SIX DOCUMENTARY PROJECTS TO RECEIVE AFI DOCS/NBCUNIVERSAL IMPACT GRANTS
Funding Goes to Participants of the AFI DOCS 2016 Impact Lab
Sponsored by NBCUniversal
LOS ANGELES, CA, December 15, 2016 — The American Film Institute announced today that six documentary projects that screened at AFI DOCS 2016 in Washington, DC, have been selected to receive funding from the AFI DOCS/NBCUniversal Impact Grants. Now in their second year, the grants will support the outreach and social action campaigns for these six documentary projects that participated in the AFI DOCS 2016 Impact Lab, a two-day filmmaker workshop sponsored by NBCUniversal and presented in partnership with Picture Motion.
"Each year, AFI DOCS leverages the power of documentary storytelling to catalyze change through not only screenings and events but also through professional development for our filmmakers. The AFI DOCS/NBCUniversal Impact Grants will help turn their training into action," said Michael Lumpkin, Director of AFI DOCS.
"NBCUniversal is excited to have joined with AFI on this initiative to help filmmakers find innovative ways to create a positive impact through their films. We believe these grants will drive awareness and education around important social issues by engaging consumers, communities and government, and help these filmmakers also be change-makers," said Jessica Clancy, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at NBCUniversal.
The 2016 Impact Lab took place in Washington, DC, from June 21–22, 2016, during AFI DOCS, the American Film Institute’s international documentary film festival held annually in the nation’s capital — with the goal to inspire change by bringing together the nation’s leaders and leading artists. Led by Heidi Nel (formerly with Picture Motion in Washington, DC), the Lab introduced participants to policymakers addressing a range of issues from the moral injury of American military veterans to caregivers, LGBT youth, gun violence, education and juvenile incarceration, and imparted filmmakers with the skills to engage with those policymakers at a grassroots level to catalyze lasting social change.
Spanning some of the most critical and urgent problems facing the world today, the projects supported by these grants demonstrated their ability to leverage distribution in 2016. The documentary projects receiving a total of $75,000 in support from the 2016 AFI DOCS/NBCUniversal Impact Grants are:
Michael Collins, Director
Two young Iraq War veterans hike a 2,700-mile course from the Midwest to the California Coast to raise awareness for those like themselves who struggle with memories of combat. Along the way, they meet other vets and supporters and talk through their traumas in this inspiring journey toward healing.
Deirdre Fishel, Director
Millions of elderly Americans depend on compassionate caregivers to provide the support they need to age in place. These health care workers offer love and kindness to the elderly, but often don't earn enough to keep a roof over their heads. With compelling stories of caregivers and those in need, CARE opens our eyes to the fragile human infrastructure that supports an aging America.
Toby Oppenheimer, Director
Dana Flor, Director
In the heart of the nation's capital, the Check It is a street gang comprised of gay and transgender teens who support each other in the face of outside bullying, attacks and discrimination. The group struggles with an existence underscored by violence, poverty and prostitution, but when a young mentor comes into their lives, he endeavors to help them find a more productive outlet: through the creative world of fashion. Finally faced with a better option, the Check It members must now attempt to beat the odds by getting off the street and working toward lives of purpose and accomplishment.
Kim A. Snyder, Director
On December 14, 2012, a 20-year-old gunman forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and murdered 20 schoolchildren and six educators. In the aftermath of the killings, filmmaker Kim Snyder traveled to Newtown and trained her lens on a grieving community, following several families who came face to face with tragedy. NEWTOWN reveals both the indelible scars gun violence leaves behind and the resilience of people who come together to heal.
Margaret Byrne, Director
Filmed over the course of seven years, RAISING BERTIE is a sensitively made portrait of three African American teen boys living in the rural community of Bertie County, North Carolina. When the supportive community school they attend is forced to close, the boys must navigate a path of their own, which they hope will lead them away from the cycles of racism and poverty that threaten to engulf their lives.
THEY CALL US MONSTERS
Ben Lear, Director
This fresh look at juvenile justice follows three Latino teens awaiting sentencing for violent crimes as a legal debate rages on imposing life sentences for minors. The young men find their voice thanks to a teacher who helps them write, cast and produce a film based on their life experiences. The boys are complex, surprisingly lovable characters whose paths diverge as they enter a capricious court system, making a strong case for juvenile justice reform.
NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. As a company uniquely positioned to inform, empower, and inspire, NBCUniversal embraces the opportunity to create conversation, mobilize action and catalyze collaborations between community changemakers to address some of the nation's most critical issues. NBCUniversal brings this belief to life via its Open Possibilities social impact platform which centers around the opportunity for media and technology to help people and communities thrive in a 21st century world. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation. To learn more visit: www.nbcuniversal.com
About AFI DOCS
AFI DOCS is the American Film Institute’s annual documentary festival in Washington, DC. Presenting the year’s best documentaries, AFI DOCS is the only festival in the U.S. dedicated to screenings and events that connect audiences, filmmakers and policy leaders in the heart of our nation’s government. The AFI DOCS advisory board includes Ken Burns, Davis Guggenheim, Chris Hegedus, Werner Herzog, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson, D A Pennebaker, Agnès Varda and Frederick Wiseman. Now in its 15th year, the festival will be held June 14–18, 2017 in landmark Washington, DC, venues and the historic AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD. Visit AFI.com/AFIDOCS and connect on twitter.com/AFIDOCS, facebook.com/AFIDOCS and youtube.com/AFI.
About the American Film Institute
AFI is America’s promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award – the highest honor for a career in film; AFI Awards, honoring the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year; AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center; and educating the next generation of storytellers at the world-renowned AFI Conservatory. For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI at facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, twitter.com/AmericanFilm and youtube.com/AFI.