America has the most technologically advanced health care system in the world, yet medical interventions have become the third leading cause of death, and the overwhelming majority of high-risk implanted devices never require a single clinical trial. In THE BLEEDING EDGE, Academy Award® nominated investigative filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (THE INVISIBLE WAR, THE HUNTING GROUND,) along with Producer Amy Herdy, continue their signature unearthing of institutional corruption; this time by turning their sights on the $400 billion medical device industry; examining lax regulations, corporate cover-ups, and profit-driven incentives that put patients at risk daily. Weaving emotionally powerful stories of people whose lives have been irrevocably harmed, the film asks: what life-saving technologies may actually be killing us?
Jennifer Brea's Sundance award-winning documentary, Unrest , is a personal journey from patient to advocate to storyteller. Jennifer is twenty-eight years-old, working on her PhD at Harvard, and months away from marrying the love of her life when a mysterious fever leaves her bedridden. When doctors tell her it's "all in her head," she picks up her camera as an act of defiance and brings us into a hidden world of millions that medicine abandoned.
In this story of love and loss, newlyweds Jennifer and Omar search for answers as they face unexpected obstacles with great heart. Often confined by her illness to the private space of her bed, Jennifer connects with others around the globe. Like a modern-day Odysseus, she travels by Skype into a forgotten community, crafting intimate portraits of four other families suffering similarly. Jennifer Brea's wonderfully honest and humane portrayal asks us to rethink the stigma around an illness that affects millions. Unrest is a vulnerable and eloquent personal documentary that is sure to hit closer to home than many could imagine.
U.S. reproductive health clinics are fighting to remain open. Since 2010, 288 TRAP (Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers) laws have been passed by conservative state legislatures. Unable to comply with these far-reaching & medically unnecessary measures, clinics have taken their fight to the courts. As the U.S. Supreme Court decides in 2016 whether individual states may essentially outlaw abortion (Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt), Trapped follows the struggles of the clinic workers and lawyers who are on the front lines of a battle to keep abortion safe and legal for millions of American women.
Firelight produces award-winning films that expose injustice, illuminate the power of community and tell a history seldom told. Firelight connects these films with concrete and innovative ways for diverse audiences to be inspired, educated, and mobilized into action. Through our Documentary Lab and other Artists Support Work, we are dedicated to developing talented documentary filmmakers that advance underrepresented stories, moving them from the margins to the forefront of mainstream media through high quality, powerful productions.
In addition to a focus on excellence in filmmaking, Firelight has a long history and is one of only a handful of media organizations that has a permanent engagement division. Firelight has two proven community engagement strengths — reaching and engaging diverse audiences and using historical film to support contemporary social justice organizing. By collaborating with local and national organizations that are committed to a range of social justice issues, Firelight has successfully impacted audiences for well over a decade.
In the shadow of the largest Native American occupation since Wounded Knee, thousands of Water Protectors descend upon the Standing Rock Reservation to resist construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Through a Native lens and unprecedented access, Akicita captures the spirit of a movement and its people.
As Baltimore and the nation struggle to come to terms with the bitter legacy between the police and the community, CHARM CITY will go behind the scenes as citizens and police officers reckon with one another. At a moment that is fraught with increased violence, pervasive, fear and a deepening divide, CHARM CITY will take viewers beyond the television news to explore what has become so chronically broken between police and communities.
When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and then left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis county. Grief, long-standing tension, and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy. In the days that follow, artists, musicians, teachers and parents turn into freedom fighters, standing on the front lines to demand justice. As the National Guard descends on Ferguson with military grade weaponry, these young community members become the torchbearers of a new wave of resistance. For this generation, the battle is not for civil rights, but for the right to live.
A whistle-blowing blogger uncovers disturbing social media evidence documenting the gang rape of a teenage girl by members of the football team in small town Ohio. The incidents in this former steel town provoked international outrage. The moral implications of teens acting with impunity in social media’s virtual town square were a tipping point at the intersection of online bullying and rape culture. The story of a football town divided, Roll Red Roll is an immersive mystery thriller examining rape culture in small town America.
THE PUSHOUTS explores the remarkable story of Victor Rios’ evolution from school pushout and gang member to UC professor, author and thought leader on the school-to-prison pipeline via three narrative threads: archival footage of Rios and key mentors from the cutting room floor of the 1994 PBS FRONTLINE film School Colors, original verité of Rios's summer in Watts after his former mentor calls on him to work with 40 pushout youth, and a series of cinematic vignettes from Rios's life built with depth audio interviews & evocative cinematography and sound design.
Doc Society (formerly known as BritDoc) is a non-profit founded in 2005 committed to enabling great documentary films and connecting them to audiences globally.
In 2018, a coal miner’s daughter in West Virginia, a grieving mother in Nevada, a registered nurse in Missouri and a young bartender from New York are challenging powerful incumbents in Congress. None of these women has experience in political office, but each is driven by a life-changing experience of injustice. Running on their own, they might never stand a chance. But running together, as part of a rising movement, they’re finding the courage to do something extraordinary.
Filmed over the course of nine years, Home Truth chronicles one family’s incredible pursuit of justice, shedding light on how our society responds to domestic violence and how the trauma from domestic violence can linger through generations. In 1999, Colorado mother Jessica Gonzales experienced every parent’s worst nightmare when her three young daughters were killed after being abducted by their father in violation of a domestic violence restraining order. Devastated, Jessica sued her local police department for failing to adequately enforce her restraining order despite her repeated calls for help that night. Determined to make sure her daughters did not die in vain, Jessica pursues her case to the US Supreme Court and an international human rights tribunal, seeking to strengthen legal rights for domestic violence victims. Meanwhile, her relationship with her one surviving child, her son Jessie, suffers, as he struggles with the tragedy in his own way."
The U.S. military faces a mental health crisis of historic proportions. Thank You for Your Service takes aim at our superficial understanding of war trauma and the failed policies that result. Along with interviews with top government officials such as former DOD Secretary Robert Gates, former Joint Chief Michael Mullen, General Loree Sutton and others, the film follows for Iraq War veterans: Kenny Toone (USMC, (Lu Lobello (USMC), Phil Straub (USMC), and William Rodriguez (USA), as they struggle with their combat experiences and find paths to healing through VA treatment and non-traditional programs.
Doc Academy is BRITDOC’s schools programme, providing free, easy-to-use resources for secondary school teachers: 100s of short clips from critically-acclaimed films, Curriculum-linked lesson plans for KS 3, 4 & 5, and Inspiring social-action Activity Toolkit: all made by and tested with teachers. Doc Academy supports teachers to meet key literacy targets whilst engaging pupils in thinking about the world, about society and their place in it.
With the promises of president-elect Donald J. Trump to build a border wall and mount a mass deportation program, many citizens are contemplating what the militarization of the border might mean for their communities. But Falfurrias, Texas, home to the country's busiest internal Border Patrol checkpoint, is already living the consequences: a bankrupt local infrastructure and a humanitarian crisis of migrant deaths now reaching epidemic proportions.
The Southern Documentary Fund (SDF) is a nonprofit arts organization that cultivates documentary projects made in or about the American South. Inspired by our core belief that documentaries have the power to change lives and communities, we serve as a leading advocate for powerful southern storytelling, providing filmmakers and artists with professional support, filmmaking grants, and fiscal sponsorship. Since its founding in 2002, SDF has sponsored over 150 projects that have screened all over the world, won critical acclaim and prestigious awards, and inspired audiences with authentic stories that matter.
What happened when unarmed Black teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by White police officer Darren Wilson?
Acclaimed director and photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders shines a light on transgender Americans, several of whom share their insights on trans rights, the fight for equality, and their personal struggles and accomplishments.
For the first time since WWII, the number of refugees, displaced people and forced migrants surpassed 50 million globally. UNHCR estimates this number will triple to 150 million in the next ten years. It’s critical for the world to turn its attention towards finding just solutions to this overwhelming and urgent challenge. Humanity on the Move will be one of those solutions.
In 2012, California amended its “Three Strikes” law—one of the harshest criminal sentencing policies in the country. The passage of Prop. 36 marked the first time in U.S. history that citizens voted to shorten sentences of those currently incarcerated. Within days, the reintegration of thousands of “lifers” was underway. THE RETURN examines this unprecedented reform through the eyes of those on the front lines—prisoners suddenly freed, families turned upside down, reentry providers helping navigate complex transitions, and attorneys and judges wrestling with an untested law.
There’s a new detective agency in Dallas Texas, started by three exonerated men with decades in prison served between them who look to free innocent people behind bars. True Conviction follows these change-makers as they not only try to rebuild their lives and families, but also attempt to fix the criminal justice system.
The statistics are staggering. One in five women in college are sexually assaulted, yet only a fraction of these crimes are reported, and even fewer result in punishment for the perpetrators. From the intrepid team behind The Invisible War comes The Hunting Ground, a piercing, monumental exposé of rape culture on campuses, poised to light a fire under a national debate.
College Behind Bars: The Bard Prison Initiative tells the untold story of a small group of incarcerated men and women in New York State struggling to turn their lives around in a rigorous and highly effective liberal arts college degree program – the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI). Through their stories, the film will shine a light on the fundamental relationship between incarceration and education, put a human face on America’s criminal justice crisis, and challenge conventional wisdom about the human potential for emotional, moral, and intellectual transformation.
The heart of the film will be the stories of several children as they rebuild their lives, heal from the past, and dream of the future. Resilient, kind, sweet and determined these children have lived experiences well beyond their years, but have somehow retained
their light and are filled with hope. Familiar everyday scenes—the move to a new house, preparing a family dinner, a child learning in a classroom, prayer at an Evangelical church—will flow between moments of uncertainty as they await the fate of their immigration proceedings. Children continue to arrive at our border without their parents, and there seems to be no end in sight to the violence and corruption that fuels the ongoing refugee crisis.
Belly of the Beast intimately chronicles the journey of women fighting reproductive injustice in their communities.
The deadliest use of chemicals in the history of warfare continues to kill and deform. Madame Tran charges 26 corporations with knowingly poisoning Vietnam with Agent Orange. There has been no accountability for this 'ecocide'. By exposing the profit-oriented decisions that left Agent Orange contaminated, the film can hasten dioxin clean-up and provide care for the many thousands of victims.
Doc Society is proud to have launched Safe + Secure in 2017 uniting funders and filmmakers alike to address, prevent, and increase awareness on risks taken in pursuit of telling a vital story. The initiative includes a Handbook and Common Protocol to be used side by side as a way to inform and assess what to anticipate ahead.
Chicken & Egg Pictures supports women nonfiction filmmakers whose artful and innovative storytelling catalyzes social change. They envision a world in which women filmmakers, representing a range of experiences and backgrounds, are fully supported to realize their artistic goals, build sustainable careers, and achieve parity in all areas of the film industry.
Since 2005, Chicken & Egg Pictures has awarded $5.4 million in grants and thousands of hours of creative mentorship to over 260 filmmakers. Films supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures have won numerous awards, including Academy and Emmy Awards, but more importantly, they have resulted in change for the issues they address.
America is struggling with issues centering on justice. Youth and race are two big newsmakers because as bizarre as it might seem in this country, both are still grossly misunderstood and abused. Our justice system reflects cultural concerns based in fear, and our children often pay the biggest price. Sentencing Children takes an in-depth look at the harsh juvenile sentencing laws in America, and explores other alternatives.
At a remote Mojave Desert high school, extraordinary educators believe that, more than academics, it is love, empathy and life skills that give at-risk students command of their own futures. This coming-of-age story watches education combat the crippling effects of poverty on the lives of these so-called “bad kids.
N-Map advances human rights by merging law with multimedia storytelling to bring the voices of people who have suffered violations into the halls of power. We produce tactical, audience-focused videos designed to win cases and campaigns, influence policy, mobilize communities, and make the technical language of policy and law more accessible. In partnership with human rights defenders, we help survivors use their stories as a powerful tool to rise above oppression.
The Lavender Scare will be the first documentary to tell the story of how, over four decades, the U.S. government carried out an official policy to purge its workforce of LGBT individuals. This film will expose a largely hidden chapter in American history, but it is by no means historical.
The Documentary Fund is one of the largest of its kind, currently receiving between 1,500 and 2,000 feature-length documentary applications annually through a global open call. (In addition, the Fund awards off-cycle grants to support projects with specific, time-sensitive needs.) The Fund awards 50–60 grants per year to emerging, mid-career, and established independent documentary filmmakers, with a balance of North American and international grantees. Each year, the Sundance Documentary Fund provides between $1,500,000 and $2,000,000 in direct grants and awards to filmmakers whose projects demonstrate global resonance and strong artistic vision.
the Pearl explores the raw emotional and physical experience of being a middle aged to senior transgender woman against the backdrop of post-industrial logging towns in the Pacific Northwest. The film leans into the struggle of those who were reared and successful as men and have reached middle age or later with a burdensome secret that they can no longer keep.