DocLands Documentary Film Festival 2019 Doc Pitch Winner: FIVE YEARS NORTH.
DocLands Documentary Film Festival 2019 Doc Pitch Winner: FIVE YEARS NORTH. Photo Credit: ©Tommy Lau Photography

DocLands Documentary Film Festival hosted its annual DocPitch forum this past weekend and awarded director Chris Temple and editor Alejandro Valdés-Rochin with a $25,000 cash prize, provided by Project No. 9, for their documentary film currently in development, Five Years North.

DocPitch is a hidden gem in the grant community,” said co-director Chris Temple “We’re walking away with better funding, connections, and knowledge to make an impactful film.”

The unique DocLands event works to connect documentary filmmakers and their works in progress to distributors, organizations, philanthropists, fellow filmmakers – and future audiences. A jury consisting of Carrie Lozano, IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund; Julie Campfield, RO*CO Films International; and Joni Cooper, DocLands’ Director of Programming, selected five film projects currently in development through an open call that brought in over seventy high caliber submissions for independent documentaries currently in development.

Presentations from these five projects included a verbal pitch, a three to five-minute trailer, followed by a ten-minute Q&A with the audience, comprised of invited funders, organization representatives, distributors, media, fellow filmmakers, and the general public. Members of the audience were given a ballot prior to the filmmakers’ presentations to vote for their favorite pitch.

The excitement and emotion throughout the auditorium was palpable as DocLands Director of Programming Joni Cooper announced that a very spontaneous and generous $50,000 donation from Mind the Gap Advisor, Christine A. Schantz, was being made to filmmakers Sanjay Rawal and A-dae Briones to fund the completion of their film Gather.

The excitement continued as the DocPitch winner, Five Years North, was announced and filmmakers Chris Temple and Alejandro Valdés-Rochin were presented with the $25,000 check. The three other competing projects did not leave empty handed as two additional audience members, Rich Robbins and Maggie O’Donnell, stepped forward with additional spontaneous donations to help each of the remaining three projects continue their work. In all, 2019 DocPItch awarded a total of $94,500.

2019 DocPitch Finalists

FIVE YEARS NORTH – Winner $25,000

Pitching: Director Chris Temple, Editor Alejandro Valdés-Rochin
Chino is new to the U.S. and desperate to avoid deportation back to Guatemala’s poverty and violence. On patrol nearby is Judy, an unflinching ICE agent and native New Yorker. A decade of footage reveals the complex stories on both sides of the immigration system.Local Bay Area Connection: Director Chris Temple is based in the Bay Area (Napa Area)


Pitching: Director Sanjay Rawal, Producer A-dae Briones
Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political, and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide. Gather follows a chef from White Mountain Apache (Arizona) opening an indigenous café as a nutritional recovery clinic; a young female scientist from Cheyenne River Sioux (South Dakota) conducting landmark studies on bison; and a group of environmental activists from Yurok (Northern California) trying to save their river.


Pitching: Director Allison Otto, Producer Jill Howerton
The Heist is a feature documentary about one of the most audacious and puzzling art thefts of a generation.


Pitching: Directors/Producers, Dee Hibbert-Jones, Nomi Talisman, Producer Amilca Palmer
An animated documentary feature that explores the crisis in the criminal justice system and the U.S. racial divide through the eyes of De’Jaun Correia, a young black man on the Dean’s List at Morehouse College guided by the memory of his uncle, Troy Davis, who mentored him from death row.
Local Bay Area Connection: Directors/Producers Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman are based in the Bay Area.


Pitching: Director Yael Bridge
Rampant inequality. Entrenched racism and sexism. A rapidly warming planet. For a growing number of people in America today, there is one answer to the biggest problems that face our country: SOCIALISM. Socialism: An American Story uncovers the rich history of American socialism and goes beyond the headlines to tell the stories of the people striving to build a socialist future.
Local Bay Area Connection: Director Yael Bridge is based in the Bay Area

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