Foundation for Jewish Culture Awards Finishing Grants for Documentary Films

The Foundation for Jewish Culture granted finishing funds to six documentaries, ensuring their delivery to film festivals, television and other distribution outlets. The grants, which range between $12,000 and $40,000 each, will enable filmmakers to pay license fees for music and archival footage, complete additional editing and shooting and reach a wider audience through outreach and engagement strategies.

This year’s grantees of the Foundation’s Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Film include: Miss World (wt) (US/Israel, directed by Cecilia Peck, produced by Cecilia Peck, Motty Reif and Inbal Lessner), a spotlight on Israeli pageant queen Linor Abargil who channels the trauma of rape into activism and spiritual awakening; Watchers of the Sky (US, directed and produced by Edet Belzberg), a portrait of five humanitarians in the fight to end genocide; Sosúa: Dare to Dance Together (US, directed and produced by Peter Miller and Renée Silverman), a chronicle of a musical theater production developed by Broadway director/composer Elizabeth Swados in collaboration with Jewish and Dominican-American teens; My Father Evgeni (US, directed and produced by Andrei Zagdansky), a lyrical reflection on growing up Jewish in the former Soviet Union; How to Re-Establish a Vodka Empire (US/UK, directed by Dan Edelstyn), a filmmaker’s inventive and at times irreverent exploration of the Ukranian distillery his family once owned; The Return (directed and produced by Adam Zucker), a look at a new generation’s struggle to create Jewish identity and community in contemporary Poland.

This year the Foundation received 80 completed applications from around the world for documentary film post-production support. Selected by a rigorous two-tiered panel of scholars, critics, filmmakers, and curators, the 2011 grantees reflect the global diversity of contemporary Jewish culture.

Since 1996, the Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Film has supported the completion of over 80 original documentaries that explore the Jewish experience in all its complexity. The fund was created with a lead grant from Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation and sustained over 10 years with major support from the Charles H. Revson Foundation. The priority of the fund is to support projects that address significant subjects; offer fresh, challenging perspectives; engage diverse audiences; and expand the understanding of Jewish experiences.

In the past fifteen years, documentary films supported by the Kroll Fund have received Academy Award® and Emmy Award nominations, Golden Globe Awards, George Foster Peabody Awards and prizes at festivals such as the Berlin International Film Festival, Silverdocs, the Sundance Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival. Past grantees include Waltz with Bashir, Budrus, Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh, Crime After Crime, William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, Off and Running and The Rape of Europa, among others.