Meet the Kindle Project Fall 2015 Film Fund Grantees and Awardees

Dec 08, 2015

Cry You One • The Black Dutchman
Movement Generation • Nanbel
Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine
Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four
The Shore Break • Shiraz Ksaiba •

  • Dark comedy sketches set in the fictitious town of Nanbel, invoking the absurd and grotesque elements of the war on terror and beyond.
  • A feature doc about the unbelievable mistreatment and wrongful conviction of four Latina lesbians in Texas.
  • A female cinematographer out to explore the wilds of the Moroccan south.
  • A feature doc highlighting the tensions in one South African family as they are pulled between the desire to maintain traditional lifestyles in the prevalence of extractive industries.
  • Video chronicles of socially transformative performances highlighting the disappearance of the wetlands in southern Louisiana.
  • A multimedia sketch series that highlights the interconnectedness of climate change, race and economics.
  • A feature documentary that explores an old and racist ritual in the Netherlands.
  • An actor/filmmaker/writer whose work opens a window into the personal and public struggles of LGBT communities in Uganda and Nigeria.
  • A video project documenting sustainable energy and community innovation in Oaxaca and Kenya.

Meet our latest grantees and awardees. This group of ten is the epitome of what is happening in the wide world of documentary and experimental media. Farce, fierce realism, and experimentation – each project and person in this group of creators shapes and works their craft to tell the most important stories from their very unique vantage points.

It’s been a tough year on this strange planet of ours. With the increasing complexities of conflict, migration and record breaking global temperatures, there is a need to unpack the multitude of unfolding crises, create solutions, engage in critique, and, of course, instigate serious laughter. These ten filmmakers and projects are doing just that.

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.

“Cry You One” is a project that combines site specific performance and digital storytelling to highlight how rapidly one of the world’s most vibrant cultures is disappearing. It is shared on the sites of erosion in South Louisiana, where water is reclaiming land once occupied by people’s homes. Part love song, part story, part procession for our lost land, “Cry You One” celebrates the people and cultures of South Louisiana while turning clear eyes on the crisis of our vanishing coast.

The Black Dutchman is an investigation of institutionalized racism and Black representation in the Netherlands. Despite being known for its liberalism and tolerance, the film explores the myriad of ways in which Dutch society upholds white superiority and xenophobia. The U.N. recently conducted a visit to the Netherlands and outlined many human rights issues adversely affecting people of African descent there. However, there are many who see race as an “American” problem and are in denial that racism is alive and well in their own backyard. After growing protests and counter-protests, tensions are at an all-time high. Kno’Ledge Cesar, co-founder of Zwarte Piet is Racisme, has lost his job as a result of his activism and now faces charges. As a mother, Glynis Terborg is fed up and refuses to allow her sons to take part in a celebration that so many find offensive. The film depicts how a treasured Dutch blackface holiday tradition and the controversy that surrounds it, is emblematic of acute anti-Black racism, civil unrest within Dutch society and how two individuals, one through his activism, the other through her art, will stop at nothing to make a change.

Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project inspires and engages in transformative action towards the liberation and restoration of land, labor, and culture. We are rooted in vibrant social movements led by low-income communities and communities of color committed to a Just Transition away from profit and pollution and towards healthy, resilient and life-affirming local economies.

Nanbel is a dark comedy series of sketches set in the fictitious town of Nanbel – Lebnan (Lebanon) spelt backwards. In Nanbel, anything can happen – just like in the real world – and therefore the absurd and the unusual are both real and common. The victimizer is given endearing and identifiable qualities to highlight the crime or misdemeanor itself. Nanbel tries to provoke uneasy laughter or feeling and a sense of responsibility in the viewers as individuals or as a society. It does that by detaching the viewers from the victim’s suffering, until they identify with the “crime” – perhaps one that they may have already but unknowingly committed. The acting and setting are mostly realistic, but reality itself is absurd and more obscene than fiction, more grotesque than Nanbel.

Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine is a dual citizen of Uganda and America working in the mediums of photography, theatre, film and television. Ntare’s film directing credits include “Beware of Time,” which premiered at the Berlin Black International Cinema Festival where it won Best Film on matters relating to Marginalized People. His short film “Kuhani” won the main prize at the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur in Switzerland for Best Achievement in Directing. Ntare’s TV acting credits include a recurring role on the Steven Soderbergh series “The Knick,”  HBO’s series “Treme,” “Heroes,” and “CSI” to name a few. Ntare’s theatre acting credits include leading roles at The Public Theater, The Steppenwolf Theatre, The Kennedy Center, The Lincoln Center and Center Theatre Group; Playwriting credits include “Biro,” which held its U.S premiere at The Public Theatre where it made the New York Times Critics Pick List. “Biro” also premiered in Uganda, London, Toronto, Los Angeles, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Seattle and Zimbabwe. Ntare‘s photographic work has featured in Vanity Fair and exhibited at Mojo Gallery Dubai, Blue Sky Gallery, The United Nations, Rush Arts Gallery, the UCLA Fowler Museum, The Latino Art Museum, and has been featured on HBO’s “Six Feet Under.” Ntare received his MFA in Acting from New York University and completed studies at The Moscow Arts Theatre in Russia, The Royal National Theatre in London and The University of Virginia. Ntare is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California (USC). He has also taught at Yale University and has taught theatre and film artists in more than a dozen countries in Africa.

Two cousins from a rural community have opposing plans to develop their homeland on South Africa’s spectacular Wild Coast. Nonhle wants to preserve their traditional Pondo lifestyle and pursue eco-tourism while Madiba plans a bustling mining town. Meanwhile, the South African Government deposes their Pondo King and Queen, who oppose the mining development.

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four excavates the nightmarish persecution of Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez — four Latina lesbians wrongfully convicted of gang-raping two little girls in San Antonio, Texas. This bizarre case is the first to be adjudicated under momentous new legislation: for the first time in U.S. history, wrongfully convicted innocents can challenge convictions based on debunked scientific evidence called ‘Junk Science’. The film also unravels the sinister interplay of mythology, homophobia, and prosecutorial fervor which led to this modern day witch hunt during the ‘Satanic sexual abuse hysteria’ from the late-80’s and early-90’s in the United States. The documentary is generously supported by Sundance Institute | John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation, Sundance Institute | Arcus Fund, Astraea Global Arts Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Austin Film Society, IFP Spotlight on Docs, Firelight Media, Kindle Project Fund of the Common Counsel Foundation, and Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation.

I grew up in Tunisia and then Bournemouth. I moved to London in 1999 to take a BA in Fine Art at Middlesex University. I have 15 years experience in the creative industries having worked as a photographer, artist and facilitator, making and producing exhibitions, installations and related events until I moved into film and broadcast.

As a professional lighting camera operator I also have had specialist training such as with the Steadicam. I trained on the Tiffen Steadicam Silver course at the NFTS , and 3D filming & MOVI. I DP for drama and documentaries for TV and Film and creatively produce, direct and shoot for branding and commercial for online content, music video, live events and corporates on both stills and film, dealing with everything from briefs, pitches, pre-production, location recce, casting, scripting, shooting through to post. I have recently been shortlisted for the 2015 Raindance Film Festival.

I have had clients ranging from Channel 4, Vice media, and luxury brands such as Mandarin Hotels and financial institutions such as USB & KMPG through to The Foreign & Commonwealth Office. My last TV show I DP’d for was “Circus Girls” for Channel 4.

I am now running a surf hostel in Morocco and I am also working on writing a couple of treatments for short documentaries and stills series. I am involving young local artists and photographers that I have meet here and am going to collabrote with them, thus bringing them into the international scene of film and photography and hoping to bring their work to a new audience.

The Yansa Group is working to create a model for community-based energy generation that is locally sustainable and scalable at a global level. Our projects embody values that include environmental sustainability, community partnerships as a driver of impact, democratic decision-making and cultural diversity. Our model ensures that each project is self-sustaining and can contribute to successful and long-term economic advancement, community development, and social empowerment.