Sundance Institute Names Global Documentary Fund Grantees

Frederick Wiseman - 75th Venice Film Festival - Getty-H 2020
Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

The 22 projects, including Frederick Wiseman's 'City Hall,' come from 19 countries and are set to receive over $520,000 in grants.

The Sundance Institute has named its latest documentary fund grantees to receive $520,000 in financing for film development and production to postproduction and audience marketing.

In all, 22 non-fiction projects from 19 countries will receive grants made possible by the Open Society Foundations and the MacArthur Foundation, among other sources, and with over half of the funding coming from outside the U.S.

"We’re fortunate to have a collaborative and strong network of partners that allow us to ensure material support for these filmmakers as they develop bold new work, we can ensure that the field of nonfiction storytelling continues to evolve even against larger headwinds," documentary film program interim director Kristin Feeley and director Hajnal Molnar-Szakacs said Wednesday in a statement.

See the projects, below.


Alis (Colombia) Dir. Nicolas van Hammerlock, Clare Weiskopf; Prod. Nicolas van Hemelryck, Clare Weiskopf. Through a creative act, eight teenage girls who lived on the streets of Bogota give life to a fictional classmate.

A Hawk as Big as a Horse (Russia, France) Dir. Sasha Kulak; Prod. Louis Beaudemont. A Russian transgender ornithologist who lives in a small town near Moscow decides to create a world of fantasies around the Twin Peaks mythology.

How to Build a Library (Kenya) Dir. Maia Lekow, Christopher King; Prod. Maia Lekow, Christopher King. Two ambitious Kenyan women are on a mission to revitalize Nairobi’s libraries.

Q (Lebanon) Dir. Jude Chehab; Prod. Jude Chehab. Q investigates the mysterious, unspoken of world of the Qubaysiat, the regime-loving Sufis-turned-cult.

Reas (Argentina) Dir. Lola Arias; Prod. Gema Jua?rez Allen. A group of women and trans people wait out their sentences, reconstructing scenes from their past lives and imagining their future lives in the form of a musical.

Regarding Memory and Neglect (Brazil) Dir. Ricardo Martensen; Prod. Ricardo Martensen, Felipe Tomazelli, Dado Carlin. Memories are questioned via three different stories in the city of Sa?o Paulo.

Todo lo so?lido (Cuba, Mexico, U.S.A.) Dir. Luis Gutie?rrez Arias; Prod. Zaina Bseiso, Alejandro Alonso Estrella, Joie Estrella Horwitz. The story of an island sinking into the Caribbean Sea.

Untitled Nicky Nodjoumi Project (U.S.A.) Dir. Sara Nodjoumi, Till Schauder; Prod. Sara Nodjoumi, Till Schauder. In the hectic days after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Tehran’s Museum of Contemporary Art exhibits a series of paintings.

Yawar Shunku: Bleeding Heart (Ecuador) Dir. Antonio Romero Zurita; Prod. Sam Vinal. Ecuadorian composer Guerardo Guevara pens his final requiem as he reaches 90.


Children of the Mist (Vietnam) Dir. Ha Le Diem; Prod. Swann Dubus, Tran Phuong Thao. In the misty mountains of North Vietnam, a teenage Hmong girl walks the thin line between childhood and adulthood.

Girl Talk (U.S.A) Dir. Lucia Small; Prod. Lucia Small, Dia Sokol Savage. Filmed over four years, Girl Talk follows five teenage girls on a top-ranked debate team on their quest to be the best in the U.S.

Whitewash (working title) (France) Dir. Ahmet Necdet Cupur; Prod. Delphine Morel, Anke Petersen, Nadir Operli. In an Arab village situated in the south of Turkey, filmmaker Ahmet Necdet Cupur’s brother Mahmut wants to divorce his newly wed wife Nezahat.


City Hall (U.S.A.) Dir. Frederick Wiseman; Prod. Karen Konicek. Efforts by the Boston city government to provide services to a diverse population.

Eight Stories About Hearing Loss (Argentina,Uruguay) Dir. Charo Mato; Prod. Charo Mato, Eugenia Olascuaga, Valentina Baracco. After losing her hearing, Charo decides to unlock and overcome the doubts and fears of her family by having an operation in order to recover her hearing.

The Monster and the Storm (U.S.A.) Dir. Edwin Martinez; Prod. Jamie Gonc?alves. A Puerto Rican cosplayer embarks on a quest to heal the loss of his father by creating and eventually becoming his lifelong hero, Godzilla.

Murders That Matter (U.S.A.) Dir. Marco Williams; Prod. Marco Williams. An African American Muslim mother in the aftermath of her youngest son’s murder vows to save all the other sons, on both sides of the gun.

Our Little Palestine (Syria, Lebanon, France, Qatar) Dir. Abdallah Al Khatib; Prod. Mohammad Ali Atassi, Jean-Laurent Csinidis. A group of Palestinian civilian activists near Damascus transform their besieged ghetto through civil work, agriculture, study, music, theater, love and joy.


Survivors (Sierra Leone) Dir. Arthur Pratt, Banker White, Anna Fitch, Barmmy Boy Mansaray; Prod. Sara Dosa, Samantha Grant, Arthur Pratt, Banker White, Anna Fitch, Barmmy Boy Mansaray. A portrait of Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak.