The genius documentary filmmakers to watch out for in 2016

The genius documentary filmmakers to watch out for in 2016

Winners of the MacArthur Foundation Documentary Film Grant — The Chicago-based foundation has funded 19 documentary films, with a particular focus on creative approaches to social and environmental issues. Huck looks at the sharp and energetic films that made this year's cut.

This year the MacArthur Foundation is funding documentaries that cover topics ranging from indigenous activism in Cambodia, to the relationship between Middle Eastern translators to American armed forces, and community organizing in Ferguson. The MacArthur Foundation is best known for their “Genius” grants, but they also fund exceptional American documentary projects through their Documentary Film Grant. The grant is a phenomenal opportunity for filmmakers to produce documentaries about human rights, eco-activism, global security, urban planning, and technology with the hopes of reaching policy-makers and wide audiences.

Here are some previews from the documentaries that received grants this year:


1. Whose Streets?

An independent, hard-hitting documentary tracking the racial justice movement in Ferguson since the shooting of Michael Brown.


2.. Tribal Justice

Super thought-provoking documentary looking at restorative (as opposed to punitive) justice in two Indian Reservations tribal courts in in the US


3. The Fire and the Bird’s Nest

Cambodian director Kalyanee Mam looks at indigenous resistance efforts against logging and hydro dams in Areng Valley, Cambodia, challenging the way we think about our relationship to land.


4. Survivors

From director Banker White, an intense documentary about the workers battling Ebola in Liberia


5. The Interpreter

The story of Iraqi and Afghani interpreters and the American veterans they worked with, documenting their efforts to continue their lives after war.


6. Finding America

Intimate doc from Air Media looking at public radio and TV stations and the stories they tell about their communities across the States


7. Whiteness Project

Multi-platform, interactive, video project investigating the way people’s experience of Whiteness factors into American race relations. It’s nuts how open people are in these interviews

Still from Whiteness Project

Still from “Donald” from the Whiteness Project

See the full list of recipient documentaries here.

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