Open Society Institute awards institute for docs

The Open Society Institute has awarded the Sundance Institute a $5 million grant for its documentary film program with the aim of raising awareness of human rights.

“Films can play a powerful role in inspiring action on human rights, justice, accountability and other open society issues,” said Aryeh Neier, president of the Open Society Institute, in a statement Wednesday.

The Open Society Institute noted the grant renews its support for the Sundance program, which began at OSI in 1996 and was made part of the Sundance Institute in 2002 with an initial $4.6 million dollar gift.

Investor George Soros founded the Open Society Institute in 1993. The entity works in more than 60 countries to promote “vibrant and tolerant” democracies.

“Sundance Institute has supported documentary storytellers since its beginning,” said Sundance Institute founder and topper Robert Redford in a statement. “The recognition of that history by George Soros and the Open Society Institute, and the continuation of our relationship over time, speaks to our shared belief that culture — in this case documentary film — is having a profound impact in shaping progressive change.”

Sundance, noting that the funds are in the form of a matching grant, also announced that it’s planning to raise $10 million over the next five years to support documentaries on “significant, contemporary issues.”

During its 13-year history, the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund has awarded grants to more than 450 films in 54 countries, including “My Country, My Country,” “The Devil Came on Horseback,” “Iraq in Fragments” and “Trouble the Water.”

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