FORK FILMS ANNOUNCES 2016 GRANTEES
New York, NY (July 12, 2016) - New York-based production company Fork Films announced today it has provided grant funding to ten new projects in various stages of development. Selected from a pool of over 250 applicants, the ten chosen films - nearly all from female filmmakers - represent a wide range of talents and tackle tough and often under-reported issues of poverty, oppression, abuse and disability, among other topics. The projects sustain the company's commitment to promoting peace-building, human rights and social justice through documentary and narrative filmmaking.
"We are really encouraged by the fearless nature of this year's filmmakers in exploring topics of injustice, intolerance and inequality," said Abigail Disney, CEO and President of Fork Films and Gini Reticker, Chief Creative Officer of Fork Films. "In a year of particularly hateful and purely opinionated rhetoric, these storytellers are diving into challenging topics with empathy, thoughtfulness and nuance. We're honored to help these filmmakers share the lives and narratives of their subjects."
The complete set of 2016 grantees is below.
$2 A DAY - In Development
Directed and Produced by: Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
Based on the award-winning book $2 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer, the film examines a level of extreme poverty in America that most people don't think exists.
AFTER FIRE - Post-Production
Directed by: Brittany Huckabee; Produced by: Leo Eaton
One in five new recruits to the U.S. armed forces is a woman, and women are the fastest growing group of veterans. Set in the military outpost of San Antonio, Texas, AFTER FIRE offers an intimate look at the challenges these women face when they return from service. The film's central character, Valerie, is a retired Air Force military police officer who now works as a mental health counselor. As she seeks to help other veterans with hidden wounds, she realizes she must confront her own past - leading an ensemble cast of women on a journey of healing with honesty, courage and humor. The resulting film throws a spotlight on the human toll of problems like rape in the military, combat injuries and VA dysfunction, telling a universal story about how people overcome trauma.
EVEN WHEN I FALL - Post-Production
Directed by: Sky Neal and Kate McLarnon, Produced by: Elhum Shakerifar
EVEN WHEN I FALL tells the story of three remarkable young Nepali women, all survivors of human trafficking into corrupt big-top circuses across India. They met as teenagers in a Kathmandu refuge after they had been rescued and it is here that we begin our story - in the often overlooked aftermath of a childhood spent in captivity and forced labour. They were inadvertently left with a secret weapon by their captors - their breathtaking skill as circus performers.
EVEN WHEN I FALL traces their journey as they work hard with 10 other survivors of human trafficking to build Circus Kathmandu - Nepal's first and only circus - following their stories as they face the families that sold them and seek acceptance within their own communities.
With Circus Kathmandu they discover a new strength, pride and something more: a sense of responsibility that comes with the stage - to use the crowd's attention to spread a message, to educate against trafficking. Quickly their work grows to an international stage - from the rich beauty of the Kathmandu Valley, through the dusty poverty-stricken border towns of the Terai plains and finally to the bright lights and crowds of the famous Big Top at England's spectacular Glastonbury Festival. The film witnesses three remarkable young women finding their voices as campaigners against human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
GOOD OL GIRL - In Production
Directed by: Sarah Brennan Kolb; Produced by: Jessica Burgess and Sarah Brennan Kolb
According to a study conducted by Lincoln Financial, by 2033 there will not be a single ranch operator under the age of 50. The majority of the current ranching generation's eldest sons are leaving the family business for bigger, better-paying jobs in the city. The ranching way of life is quickly disappearing. Nowhere is this greater felt than in Texas - a state built on the dirt, gumption, and lore of the West. Because of this, there is a steady rise of Texas women inheriting family ranches from their fathers. A greying, often prejudiced generation must make way for a new, significantly more diverse group that it doesn't understand. With its distinctly iconic American landscape and folkloric characters, ranching is the most cinematic allegory for America as a whole. If Texas Ranching dies out because of insurmountable intolerance, so might America.
IMITATION OF CHOICE (working title) - In Production
Filmmakers: Stephanie Wang-Breal and Carrie Weprin
IMITATION OF CHOICE is the story of an innovative human trafficking court, the compassionate 53-year-old Japanese-American judge who runs it, and the women who pass through its doors every day. Arrested in police raids for prostitution-related offenses, the women in Judge Toko Serita's court are presented with three options: plead guilty to a criminal offense, fight the charge, or take the state's offer to attend a handful of counseling sessions and get their record wiped clean. Through raw and intimate cinéma vérité storytelling, IMITATION OF CHOICE invites audiences to witness the growing pains of this emerging court, and explores how we define trafficking and prostitution from the perspectives of the criminal justice system, the social welfare system, and, most importantly, the women and girls who are at the center of it all.
JUSTICE FOR JENNIFER - In Production
Directed by: PJ Raval, Produced by: Marty Syjuco and Sara Giustini
When a 26-year-old Filipina transgender woman and alleged sex worker Jennifer Laude is found dead with her head plunged into a motel room toilet, police quickly identify the suspect as 19-year-old U.S. marine Joseph Pemberton. Amidst a media storm and police inquiry, a grassroots movement arises to demand that Pemberton, held in U.S. custody, be tried in the Philippine court system. JUSTICE FOR JENNIFER follows the ensuing trial and its aftermath, fusing together personal tragedy, human rights activism and the little known history of U.S. imperial rule in the Philippines, forging a profoundly humanistic geopolitical investigative thriller.
LIYANA - Post-Production
Directed by: Aaron Kopp and Amanda Kopp; Produced by: Daniel Junge and Sakheni Dlamini
A talented group of orphaned children in the Kingdom of Swaziland confront past trauma through the creation of a fictional character, a young girl named Liyana. The world that they imagine for her is brought to life in a unique style of animation. Drawing from painful memories, the children describe a violent attack at Liyana's home. In the aftermath of this terrible night, Liyana must embark on a dangerous quest into the wilderness. Profound insight is revealed as the children shape their heroine's mythic journey, and parallels are drawn between Liyana's fate, and that of the young storytellers.
OBSTINATE - Post-Production
Directed by: Sahra Mosawi
When a 23-year-old Afghan woman, Khatera, confronts the will of her family and the traditions of her country to seek justice for years of sexual abuse from her father, she sheds light on the faulty Afghan judicial system and the women it rarely protects. One woman's obstinate battle to make her voice heard demonstrates the power of action over fear.
Directed by: Amber Fares; Produced by: Laura McNaught, Mary Armstrong and Kat Baulu
Directed by: Pamela Hogan
About Fork Films
Fork Films LLC is a New York-based film production company that seeks to shed light, evoke compassion, stir action and build peace. Founded in 2007 by CEO and President Abigail Disney and Chief Creative Officer Gini Reticker, Fork Films creates and supports media that makes an important societal contribution, with a particular emphasis on projects that bring women's voices to the forefront. In addition to its original productions of PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL and the five-part PBS special series WOMEN, WAR & PEACE, the company has supported more than 50 films in the promotion of peace building, human rights and social justice, including 1971, ALIAS RUBY BLADE, CITIZEN KOCH, FAMILY AFFAIR, HOT GIRLS WANTED, THE MASK YOU LIVE IN, OUT IN THE NIGHT, PLAYGROUND, SEEDS OF TIME, SEXY BABY, THE ONLY REAL GAME, THIS IS HOW I ROLL, VESSEL, and the Academy Award-nominated films SUN COME UP (2011, Best Documentary Short) and THE INVISIBLE WAR (2012, Best Documentary Feature). The company's latest release, the feature documentary THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, directed by Abigail Disney, follows an Evangelical minister and the mother of a teenage shooting victim who ask, is it possible to be pro gun and pro-life?