AFI DOCS and NBCUniversal Announce 2017 Impact Lab Grant Recipients – American Film Institute


AFI DOCS and NBCUniversal Announce 2017 Impact Lab Grant Recipients

Four documentary projects screened at the AFI DOCS 2017 film festival, with presenting sponsor AT&T, will receive funding from the AFI DOCS/NBCUniversal Impact Grants. Now in its third year, this grant program supports outreach and social action campaigns for projects that participated in the AFI DOCS Impact Lab, a two-day filmmaker workshop produced by The Raben Group and sponsored by NBCUniversal.

“AFI DOCS is proud to champion artists and their passion to use film as a mechanism for social change,” said Michael Lumpkin, Director of AFI DOCS. “We are grateful for NBCUniversal’s continued support to expand the platform for these films and issues they highlight.”

“NBCUniversal is thrilled to partner once again with AFI DOCS and give filmmakers the opportunity to become a nexus for change,” said Tracy Cohen, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at NBCUniversal. “By providing additional resources, we hope filmmakers will educate and engage communities.”

The 2017 Impact Lab took place June 13–14, 2017, during AFI DOCS — the Institute’s documentary film festival held annually in the nation’s capital — with the goal to inspire change by bringing together the nation’s leaders and leading artists. Led by Heidi Nel of The Raben Group, the Lab is designed to offer participants access to a range of tools to ensure their films create lasting social impact beyond the film’s AFI DOCS screening. Stakeholder organizations, opinion leaders and policymakers engage with directors and producers in an intimate and instructive setting to allow these films to ultimately reach a larger and more diverse audience.

The 2017 Impact Lab was held in partnership with the 2017 Media Impact Forum presented by Media Impact Funders — a network of funders who support media and technology in the public interest. The four recognized films, along with the other projects participating in this year’s Impact Lab, are also taking part in the 2017 Media Impact Festival.

“We are thrilled to partner with AFI DOCS on the 2017 Impact Lab,” said Vince Stehle, Executive Director of Media Impact Funders. “AFI showcases the potential impact films can have on public debates about critical social issues, and the Impact Lab is a crucial resource to help filmmakers further their impact goals.”

Spanning some of the most critical and urgent problems facing the world today, the projects supported by these grants demonstrated their ability to leverage distribution in 2017. The documentary projects receiving a total of $75,000 in support from the 2017 AFI DOCS/NBCUniversal Impact Grants are:

DIR Laura Checkoway. USA. Edith and Eddie are an interracial couple from Virginia who found love in their mid-90s. Can their bond withstand an uncaring system that endeavors to drive them apart?

DIRS Jeremy S. Levine, Landon Van Soest. USA. Behind the racially charged headlines of Ferguson, MO, is 17-year-old Daje “Boonie” Shelton, a young woman from North St. Louis struggling to make it to graduation after an unexpected pregnancy.

DIR Peter Nicks. USA. Winner of the Best Director prize at Sundance, Peter Nicks’ compelling exposé focuses on the Oakland Police Department as they undergo efforts to reform an agency riven by years of corruption and criminal activity.

DIRS Trish Adlesic, Geeta Gandbhir. USA. Thousands of untested sexual assault evidence kits are languishing in storage facilities across the U.S. — and law enforcement inaction means serial perpetrators are at liberty to strike again. This urgent and eye-opening film investigates the backlog through the intertwined stories of four victims and those leading the fight for justice.

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