The top 12 2015 Fusion Doc Challenge finalist films premiered at Slamdance Film Festival & screened at Big Sky Documentary Film Festivals in 2016. Here are the top three!
Allie Sultan’s “Lift Like a Girl”
“I’ve been making films for 16 years now, having graduated with an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University in 2004. After grad school, I worked for several years as an assistant sound and picture editor on feature films and documentaries in the Bay area. I have also been teaching film since 2001, and am currently an Assistant Professor in film/video production at Middle Tennessee State University, just outside of Nashville, TN.
This is my third experience with the Fusion Doc Challenge. I co-produced and edited an entry in 2012, and again in 2013 as a faculty mentor for a team, and this year I was really excited about being the producer/director/editor of my own team…it gave me a chance to see what I could create as opposed to facilitating other people’s creative visions.
I think timed competitions are particularly well-suited for the documentary genre, as the process of making a documentary can become overwhelming very quickly if you don’t set limits to your story and really get specific on what it is you are trying to say. Having a week to make a documentary prevents you from endlessly shooting footage and letting the scope get out of control: by necessity, you have to focus on a person, or a place, or an event, with a limited timeframe.
It’s so great to have had such a huge outpouring of support from filmmakers and audiences for this film! To be able to tell Jenny’s story (the subject of our film) and share it with a broader audience has been a truly amazing experience for both of us. We’ve had so many women (and men too!) contact us to tell us how much this film resonated with them – the idea that we all have something we struggle with but the strength to overcome it lies within ourselves has resonated well with audiences.
On a personal note, I am so thrilled that a story about a 40-year old woman has been so successful in this competition. We don’t see many films about women who are the typical 18-24 year old white, skinny, “beautiful” model objectified stereotype. I was so excited to see several other films in this years’ competition also offering alternative stories about women.
To make my next film, of course! I’m currently producing a web series about an insecure female superhero, who is secretly in love with her co-worker (it’s a musical!!!). I’m collaborating with a wonderful actor/songwriter named Sarah Bailey, who has written ten incredible original songs for the series. It’s an opportunity to show the world that Nashville has more than just country music going for it. We are a thriving entertainment hub, and I look forward to helping Nashville grow as a great place for independent filmmaking!”-Allie Sultan, First Place $1,000.
Sofian Khan’s “Timeshifters”
“We took the opportunity to compete in the Fusion Doc Challenge because most of our work is feature length, with a turnaround of a year or two, so it’s a nice change to get together with your friends and make a movie in such a limited time.
We’re happy to be in the top three for this showcase. Our friends voted and shared it, and most importantly they were able to finally see the film. And we reached a new audience as well. Many of our friends commented on the high quality of all the other entries they watched.
The cash will go towards our current project ‘The Interpreter’ (www.interpreterdoc.com).”` – Sofian Khan, Second Place $350
Marco Diaz’s “A Place for Lidia”
“I’m an LA filmmaker, I competed in this contest in order to test my skills with my crew in order to see how well we could work together in order to tell a story in a limited amount of time.
The winning audience prize means a lot because we have a great network of people that saw the short doc and shared it and encouraged their friends to vote for it, so apparently enough people saw it and shared it and registered in order to support our film, which is great for us, Lidia’s story will be seen by more people.
We will add the cash prize to our kickstarter to our next project for a short documentary that I produced called Step by Step (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/infantible/step-by-step-0). It’s a great short about a dancer who holds multiple jobs in order to pay for a dance studio where he teaches at risk youth to pursue the arts and follow goals they would have never dreamed off”- Marco Diaz, Third Place $150.
Congratulations to the winners!
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