The Camden/TFI Retreat presented by CNN Films is hosted for a third year in Camden and Rockport, Maine, providing five U.S.-based documentary filmmaking teams with professional guidance and mentorship to help them advance their filmmaking careers.
Members of each of the five filmmaking teams attend the scenic retreat in Maine for a series of mentoring sessions, workshops and master classes led by a cross-section of industry experts and professionals. Through these sessions, each filmmaker advances their filmmaking skills and learn about impact producing, financing, the state of the documentary marketplace, and more.
This year’s industry mentors and experts include director/producer Kristi Jacobson (A Place at the Table, Solitary); director/producer/writer Amir Bar Lev (My Kid Could Paint That, The Tillman Story, Happy Valley, Long Strange Trip); Andrea Meditch, Founding Director of Back Allie Entertainment (Grizzly Man, BUCK, Man on Wire, Encounters at the End of the World); Courtney Sexton, Vice President of CNN Films; editor/producer Jean Tsien (Miss Sharon Jones!, Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing, Scottsboro: An American Tragedy; Please Vote For Me); and Sue Turley, President, ro*co films productions.
This year’s projects represent a variety of thought-provoking themes around American culture and social issues, from an exploration of Islamic radicalization, to immigration, birth tourism, reproductive rights, and even national parks. Each tells a unique and vital story that embodies an issue facing Americans today.
The retreat participants are:
BORDER SOUTH – Raul O. Paz Pastrana (Director/Producer/Cinematographer); Ellen Knechel (Editor/Co-Producer)
Since 2014 Mexico has deported more immigrants than the United States, becoming an expansion of the U.S. Southern Border and forever changing the migrant trail. Through a series of portraits BORDER SOUTH melds ethnography and cinema-verité to explore the harsh physical environment and brutal journey of undocumented Central American immigrants crossing Mexico towards the United States under these new conditions.
HOW TO HAVE AN AMERICAN BABY – Leslie Tai (Director/Producer); Jillian Schultz (Co-Producer)
There is a city in Southern California that is teeming with pregnant women from China. Through a network of deeply personal vignettes, this film traces the human supply chain of the booming shadow economy of Chinese birth tourism from Beijing and Shanghai to Los Angeles—chronicling the fortunes and tragedies that befall the ordinary people caught in the web of its influence.
THE MOUNTAIN AND THE MAGIC CITY – Bridget Besaw (Director/Producer); Ben Severance (Director/Producer)
In the shadow of a mountain, a place once known as the Magic City stands as a symbol of the American heartland, abandoned by industry and disappearing back into the forest. THE MOUNTAIN AND THE MAGIC CITY is an intimate portrait of neighbors forced to confront the issues dividing America today when a controversial national park comes to town.
THE YOUTH – Eunice Lau (Director/Producer); Arthur Nazaryan (Director/Producer)
THE YOUTH explores a father’s search for answers after his firstborn is arrested in an FBI sting operation and accused of attempting to join ISIS in Syria. Through the journey of Yusuf Abdurahman and his family, THE YOUTH will confront issues of Islamophobia, the rise of radical Islam, and seek to understand what it means to be Muslim in contemporary America.