JUNE | 2017

• Spring Highlights  

• Recent Grantees

• Rough Cut Retreat

• Awards and Festivals 
Untitled Syrian Families Film, director Megan Mylan
Spring has been an unusually busy season for the Catapult Film Fund team and our Catapult-supported projects.

Here in our San Francisco office, we've selected seven new projects to support. The films tell a wide spectrum of stories — with locations ranging from an opera house in San Francisco to a holy river in India; and subject matters that include parental love in times of war, and the meteoric rise of The Satanic Temple.  

The new slate is uniquely special in that it includes the award of our 100th grant. This milestone brings Catapult granting to a total of $2.5 million in development and momentum funding in 7 years including support to the following films: Peter Nick’s The Force, winner of Best Directing award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival; Dan Krauss’ Extremis, which was nominated for a 2016 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short; and Ivy Meeropol’s Indian Point, which premiered at 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. 

In addition, we're gearing up for our 2nd annual Rough Cut Retreat in July, 2017. Launched with our partners at the True/False Film Festival, we'll unite five film projects with five mentors over five days in the beautiful Berkshires. Amidst a supportive atmosphere, filmmakers will have the goal of evolving their film projects from rough cut to fine cut.

Out in the world, we are pleased to see Catapult-supported projects continue to be well received. Three Catapult-supported films premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and newly supported Catapult grantees shared their projects in Toronto at the Hot Docs Forum. We were excited to see Dawn Porter’s Trapped be honored with a George Foster Peabody Award, Oscilloscope acquire Andrew Cohn’s Night School, iTunes distribute Amanda Micheli’s Vegas Baby, and HBO air Kristi Jacobson’s Solitary.

See you at Sheffield! 

The Catapult Film Fund Team

We recently chose seven new projects in development for Catapult grants. Our most recent grantees are:

Director: Jon Else
Producer: Linda Davis
This short movie goes backstage for the rehearsal and world premier of John Adams and Peter Sellars new tragicomic opera “Girls Of The Golden West,” to explore the deep, flamboyant, and brutal roots of American nativist violence in the California Gold Rush of 1849.

Directors: Michèle Stephenson & Joe Brewster
​​​​​​​Producer: Amilca Palmer
Pushing the boundaries of biographical documentary storytelling, this film will reveal the enduring influence of one of America’s greatest living artists and social commentators. Combining parallel cinematic story editing with visually innovative treatments of her poetry, along with intimate vérité, rich archival footage, and Giovanni’s own captivating contemporary performances, Going to Mars recounts the story of the artist and activist and the tumultuous historical periods in which she lived—from the Civil Rights Movement, to the Black Arts Movement, to present-day Black Lives Matter.

Director/Producer: Shirley Abraham & Amit Madheshiya
In India, the Haryana state government is in quest of holy river Saraswati, believed to have been lost 4,000 years ago and since found only in myth.

Director: Marc Silver
Producers: Cathy Scott-Clark & Adrian Levy
In August 2002, two men’s lives collided in an abandoned Thai jungle base. One was JAMES MITCHELL, a CIA contractor codenamed Grayson Swigert, who was ordered to get terrorists to talk by any means necessary. The other was ABU ZUBAYDAH, the first high value detainee in America's "war on terror," who was charged with being a 9/11 plotter and Al Qaeda’s number three. Fifteen years later, Zubaydah would be declared innocent, while Mitchell is accused of human experimentation and faces a ground breaking war crimes trial.
Director: Penny Lane
Producer: Gabriel Sedgwick

The film traces the birth and meteoric rise of The Satanic Temple, a new religious movement combining media pranksterism with the rhetorical power of blasphemy. The new Satanists are not what you might expect – and they are calling for a Satanic revolution to save America's soul.
Director: Megan Mylan
Producer: Robin Hessman

A war story told in a unique key from Oscar® winning filmmaker Megan Mylan. In this feature documentary, portraits of Syrian families displaced and fractured by war create a meditation on parental love that is both urgent and timeless.
(The seventh project is not described here due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter.)
Please assume that if you have submitted an application, but have not yet heard from us, that your project is still under consideration by our review team.
For a full list of all Catapult Film Fund grantees please visit www.catapultfilmfund.org.

Our Rough Cut Retreat is right around the corner! Launched in 2016 with our partners at the True/False Film Festival, The Rough Cut Retreat unites filmmakers and mentors in a supportive and engaged atmosphere with the goal of moving projects from a rough to fine cut.

This year, the Rough Cut Retreat will take place July 23rd-27th at Gedney Farm in New Marlborough, Massachusetts.  For more info visit  roughcutretreat.org
The 2017 mentors are: ​​​​​​​
Director/producer Mark Becker, (Art & Craft, Pressure Cooker) has co-edited Lost Boys of Sudan and Circo, about a hardscrabble traveling Mexican circus troupe.
Producer Amanda Branson-Gill, most recently produced Errol Morris' The Unknown Known and his Standard Operating Procedure.
Director Chris Hegedus (The War Room, Startup.com), has been making films as a director, cinematographer, and editor for four decades with her partner D.A. Pennebaker
Director Peter Nicks (The Force, The Waiting Room), is a director/shooter known for his courageous cinema vérité style.
Editor/producer David Teague (Life Animated, Cutie and the Boxer, Freeheld) is a noted documentary film editor.

The 2017 Projects are:​​​​​​​
Amal (dir. Mohamed Siam) follows an Egyptian teenager, from the age of 14 till the age of 20 while she’s searching for her identity within a constantly changing country.
America (dir. Chase Whiteside & Erick Stoll) is about a dreamer who reunites with his brothers to take care of their ninety-three year old grandmother, América in southwest Mexico.
Pigeon Kings (dir. Milena Pastreich) tracks a peculiar subculture of pigeon competitions in So. Central LA presided over by the godfather Keith London.
The Punch (dir. Andre Hörmann) looks at the dangerous, volatile world of Chicago’s South Side from the point of view of two promising young boxers and their fathers who train them.
Voices of the Sea: A Cuban Odyssey (dir. Kim Hopkins) takes us into the heart of a high- stakes family drama playing out in a remote Cuban fishing village.


We're pleased to see the positive response so many of the films we support have received since they have been released. Below are just a few highlights - congratulations to all the filmmakers! 
Sundance Film Festival recognized Peter Nicks, winner of the Best Directing Award for THE FORCE.

Sundance Film Festival recognized Ramona Diaz winner of the Sundance World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Commanding Vision for MOTHERLAND.

George Foster Peabody Awards  recognized Dawn Porter and Marylin Ness for their outstanding film TRAPPED


Director: Jamie Meltzer
Producers: David Alvarado, Kate McLean, Michael May


Director: Pancho Velez and Sierra Terrengill
Producer: Sierra Pettengill


Director: Till Schauder
Producer: Sara Nodjoumi, Till Schauder



Director: Vaishali Sinha
Producer: Mridu Chandra
Opening at IFC June 2017

"Emotional and inspiring... A story about       the beauty of everyday human lives" 
- Devin Friedman, GQ Magazine

Director: Andrew Cohn
Producers: Steve Bannatyne, Jason Orans, Andrew Cohn, Zachary Shields, Pamela Ryan
Catapult Film Fund provides development funding to documentary filmmakers who have a compelling story to tell, have secured access to their story and are ready to shoot and edit a piece for production fundraising purposes. Our mission is to enable filmmakers to develop their film projects to the next level at a stage where funding is hard to find. Catapult gives early support to propel projects forward that hold the promise of a unique story that should be told in film. We don’t require that films fit within specific issue categories. We support powerful stories and moving storytelling across a broad spectrum of issues and perspectives. 

Catapult Film Fund
39 Mesa Street Suite 105
San Francisco, California 94129