— 6 July 2015

SAN FRANCISCO Monday July 6, 2015 – Catapult Film Fund announces eleven documentary films as recipients of its Spring 2015 development grants and reveals details of innovative new “Consulting Grant.”

The films being supported tell a wide range of stories set in the U.S. and internationally — from Baltimore, Philadelphia and the Pacific Northwest to former Soviet Georgia, Central Africa and the far reaches of Siberia. Subject matter includes personal explorations of grief and illness, a unique fight against global climate change, racial violence on the streets of our cities, the campaign for marriage equality in the US, and the legacy of the Middle East peace negotiations. In many cases, this is the first public information about these new film projects.

Grantees range from first-time directors to veteran award winners.

CARING FOR KATHRYN, Dir. Adam Isenberg

24-hour, in-home care for Kathryn – a mother and wife in New York in the late stages of ALS – has nearly bankrupted her family and left their relations entangled in grief, resentment and guilt. Looking out from her bedside, this film explores the unresolved fissures of an American family confronting overwhelming hardship.

CHARM CITY, Dir. Marilyn Ness

Charm City goes inside one embattled community in Baltimore where both police and citizens want the same thing: to have their lives matter, to stop living in fear, to be respected, and to be judged for who they are and not by their skin or their uniform. Over the course of one year, we will observe what it means to walk in their shoes as both sides try to bridge the divide.

THE CITY OF THE SUN, Dir. Rati Oneli

In a half deserted Georgian ghost town in the former Soviet Union, dominated by an international mining corporation, three remarkable stories intersect: a young father struggles to cure his son’s asthma and repay his debts, a young miner turned actor has to choose between his passion and his family, and two malnourished sisters have to win the next Olympic games to survive.

EMMANUEL, Dir. Davy Rothbart

Emmanuel follows three siblings in inner-city Washington, D.C. over the course of 15 years – Smurf, Denice, and their younger brother Emmanuel, who became the victim of gun violence at age 19. Emmanuel is a raw, intimate, and deeply personal documentary that illuminates an ongoing crisis in American cities through one family’s heartbreaking, courageous, and ultimately redemptive story.

FREEDOM TO MARRY, Dir. Eddie Rosenstein

Over the last 32 years, the same sex marriage movement has gone from a preposterous notion to one of the most successful civil rights campaigns in the world. This is a “War Room” style feature documentary, from the center of Freedom to Marry movement in the final months of its historic campaign.

MURDERS THAT MATTER, Dir. Marco Williams

Murders That Matter documents three initiatives of Temple University Hospital to combat violence in Philadelphia’s most violent black neighborhood, calling attention to a critical societal crisis — homicide in the black community.

THE OSLO DIARIES, Dirs. Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan

The Oslo Diaries provides new insights into why peace has not been achieved in the longest ongoing conflict of our times. Personal diaries of Israeli and Palestinian participants in secret peace talks and never before-seen archival footage create a dramatic journey into the backstage of the Oslo Accords.

PLEISTOCENE PARK, Dir. Luke Griswold-Tergis

In the mid 90’s, eccentric Russian scientist Sergey Zimov made a startling discovery: melting Arctic permafrost threatened to release huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, which would potentially create a feedback loop leading to runaway climate change. Impatient with the world’s slow reaction, Zimov single-handedly began a controversial plan to mitigate this impending disaster, reverse engineering the Mammoth Steppe ecosystem, a now vanished ice age grassland complete with Serengeti-like herds of roaming herbivores, which once stretched from Spain to Canada.


Filmed in the Central African rainforest against the backdrop of violent civil conflict, Rue des Elephants captures two critical years in the lives of one of the last wild herds of Forest Elephants. When 26 elephants are killed by rebels determined to turn ivory into weapons of war, Bayaka tracker Sessely Bernard, American biologist Andrea Turkalo, Bantu eco-guard Zephirin Sosso-Mbele and Israeli security contractor Nir Kalron face dramatically different futures bound by the realities of affluence, nationality, poverty and race.

UNTITLED ETHIOPIAN WAR CRIMES FILM, Dirs. Daniel Junge and Sean J.S. Jourdan

This feature-length documentary follows the riveting story of an alleged Red Terror prison guard accused of committing heinous crimes before immigrating to a placid life in the US, only to face justice through American courts. Is he a depraved war criminal or a benevolent man with a mistaken identity? This multi-faceted tale is one of mystery, secrets, justice and the hope for redemption.

UNTITLED WAY BROS PROJECT, Dirs. Chapman Way and Maclain Way

In a story of building the American dream, a religious mystic and his followers journey west to build a world-class utopia. This film will be an exploration of  religious minority groups, wealth, free-love, liberal tolerance, and the fragility of American institutions.


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