Friday, July 17, 2009

Tribeca and Gucci Give out Money

Yesterday, the Tribeca Film Institute and Gucci announced the recipients of the 2009 Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund. In this second year of the fund, seven projects have been selected to receive $100,000 each. The prize is awarded to documentary filmmakers whose projects “promote social change and illuminate issues in need of deeper coverage currently missing from mainstream media.”

According to Indiewire, the topics of the films include the phenomenon of outsourcing surrogate mothers to India, a Cambodian journalist’s time spent with Khmer Rouge killers, one high school’s unique approach to education, the controversial rise to fame of the world’s youngest marathon runner, the combined impact of privatization and foreign investment in Tanzania, chaotic childhood experiences in Colombia, and one American’s attempts to save thousands of Iraqis.

The projects that will receive funding are:
- “Anatomy of Poverty,” by Elinyisia Mosha
- “Born Under Fire,” by Jairo Eduardo Carrill
- “Enemies of the People,” by Rob Lemkin & S. Thet
- “Growing Small,” by Jyllian Gunther
- “Made In India,” by Rebecca Haimowitz & Vaishali Sinha
- “Marathon Boy,” by Gemma Atwal
- “The Promise of Freedom,” by Beth Murphy.”

For more details, head on over to

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

China tries to bar documentary in Australia

The Chinese Government doesn't necessarily have the best "free speech" record in the world, and earlier today it's understandable as to why.  Reports have popped up that the Chinese consulate in Australia demanded the Melbourne Film Festival withdraw the documentary The 10 Conditions of Love or justify its inclusion.  Festival director Richard Moore flatly refused to either demand and has not been shy to talk to the press about the incident.

The 10 Conditions of Love follows exiled Uighur businesswoman Rebiya Kadeer- highlighting her relationship with activist husband Sidik Rouzi and her desire to gain greater independence for China's 10-million Muslim Uighur population.   Kadeer doesn't exactly have the best history with the Chinese government.  She was arrested back in 1999 for "providing secret information to foreigners" and three of her eleven children have since been imprisoned.  The government most recently accuses her group, the World Uighur Congress, as being a front for extremist militants and for instigating this month's ethnic riots in China that have claimed close to 200 lives.

Obviously, the Chinese Government doesn't want Kadeer to garner supporters around the world, but with the Melbourne Film Festival refusing to pull the documentary, it's clear all they are doing now is providing free marketing for a once relatively obscure movie.  This battle is certainly not over so we will definitely monitor the situation leading up the Festival in early August.

For more information, check out the full article at

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

News & Documentary Emmy Awards Nominees Announced

Earlier today the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) announced the nominees for the 30th annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards.  Awards will be given in 33 categories, because with the Emmy's, everyone is a winner!  Actually, that's not true, but at a whopping 33 categories, it's impressive to see NATAS acknowledge the depth and diversity of the news and documentary genre. 

In case you are wondering (and you can check the list for yourself), PBS leads all networks with 41 nominations while CBS sits at a distant number 2 with 23.  As you can guess, the list is long enough to rival War & Peace, but if you have the time, I suggest checking it out because there are certainly some documentary gems to discover.  Beyond the plethora of nominations, CNN Productions will be honored with the President's Award for its documentary production.

The Emmy award presentations occur Monday September 21, so you have plenty of time to scour the list before the winners are announced.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

HBO Summer Documentary Series Kicks Off

With the summer heat in full swing up in the Northern Hemisphere, documentary film are set to enjoy HBO's annual Summer documentary series. The series is set to begin Monday (July 13th) with a bang, premiering Teddy: In His Own Words. Developed by Peter Kunhardt and Sheila Nevins, this documentary is not a simple interview but rather a look back at the Senator's life through his past speeches, interviews and conversations. The piece most likely won't be anything close to a scathing expose, but it sounds intriguing enough to spark my interest.

Of course, the series isn't just centered around famous U.S. Senators, so if that's not your cup of tea, stay tuned. HBO will air a feature length documentary every Monday for a solid two months, so rest assured, there's something here for everyone. Trust me, the series is the perfect escape for film lovers looking to relax on their couch after a long day of basking in the sun.

Check HBO's website for the complete series schedule as well as a summary, trailer and other bits of useful information for every film.