Newly Funded: Films from Around the World

Posted on June 15, 2010

ITVS funds, distributes, and promotes new programs produced by independent producers primarily for public television and beyond. We’re proud to announce the latest projects recently funded by ITVS. We look forward to working with each of the filmmakers to support their broadcast and continued effort to bring a diversity of programming to viewers. Congratulations to all the filmmakers! 


Wham! Bam! Islam! by Isaac Solotaroff
Wham! Bam! Islam! follows one of the most intriguing stories to come out of the Middle East in recent memory: the creation of THE 99 — the first Muslim superheroes and brainchild of Kuwaiti Naif Al-Mutawa.  Following the story of THE 99’s creation and distribution throughout the Islamic world and Al-Mutawa’s emergence as a central figure in the raging debates over the role of religion and tradition in contemporary Muslim societies, Wham! Bam! Islam! is a powerful story about the challenges, risks and value of bridge building between Islam and the West at the dawn of the 21st century. Co-production of ITVS

This Is Where We Take Our Stand by Bestor Cram, Mike Majoros, and David Zeiger
This Is Where We Take Our Stand, conceived and shot as a verité production, tells the story of the multi-faceted struggle to organize Winter Soldier, a unique gathering of veterans and active duty soldiers.  The film weaves highly personal organizing experiences with four days of stunning testimony at the largest gathering of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.  The program concludes two years later with the disbanding of the army of anti-war veterans, struggling to move on with their lives back on the home front; some in disarray, some still on active duty, all changed by their commitments to serve their country. Co-production of ITVS

Granito by Pamela Yates, Peter Kinoy, and Paco de Onís 
Granito is a story of destinies joined by Guatemala’s past, and how a documentary film from 1982, When the Mountains Tremble, becomes forensic evidence to help prove a genocide case against a military dictator.  In Granito, the characters sift for clues buried in archives of mind and place and historical memory, seeking to uncover a narrative that could unlock the past and settle matters of life and death in the present. Like a crime thriller where the narrative is revealed step by step, this epic film time-travels back and forth between present and past, uncovering evidence of massive crimes and bringing accountability to the present. Co-production of ITVS

Dónde Están? by María Teresa Rodríguez and Kathryn Pyle 
Dónde Están reveals the journeys of three children, now adults, torn from their families during the war in El Salvador in the 1980s, who discover hope in unlikely places as they seek identity and justice. Jamie, adopted from El Salvador as an infant and raised in a Washington, DC suburb, searches for her birth family; Miguel, separated from his father, after an army attack killed his mother, illegally immigrates to the US to support his own child. Margarita’s mother was presumed murdered in a massacre and her four siblings, children at the time, were likely taken away by soldiers; she’s now an investigator for a human rights organization that reunites disappeared children with their families. Co-production of ITVS

Soul Food Junkies by Byron Hurt
Soul Food Junkies explores the health advantages and disadvantages of soul food, a quintessential American cuisine.  Soul Food Junkies explores the history and social significance of soul food to black cultural identity and its effect on African-American health, good and bad. Soul food will also be used as the lens to investigate the dark side of the food industry and the growing food justice movement that has been born in its wake. Co-production of ITVS

The Waiting Room by Peter Nicks
The Waiting Room, a cinema verité documentary, uses unprecedented access to go behind the doors of an American safety-net hospital fighting for survival.  Following a team of hospital executives, staff, and patients, the film tells the story of a diverse population battling their way through the seismic shifts in the nation's health care system, while weathering the storm of a national recession.  It is a film about one hospital, its multifaceted community, and how our common vulnerability to illness binds us together as humans. Co-production of ITVS

The Revolutionary Optimists by Nicole Newnham and Maren Grainger-Monsen 
Children are leading the way toward saving lives in the slums of Calcutta. Amlan Ganguly empowers children to become activists and educators, with powerful results. The Revolutionary Optimists follows him as he attempts to replicate his work in the brick fields outside the city, where children live and work in unimaginable conditions. Co-production of International Medical Options and ITVS


The Interrupters by Steve James
The Interrupters follows a lively group of men and women – most of them former gang leaders and ex-cons - trying to “interrupt” shootings, and protect their communities from the violence they themselves once employed.  The film will feature individual Interrupters, and observe the inner workings of the program, including their weekly roundtable meetings and street interventions. Along the way, The Interrupters will tell stories of personal redemption while taking viewers on a compelling observational journey into the stubborn, persistent violence that plagues American cities. Co-production of Kartemquin Films for WGBH/Frontline and the Independent Television Service (ITVS) in association with RISE Films

Higher Ground by Jon Shenk, Bonni Cohen, and Richard Berge
Higher Ground is a dramatic feature documentary that lifts the issue of global warming out of the theoretical and into the personal.  President Mohamed Nasheed is trying to save 385,000 people from drowning.  His nation of 1,200 low-lying islands, the Maldives, is sinking into the Indian Ocean as sea levels rise due to global warming.  Climate change experts say that some of the islands will be submerged within 20 years, threatening the lives of the largely impoverished inhabitants as well as inundating the lavish resorts that dot the islands. Nasheed’s unprecedented contingency plan is to move his entire population to a new homeland.  As he conducts serious discussions about this with Sri Lanka and Australia, Nasheed is doing all he can to prevent this looming disaster by trying to convince world leaders to halt global warming. Co-production of AFTERIMAGE PUBLIC MEDIA and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)

A Good Man by Gordon Quinn, Bob Hercules, Joanna Rudnick and Keith Walker
A Good Man follows the Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones in his attempt to tell the story of Abraham Lincoln through dance inspired by a commission from the Ravinia Festival.  The resulting work, "Fondly Do We Hope ... Fervently Do We Pray,” will be performed in September of 2009 at the Festival as part of its "Mystic Chords of Memory" program in honor of Abraham Lincoln's bicentennial.  The New York Times claims that Jones's "portrayal of Lincoln is likely to scandalize as many people as it delights." Co-Produced by Kartemquin Films, ITVS, American Masters, Media Process Group, in association with Ravinia Festival


Eating Alabama by Andrew Grace
When a filmmaker, his wife, and their two friends embark on a year of local eating, they hardly imagine how much it will change their lives. The year-long experiment becomes a lifestyle, and they realize that eating locally isn't just about the food, it's about the place.  A disarmingly funny story about identity, family, community, agriculture, and the South, Eating Alabama is ultimately a film about why food matters. Co-production of ITVS

Southern Belle by Suzy Baer 
Southern Belle is an insider's look at the 1861 Athenaeum Girls' School where young women from around the world signed up to become that iconic and romantic image of southern identity — the southern belle. Co-production of ITVS and Nashville Public Television


Khadija's Daughter by Deepa Dhanraj
Fed up with the male-dominated Jamaats (traditional councils) of their community, Muslim women in Tamil Nadu have been using everyday smarts to resolve family law cases and reclaim the essential values of justice and equality they believe are central to their faith. This film explores their strategies of resistance and transformation – the way Khadija's Daughters are redefining both the meaning and practice of Islam for women. Co-production of ITVS International

Karla's Arrival by Koen Suidgeest
19-year old Sujeylin Aguilar and her newborn baby Karla live as part of a group of kids in a small park in Managua, Nicaragua as they struggle through the first year of the child’s life. The young mother makes three attempts to seek a stable life for the sake of her child, while embarking on a personal journey towards adulthood. Co-production of ITVS International

Comrade Duch by Adrian Maben
Comrade Duch tells the story of Kaing Guek Eav, alias “Duch,” a Jekyll and Hyde personality who began as a mathematics teacher then became the commandant of Tuol Sleng in Cambodia, responsible for the torture and murder of 14,000 prisoners. The film recounts his flight, conversion to evangelical Christianity, and how he was finally brought to justice before an international tribunal. Co-production of ITVS International

Putin's Kiss by Helle Faber
It’s morning in the midst of one of Russia’s giant woods. Huge portraits of Putin and Medvedev are displayed across the backdrop of a festival stage. Teenagers start appearing from nowhere until the space in front of the stage is packed. From the loud speakers a hip-hop song resounds with the chorus: “Nashi Nashi – the future belongs to us,” while a young man and woman direct the events in complete music award style. The youngsters get what they’ve come for: wholesale promises for the future, delivered in the perfect wrapping! The first guest on the stage, a woman in her mid twenties, tells the crowd how she landed her dream job in the political system that allows her to affect society every single day. Co-production of ITVS International


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