verge of dramaticchange.
Iran: Veiled Appearances by Thierry Michel and Christine Pireaux (Belgium)
This project depicts Iran ata turning point in its history, as the modern population of an ancientcivilization searches for its identity between capitalism and Islamism,religion, collectivism and individualism.
Kansas Stories by Renee Tajima-Pena and Gita Saedi (US)
Kansas Stories explores the struggle of immigrants trying to carveout new lives in American communities that have mixed feelings about theirpresence. The film-makers follow two families and detail their parallelstruggles, as recent US immigrants, to reunite their families.
The Kids Of Sonagachi by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman (US)
This film follows a group ofchildren who live in the brothels of Sonagachi, Calcutta's largest red-lightdistrict. The Kids Of Sonagachidocuments the children's lives with their prostitute mothers, and thefilm-makers' attempts to improve the children's lives and empower them throughthe art of photography.
The Lost Boys Of Sudan by Megan Mylan and Jon Shenk (US)
The film-makers follow threerefugees of the Sudanese Civil War from a Kenyan refugee camp through to theirfirst year in the US. Their struggle to create new lives for themselves, holdon to their traditions, and cope with the psychological scars of their past,raises new questions about immigration, foreign aid, race and culturalidentity.
Made In China by Micha Peled (US)
Made In China investigates the issues of globalisation andsweatshop labor through the lives of three young female workers and the factoryowner of a jeans factory in China.
The Passion Of MariaElena by Mercedes Moncada (Mexico)
An exploration of culturaldifferences and corruption in Mexico, The Passion Of Maria Elena follows aRarámuri woman and her struggles to find justice for her murdered son intwo very different judicial systems, one Mexican and one Rarámuri.
Standards Of Decency by Jane Greenburg (US)
Standards Of Decency examines the case of a mentally challenged man onMississippi's deathrow.
When The War Is Over by Francois Verster (South Africa)
When The War Is Over exposes the difficulty that residents of SouthAfrica's Western Cape now face in the aftermath of the armed struggle againstApartheid. The film focuses on the day-to-day lives of former members of a1980's teenage guerilla unit.
Child Soldiers by Michael Offer and Jeanne Charuet (France)
The devastating 13-yearconflict between the government of northern Uganda and the Lords ResistanceArmy is depicted in Child Soldiers. This project chronicles the daily lives ofchild soldiers and the attempts to demobilize them from the frontline andreunite them with their families.
A Feminised Islam' by Sabiha Sumar (France/Pakistan)
A Feminised Islam' chronicles the Taliban's takeover of Pakistanisociety through the stories of four women of differing social backgrounds. Thefilm also reveals the film-maker's struggle against the growing religiosity inPakistan.
Garden by Adi Barash and Ruthie Shatz (Israel)
Through the stories of fourteenage boys from Israel, Palestine, Russia and Jordan, who work as prostitutesin downtown Tel Aviv, Garden reveals the plight of rejected young immigrantsstruggling for a better future.
The Iron by Danae Elon (US)
The Iron investigates thedespair of the Middle East conflict, through the film-maker's search for aformer Palestinian employee, and her larger attempt to find hope in the act ofspeaking out with a story of peace.
On The Fringes Of SaoPaulo: Squatting by Evaldo Mocarzeland Ugo Cesar Giorgetti (Brazil)
This film focuses on SaoPaulo's poverty-stricken, specifically on the lives of people who occupyabandoned buildings in a daily search for shelter and survival.
Romantico by Mark Becker (US)
Romantico explores the harsh realities of US-Mexico borderpolicy through the stories of two Mexican musicians who immigrated illegally tothe US. To work and support their families in Mexico, they roam the streets ofSan Francisco and play for tips.
Shakespeare Behind Bars by Hank Rogerson and Jilann Spitzmiller (US)
Shakespeare Behind Bars documents an all-male Shakespeare company in the USprison system. The film follows the inmates whose lives are changed as theworks of Shakespeare inspire them to examine their crimes, form new ways ofthinking about themselves and the world, and experience a sense of communityand accomplishment for the very first time.
The Way Back Home by Ghada Terawi (Palestine)
Through the return to herhomeland, the film-maker explores life in Palestine and the meaning of a'homeland' in light of the Middle East conflict.