Good Pitch

 The Good Pitch is entering its third year with a new partner and a new venue, but the same ambitious goal; to fast-track effective, world-changing partnerships between documentary film and the brand, NGO, philanthropy and media sectors.


What: The Good Pitch NY 2011 
When: May 20 2011 
Where: Ford Foundation, New York 

The Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation, in partnership with the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, are delighted to announce the lineup of projects that will be pitching at the Good Pitch in New York City in May 2011, hosted by the Ford Foundation at their midtown headquarters. 

The team worked with staff and advisors to choose eight documentary projects for this edition of the Good Pitch out of several hundred applications. The selected filmmakers are Dawn Porter (Gideon’s Army), Soniya Kirpalani (We The People), Marc Silver (Who Is Dayani Cristal?), Alison Klayman (Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry), Kief Davidson (Untitled Partners In Health Documentary), Katie Dellamaggiore (Brooklyn Castle), Patrice O’Neill (Not In Our Town III: Light in the Darkness), and Yoav Potash (Crime After Crime). 

The projects focus on issues of immigration, human rights, global health, racism, migrant labor, hate crimes, poverty, domestic violence, and criminal justice and tell stories from The Emirates, China, USA, South Asia, Haiti, and US/Mexico/Central American borders. 

“The ability to take complex, urgent issues and translate them into compelling stories is the remarkable skill of documentary filmmakers,” said Orlando Bagwell, Director of the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms Initiative. “As great cinema, documentaries can not only inform and inspire their audiences, but also catalyze viewers to become active participants in social change. Good Pitch makes that opportunity for action possible by connecting master storytellers to organizations on the ground working to improve people’s lives. The Ford Foundation is excited to be a new supporter and host of this year’s Good Pitch in New York City.” 

The Ford Foundation joins the Tides Foundation, the Fledgling Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Impact Partners, Crosscurrents Foundation and a number of anonymous donors as supporters of the Good Pitch. Working Films will continue to provide campaign development for the invited filmmakers. 

More on the 8 projects: 

Gideon’s Army 
Dir. Dawn Porter
Gideon’s Army is the story of new public defenders working in the South. With long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads, many will not last. But now they have an advocate. Super-lawyer Jonathan Rapping, founder of the Southern Public Defender Training Center, is revolutionizing criminal defense by mentoring and supporting those who represent the people society would rather forget. 

We The People 
Dir. Soniya Kirpalani
United Arab Emirates, 2010: 17 Indians are given the death penalty for murdering 1 Pakistani. Further investigation reveals 1,785 more Indians languishing behind bars, 200 of whom face capital punishment. As Arab defense teams and India’s Lawyers for Human Rights challenge the Sharia Law Processes, We The People highlights the plight of migrant workers in repressive environments. 

Who Is Dayani Cristal? 
Dir. Marc Silver
An anonymous body is discovered in the Arizona desert. The only identifying feature is a tattoo reading ‘Dayani Cristal’. To unravel the mystery we must go on an epic journey beginning in a tiny Honduran village and ending in the corridors of power in Washington. Who Is Dayani Cristal? is a groundbreaking fusion of drama and documentary, starring Gael García Bernal, one of the most exciting actors of his generation. 

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry 
Dir. Alison Klayman
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is an intimate portrait of an international art star during two tumultuous years of his life. A “dissident artist” in the headlines, an online god to liberal Chinese netizens, Ai Weiwei blurs the boundaries of art and politics. But can an artist change China? 

Untitled Partners In Health Documentary 
Dir. Kief Davidson
Partners In Health is a remarkable global public health organization, insisting on quality health care as a basic right. This film delves deeply into their methods and beliefs, exploring the controversial characters that refuse to ‘choose one life over another, when there is all this wealth in the world.’ 

Brooklyn Castle 
Dir. Katie Dellamaggiore
Amidst financial crisis and unprecedented public school budget cuts, Intermediate School 318 in Brooklyn, New York, has assembled the best junior high chess team in the nation. Brooklyn Castle follows five young teens for one school year as they struggle, grow and challenge themselves both on and off the chessboard. 

Not In Our Town III: Light in the Darkness 
Dir. Patrice O’Neill
Not In Our Town III: Light In The Darkness follows a community in crisis after the fatal attack of a local immigrant resident. Stunned by the violence, diverse community stakeholders openly confront the crime and the divisive atmosphere, and commit to ongoing actions to prevent future hate crimes and intolerance. 

Crime After Crime 
Dir. Yoav Potash
Crime After Crime is the exclusive documentary on the legal battle to free Debbie Peagler from prison two decades after her connection to the murder of the man who abused her. The film premiered at Sundance 2011 and has been acquired by OWN. Debbie’s Campaign is the accompanying campaign designed to spark public awareness and changes in domestic violence law.


The Good Pitch is an invitation-only event, starting with an intensive two-day campaign development workshop for the filmmakers on May 17-18 2011, followed by a day-long live event which brings together invited foundations, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, broadcasters and other media to expand the resources aimed at maximizing the impact of social-issue documentary. Filmmaking teams pitch their project and its associated outreach campaign with the aim of creating a unique coalition around each film to accelerate its impact and influence. 


The call was aimed at filmmakers of any nationality working on documentary film projects which tackle important global and national issues and enhance our understanding of the world. 

We were looking for projects at any stage from early production to completion, provided projects had not received a major festival screening; rough cut stage being ideal. The call was open to projects looking for completion funding, outreach funding, campaigning networks or a combination of these. There was no fee for applying or taking part in the Good Pitch NY 2011 but selected pitchers are expected to pay for their travel to and from the event, and their accommodation once there 


The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than half a century it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. 


The Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation is a UK-based not-for-profit organisation backed by Channel 4 TV. It is dedicated to reinventing funding and distribution models for British documentary filmmakers. As well as funding ground breaking social-issue films (such as double Sundance winner Afghan Star, Berlin winner The Yes Men Fix the World, Sundance 09 feature doc The End of the Line and Tribeca winner We Are Together), the Foundation brokers relationships between filmmakers and the NGO and brand sectors in the UK to create better, more effective films. The Good Pitch is a key part of the Foundation’s important work in this area. 


The Sundance Institute DFP supports contemporary nonfiction filmmakers globally with year-round activities, including the Sundance Documentary Fund, Creative Labs focusing on the art of documentary, the DocSource website and the Stories of Change partnership with the Skoll Foundation. The DFP has supported over 400 films since 1996, includingNerakoon: Betrayal, Trouble the Water, Iraq in Fragments, My Country, My Country, Why We Fight, and Long Night’s Journey Into Day. The DFP is a core program of the Los Angeles-based non-profit Sundance Institute. Founded by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is dedicated to the discovery and development of independent artists and audiences. 

The Good Pitch NY 2011 is made possible by our generous major supporters, Chicken & Egg PicturesThe Fledgling FundFord FoundationImpact PartnersTides Foundation, and anonymous donors. We are also grateful for the support of CrossCurrents Foundation and for the campaign support for filmmakers provided by Working Films.