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An American Promise, Directed by Michele Stephenson & Joe Brewster

The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) and Gucci announced the 2011 recipients selected for the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund. The Fund, now in its fourth year, provides finishing finances, year-round support and guidance to domestic and international documentary filmmakers with feature-length films highlighting and humanizing issues of social importance from around the world.

A jury consisting of Jessica Alba, Amir Bar-Lev, Wendy Ettinger, Frida Giannini, Edward Norton, and Mariane Pearl, selected 9 projects from 450 submissions from 38 countries to receive a total of $150,000, to be administered by the Tribeca Film Institute.

New this year, The PPR Corporate Foundation for Women’s Dignity & Rights, has joined the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, and created the Spotlighting Women Documentary Award which will annually provide funding of $50,000. Three film projects that illuminate the courage, compassion, extraordinary strength of character, and contributions of women from around the world have been chosen for the inaugural award.

The projects that will collectively receive $100,000 total in funding for the 2011 Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund are:

–          An American Promise, Directed by Michele Stephenson & Joe Brewster—An American Promise  follows filmmaker-parents who spend 12 years with the camera turned on themselves and another African American family as their firstborn sons enter a prestigious college preparatory school in 1999. An intimate, poignant and complex portrayal of how race and privilege are experienced by African American middle class families today.

–          Caught in the Net, Directed by Hilla Medalia—Caught in the Net follows China as the first country in the world to classify Internet Addiction as a clinical disorder. The film features a Beijing treatment center where Chinese teenagers are being de-programmed. We follow the lives of three teens from the day they arrive throughout their three month treatment period and their return home.

–          Democrats, Directed by Camilla Nielsson and Produced by Henrik Veileborg—Democrats is a film about the creation of a new constitution in Zimbabwe. The film follows two top politicians, who have been appointed to lead the country through the reform process. The two men are political opponents, but united in the ambition to make history by giving the nation a new founding document – that can give birth to the future’s Zimbabwe.

–          The Great Invisible, Produced and Directed by Margaret Brown and Produced by Jason Orans—The Great Invisible is a feature-length look at the global oil economy through the lens of characters that work in the oil and fishing industries on the Gulf Coast. Much like Margaret Brown’s last documentary The Order of Myths, this film will be shot in a verité style with select interviews to supplement verité information. In addition to the people in the film, the landscapes of the oil world will be established as a distinct character.

–          Untitled Global Health Documentary, Directed by Kief Davidson— Untitled Global Health Documentary is the story of Partners In Health, a remarkable public health charity operating in the world’s poorest countries PIH’s controversial founders, including Dr. Paul Farmer are larger-than-life heroes, fighting to change the way the world cares for the poorest among us, by insisting on healthcare as an inalienable human right.

–          Charge, Directed by Mike Plunkett—Charge is a look at the Green Revolution already underway,  and the conflict over lithium, a key energy resource, which has rapidly escalated. Against a background of conflict, the disparate fates of three men hang in the balance.

The projects that will collectively receive $50,000 total in funding for the inaugural 2011 Spotlighting Women Documentary Award are:

–          Barefoot Engineers, Directed by Jehane Noujaim—Barefoot Engineers follows three women who leave their remote villages to go on a life-changing journey to India with the hopes of becoming Solar Engineers. When they return to their villages, they will wire their communities and turn on the lights.

–          Justice for Sale, Directored by Ilse & Femke van Velzen—Justice for Sale is a dramatic story which follows two young, courageous human rights lawyers who refuse to accept that justice is indeed “For Sale” in their country. Claudine and her husband Eugene, fight for justice to end impunity in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

–          The World Before Her, Directed by Nisha Pahuja—The World Before Her asks: Beauty Pageants– passé in the West–but in India, where women remain second-class citizens, can they actually be empowering? The World Before Her follows two converging story lines–that of the girls who want to become Miss India, and that of the forces that want the pageant banned.

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