Sundance Documentary Fund

From Sundance’s website

Apply for Support

Sundance Institute Documentary Fund grants are announced twice a year. Since its inception, the Fund has supported more than 500 films in 61 countries. A committee of human rights experts and film professionals make recommendations from projects submitted by filmmakers from around the world. The Fund reviews between 1,400 and 2,000 proposals annually, choosing 35-50 for support each year. In funding such work, the Documentary Fund encourages the diverse exchange of ideas that is crucial to fostering an open society, raising public consciousness about human rights abuses and restrictions of civil liberties, and fostering an ongoing dialogue about these and other pressing social issues.

The Documentary Fund provides grants to filmmakers worldwide for projects that display:

  • Artful and innovative storytelling techniques
  • Global relevance
  • Contemporary human rights and pressing social justice issues
  • Potential for social engagement

Funding Categories

Applications are accepted in two funding categories:

  • Research/Development funding is provided to projects that are between development and preproduction. Grant amounts for this category are up to $20,000. There is no reel required with an application, but clips, teasers, trailers, or images are highly encouraged. A previous work sample is required.
  • Production/Postproduction grants provide funds to filmmakers in various stages of the production and postproduction stages. Applications should include 20–75 minutes of continuously edited materials for the project being proposed. Longer cuts and fine cuts can be submitted if available, as well as one previous sample work. The reel should convey the narrative and aesthetic vision for the final film.

If you have already received a grant from the Documentary Fund, there is an additional category for which you can apply for the same project. Audience Engagement grants support innovative outreach and engagement campaigns and cutting-edge multiplatform engagement strategies.


All Fall 2010 round applicants will receive notification by the end of December. Please do not call or email DFP staff to inquire about the status of a proposal. The online application for the upcoming Spring 2011 round will be available soon. Postmark Deadline: February 9, 2011.

Click here for the full online application guidelines and procedures.

STEAM OF LIFE at the Kay Meek Centre

DOXA Documentary Film Festival’s Motion Pictures Series is proud to present the Western Canadian Premiere of Joonas Berghall and Mika Hotakainen’s extraordinary film STEAM OF LIFE at the Kay Meek Centre, ‘West Vancouver’s Cultural Jewel’.

In ramshackle homemade saunas, beautifully appointed wooden steam rooms, even a roadside phone booth (that serves as an impromptu hotbox) men reveal their deepest emotion to each other while sitting naked in the sauna. Conversations range from how to please women (“daily massage is key”) to the pure unadulterated joy of new fatherhood. Amidst clouds of superheated steam, a type of humble poetry unfurls, vulnerable, lovely and deeply human.

Set against the stunning magnificence of the Finnish landscape, Steam of Life is a moving ode to life, love, and the role of genuine and heartfelt conversation.

“The Finnish sauna documentary, Steam of Life, had a reputation for being a tear-jerker. I didn’t believe it until I went to see it myself, and all the men in the cinema were in tears.”

“Saunas pop up everywhere in “Steam of Life” — a converted camper trailer, for instance, or a phone booth. As a father washes his sons, he narrates a life story of mistakes and regrets, epiphanies and redemption; the small hot room becomes something sacred and transformative. Reservations melt away, and a kind of joy rises up like steam from a bed of hot rocks.” – Variety

Tickets: $10

Available at Kay Meek Box Office:

Tickets also available at:

WASTE LAND is playing at Granville 7 Cinema


At Empire Granville 7 Cinemas

Friday Dec 10 – Thursday Dec 16

Fri 10 6:40, 9:15 // Sat 11 – Sun 12 4:20, 6:40, 9:15 // Mon 13 – Thurs 16 6:40, 9:15

Filmed over nearly three years, WASTE LAND follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of “catadores”—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s initial objective was to “paint” the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives. Director Lucy Walker (DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND, BLINDSIGHT, COUNTDOWN TO ZERO) has great access to the entire process and, in the end, offers stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.

AFTERMETH, followup to CRYSTAL FEAR, CRYSTAL CLEAR now in production

Aftermeth, a documentary currently shooting on location throughout the Lower Mainland, profiles three families trapped in addictive patterns while trying to stay clean and sober. It is written and directed by Eva Wunderman (Crystal Fear, Crystal Clear), and produced by Patti Poskitt of Second Son Productions Inc. The production began in July 2009, and is scheduled for completion in April 2011. The broadcast premiere of Aftermeth will be on Knowledge Network in the Fall of 2011, which will coincide with the launch of the website The broadcast hour documentary is commissioned by Knowledge Network for their Storyville strand.

Aftermeth catches up with recovering Crystal Meth addict Aaron Webb from Crystal Fear, Crystal Clear, and examines the effects that the addiction and recovery process have had on his relationship with his family. After seeing himself in the original documentary he took charge of his life, but in a drastic twist there is a role reversal with his mother Michelle. After her life fell apart she now has major obstacles to overcome.

The film juxtaposes Aaron’s family dynamics with that of Andreas Terezakis, who grew
up selling drugs in a family that once controlled the majority of the drug trade in Vancouver’s notorious Downtown East side.  This made Andreas determined not to become an addict, instead becoming a feared fighter in the gang world. Andreas now struggles with his past, writing powerful poems and songs as a means to deal with gangs, drugs, and violence.

The third family consists of Karen and her 23-year-old daughter Brelana. Brelana started using meth when she was 14, she often leaves home for the Downtown Eastside in search for drugs. Aftermeth follows Karen’s struggle to keep her daughter from complete self-destruction as she is convinced Brelana will die unless she is able to kick the habit. We follow Karen’s desperate attempt to find her daughter on Granville and Hastings as her life spirals out of control.

Director Eva Wunderman of Wunderman Film Inc has produced and directed award-winning documentaries since the early 1990’s. Her first documentary The Legacy of Truk Lagoon, produced for A&E, won her a Leo Award for best director. Her films continue to be broadcast around the world and for many years she directed the Gemini Award winning television series Weird Homes. Eva produced and directed Crystal Fear, Crystal Clear for CBC’s The Passionate Eye, which earned her a Gracie Allen Individual Achievement Award in New York. Her most resent documentary The Canyon War just received a Platinum Remi Award at the Houston International Film Festival. Producer Patti Poskitt and her company Second Son Productions ( has over 25 years experience in all genres of television, from game shows, children’s programs, and documentary series.

Aftermeth is produced with the support of: Knowledge Network, Canadian Media Fund, BC Production Incentive administered through CMF, BC Film, and CAVCO.

Knowledge Network is where stories live that speaks to our time. As a viewer-supported public
broadcaster, we provide commercial-free creative documentaries, arts and culture and children’s programs from Canada and around the world. Knowledge Network plays a vital role in supporting the independent production community in B.C. and the rest of Canada by commissioning, pre-licensing and acquiring documentary and children’s content for broadcast on Knowledge Network and

Media Contact: Helen Yagi (604) 736-5517, or

2011 DOXA Documentary Festival now accepting entries

Vancouver’s DOXA festival is now accepting submissions for short and feature-length documentary films for their 10th Anniversary Festival, which runs from May 6-15, 2011. Filmmakers whose films were completed after January 1, 2010 are encouraged to apply. This year’s festival includes a Spotlight on Vancouver, so local filmmakers are especially desired. Visit the DOXA website for more information.

CIDA’s Mass Media Initiative discontinued

Outgoing At-Large Board Member Betsy Carson reported at the 2010 AGM that CIDA’s Mass Media Initiative has been discontinued. This excerpt from the CFTPA website explains what the MMI did:

The Development Information Program’s Mass Media Initiative (MMI) financially supports communications projects aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of international development and cooperation issues.

This initiative supports a diverse range of media platforms including documentaries/docu-series for television and/or web TV, podcasts/radio, and new media projects that are disseminated among Canadian audiences. Proposals are accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the year. All projects must meet the specified eligibility criteria in order to be considered for evaluation. Applicants are encouraged to visit the MMI website regularly as the eligibility criteria may evolve throughout the year. Successful project proposals bring together multiple partners, highlight Canadian contributions to the developing world, and reach the broadest Canadian audience possible through the innovative use of mass media vehicles. Submissions are evaluated by a committee comprised of media industry, communications and international development specialists, which recommend the projects that best reflect the initiative’s mandate.

According to an FAQ on the CIDA website, the money will now be distributed as part of the Global Citizens Program.

Julia Ivanova’s FAMILY PORTRAIT goes to Sundance

Congratulations to our very own board member Julia Ivanova: her latest, FAMILY PORTRAIT IN BLACK AND WHITE, will have its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance festival in Park City, Utah.

In a small Ukrainian town, Olga Nenya raises 16 black orphans amidst a population of Slavic blue-eyed blondes. Their stories expose the harsh realities of growing up as a bi-racial child in Eastern Europe.

DOC TALK December: Master Class with John Zaritsky

DOC TALK: A series of relevant, engaging and informative workshops & discussions, presented monthly by DOC BC

It is impossible to explain, outline, or even list John Zaritsky’s impressive filmmaking achievements in this small text box. We would need a notebook.

Some of the highlights of his extensive and illustrious career include winning more than 30 awards for his documentary films. This includes the Academy Award for Best Documentary for Just Another Missing Kid, a Cable Ace Award for Rapists: Can They be Stopped, an American Bar Association Golden Gavel Award for My Husband is Going to Kill Me, and a
Robert F. Kennedy Foundation Award for Born in Africa. In addition to the above, John has been nominated for three Emmy Awards and 15 Gemini Awards, and has won the latter seven times. His most recent film, Leave Them Laughing, screened at the 2010 Vancouver International Film Festival where it won the most popular Canadian documentary.

DOC BC is honoured to present this unique opportunity to spend an evening with Mr. Zaritsky. This is a night not to be missed!

Mr. Zaritsky will engage in stories and illustrations about his remarkable work, share tips and techniques about how he conducts interviews and structures his films & talk about documentary filmmaking in the industry as it exists today.

Please join us on December 8th, 2010 at 6:30pm for this exceptional master class. Admission is free for DOC BC members. Non-members’ admission $15 at the door. UPDATE: If you purchase your 2011 DOC BC membership at the workshop, admission is free.

For more information about John Zaritsky visit