25 January 2011
Ford Foundation Launches $50 Million Fund
for Next-Generation Documentary Filmmakers
Ford Foundation today announced a five-year, $50 million initiative to help find and support a new generation of filmmakers whose works address urgent social issues. The new initiative, called JustFilms, will invest $10 million a year over the next five years to support and expand the community of filmmakers and mediamakers around the world focused on creating documentaries with passion and purpose, but who often lack funding to realize their visions or reach audiences.
JustFilms will contribute $1 million a year over five years to support the Documentary Film Program at the Sundance Institute. The resulting Sundance Institute/Ford Foundation Documentary Film Fund will support international and U.S. productions that focus on human and civil rights, free expression, economic opportunity, and other critical topics. It will also support filmmaker labs that enhance storytelling through cutting-edge editing, producing, and film scoring workshops. And it will support panels and dialogues at the Sundance Film Festival to enhance understanding and recognition of documentary film as a key component of social change efforts.
Throughout the year, JustFilms will announce its work with the other key partners. JustFilms will spend roughly one-third of its annual budget on each of its three core funding paths (strategic partnerships, open applications, engagement with Ford Foundation grantees). The initiative has also set aside funds for marketing partners who will help filmmakers promote their work and engage directly with audiences.
Some examples of works JustFilms is already supporting:
* "Women, War & Peace," a four-part PBS special, examines the enormously disproportionate suffering of women in today's wars, but also how they are emerging as leaders in brokering peace and forging new international laws governing conflict.
* "Higher Ground" explores the efforts of Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed to petition world leaders to save his island from rising sea levels as a result of climate change.
* "Detroit Hustles Harder" (working title) chronicles the lives of courageous individuals who have made the conscious choice to stay in Detroit to help turn the city around. Their lives and dedication represent not only what can transform the city, but what can renew America.
Learn more about JustFilms at www.fordfoundation.org/justfilms
Explore the expansive collection of documentaries the foundation has supported over the years.
For further information, please contact: