Philanthropy’s Film Festival: Honoring Work That Inspires the Spirit of Transparency, Honesty, and Candor
Arlington, VA — The Council on Foundations and Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media (GFEM) will host their annual Film & Video Festival featuring 12 films that received support from foundations, corporate giving programs, and donor networks, to encourage grantmakers to use media to advance philanthropic goals. The festival promotes foundation support of creative, high-quality productions that expand the boundaries of the use of media for the social good.
The films will be screened throughout the Council on Foundations 2011 Annual Conference, taking place in Philadelphia April 9–11 (www.cof.org/annualconf). Two of the films will receive the Henry Hampton Award, which is named in honor of a man who broke traditional molds of documentary filmmaking and put excellence and innovation at the forefront of his work, and honors the very best in foundation-funded media. This year's winners, to be presented with the award during their screenings, are Budrus, a film by Julia Bacha, Ronit Avni, and Rula Salameh; and Crime After Crime, a film by Yoav Potash.
The screenings of each film are scheduled as follows:
SATURDAY, APRIL 9
Dirty Business: 'Clean Coal' and the Battle for Our Energy Future;
a film by Peter Bull
In the digital age, half our electricity still comes from coal. "Dirty Business" reveals the true social and environmental costs of coal power and tells the stories of innovators pointing the way to an alternative energy future. Guided by Rolling Stone's Jeff Goodell, the film examines what it means to remain dependent on a 19th-century technology that is the largest single source of greenhouse gases.
Off and Running
; a film by Nicole Opper and Sharese Bullock
With white Jewish lesbians for parents and two adopted brothers—one mixed-race and one Korean-American—Avery grew up in a unique and loving household. But when her curiosity about her African-American roots grows, she decides to contact her birth mother. This choice propels Avery into her own complicated exploration of race, identity, and family that threatens to distance her from the parents she's always known.
; a film by Julia Bacha, Ronit Avni, and Rula Salameh*
This inspiring, powerful, and action-filled documentary chronicles an unlikely community organizer who unites Palestinians and Israelis from all political factions to save his village from destruction by Israel's separation barrier. Victory seems improbable until his 15-year-old daughter launches a women's contingent that quickly moves to the forefront. This film shines a light on people who choose nonviolence to confront a threat even as they remain virtually unknown to the world. Cosponsored by the Council on Foundations, Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media, The Foundation for Jewish Culture, and International Human Rights Funders Group.
SUNDAY, APRIL 10
Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think
; a film by Alexander Kronemer and Michael Wolfe,
"Inside Islam" explores the expertly gathered opinions of Muslims around the globe as revealed in the world's first major opinion poll—conducted by Gallup, the preeminent polling organization. Focused on the issues of gender justice, terrorism, and democracy, the film presents this remarkable data deftly, showing how it challenges the popular notion that Muslims and the West are on a collision course of destruction.
; a film by Charlotte Glynn and Henry J. Simonds
In her feature directorial debut, Charlotte Glynn moves home to chronicle her sister Rachel's last year in school. Rachel, her only sibling, is mentally retarded and challenges her mother on a daily basis—forcing the mother to make tough choices about her daughter's future. The resulting film moves past the safety of political correctness and into the most intimate and honest moments in their family's life.
Home Across Lands
; a film by Mary Copp, John Lavall, Jessica Jennings, and Julie Lewis
"Home Across Lands" chronicles the work of the International Institute of Rhode Island as it guides and empowers a group of Kunama refugees making the transition from life in the Shimelba Refugee Camp in northern Ethiopia to their new home in America.
War Don Don
; a film by Rebecca Richman Cohen
On a dusty road in the capital of Sierra Leone, United Nations soldiers guard a heavily fortified building known as the Special Court. Inside, Issa Sesay awaits his trial. Prosecutors say he is a war criminal, guilty of crimes against humanity. His defenders say he is a reluctant fighter who played a crucial role in bringing peace. With unprecedented access to prosecutors, defense attorneys, victims, and Sesay himself, "War Don Don" puts international justice on trial for the world to see—finding that in some cases the past is not just painful, it is also opaque.
Crime After Crime
; a film by Yoav Potash*
Twenty-six years in prison could not crush the spirit of Deborah Peagler, despite the injustice she experienced first at the hands of a boyfriend who beat her and forced her into prostitution and later from prosecutors who used the threat of the death penalty to corner her into a life behind bars for her connection to the murder of her abuser. Her story took an unexpected turn when a pair of rookie land-use attorneys volunteered to try to set her free. Cosponsored by the Council on Foundations, Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media, and The Foundation for Jewish Culture.
MONDAY, APRIL 11
; a film by Jennifer Grausman and Mark Becker
Three seniors at Philadelphia's Frankford High School find an unlikely champion in Culinary Arts teacher Wilma Stephenson. A legend in the school system, Stephenson's hilariously blunt boot-camp method is validated by years of scholarship success that has taken countless students from the city's working-class neighborhoods to the top culinary schools in the country.
11:20 a.m.–12:45 p.m.
William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe
; a film by Sarah Kunstler and Emily Kunstler
Kunstler's two daughters from his second marriage—filmmakers Sarah and Emily—grew up lionizing a man already famous for his historic civil rights and anti-war cases. Then, in their teens, they began to be disillusioned by a stubborn man who continued representing some of the most reviled defendants in America, this time accused rapists and terrorists. In this intimate biography, the Kunstler daughters seek to recover the real story of what made their late father one of the most beloved and hated lawyers in America.
; a film by Chanda Chevannes
Cancer seems to run in Sandra Steingraber's family. Sandra was diagnosed with bladder cancer when she was just 20 years old, and her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when Sandra was in high school. Many of her aunts and uncles also have struggled with the disease. But while cancer runs in her family, she cannot say that it runs in her genes, because Sandra is adopted. This unusual twist led Sandra to ask what else families have in common besides their DNA. The answer is all around us: our environment.
Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think
Home Across Lands
; a film by Agi Orsi, Thomas Napper, and Christine Triano*
This empathetic but tough-minded documentary invites us into a part of Los Angeles that many choose to ignore: downtown's Skid Row. As we meet the distressed area's residents—including a former Olympic runner, a transgendered punk rocker, and an eccentric animal lover and her devoted companion—their remarkable stories paint a multifaceted portrait of life on the streets. Cosponsored by the Council on Foundations, Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media, and Funders Together to End Homelessness.
Conference attendees will also have the opportunity to see firsthand how local funders are partnering with community-based nonprofits to end homelessness in Philadelphia and create a national model for philanthropic leadership during “The Journey Home,” one of nine site sessions offered on Monday, April 11. The entire conference schedule can be found at www.cof.org/annualconf.
For costs and other information on the Festival, please visit www.cof.org/annualconf. Screenings are free to the media. Members of the media should request press credentials from the Council on Foundations’ Media Relations Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Includes dessert, screening, and discussion with the filmmakers.
The Council on Foundations (www.cof.org), formed in 1949, is a nonprofit membership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. Members of the Council include more than 1,750 independent, operating, community, public, and company-sponsored foundations, and corporate giving programs in the United States and abroad. The Council’s mission is to provide the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance, and sustain their ability to advance the common good.