Philanthropist George Soros’ Open Society Institute has granted $5m to the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program to raise awareness on human rights.

The award renews the Open Society Institute’s support for the documentary initiative, which began in 1996 and was made part of the Sundance Institute with an initial $4.6m gift.

The Open Society Institute works in more than 60 countries to “promote vibrant and tolerant democracies.” As a dollar-for-dollar matching grant, the Sundance Institute aims to raise $10m over the next five years to support documentaries on significant, contemporary issues.

Since its inception in 1996 the Documentary Fund has awarded grants to more than 450 films in 54 countries for films such as My Country, My Country, The Devil Came On Horseback, Iraq In Fragments and Trouble The Water.

“Films can play a powerful role in inspiring action on human rights, justice, accountability, and other open society issues,” Aryeh Neier, president of the Open Society Institute, said. “The Sundance Institute’s work helps film-makers shed light on the most pressing challenges of our time.”

“Sundance Institute has supported documentary storytellers since its beginning,” Institute founder and president Robert Redford said. “The recognition of that history by George Soros and the Open Society Institute, and the continuation of our relationship over time, speaks to our shared belief that culture – in this case documentary film – is having a profound impact in shaping progressive change.”