Catapult Film Fund announces seven documentary films as recipients of its Fall 2013 development grant. Since launching in 2010, Catapult Film Fund has awarded over $700,000 to 37 films. The volume of proposals nearly doubled since its last grant offering in Spring 2013, totaling 465 in Catapult’s sixth round of funding.
The Fall 2013 recipients include directors with a broad range of experience. For example, Cynthia Wade has made seven films since 1999 including Academy Award® winner FREEHELD. Francisco Bello served as producer for the Academy Award®-nominated documentary SALIM BABA and is now working on his second film as director. Peter Nicks follows on the heels of THE WAITING ROOM (winner of the Independent Spirit Truer Than Fiction Award) with his second feature documentary.
The following film projects were chosen for funding:
COLD RUSH, Dir. May Abdalla. COLD RUSH is set at the frontline of the fast changing Arctic. As the UN decides how to divide up state sovereignty into the High North we travel into the lives of American entrepreneurs, Danish scientists and Russian priests who are investing in the thawing ice and the young island man who is trying to stop them. A timely documentary about the race for the last frontier.
ASK THE SEXPERT, Dir. Vaishali Sinha. ASK THE SEXPERT (working title) is a feature documentary centered on a highly popular sex column in a daily newspaper in India. Despite sex being a taboo topic in India, the column’s brand of non-moralistic advice and humor has emboldened many to write in with their questions.Highlighting a dance between desire and censorship, the personal narratives in the film play out against the backdrop of the heated debate over sexuality and sex education in India.
MUDFLOW, Dir. Cynthia Wade. MUDFLOW is the story of a giant, spewing, hot toxic mudflow in Indonesia, believed to be caused by poorly executed natural gas drilling. This eruption is one of the largest man-made disasters of recent times, yet relatively unknown beyond Indonesia. The mud volcano has been erupting violently for more than seven years, swallowing schools, villages and factories. It has permanently displaced 35,000 people and international scientists believe the mudflow will continue for another 20 years.
O.P.D., Dir. Peter Nicks. O.P.D. (working title) is the second of a series of inter-connected feature documentaries exploring the relationship between public institutions and the community in Oakland, California. O.P.D. follows the innovative efforts of the Oakland Police Department at a watershed moment for the department as they face federal pressure, a surging crime wave, and debilitating budget cuts. The film reveals in intimate detail the often lost perspective of an ensemble cast of officers who get up everyday to face the unpredictable realities inherent in one of America’s most violent yet promising cities.
THE ARRIVALS, Dir. Heidi Ewing. Two young, gay men leave comfortable lives in Mexico and make the dangerous journey to the USA so they may be openly together. But now they must make a grueling decision that cannot be reversed.
THE MURDER AND THE JOURNALISTS, Dir. Francisco Bello. Since 1970 the strange case of Jeffrey MacDonald, a man convicted of the grizzly murders of his pregnant wife and daughters, has captivated the American public, the media at large, and a trio of celebrity journalists – all telling very different tales. THE MURDER AND THE JOURNALISTS is a film that will challenge the truth in what is one of the biggest “true crime” stories in generations.
TRAPPED, Dir. Dawn Porter. In recent years states have enacted a record-breaking number of laws aimed at restricting access to abortion. If successful, these laws would substantially reduce the number of licensed abortion clinics in the United States. TRAPPED follows the progress of two Southern abortion clinics -Reproductive Health Services of Montgomery in Montgomery, Alabama and the Jackson’s Women Health Organization in Jackson, Mississippi as they struggle to stay open in the face of an increasingly hostile legal and political climate.
The grants announced today will allow the filmmakers to take crucial next steps in the development of their films, in some cases enabling a first shoot, finding characters and editing pieces for production fundraising. In addition to the Catapult Film Fund grants, recipients will have access to an informal mentorship program with Catapult’s co-founders, Bonni Cohen and Lisa Kleiner Chanoff. The two will be available to support filmmakers in areas that may include story development, production process and distribution strategy.