Seven filmmakers will benefit from one of the most generous grants in the documentary field, as the North Points Institute today announced the recipients of the inaugural Diane Weyermann Fellowships.
The fellowship, named for the late Participant executive and producer who championed the careers of many leading documentary filmmakers and their work, will provide $100,000 and 18 months of mentorship to each of three nonfiction projects and their filmmaking teams.
“The three supported projects were chosen out of 401 submissions from 70 countries, through a 6-month selection process that included the Points North curatorial team and a jury of veteran filmmakers and programmers,” according to a release. “The projects include: The Last Nomads, a co-production of Serbia, Montenegro, and France, directed and produced by Biljana Tutorov, co-directed by Petar Glomazić, and co-produced by Quentin Laurent; The Production of the World, a co-production of Canada and USA, directed by Brett Story and produced by Jeff Reichert; and Untitled Project, a production of India, directed and produced by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya.” Scroll for details on each of the projects and filmmakers.
The release noted, “[T]he Fellowship champions filmmaking teams producing cinematic feature documentaries that take artistic risks in highlighting stories of moral and ethical urgency.” In addition to the unrestricted grants and extensive mentorship, the Weyermann Fellows will participate in creative retreats at the 2023 and 2024 Camden International Film Festival in Maine, a program of the Points North Institute.
“The Diane Weyermann Fellowship marks a significant advancement in our support of independent documentary filmmakers,” Ben Fowlie, executive and artistic director of Points North, said in a statement. “Inspired by Diane’s passion and guided by her unwavering commitment to protect and uphold the vision of the filmmaker, this Fellowship has been designed to provide the time, space, and resources to allow artists to take creative risks and tell their stories on their own terms.”
“Diane was a mentor, a friend, and an inspiration. Her legacy will live on forever in the films she championed, the creators she nurtured, and the lives she changed,” said Courtney Sexton, EVP, documentary film and television at Participant. “The Fellowship’s support of emerging filmmakers embodies everything that she stood for, and I know she would be so proud of this inaugural class.”
Weyermann’s extraordinary credits included executive producing roles on the Oscar-winning documentaries American Factory (2019), and An Inconvenient Truth (2006); Oscar-nominated docs All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (2022), and Food, Inc. (2008), as well as Descendant (2022), A Compassionate Spy (2022), docuseries Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey (2022), John Lewis: Good Trouble (2020), and many others. She served as a producer on An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, the 2017 film directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk.
“We are immensely proud to partner with these three filmmaking teams and co-create a Fellowship experience that will support them in making ambitious and fiercely independent films that we know will resonate deeply with global audiences,” said Points North’s Program Director Sean Flynn. “Though their stories span three continents and disparate political and cultural contexts, they each push the boundaries of cinematic language and challenge viewers to engage emotionally and critically with images, ideology, and the projection of state power.”
Inaugural Weyermann Fellows Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya said in a statement, “The Diane Weyermann Fellowship, with its all-round nourishment is a covenant. That it is okay to dare and dream, to imagine and create, to take the leaps and mine the depths of your creative process. This breadth of support is a unicorn for the independent documentary space. Our hearts are bursting with gratitude and our spirits have soared at receiving this singular honor!”
The Diane Weyermann Fellowship was developed in partnership with Participant and made possible by seed funding from the Skoll Foundation and major support from the RandomGood Foundation, Ford Foundation’s JustFilms, and over 200 individual supporters, a release noted. The program was designed and launched in collaboration with Points North’s Senior Consultant for Artist Programs, Lucila Moctezuma, and an Advisory Committee of Diane’s friends, family, and colleagues – including Ally Derks (founder of International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, IDFA), Laura Kim (EVP, campaigns & engagement, Participant), Jonathan King (CEO, Concordia Studio), Elise Pearlstein (EVP, This Machine Filmworks), Courtney Sexton (EVP of documentary film and television, Participant), and Andrea Weyermann, Ph.D. (Professor, Georgia State University).
2023-24 Diane Weyermann Fellows
THE LAST NOMADS (Serbia, Montenegro, France)
Directed by Biljana Tutorov, Co-Directed by Petar Glomazić; Produced by Biljana Tutorov, Co-Produced by Quentin Laurent
In the pristine mountains of Montenegro, a mother and daughter defend their land from militarization. A gripping family and environmental drama unfolds, as the story of violence against women and nature echoes violence against nature.
Biljana Tutorov is a director and producer of feature and documentary films, video works, and performances focused on women-driven stories which examine contemporary political reality, state of democracy, and environmental protection. After graduating Art History, Biljana studied Film Anthropology and Acting. She is the founder of Wake-Up Films, an independent company dedicated to upcoming talents, as well as the founder and Head of CIRCLE Women Doc Accelerator, a training initiative that has been supporting women-identifying filmmakers since 2018. Biljana is a 2021 Chicken & Egg Pictures grantee, 2021 Catapult grantee, alumna of EAVE Producers Workshop and EURODOC, member of the EWA (European Women’s Audiovisual Network) and EFA (European Film Academy), and an advisory board member of DAE (Documentary Association of Europe). Her award-winning feature documentary WHEN PIGS COME (2017) was screened at Hot Docs, Visions du Reel, Sarajevo FF, etc. Her second feature documentary SOUNDS OF THUNDERSTORM is in post-production.
Petar Glomazić graduated in 1994 from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Belgrade. In 1996, he completed the Serbian Radio-Television School for documentary and began working as a researcher in their Educational Program Department. He has worked for leading regional companies in the aviation industry for more than 20 years. Since 2014, he’s been serving as an associate producer for Wake Up Films in Serbia. Petar is an alumnus of the Balkan Documentary Centre Discoveries. He participated in the FIFDH Impact training program, Movies that Matter Impact Lab, and pitched in Hot Docs Forum, CPH:DOX Forum, East Doc Platform, etc. A passionate life-long mountain climber, Peter has extensively researched traditions, written stories, taken pictures, and filmed the people and natural landscapes there. Petar is a member of the Documentary Association of Europe (DAE) and a co-founding member of the Save Sinjajevina Association. THE LAST NOMADS is his debut feature documentary.
In 2015, Quentin Laurent co-founded the French production company Les Films de l’Œil Sauvage, known for its acclaimed international creative documentaries, such as KINSHASA MAKAMBO by Dieudo Hamadi (multiple awards in 100 festivals, including Berlinale Panorama, Cinéma du Réel, Hot Docs, etc.); OVERSEAS by Sung-A Yoon (40 festivals, including Locarno, Pusan, IDFA, BFI, Hot Docs, MoMA Doc Fortnight, CPH:DOX, etc); Alyx Arumpac’s ASWANG (Fipresci Award of first appearance competition in IDFA, Cinéma du reel, MoMA Doc Fortnight, etc.); DOWNSTREAM TO KINSHASA, directed by Dieudo Hamadi (first film from DR Congo ever selected in Cannes Official Selection); DREAMING WALLS by Amélie van Elmbt and Maya Duverdier (Berlinale 2022, executive produced by Martin Scorsese); and AGAINST THE TIDE by Sarvnik Kaur (Sundance 2023, Special Jury Mention). Alumni of EURODOC and Berlinale Talents, Quentin also teaches film production in universities, La Fémis, and various training programs.
THE PRODUCTION OF THE WORLD (Canada, USA)
Directed by Brett Story; Produced by Jeff Reichert
THE PRODUCTION OF THE WORLD is an all-archival documentary about the radical critic John Berger, the CIA’s infiltration of the arts during the “cultural Cold War,” and the ways images operate as a battleground for politics.
Brett Story is an award-winning filmmaker and writer based in Toronto. Her films have screened in theatres and festivals internationally, including at CPH:DOX, SXSW, True/False, and Sheffield Doc/Fest. She is the director of the award-winning films THE PRISON IN TWELVE LANDSCAPES (2016) and THE HOTTEST AUGUST (2019), and author of the book Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power Across Neoliberal America. THE HOTTEST AUGUST was a New York Times Critics’ Pick and was called one of the 10 best documentary films of 2019 by over a dozen publications, including Variety, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair. Brett has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Sundance Institute, and was named one of Variety‘s 10 Documentary Filmmakers to Watch. In 2020, she was nominated for a Cinema Eye Award for Best Director. She holds a Ph. D in geography and is currently an assistant professor of Media Praxis at the University of Toronto.
Jeff Reichert is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker who lives in Brooklyn. His films as a director include the feature documentaries GERRYMANDERING, REMOTE AREA MEDICAL, THIS TIME NEXT YEAR, and the fiction-documentary hybrid FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY as well as the shorts KOMBIT, NOBODY LOVES ME, AMERICAN CARNAGE, and TO BE QUEEN. He also produced Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s AMERICAN FACTORY. His work has been awarded the Film Independent Spirit Award, Gotham Award, and Cinema Eye Honor (all for Best Documentary). He is a Peabody Award Nominee. He is also the co-founder and editor of the online film journal Reverse Shot (est. 2003), now a publication of Museum of the Moving Image, and has written for Film Comment, Filmmaker, Huffington Post, and Indiewire. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
UNTITLED PROJECT (India)
Directed and Produced by Shirley Abraham & Amit Madheshiya
[Details about the film have not been released].
Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya are Cannes prize-winning Indian documentary filmmakers. THE CINEMA TRAVELLERS is their debut film. It premiered as an Official Selection at Cannes Film Festival 2016, winning the Special Jury Prize for L’Oeil d’or: Le Prix du documentaire. The film has won 19 awards globally, including the President’s Medal in India. They also directed SEARCHING FOR SARASWATI (New York Times), THE HOUR OF LYNCHING (The Guardian) and THE GREAT ABANDONMENT (Guardian). THE HOUR OF LYNCHING won World Press Photo, and THE GREAT ABANDONMENT won Best Documentary at the Human Rights Watch.
Their work is supported by Sundance Institute, Pulitzer Center, MacArthur Foundation, IDFA Bertha Fund, Chicken & Egg, Catapult Film Fund, and Arts Council of England. They are fellows of Sundance Labs, Diane Weyermann Fellowship, Cluster of Excellence Heidelberg, and Goethe-Institut. They are members of the documentary branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.