This year we partnered with Camden International Film Festival and CNN Films for our inaugural filmmaker retreat in Camden Maine.
The five projects selected for this retreat represent exciting new voices in documentary and embody the theme "American Stories." All of the projects feature character-driven portraits of America, drawing from a variety of different regions, issues, and perspectives. Together, the films form a diverse but intersecting body of work that maps the social, cultural, and economic shifts happening in America today.
The retreat, which includes a series of master classes, mentoring sessions, and workshops, took place in an intimate and natural environment on the picturesque coast of Maine. Led by expert advisors including Director Steve James (HOOP DREAMS, THE INTERRUPTERS, LIFE ITSELF), Co-President of Submarine Entertainment Josh Braun, Producer Andrea Meditch (GRIZZLY MAN, MAN ON WIRE, BUCK), Filmmaker Roger Ross Williams (MUSIC BY PRUDENCE, GOD LOVES UGANDA), Editor Matt Hamachek (IF A TREE FALLS, GIDEON'S ARMY, CARTEL LAND), Senior Director of CNN Films Courtney Sexton, and Vice President, Artist Programs, Tribeca Film Institute Ryan Harrington.
The participants in the retreat were:
CORONER – Tommy C. Andres and Jacob Motz (Co-Directors); Ben Hethcoat (Producer) CORONER follows Dr. Thomas Noguchi, one of the most important investigators in many of Hollywood’s most mysterious and controversial tragedies, earning him the nickname "Coroner to the Stars." He became a trailblazing figure in the world of forensics, revolutionizing the science and ushering it into popular culture before ultimately being forced from office in scandal.
COUNCILWOMAN – Margo Guernsey (Director, Producer) COUNCILWOMAN follows the first term of Rhode Island Councilwoman Carmen Castillo as she balances her day job as a hotel housekeeper with the demands of public office.
GREYWATER – Jeff Unay (Director); Ariel Sultan (Producer); James Orara (Co-Producer) GREYWATER is about Joe, a longtime amateur Mixed Martial Arts fighter, who sets his sights on Clayton, a young titleholder. Joe's pursuit comes to a head as his life outside the cage begins to unravel.
THE REAGAN YEARS – Pacho Velez (Director); Sierra Pettengill (Producer) THE REAGAN YEARS is about a prolific actor’s defining role: Leader of the Free World. It uses the Reagan administration's internal documentation to capture the spectacle of American might at its peak.
ROLL RED ROLL – Nancy Schwartzman (Director); Jessica Devaney and Steven Lake (Co-Producers) ROLL RED ROLL is an immersive documentary thriller investigating rape culture in small town America.
Photo credit: Spencer Worthley