Sundance: The Short Film Challenge Winners Screen

The program, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, featured nine short films that addressed global problems.

A program of nine short films premiered today at the Sundance Film Festival as part of the Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge. Beginning Feb. 3, the films will begin to become available on a variety of digital platforms.

With support from a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, five of the films were selected from among 1,387 submissions from 89 countries on, which solicited films designed to encourage discussion about such global problems as hunger and poverty.

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The winning short films and their directors were: Man in the Maze by Phil Buccellato and Jesse Ash (United States), Dropping In by Willem Van Den Heever (South Africa), Isabelle's Garden by Jeffrey Palmer (United States), 175 Grams by Bharat Mirle (India) and A Will of Iron by Seyi Fabunmi and Mobolaji Adeolu (Nigeria).

Each filmmaker or film team received a $10,000 grant and was invited to attend the festival.

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The screening also included short films by Sundance Institute alumni Marialy Rivas (Melody), Diego Luna (Nana), Gael García Bernal (The Visible Hand), Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (The World Is As Big Or Small As You Make It).

As the films become available online, Rivas’ film Melody will launch Feb. 3 on the New York Times Op Docs page, Palmer's Isabelle's Garden on Indian Country Today Media Network, Van Den Heever’s Dropping In on, Mirle’s 175 Grams on Fast Company, Buccellato’s Man in the Maze on theArizona Daily Star, Ewing and Grady’s The World Is As Big Or As Small As You Make It on Upworthy and Luna’s Nana on Al Jazerra. Additional platforms will be announced after the Sundance Film Festival.

Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute, said, “The Short Film Challenge has been an opportunity for a group of filmmakers from around the world to illuminate under-told stories and raise awareness about important issues. Through the support of the Gates Foundation, we are proud to present this selection of short films by emerging and more established voices at the festival and hope they inspire dialogue and conversation.”