Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ford Foundation Announces $50 Million for Documentary Film
Initiative (1/18/11)

The New York City-based Ford Foundation ( )
has launched a five-year, $50 million initiative to help identify
and support a new generation of filmmakers whose work addresses
urgent social issues, the New York Times reports.

The JustFilms initiative ( ) will invest
$10 million a year to help expand the community of filmmakers
around the world working to create documentaries with a social
conscience but who may lack the resources to realize their vision
or connect with audiences. Building on the foundation's longtime
support for film documentaries, the initiative will leverage
Ford's global network of ten regional offices to identify talent
from emerging documentary film communities and will focus on film,
video, and digital works that show courageous people confronting
difficult issues in pursuit of a more just, secure, and sustain-
able world.

Award-winning filmmaker Orlando Bagwell, director of the founda-
tion's Freedom of Expression team, will head up the initiative,
which will divide funding equally among three distinct project
areas: partnerships with major organizations; an ongoing open
application process; and partnerships with other Ford Foundation
grantmaking programs. Additional funds will be allocated to
marketing partners to help filmmakers promote their work and
engage with audiences.

One such partnership involving the Sundance Institute will be
formally launched during the upcoming Sundance Film Festival. As
part of the partnership, JustFilms will contribute $1 million a
year over five years to the institute's Documentary Film Program
in support of productions focusing on topics such as human and
civil rights, freedom of expression, and economic opportunity.
The initiative also will support editing, producing, and film
scoring workshops as well as panels and dialogues at the festi-
val to enhance the understanding and recognition of documentary
film as a key component of social change efforts.

"With the growth of the Web and social networks, the potential
global audience for filmed content with a social conscience has
exploded," said Ford Foundation president Luis Ubi?as. "We want
JustFilms to support visionary filmmakers from around the world
to create works on urgent social issues, and help them reach and
engage audiences."

Barnes, Brooks. "Ford Foundation to Put Up $50 Million for
Documentaries." New York Times 1/18/11.

"Ford Foundation Launches $50 Million Fund for Next-Generation
Documentary Filmmakers." Ford Foundation Press Release 1/18/11.

Mia Cabasco Villanueva

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