And the winners are… Doc Impact Award Winners 2016

The five winners of the 2016 Doc Impact Award were announced on Twitter by the partners, sharing a short atmospheric video of a graffiti artist painting a mural of the film titles on a wall in LA.

The winners of the 2016 award were chosen by a group of ten partners, field leaders in film and social change: Ford Foundation, Sundance Institute, Participant Media, Bertha Foundation, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Compton Foundation, The Center for Media & Social Impact, The Fledgling Fund, BRITDOC Foundation and Media Impact Funders.

Some of the most pressing issues of the day. Some of the most socially conscious funders around. Some of the most fascinating discussions to be a part of,” said Tabitha Jackson, Director of Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program, responding to her experience choosing the winners.

Charting the story of their achievements and sharing best practice for the whole field, five Impact Reports have been published on the winning films. Additionally, this year’s winners will each receive $5,000, generously donated by The Fledgling Fund, to reward their extraordinary commitment, passion and accomplishments in using storytelling to provoke change.

Collectively I think they give us an understanding of the deep impact that films can have on important social justice issues and also illustrate how different that impact can be,” said Sheila Leddy, The Fledgling Fund’s Executive Director. “Congratulations to all the winners and nominees!” she added.

2016 will also see the return of the #DocImpactHi5 Award; a further $5,000 for the film that receives the most support tweets and retweets in the four days following the announcement.


Caty Borum Chattoo, the Co-Director of the Center for Media & Social Impact who was also on the selection panel explained, “*This year’s award-winners represent the incredible range of global documentary projects that not only tell beautiful stories, but continue to effect change on some of the most important social justice challenges of our era.*”

The winning films cover diverse territories and far-reaching issues of environmental and social justice. Filmed in The Arctic, Hong Kong, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and farmland across the United States, the films deal with everything from documenting climate change and fighting for farmworkers’ rights to defending a national park against corruption and mineral exploitation; from threats to our privacy from state surveillance agencies to fighting for the victims of a state-sanctioned massacre.

The 2016 winners are:

*CHASING ICE, *Dir. Jeff Orlowski, Prods. Paula DuPré Pesmen and JerryAronson (@ChasingIce)

*Chasing Ice* is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Following acclaimed photographer James Balog, *Chasing Ice* plays like an adventure film, shifting the hearts and minds of audiences globally.

*CITIZENFOUR, *Dir. Laura Poitras (@citizenfour)

After filmmaker Laura Poitras received encrypted emails from someone with information on the US government’s massive covert-surveillance programs, she and reporter Glenn Greenwald flew to Hong Kong to meet the sender, who turned out to be Edward Snowden. The film exposes the reality of mass surveillance and its consequences for personal privacy and public policy.

*FOOD CHAINS, *Dir. Sanjay Rawal, Prod. Smriti Keshari (@FoodChainsFilm)

*Food Chains* exposes the exploitation of farm workers in the agriculture industry in the US, the complicity of government and corporations in perpetuating human rights abuses, and the role consumers can play in ending some of the most egregious human rights violations in the country. Championing the Fair Food Program, *Food Chains* delivers citizen advocates and supports the farmworkers taking on the food super chains.

*MINERS SHOT DOWN, *Dir. Rehad Desai, Prod. Anita Khanna (@MinersShotDown)

Nearly 40 miners were shot dead by South African police service at the Marikana Massacre in 2012 – the single most lethal use of force by South African security forces against civilians since 1960. *Miners Shot Down* reveals the truth about what really happened, the deep fault lines it has exposed in South Africa’s nascent democracy and it calls for justice for the miners and their widows.

*VIRUNGA, *Dir. Orlando von Einsiedel, Prod. Joanna Natasegara (@VirungaMovie)

*Virunga* is the incredible true story of a group of brave individuals risking their lives to save Africa’s oldest national park in the midst of
renewed civil war and a scramble for the region’s natural resources. The film brought worldwide attention to the threat to the park from British mining company SOCO International, in the process forging an international coalition of partners to protect Virunga.


The Doc Impact Award is releasing five comprehensive Impact Reports on the work of each film team and their campaign partners. With both the metrics and the anecdotal evidence of the films’ impact, these case studies of impact in action are essential for any filmmaker wishing to replicate the impressive work these filmmakers have undertaken. The production of these reports has been supported by Adessium Foundation, Bertha Foundation, Compton Foundation and Participant Media.


The Impact High 5

Followers of* #docimpact* are invited to participate in deciding which of the five winners receive an additional $5,000 prize. It will be awarded to the film team that gets the most support tweets in the days following the announcement. Tweets with *#DocImpactHi5* and the film’s twitter handle will be counted up until Midnight PST on Monday 29th February

The *#DocImpactHi5* will be announced on on Tuesday 1st March.

News Editor

Author: News Editor

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