Doclands DocPitch 2024 Winners And Jury Awards Announced

With support from the Nancy P. & Richard K. Robbins Family Foundation and Resonance Philanthropies, DocPitch 2024 has awarded five independent documentary filmmakers cash awards totaling $100,000 to help them complete their feature documentary film projects currently in development or post-production.

“With DocPitch 2024, we’re incredibly honored to again be in the position of supporting independent filmmakers in such a tangible way,” said DocLands Director of Programming Joni Cooper. “Thanks to our generous donors, we’re able to help move these passionate storytellers closer to the goal of seeing their projects reach the finish line — and into the public realm. Each project underscores the importance of DocPitch to bring a wide range of timely and significant topics to the public including the industry professional eye, and in turn enriches essential discussions through the process itself.”

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DocPitch Award Recipients and their projects:

The Co-Op: The Kids of Dorie Miller – Audience Award $45,000
Director/Producer Paulina Davis
The Co-Op: The Kids of Dorie Miller is a feature-length documentary about a New Yorker who examines her family’s roots in New York City’s first unsegregated housing co-op, finding and examining an old solution to the current affordable housing crisis.

Untitled Lorena – Jury Award $40,000
Directors, Producers Rodrigo Reyes and Dawn Valadez
After losing her 12-year-old daughter Fátima to a horrible attack and fleeing her home in a village in Mexico, Lorena leads her family on a quest for justice against a corrupt system that kills thousands of women and girls each year, taking her fight to the country’s Supreme Court.

A Bird with a Knife – Jury Award $5,000
Directors Winslow Crane-Murdoch and Cecilia Brown
A Bird with a Knife is a feature-length documentary examining the fifty-year mystery surrounding the mutilation of thousands of cattle across the American West. Following a veteran investigator, an Oregon sheriff, and the ranchers whose cases they’re working to solve, this is a story about obsession, mystery, and how we live with the unknown.

Good Fire – Jury Award $5,000
Directors Roni Jo Draper and Marissa Lila
Good Fire is a feature-length documentary about how fire came to the land as a tool to warm people, cook meals, and purify the land. It also tells the story of how colonization separated the Yurok people from their cultural fire practices and how that separation of people, land, and fire has had dire consequences for the people and the land. Ultimately, Good Fire is the story of how Yurok people are working to ensure that people, land, and fire remain united now and into the future.

Time Hunter – Jury Award $5,000
Directors Daniel Chein and Mushiva
Time Hunter is a feature-length documentary about a revolutionary spy who is dispatched to steal technology from his colonial oppressors to use against them. Can he liberate his people without losing himself in the maze of the diaspora?

“We are thrilled to have won DocPitch’s Audience Choice Award,” said director Paullina Davis. “Thank you to DocLands for selecting us for DocPitch, which featured our project alongside talented filmmakers. This award will help us expand our archival research and keep us filming this summer. At a time when American history is being banned, we’re honored to be working on this story about the contributions of a little-known Black community.”

Selected by the Industry Jury, which this year consisted of Jim LeBrecht, Filmmaker and Co-Founder of FWD-Doc; Evan Neff, Documentary Fund Coordinator at Sundance Film Institute; Louie Psihoyos, Executive Director of Oceanic Preservation Society; and Diane Quon, Oscar-nominated Independent Producer presented the $40,000 Jury Award to directors Rodrigo Reyes and Dawn Valadez for their pressing project Untitled Lorena.

The seven previous DocPitch Audience Award winners include Theo Rigby’s Sanctuary Rising (2017), now available online; James LeBrecht & Nicole Newnham’s 2020 Independent Spirit Award-winning documentary Crip Camp (2018), which Netflix acquired, and was nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category at the 2020 Academy Awards; Chris Temple & Zach Ingrasci’s Five Years North (2019), which screened at DocLands 2020; Dianne Whelan’s 500 Days in the Wild (2020) scheduled for its US premiere at DocLands 2024; Maren Poitras’ Finding the Money (2021) is scheduled for a US theatrical release in May 2024; Alana Maiello’s Chewed Gum (2022) currently in production; and Kevin Truong’s Mai American (2023) currently in production.

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