Seven documentary projects will receive grants of up to $20,000 each through the fund, which received more than 180 applications in 2020. Created in 2011 with support from The New York Community Trust, the initiative honors the legacy of legendary American documentary filmmaker Pare Lorentz.
Each year, the fund focuses on select issue areas that were hallmarks of Lorentz’s films.
Since 2017, IDA has provided more than $4.5 million in grants through its documentary funds.
Documentaries receiving Pare Lorentz funding this year, with descriptions provided by the IDA, are:
All We’ve Lost
(Preston Randolph, director/producer)
In the small town of Laurel, Montana, a mother refuses to give up fighting for her wrongfully imprisoned son’s release, culminating in a spectacular bipartisan collective effort spanning local and national exoneration and innocence activist movements.
(Débora Souza Silva, director/producer; David Felix Sutcliffe, producer)
Violence. Outrage. Impunity. Repeat. “Black Mothers” follows the journey of two women working to disrupt the cycle of racist police violence within our country’s judicial system. As one mother navigates the aftermath of her son’s attack by local police, the other channels her grief into organizing other mothers to fight for concrete change and justice.
(Nailah Jefferson, director; Darcy McKinnon, producer)
When Danielle Metz’s triple life sentence was commuted, she got a rare chance to regain the life and family that she’d been dreaming about in prison. But back home in New Orleans, she steps into a different reality. Commuted traces Danielle’s journey to find purpose and love, and to confront the wounds of incarceration that linger after release from prison.
For Venida, For Kalief
(Sisa Bueno, director)
For Venida, For Kalief is a poetic cinematic portrait of the complex microcosm of criminal justice reform in New York. The film debuts the poetry of Venida Brodnax Browder, mother of Kalief Browder, whose unjust arrest and tragic suicide deeply resonates with the majority of New Yorkers, and also launches a lyrical exploration of the complicated struggle to end mass incarceration.
Murders That Matter
(Marco Williams, director/producer)
Murders that Matter documents Movita Johnson-Harrell an African American Muslim mother who, in the aftermath of her youngest son’s murder, vows to save all the other black sons, on both sides of the gun.
(Chico Colvard, director; Madison O’Leary, producer)
This personal portraiture piece examines weaponized 911 calls in the age of white fragility.
United States vs. Reality Winner
(Sonia Kennebeck, director/producer; Ines Hofmann Kanna, producer)
A state of secrets and a ruthless hunt for whistleblowers – this is the story of 25-year-old NSA contractor Reality Winner who disclosed a document about Russian election interference to the media and became the number one leak target of the Trump administration.
“We are pleased to help IDA and The Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund bring to light important social issues through the masterful storytelling of their selected filmmakers.” said Salem Tsegaye, program officer, arts and culture at The New York Community Trust.
“The filmmakers supported through the latest round of Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund are tackling some of the most urgent issues faced by a society where our criminal justice system all too often fails to live up to the goal of equal justice for all,” said Simon Kilmurry, executive director of IDA.
Elsewhere, the IDA also revealed that filmmaker Manuel Acuña would be the first recipient of the IDA Netflix Global Emerging Filmmaker Award, which comes with a $25,000 grant.
The award supports an international filmmaker undertaking their first or second documentary project. Acuña — from Guadalajara, México — works as a film director and cinematographer. His current film is “El Silencio De Mis Manos” (The Silence of My Hands).
The film follows Rosa and Saira, two Mexican deaf women in love, as they struggle with the adversities of their language, the distance that separates them — and the limited time that they have together, as an unforeseen illness impacts their relationship.
“At Netflix we have an incredible opportunity to find and support the next generation of storytellers around the world, which is why it was important for us to partner with the IDA on the Global Emerging Filmmaker Award,” said Lisa Nishimura, VP independent and documentary film at Netflix.
“Manuel’s film ‘El Silencio De Mis Manos’ inspired us with his artistry, commitment and sensitive handling of this story, and we are thrilled that he’s the first recipient of this award,” continued Nishimura.
The IDA also announced that the IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund will open its call for applications for production grants up to $100,000 on Feb. 16. The application deadline is April 19.
Four films that have received support from the Enterprise fund will premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, including “At The Ready,” “Philly D.A.,” “President” and “Users.”