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The first American Stories Documentary Fund replaces the Camden / Tribeca Film Institute's annual Filmmaker Retreat.

The Points North Institute and CNN Films announced Tuesday that five teams of documentary filmmakers have received $ 50,000 in grants. The money to cover urgent production or post-production during the pandemic will be part of the first American Stories Documentary Fund to replace the Camden / Tribeca Film Institute's annual Filmmaker Retreat. The teams are each awarded a $ 10,000 scholarship and worked with other funders, distributors, and creative partners during the Points North Institute, Maine's Camden International Film Festival, held on October 12th.

This is the latest change in the changing world of documentary and independent filmmaking, and the next chapter in the collaboration between CNN Films and the Points North Institute, which launched an annual Filmmaker Retreat with the Tribeca Film Institute in 2015. TFI “suspended” its operations for an indefinite period earlier this year. Another former TFI program, IF / Then Shorts, recently moved to Field of Vision when TFI was discontinued.

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"While there is no question that this has been a challenging year for independent filmmakers, there is also no question that there has never been a more pivotal moment to support independent storytellers and stories that represent where America is today," said Ben Fowlie, Executive and Artist Director of the Points North Institute, in an official statement. “We are honored to have the opportunity to renew our partnership with CNN Films and Jose Rodriguez to recognize these five incredible projects, each exploring an America that explores its past, present and future in powerful and creative ways , and are grateful for CNN Films' continued efforts to support independent filmmakers. "

As in previous years, the filmmakers supported in this program deal with “American Stories” in their work. “For the past five years, CNN Films has been proud to partner with Points North to create a retreat where nonfiction filmmakers from all over the US can come together creatively and demonstrate the power of storytelling. Today, the crises affecting the world have certainly made the challenging task of independent filmmaking even more difficult, ”added Alexandra Hannibal, director of CNN Films, in her own statement. "We are thrilled to be supporting these essential stories of our time and providing the opportunity to help talented filmmakers thrive."

Here are this year's recipients:

"After Sherman"
Directed by Jon Sesrie-Goff
Produced by Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich & Blair Dorosh-Walther

"After Sherman" is a story about the legacy and tension that defines our collective American history. The director's exploration of the coast of South Carolina as a site of pride and racial trauma through Gullah cultural preservation and land protection is disrupted by the shootings at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.

"Aftershocks"
Direction and production: Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee

Through the tragic loss and struggle of a family for justice, Aftershock explores one of America's most pressing and shameful national crises and the growing movement that surrounds it: the US maternal mortality crisis.

"Mija"
Directed by Isabel Castro
Produced by Tabs Breese

Doris Muñoz is distinguished by the discovery and successful introduction of young color musicians. While Doris helps these artists navigate a highly competitive business, she must also support her immigrant family. Given the aggressive immigration policy and a music industry in crisis, “Mija” tells the story of a young Chicana woman who discovers what it means to be successful in the USA through the hardships.

"Salt sister"
Directed by Heidi Burkey
Produced by Julie Hook

America's addiction and environmental crises meet at a crossroads off the coast of Maine when Colleen Francke leads a team of women who set up an algae farm to recover from substance use disorders in Casco Bay. Colleen will face resistance from local fishermen, risk financial stability and fight through her own recreational journey. She will find out what it takes to lead these women into a new coastal economy – and rehabilitate both the water and herself in the process.

"Stand above the clouds"
Directed by Jalena Keane-Lee
Produced by Amber Espinosa-Jones

"Standing above the clouds" is a story of the Mana Wahine o Mauna Kea (female warriors who are guardians of the mountain). The film follows three native Hawaiian families who have become leaders in the global movement to prevent the construction of an 18-story 30-meter (TMT) telescope on the last pristine stretch of Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island. As the documentary unfolds from the vision the movement launched in 2010 to final victory, our team follows Pua Case, Leina & # 39; ala Sleightholm, Mehana Kihoi and their families and explores what it's like to be To raise your children on the front lines while they are arrested while defending a sacred place and maintaining a movement centered on ceremony and holiness.

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