A Catapult Film Fund & True/False Film Fest Collaboration
With support from the Chicago Media Project
At the height of summer, when filmmakers are neck-deep in the editing process, Rough Cut Retreat offers a one-of-a-kind mentorship experience. Launched in 2016, RCR unites nonfiction filmmakers and mentors in a creative, supportive, and engaged atmosphere. After months in an edit suite, filmmakers often lose perspective; this is a key moment for fresh eyes in a safe space – a focus group for filmmakers to diagnose what is and isn’t working with their film. When selecting projects, True/False and Catapult prioritize work that displays an ambitious, idiosyncratic approach to nonfiction storytelling. We especially encourage emerging filmmakers and those who do not have established feedback networks to apply. Additionally, preference will be given to projects that have not already received significant institutional support. Chosen mentors are professionals who embody creativity and generosity of spirit.
Timeline & Specifics
Rough Cut Retreat will take place during the summer of 2022, date TBA.
5 nonfiction feature films will be chosen to participate, and 2 members from each filmmaking team may attend.
5 mentors, in addition to T/F and Catapult hosts, will be present at the event.
Domestic travel, lodging and food will be booked and covered for filmmaking teams; a modest travel stipend will be made available to teams traveling internationally.
Call For Entries will open early spring 2022.
For consideration, fill out the application form below in full. Submissions should include two paragraphs describing your film and an online screener link of 5-10 minutes that best represents the project. Longer entries will be considered at the jurors’ discretion. Note that the first 10 minutes of all entries will always be watched.
Only projects with a realistic projection of an actual rough cut by August will be considered.
Projects will be notified of decision on or by mid-June 2022.
If selected, a screener link of the film’s rough cut must be submitted by late July and a digital file (quicktime .mov, .mp4. or equivalent suitable for projection) must be provided by July 30.
See photos and read more about the 2021 retreat location in Booneville, CA: Bell Valley Retreat
Questions? Email RCR coordinator: email@example.com
Virtual Retreat / July 25 – 31
Mentors: Don Bernier (editor: Athlete A, Always in Season), Bonni Cohen (producer/director: Athlete A, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Audrie & Daisy), Omar Mullick (director/cinematographer: These Birds Walk), Rahdi Taylor (producer: Time), David Teague (editor: Cutie and the Boxer, Freeheld, Spaceship Earth)
- Emelie Mahdavian
Catapult grantee A portrait of friendship, life transitions, and hard work, as two young women navigate an isolated and beautiful landscape of the American West.
The In Between
- Robie Flores
This interwoven coming-of-age story chronicles the ordinary and extraordinary moments of growing up on the U.S./Mexico border.
North By Current
- Angelo Madsen Minax
A deep personal history of the complex relationships shared between mothers and their children, this film creatively reframes narratives about incarceration, addiction, trans embodiment, and ruralness.
Untitled PRC Project
- Jessica Kingdon
This multi-faceted portrait takes us inside the growing behemoth that is the nominally communist yet hyper-capitalist People’s Republic of China – and questions what it actually means to live the so-called “Chinese Dream.”
Razing Liberty Square
- Katja Esson
Catapult grantee After years of neglect, residents of Miami’s oldest public housing project learn about an urban revitalization project and brace themselves to fight a new form of racial injustice: climate gentrification.
Carey Institute for Global Good, Rensselaerville, NY / August 4 – 8.
Mentors: Bonni Cohen(producer/director: Athlete A, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Audrie & Daisy) Toby Shimin (editor: Buck, How to Dance in Ohio, Ernie & Joe), David Teague (editor/producer Life Animated, Cutie and the Boxer, Freeheld, Knock Down the House), Jean Tsien (editor/producer: *Scottsboro: An American Tragedy, Malcolm X: Make It Plain, Travis, Solar Mamas; Something Within Me, Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing, and Miss Sharon Jones!*)
- David Osit
Mayor is a real-life political saga about a search for identity behind the battle lines of a global conflict. With startling and unprecedented access, MAYOR follows a charismatic leader’s quixotic quest to build the city of the future in a land paralyzed by its past.
Premiere: True/False 2020
Socks on Fire
- Bo McGuire
Socks on Fire is a transgenerational docudrama couched in the familial battle between a homophobic aunt and drag-queen uncle over an Alabama grandmother’s estate.
Premiere: Tribeca Film Festival 2020
- Ashley O’Shay
During the height of the Movement for Black Lives in Chicago, Unapologetic captures a community of millennial organizers confronting an administration complicit in state violence against its Black residents, through the intimate stories of two Black queer women, Janaé and Bella.
Premiere: Blackstar Film Festival 2020
Feels Good Man
- Arthur Jones
Feels Good Man explores the current cultural moment and political climate through the lens of the Internet’s dankest meme.
Premiere: Sundance Film Festival 2020
What We Leave Behind
- Iliana Sosa
What We Leave Behind follows the director’s 89-year-old grandfather on his monthly 17-hour bus ride from Primo de Verdad (a rural town in northern Mexico) to El Paso, Texas and Albuquerque, New Mexico to reunite with family separated by borders.
Location: Carey Institute for Global Good, Rensselaerville, NY / July 22 – 26.
Mentors: Erin Casper (editor: Detropia, T/F 2013), Rachel Grady (co-director: 12th & Delaware), Josh Penn (producer: Beasts Of The Southern Wild), Aaron Wickenden (editor: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, T/F 2018), Roger Ross Williams (director: Life Animated, T/F 2015).
- Mo Scarpelli
Catapult grantee Anbessa explores the rich inner world of a lion-hearted, ten-year-old boy in Ethiopia as he weathers the tides of change that threaten to usurp his community and country. Premiere: Berlinale 2019
Queen of the Battling Butterfly Brigade
- Daniel Hymanson
Queen of the Battling Butterfly Brigade is a film about aging, ecstasy, and finding the infinite in the infinitesimal.
- Agnieszka Zwiefka
Catapult grantee Scars follows a former female fighter and radical ideologue of the Tamil Tigers, in a post-civil war Sri Lanka. When she leaves her quiet countryside life to find her fellow comrades, she faces her own dark past and the trauma of war.
- Elizabeth Lo
Stray sees the world through the eyes of three street dogs in Turkey, a nation in a profound state of flux. The film finds dignity in both the dogs and the marginalized people around them.
Truth or Consequences
- Hannah Jayanti
Truth or Consequences is about the eponymous, small desert town in New Mexico banking on the world’s first commercial spaceport. This dusty no man’s land and its longtime residents are both eager for and weary of big changes.
Location: Gedney Farm, New Marlborough, MA / July 23 – 27
Mentors: Amanda Branson-Gill (producer, The Unknown Known), David Teague (editor, Life Animated; Cutie & the Boxer), Chris Hegedus (director, The War Room), Mark Becker (Director/Producer, Art & Craft; Pressure Cooker), and Pete Nicks (director, The Force).
- Mohamed Siam
Catapult grantee Amal follows an Egyptian teenager, from the age of 14 till the age of 20 while she’s searching for her identity within a constantly changing country. Premiere: IDFA 2017
- Chase Whiteside & Erick Stoll
América is about a dreamer who reunites with his brothers to take care of their ninety-three year old grandmother, América in southwest Mexico. Premiere: True/False 2018
- André Hörmann
Catapult grantee Ringside takes us into the heart of a high- stakes family drama playing out in a remote Cuban fishing village Premiere: Berlinale 2019
- Milena Pastreich
Pigeon Kings tracks a peculiar subculture of pigeon competitions in So. Central LA presided over by the godfather Keith London.
Voices of the Sea
- Kim Hopkins
Voices of the Sea takes us into the heart of a high- stakes family drama playing out in a remote Cuban fishing village. Premiere: True/False 2018
Location: Mayacamas Ranch, Calistoga, CA / August 7 – 11
Mentors: Nels Bangerter (editor, Cameraperson), Rachel Boynton (director, Big Men,), Pedro Kos (editor, The Square), Dan Krauss (director, The Kill Team), and Kristine Samuelson (director, Tokyo Waka).
Ask the Sexpert
- Vaishali Sinha
Catapult Grantee Ask the Sexpert. A long time sex advice columnist gains popularity against the backdrop of a ban on comprehensive sex education in schools in several states in India. Premiere: Hot Docs 2017
- Shevaun Mizrahi
Premiere: True/False 2017
- Jeffrey Levine & Landon Van Soest
Premiere: Berlinale 2017
- Jonathan Olshefski
Premiere: Sundance 2017
When God Sleeps
- Till Shrauder
Catapult grantee When God Sleeps depicts the journey of Iranian musician Shahin Najafi who is forced into hiding after hardline clerics issue a fatwa for his death, incensed by a rap song that focuses on the oppression of women, sexism and human rights abuses. Premiere: Tribeca Film Festival 2017