MOTHER WIT (Human Rights Film Fund Grant Recipients) 300 women filmmakers submitted applications for consideration.
American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs
Director Grace Lee
96-year-old Grace Lee Boggs is an activist in Detroit and a voice of hope for a new generation dedicated to the next “American Revolution”. She’s traversed the major social movements of the last century – from labor to civil rights, to Black Power, feminism, and beyond, and she’s emerged with a philosophy that’s almost radical in its simplicity and clarity.
Directors Martha Shane and Lana Wilson
AFTER TILLER goes inside the lives of the last four American doctors who still provide
late-term abortions. Since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in 2009, these men and women have become the new number-one targets of the anti-abortion movement, and now spend every day battling new legislation, protestor harassment and death threats in order to continue work that many believe is murder—but which these doctors believe literally saves women’s lives.
Break of Dawn
Directors Berit Madsen, Mona Rafatzadeh and Michael Christoffersen
An Iranian teenage girl wants to become an astronaut. Fueled by a promise to her dead father to follow her dreams she spends her days learning astronomy and her nights watching stars. In Sephideh’s mind she’s teamed up with Albert Einstein and Anousheh Ansari, her exiled Iranian idol, and the world’s first female “space tourist”. She’s on the road to becoming the best female amateur astronomer when tradition, family and an angry uncle steps in. And the she gets a call from America – and it’s Anousheh…
Buddha of Africa (Working Title)
South Africa/Malawi (Development)
Director Nicole Schafer
Against the backdrop of China’s growing influence on the African continent, Buddha of Africa tells the intimate story of a Malawian orphan growing up in a Chinese Buddhist Orphanage in Malawi. He learns Mandarin, practices Buddhism and becomes a young master of the ancient art of Shaolin Kung Fu. His life is transformed. But the surrounding community is suspicious of this upbringing and this new form of foreign “aid” and they question to what extent he’ll still be Malawian when he’s grown up one day.
Citizen Corp, United States
Directors Tia Lessin and Carl Deal
In the wake of the US Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling that corporations have the same constitutional rights as citizens, cash is flowing into elections faster and with less transparency than ever. Emboldened, special interests on all sides are spending unprecedented sums to influence public opinion and to advocate for their favorite candidates. Cynicism among voters is epidemic. Citizen Corp tells a character-driven story of that landmark court decision and its impact on American democracy- in Washington, DC and nationwide.
Director Camilla Nielsson
Democrats is a film about the creation of a new constitution in Zimbabwe. The film follows two top politicians, who have been appointed to lead the country through the democratic reform process. The two men are political opponents, but united in the ambition to make history by giving the nation a new founding document that can give birth to the future Zimbabwe.
The Graying of AIDS: Women on aging with HIV
United States (Production)
Directors Katja Heinemann and Naomi Schegloff
Sue (73, white, suburban FL) met the love of her life in her 50s. They “fished all day and danced all night”. All that stopped when his health started changing. But he wouldn’t talk about it. Sue was diagnosed with HIV at 58. Anna (64, widowed, black, Baltimore, MD) reconnected with a recently divorced high school friend in her mid-50s. Platonic friendship turned on-again-off-again relationship turned into AIDS. He never told her. This is a documentary short, [part of a larger web-based engagement campaign],
Is about older adults living longer with HIV/AIDS
Director Maria Teresa Larrain
In Shadow Girl, director María Teresa bravely opens up her journey into darkness and shares it with the world. Shot from the director’s point of view, the audience follows her as she enters into the unknown world of being blind, fighting to keep her dignity and her voice as an artist -- searching for a new way to see the world. At once profound, mysterious, nuanced and celebratory, with the occasional dash of humor, Shadow Girl reflects our ability to overcome loss and rise from the ashes.
The Supreme Price
Director Joanna Lipper
The Supreme Price tells the story of Hafsat Abiola --- a daughter determined to realize her parents’ dreams of alleviating poverty and bringing democracy to Nigeria. In 1993, whileHafsat studied at Harvard, her father, M.K.O Abiola, was elected President of Nigeria. The military annulled the election results and seized power. Hafsat’s father became a renowned prisoner of conscience and in response, Hafsat’s mother, Kudirat, assumed leadership of Nigeria’s pro-democracy movement, demanded that the US embargo Nigerian oil and spoke out against the military dictatorship, actions which led to her assassination. As Nigeria transitions to civilian rule, Hafsat, now ahuman rights activist and social entrepreneur, faces the challenge of transforming a dysfunctional, fraudulent culture of political leadership into a legitimate democracy capable of serving Nigeria’s most marginalized population: women.
Directors LIsa Fruchtman and Rob Fruchtman
In 1994 Rwanda suffered a devastating genocide. Close to a million minority Tutsis were killed by their neighbors, friends and even their family. Those who survived were broken, dead inside. “How do you rebuild a human being? The answer, according to theatre director Ingoma Nshya, was to form Rwanda’s first and only women’s drumming troupe. The requirement: leave all past categories at the gate. Powerful sounds pierce the silence of the Rwandan countryside. A group of women, 60 strong, pound out rhythms of power and joy. Sweet Dreams follows the women over the course of a year, as they discover a radical new way to heal past wounds and create a future of peace, possibility, drumming and ice cream making.
The Mouse that Roared (working title)
Director Judith Ehrlich
The great struggle for free speech in the 21st century will be fought in cyberspace. Birgitta Jónsdóttir, trailblazing Icelandic Parliamentarian and former WikiLeaks leader takes us inside the global fight for internet freedom as she struggles to make Iceland a unique haven for expression online and off.
Director Suzan Beraza
Tami Lowrance is Mayor of Naturita, a rural uranium-mining town in Colorado. She’s doing everything in her power to support this economically depressed community, which before the Chernobyl accident and Three Mile Island, was bustling. When a new uranium mill is proposed for the region, Tami and many area residents are ecstatic—they need the jobs. Others, like Rancher Heidi Redd, are not. They're terrified about reopening “hundreds of toxic uranium mines.” They've seen, felt and mourned the long-term effects of uranium mining on the water, air, workers and residents of Naturita, and they're worried. They also just might be powerless to stop it. Uranium Drive-In closely chronicles a once robust uranium community, that’s struggling on the brink of economic death, and grappling with whether a return to mining is really good—for their families, their community and the world.
LIBERTY Grants for Those in Completion
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
U.S./China (Completion and festival launch)
Director Alison Klayman
Ai Weiwei is China’s most famous international artist, and its most outspoken domestic critic. Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Weiwei, a dissident for the digital age, expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry blurs the boundaries of art and politics and will inspire global audiences to “never retreat”.
Director Sari Gilman
Kings Point is a short documentary about five Americans living in a typical retirement resort, grappling with love, loss, and the fear of dying alone. Through the experiences of Gert, Mollie, Frank, Bea, and Jane, the film provides a bittersweet look at our ambivalent relationship with freedom, self-reliance and community.
Directors Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
With over a hundred cases reported every year, acid attacks are an extreme form of domestic violence in Pakistan. SAVING FACE follows plastic surgeon Dr. Jawad as he travels to Pakistan and treats survivors of acid violence who are attempting to restore their lives and to seek remedies in Pakistani society. While being treated by Dr. Jawad, these women fight for justice through the Pakistani legal system and partner with a handful of women in the Pakistani Parliament who take up the issue of acid violence on a federal level.
WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines
Director Kristy Guevara-Flanagan
WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines examines the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman. From the birth of the comic book superheroine in the 1940s to the blockbusters of today, WONDER WOMEN! looks at how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation. WONDER WOMEN! goes behind the scenes with Lynda Carter, Lindsay Wagner, comic writers and artists, and real life superheroines such as Gloria Steinem, Shelby Knox and others who offer an enlightening and entertaining counterpoint to the male dominated superhero genre.
GRANTEES RECEIVING ADDITIONAL SUPPORT:
Call Me Kuchu
Uganda/U.S. (Re-grant for Completion)
Directors Katherine Fairfax Wright & Malika Zouhali-Worrall
In Uganda, a new bill threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death. David Kato - Uganda's first openly gay man - and his fellow activists work against the clock to defeat the legislation while combatting vicious persecution in their daily lives. But no one is prepared for the brutal murder that shakes their movement to its core and sends shockwaves around the world
U.S. (Post Production)
Directors Lisa Collins and Mark Schwartzburt
Sometimes, what you think is Black and White — isn’t! … Two worlds collide when an unlikely all-White small town champions its unlikely Black ‘native son’ — early 1900s controversial filmmaker, Oscar Micheaux, known to some as the ‘Godfather of Independent Cinema’. From historical reenactments, to heated debates, to ‘corporate’ take-over, witness the melodrama and hijinks — behind-the-scenes — fueling the annual ‘Oscar Micheaux Film & Book Festival’ held in Gregory, South Dakota.
Director Yance Ford
Set in the suburbs of the black middle class, Strong Island chronicles the director’s investigation into her brother’s violent death twenty years ago. Providing insight into the complexities of fear, guilt, violence and criminal justice, Strong Island reveals the human dimension of tragedy and how easily things fall apart.
Watchers of the Sky
U.S. (Re-grant for Post Production)
Director Edet Belzberg
Watchers of the Sky interweaves multiple modern stories of remarkable courage while setting out to uncover the forgotten life of Raphael Lemkin, the man who invented the word ‘genocide’. Inspired by Samantha Power’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "A Problem From Hell", WATCHERS OF THE SKY traverses time and continents to explore genocide and the
cycle of violence, taking you on a journey from Nuremberg to Rwanda, from Bosnia to Darfur, and from apathy to action.