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Ford Foundation Adds Sundance's Mertes as JustFilms Director, Funding Social Issue Docs

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 30, 2013 at 2:11PM

One of the key posts in the documentary world has been taken by Cara Mertes, who was director of the Sundance Institute's documentary film program. She'll now be director of the Ford Foundation's social justice filmmaking program JustFilms, which was founded by departing Orlando Bagwell and is under the Ford Media Arts and Culture unit.
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Cara Mertes
Cara Mertes

One of the key posts in the documentary world has been taken by Cara Mertes, who was director of the Sundance Institute's documentary film program. She'll now be director of the Ford Foundation's social justice filmmaking program JustFilms, which was founded by departing Orlando Bagwell and is under the Ford Media Arts and Culture unit. She'll be funding social issue docs. Bagwell supported more than 80 films via innovative creative collaborations; he believed in interactive storytelling to drive audience engagement.

Prior to the Sundance Institute, Mertes was executive producer of the “P.O.V.” documentary series at PBS and received multiple Emmys, George Foster Peabody and duPont-Columbia Awards.

 “Through Cara’s experience working on all elements of storytelling, and being a pioneer at finding and cultivating unique voices to have their stories told, she is well positioned to build on the legacy of JustFilms and to support filmmakers at every turn, from creation to distribution and impact,” said Darren Walker, vice president of Ford’s Education, Creativity and Free Expression program.

Sundance will be looking for someone to replace Mertes.

Other jobs open in the media world include gossip columnist at The Village Voice, after the unceremonious sacking of star Michael Musso, who actually inspired readers to check his column; he will be contributing columns to out.com, Gawker, Huffington Post and The Advocate.

The AP has lost their two experienced film critics, Christy Lemire and David Germain, who left under a crushing workload. And USA Today veteran staffer Susan Wlosczyna took a buyout, leaving a spot for a feature writer.

This article is related to: Sundance Institute, Independents, Documentary, New Media


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