Announcement of our First Doc Film Grantee and Awardee Docket!

May 28, 2015
What stories are the ones being told that don’t get heard? Which are the stories whose narratives propel us into imagination and action? Who are the storytellers whose messages are so powerful and thought of as too risky to have a warranted spotlight on them? What perspectives do they have that we don’t always get the chance to see?

This year at Kindle these are the questions we’re seeking to answer as we focus our giving entirely within the broad field of documentary. We’ve always been passionate and committed to documentary and have supported several groundbreaking feature films over the years. This year we’re looking at this medium of doc film in all its creative and possible permutations and all our grantmaking will go towards this wide field in 2015.

For us it’s always been important to support those people and projects that are making beautiful and even controversial dents in public conversation and policy. Documentary makers of all kinds have a specific insight into the stories that need telling and we are psyched to present our first docket that exemplifies the true breadth and power that documentary has to offer.

Ranging from feature length documentary films to fantastical music videos. From slicing up current events with rap and humour to experimental and even esoteric short-form films. From the change-making power of first person narratives and the grassroots to the creation of new doc media to support social change. This group of storytellers bursts open the doors for discovery, reflection and radical action.

All grants are made possible through the Kindle Project Fund of the Common Counsel Foundation and all awards are made possible through the Kindle Project LLC.

A transgender man struggles with self-realization and acceptance in traditional society of Turkey. Constrained by identification cards color-coded for gender, will he finally be considered for a Blue ID?

Vuslat Karan is a filmmaker living in Istanbul with BFA in Film and Television from Marmara University. Her short films Tangled (2011) and Scorpion (2010) debuted at !f istanbul film festival. She also wrote and directed a documentary-narrative hybrid short Uprooting From the City (2006) about the urban transformation, gentrification and relocation of the Romany neighborhoods in Istanbul.

Burcu Melekoglu works as a director and editor in Istanbul. She received a BSE in Systems Engineering from University of Pennsylvania and MA from UCLA School of Film and Television. Previously she worked as an assistant director in commercials, TV and film projects in LA. Short Documentary Work: My First Second Home (2006, Philadelphia IGLF Festival, Chicago Reeling Festival, Girl Fest Hawaii, Poppy Jasper, Out for Reel), Reiki (2002), Bamako (2000).

Doc Next Network strives for social justice and inclusive public opinion in Europe, through our common methodology that supports the ideas of access, free culture and expanded education in which (digital) media plays a crucial  role. What started as local activities by four organisations has now transformed into one European methodology and practice. We provide space in locally rooted but internationally linked media labs where young creators develop media-craftmanship and media-criticism. We are building an archive of contemporary Europe with our media collection by young creators. And we contribute to and engage others in the investigation and discussion of media in our societies.

Grain Media is a London based film production company. We produce a diverse range of content from investigative documentaries through to scripted feature films although much of our output has a social edge. Our last feature documentary, Virunga, directed by Grain Media co-founder Orlando von Einsiedel, very much had a social agenda at its heart. The film also won 44 international film awards, including a Peabody, and was nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA.

We are currently developing a number of cinematic propositions that deal with issues as wide ranging as war and genocide through to environmental destruction and species extinction.

We are really excited to be using a grant from Kindle to help take these projects into a production phase.

Grey Filastine is the composer of a gritty electronic music colliding the lowest frequencies of bass music with the highest-level beat science, acoustic instruments and field recordings. His music work often features Javanese indie rapper Novaand avant-garde cellist Brent Arnold. Filastine also makes award-winning videos, designed a post-crash currency, and conducts public sound interventions. By whatever media, Filastine works to undermine borders and hack the gap that divides humanity from our ecosystem. He is based in Barcelona but spends most of the year working on the road.

Juice Rap News – the online comedy rap current affairs phenomenon that rhymes the News with true views to restore your faith in the Fourth Estate.

A fusion of biting satire, rigorous academic research, anarchic home-made costuming, and deftly-performed rap rhyming, Juice Rap News is a cult success story of the interwebs which quickly garnered a loyal online following, racking up over 12 million views over 30 episodes, and featuring cameos with icons and influential figures such as Julian Assange, Noam Chomsky, Normal Finkelstein and Senator Scott Ludlam.

The hard-hitting and hilarious news show broadcasts free on YouTube and is created by Giordano Nanni and Hugo Farrant, who combine their skills of philosophy, historical perspective, comedy and rap together into a unique and addictive brew. The team are now working on Season 4 of the series, and are looking forward to opening more people’s eyes to the truth of the show’s slogan: History Is Happening.


Nika Khanjani is a film and video artist, writer, and activist. Her work is marked by contrasting extremes and a patient sense of beauty. She combines landscape photography, subtle sound design, and portraiture to invoke internal states responsive to external political and historical forces.

Inspired by Donella Meadows’ hierarchy of leverage points to intervene in a complex system, reSTORY seeks to work at the point of highest leverage; the paradigm out of which our culture arises. The goal of the reSTORY Alliance is to contribute to shifting the paradigm on which our society is based to one that yields a more compassionate, bio-diverse and regenerative world.

Purely issue-based communications have a limited ability to reach and move people, and there seems to be an endless stream of issues to be addressed. ReStory attempts to address the shortcomings of the un-contextualized, siloed, issue-based communications. ReSTORY drops down a level to grasp and map the menu of cultural assumptions that are at the root of nearly all issues we currently face. Oriented within the illuminated landscape of predominantly unspoken and unacknowledged assumptions, the “reSTORY activist” is radically empowered, armed with unprecedented context and perspective.

(T)ERROR is the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during an active FBI counterterrorism sting operation. Through the perspective of Saeed “Shariff” Torres, a 63-year-old former Black Panther turned informant, viewers get an unfettered glimpse of the government’s counterterrorism tactics and the murky justifications behind them. The film also examines Saeed’s turbulent history, from “revolutionary patriot” to foot soldier in the global war on terror, and intimately captures the unraveling of his 20-year career with the FBI. Taut, stark and controversial, (T)ERROR illuminates the fragile relationships between individual and surveillance state in modern America, and asks who is watching the watchers? (T)ERROR premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where it won a Special Jury Prize for Break Out First Feature. The film will receive a national theatrical release in the fall of 2015, and a national broadcast on PBS in early 2016.

Also, we're happy to announce our latest Makers Muse recipient, Grant C. Dull of ZZK Records!

We happened upon ZZK Records recently and knew they simply had to be included in our artists line up this year. With sounds and movements from the south, Grant and his team are welcome members of our 2015 Makers Muse group!

ZZK Records was born out of a passion for music and a camaraderie that forms when a group of people are all moving towards a similar goal through the art of creation and excitement, movement and dance.

What started as a weekly dance party focused on local emerging sounds from Argentina, has turned into something nothing short of a movement. The club night quickly turned into a record label and artist collective, the world becoming it’s stage.  7 years later the ZZK crew has performed in more than 150 cities on 5 continents, the label has started to branch out of Argentina and sign artists from across the region and a documentary films arm of the label has started to take shape, with it’s 1st project, The Nu LatAm Sound currently in development.

ZZK Director Grant C. Dull first moved to Buenos Aires in 1999 and then moved back 3 more times after doing language and humanitarian work around the world.  From Texas via California, culture and music and adventure are what drives him and in ZZK it manifested all together.  With a team of 2 Argentine DJ partners and ever growing group of artists spanning music, design, illustration, video and photography, Grant set out to tell the ZZK story to the world.

The label is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to keep the project moving forward.