Tribeca Film Institute Announces Documentary Fund Recipients

Seven International and Domestic Projects Selected Highlighting Critical Issues of Social Importance From Around The World

NEW YORK (RPRN) 7/17/2009–The Tribeca Film Institute and Gucci have announced the recipients selected for the 2009 Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund which provides finishing finances to documentary filmmakers whose projects promote social change and illuminate issues in need of deeper coverage currently missing from mainstream media. In the second year of the fund, seven projects have been selected from 350 submissions from 41 countries to receive a total of $100,000, to be administered by the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI).

The projects were selected by a committee consisting of Dan Cogan, Abigail Disney, Philip Gourevitch, Julia Ormond and Sam Pollard who chose the recipients from finalists previously selected by TFI. The projects that will receive funding are:

– Anatomy of Poverty (Elinyisia Mosha),
– Born Under Fire (Jairo Eduardo Carrillo),
– Enemies of the People (Rob Lemkin & S. Thet),
– Growing Small (Jyllian Gunther),
– Made In India (Rebecca Haimowitz & Vaishali Sinha),
– Marathon Boy (Gemma Atwal), and
– The Promise of Freedom (Beth Murphy).

“It was a great eye-opener to be part of the committee that selected the winning films,” said Philip Gourevitch, member of the 2008 selection committee. “Each of the winners found a look and a tone that illuminated their material and their take on it in some indelible way, and each has stayed with me long after the screen went dark, seeing and hearing the voices of its subjects – and, above all, making me think about an urgent story of our world and our time that I had not been thinking about before. That doesn’t happen every day.”

“It is very evident that these filmmakers are passionate about the topics they explore,” said Jane Rosenthal, Co-Chairman of the Board, Tribeca Film Institute. “Their films show a high level of artistry and sensitivity in humanizing larger social and geo-political conflicts. The generous commitment from Gucci recognizes the importance of documentary filmmaking and together we are proud to support these filmmakers and are confident these films will contribute significantly to the conversations around the issues they address.”

“In the current environment it is even more important that we continue our support of the film community and our relationship with the Tribeca Film Institute keeps us engaged in these increasingly important issues,” said Daniella Vitale, President of Gucci America. “The films and filmmakers are a continuous source of inspiration and it is this that will fuel and strengthen our support of documentaries. We look forward to our continued partnership”

Films funded explore larger issues by telling intimate stories about the phenomenon of outsourcing surrogate mothers to India, a Cambodian journalist’s time spent with Khmer Rouge killers, one high school’s unique approach to education, the controversial rise to fame of the world’s youngest marathon runner, the combined impact of privatization and foreign investment in Tanzania, chaotic childhood experiences in Colombia and one American’s attempts to save thousands of Iraqis. The grantees and projects selected are:

Anatomy of Poverty, Directed and Produced by Elinyisia Mosha. – (USA) Anatomy of Poverty follows several characters in order to explore the impact and progress of foreign direct investment on Tanzania over the last ten years since massive privatization measures were enacted.

Born Under Fire, Directed and Produced by Jairo Eduardo Carrillo. – (Colombia) Born Under Fire is an animated documentary which is based on interviews and drawings of displaced children who have grown up in the middle of violence and chaos in Colombia.

Enemies of the People, Directed and Produced by Rob Lemkin & S. Thet, Executive Producer Sandra Whipham. – (Cambodia, UK) Enemies of the People follows a young journalist, whose family was killed by the Khmer Rouge, as he spends a decade making friends with the men and women who directed and perpetrated the Killing Fields. With ground-breaking confessions from the notorious Brother Number Two and the grassroots killers, he discovers a new and terrifying explanation for the genocide.

Growing Small, Directed and Produced by Jyllian Gunther, Executive Producer Jack Lechner – (USA) Growing Small witnesses one community’s arduous and idealistic endeavor to found its own public school. The film chronicles the 1st and 4th year of the Brooklyn Community Arts & Media High School (BCAM) in an attempt re-invent urban education in their community of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

Made in India, Directed and Produced by Rebecca Haimowitz & Vaishali Sinha. – (USA, India) Made in India traces the human experiences behind the phenomenon of outsourcing surrogate mothers. Intimate stories of infertile Americans and Indian surrogates reveal complex relationships between global economics, families in crisis, and personal choice.

Marathon Boy, Directed by Gemma Atwal. – (UK) Marathon Boy tells the story of a small boy from the slums of India who became a global phenomenon when he ran 65km non-stop and entered the record books as the world’s youngest marathon runner. Over a period of more than three years, a compelling human story emerges, full of moral dilemma, dramatic twists, and ethical and legal debate.

The Promise of Freedom, Directed and Produced by Beth Murphy, Co-Produced by Sean Flynn. – (USA) The Promise of Freedom is a modern-day Oskar Schindler story about a young American fighting to save tens of thousands of Iraqis whose lives are in danger because they worked for the U.S.

Special Note: Dan Cogan and Sam Pollard recused themselves from any discussion about Anatomy of Poverty, as they both were supporters of the film professionally.

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About the Tribeca Film Institute

The Tribeca Film Institute creates innovative programs that draw on the unifying power of film to promote understanding, tolerance and global awareness. Our commitment is to educate, entertain and inspire filmmakers and audiences alike, while strengthening the artistic and economic fabric of New York City and its Lower Manhattan community.

Programs developed and run by the Institute include: Tribeca All Access, TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Partnership, and The Tribeca Film Institute Youth Programs which include Tribeca Film Fellows, Tribeca Teaches, Summer Arts Institute Filmmaking Workshop, Tribeca Youth Screening Series and Our City, My Story. For more information visit www.tribecafilminstitute.org.

About Gucci

Founded in Florence in 1921, Gucci is one of the world’s leading luxury fashion brands. With a renowned reputation for quality and Italian craftsmanship, Gucci designs, manufactures and distributes highly desirable products such as leather goods (handbags, small leather goods, and luggage), shoes, ready-to-wear, silks, timepieces and fine jewellery. Eyewear and fragrances are manufactured and distributed under license by global industry leaders in these two sectors. Gucci products are sold exclusively through a network of directly operated boutiques (258 at December 2008) and a small number of selected department and specialty stores.

Photo source: Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival