Sundance Institute gives grants to arts groups hit hardest by COVID-19 pandemic

(Image courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Sundance Institute is doling out $405,500 in grants to 39 artists’ organizations worldwide, trying to relieve some of the pain the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted on communities getting hit the worst.

The grants are part of a $1 million plan that Robert Redford’s nonprofit arts group announced in April, to “redistribute funds to directly support the urgent needs of artists.” Sundance distributed about 60% of the fund to artists, including 103 Sundance-curated artists who participated in the institute’s labs online, earlier this summer.

The 39 groups represent 19 countries, storytelling organizations and artist collectives in historically marginalized communities that have been impacted disproportionately by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two of the groups opted to remain anonymous. Here are the 37 other groups chosen:

The Aadizookaan, a collective based in Detroit that applies ancestral, Indigenous-based knowledge to current artists.

Ambulante, a nonprofit in Mexico that supports documentary filmmaking.

Anakaa Films, a production company that specializes in works by indigenous people, part of a network by Colombia’s Wayuu people.

Asian American Documentary Network (A-Doc), a multigenerational collective that advocates for Asian American filmmakers in the documentary field.

Asociación de Documentalistas de Puerto Rico, or AdocPR, which promotes documentary filmmaking in Puerto Rico.

The Black TV & Film Collective, an artist-led group that works to further the careers of Black and Latinx filmmakers.

Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center, an archive working to revive Cambodian culture through arts and media.

Beirut DC, a group that aims to empower filmmakers and audiences in the Arab world.

BlackStar Projects, which highlights the work of Black, Latinx and Indigenous filmmakers — including through the annual BlackStar Film Festival in Philadelphia.

Brown Girls Doc Mafia, which advocates for women and nonbinary people of color in the documentary industry.

Center for Asian American Media, a nonprofit that funds, produces, distributes and exhibits film, TV and digital works of Asian American artists.

Corporación Chilena del Documental CCDoc, which promotes stories by filmmakers by Chile and neighboring countries to international audiences.

Corporación Cinememoria/EDOC Documentary Film Festival, which promotes documentary filmmaking in Ecuador.

COUSIN, a collective for Indigenous filmmakers who are expanding the form of the medium.

Detroit Narrative Agency, a community organization that “disrupts harmful narratives about Detroit” and supports filmmakers of color in the city.

DocA - Documentary Africa, an initiative, headquartered in Nairobi, to foster a self-sustaining film ecosystem across Africa.

Docubox, The East African Documentary Film Fund, a group, also based in Nairobi, that supports filmmakers in East Africa to make “high-impact” independent films.

Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, tasked with creating opportunities in front of and behind the camera for people with disabilities to tell their stories.

Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, which works to bring access to filmmakers in South Africa’s previously disadvantaged communities.

Filmlab: Palestine, which works to revive cinema culture in Palestine.

First Peoples Fund, based in Rapid City, S.D., which supports Indigenous artists.

Frameline, a Bay Area nonprofit that stresses “the power of queer cinema.”

HEVA Fund, which invests in creative businesses and entrepreneurs in East Africa.

Justice for My Sister Collective, an education program for women of color, nonbinary youth and foster youth to make films focusing on gender equity and racial justice.

Latino Filmmakers Network, which aims to promote diversity and inclusion for Latinx people in the entertainment industry.

Leeway Foundation, which supports women and trans artists and cultural producers to combine art, culture and social change.

Māoriland Film Festival, based in New Zealand, which supports Māori and international Indigenous filmmakers and creative people.

Mezcla Media Collective, based in Chicago, which supports women and nonbinary filmmakers of color.

The National Association of Latino Independent Producers, which works to discover, promote and inspire Latinx content creators and diverse voices.

NewFilmmakers Los Angeles, which champions emerging and diverse storytellers worldwide, showing their works and connecting them to the movie industry.

Nicho 54, which promotes the advancement of Afro-Brazilians in the film industry.

Outfest, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that raises the visibility of LGBTQIA+ storytellers — in part through the annual Outfest LA Film Festival.

Reflection for Arts, Training and Development, based in Alexandria, Egypt, works to give opportunities for artists and audiences.

Tebere Arts Foundation, which commissions theater works by established and mid-career artists in Uganda and East Africa.

Third Horizon, a filmmaking collective that aims to tell stories from artists in the Caribbean; the group produced the short documentary “T,” which played at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Visual Communications Media, based in Los Angeles, works to support the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander filmmakers and media artists.

Zoukak Theatre Company and Cultural Association, headquartered in Beirut, promotes theater for social and political activism, as a creative tool and a mediation technique.