Good Pitch @ Silverdocs

The Good Pitch @ Silverdocs took place on June 23 2010, near Washington DC. It brought together 8 inspiring social-purpose film projects and a group of expert participants from charities, foundations, brands and media.

More than 150 broadcasters, NGOs, foundations, philanthropists, online media and policy makers took part in the Good Pitch @ Silverdocs in Washington DC. The event goes from strength to strength as more influential and diverse circles hear about it and begin to take part, bringing their knowledge and resources to the table.

Highlights included Victor Buhler raising $50,000 to shoot this summer for A Whole Lott More, Ameena Matthews - contributor to Steve James’s film The Interrupters - speaking so eloquently about the work she does preventing violent recriminations in Chicago, the countless pledges of support from organizations and activists, the Dear Mandela team being told to expect ‘very good news’ at a grant cycle announcement next week, being addressed by Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay priest to be ordained a bishop in a major Christian denomination - and the subject of The Truth Will Set You Free. What a day!

If you wished you’d been there, but just didn’t have the time, you can see the whole event in just in an iPhone timelapse film of the day. Now that’s efficiency!

You can also read up on all the projects, and view their trailers, at


Eight fantastic projects pitched on the day. The filmmakers were Victor Buhler (A Whole Lott More), Macky Alston (The Truth Will Set You Free), Jon Shenk ( Higher Ground), Angad Bhalla (The House That Herman Built), Dara Kell & Christopher Nizza (Dear Mandela), Steve James & Alex Kotlowitz (The Interrupters), Danfung Dennis (To Hell and Back Again), and Annika Gustafson & Phil Jandaly ($H*T).

Selected from 150 excellent submissions, the eight projects cover an exciting range of subjects including war & conflict, disability employment, LGBT equality, incarceration and solitary confinement, violence prevention and mediation, climate change and green energy. These issues are explored through stories that play out the world over - in the USA, Afghanistan, the Maldives, South Africa and Kenya.

More on the projects:

A Whole Lott More
Dir. Victor Buhler

Lott Industries in Ohio, USA employs 1200 workers with developmental disabilities. For decades, the company has built car parts. However, with the decline of the auto industry, Lott Industries finds itself in trouble. The company has twelve months to reinvent itself. A Whole Lott More details the most crucial year in Lott Industries’ history and follows three inspiring workers with disabilities as they join the struggle to hold onto the best job they have ever had. 

The Truth Will Set You Free
Dir. Macky Alston
Prod. Sandra Itkoff

The story of a man whose two defining passions are in great conflict: his love for God and his love for his partner Mark. This film follows Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay partnered bishop in the high church traditions of Christendom, and a host of others who are making history and whose lives hang in the balance of the current church/state battles for LGBT equality.

Higher Ground
Dir. Jon Shenk

His nation of 1,200 low-lying islands is sinking as sea levels rise. Higher Ground is a film about Mohammed Nasheed, President of The Maldives, and his extraordinary role in the global climate war. During his first year in office, we follow as Nasheed breathlessly carries the fight to chambers of power in London, the United Nations, India, and finally to Copenhagen for ten intense days in December, 2009. This drama pits a die-hard activist for human rights – Nasheed himself was imprisoned and tortured as he fought for democracy in the Maldives – against the nasty geopolitical realities of the growing climate debate.

The House That Herman Built
Dir. Angad Bhalla

“What kind of house does a man who has been imprisoned in a six-foot-by-nine-foot cell for over 30 years dream of?” This film captures the remarkable creative journey and friendship of Herman Wallace, one of the Angola 3, and artist Jackie Sumell while examining the injustice of prolonged solitary confinement.

Dear Mandela
Dirs Dara Kell & Christopher Nizza

Dear Mandela chronicles the journey of three young leaders whose communities face mass eviction as South Africa prepares to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Enacting a policy eerily reminiscent of apartheid-era repression, the government is attempting to ‘eradicate the slums’ by using armed demolition crews to forcefully remove families from their homes at gunpoint. Dear Mandela tells the story of democratic South Africa’s largest organization of poor people, a non-violent movement to stop the bulldozers that are literally tearing apart lives and communities. From the chaos on the streets to the highest court in the land, this new generation is putting Nelson Mandela’s promise of a ‘better life for all’ to the test.

The Interrupters
Prod/Dir Steve James
Prod/Writer, Alex Kotlowitz

The Interrupters tells the remarkable story of a group of men and women in Chicago whose singular mission is to prevent shootings. They’re part of an innovative program run by an infectious disease doctor who views violence through the prism of public health. These men and women, most of them former gang leaders and drug dealers who have been participants in the brutality of the streets, are our guides into the discomfiting and unsettling gunplay in America’s cities.

Hell & Back Again
Dir. Danfung Dennis

The intensely personal story of Sergeant Harris and Marine battalion Echo Company from the start of the 2009 tour of Afghanistan to their return, the decompression and rehabilitation in the US. A study of exceptional bravery and loss, of friends and family struggling to support the returning warriors.

Dir. Annika Gustafson

$H*T! is an auteur, character-driven film following radical solutions that turn human waste into green energy, and the pioneers who drive them. Filmed in Kenya’s Kibera slum, the film opens up possibilities for a whole new green and clean world and a better future for the world’s 2.6 billion people who lack access to sanitation. From the bottom of the poverty ladder to the heights of power, $H*T! shows a transformation in thinking, where human waste is not a problem - it’s a resource.


AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival is a six-day internationally recognised event that honors excellence in filmmaking, supports the diverse voices and free expression of independent storytellers and celebrates the power of documentary to improve our understanding of the world. Now in its eighth year, the 2010 festival runs June 22–27 at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in the Washington, DC area. The 2009 Festival featured 122 films from more than 60 countries and attracted over 27,000 attendees, including the influential audiences of the nation’s capital and media professionals from around the world. The concurrent five-day AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs International Documentary Conference presents thought-provoking presentations and engages a diverse group of over 1,000 filmmakers and industry leaders concerned with the future of non-fiction storytelling, production and distribution. For more information, go to


AFI is a national institute providing leadership in screen education and the recognition and celebration of excellence in the art of film, television and digital media.

AFI trains the next generation of storytellers at its world-renowned AFI Conservatory, preserves the legacy of America’s film heritage through the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and AFI Archives, and honors artists and their work through a variety of programs and special events.

For 37 years, the AFI Life Achievement Award has remained the highest honor for a career in film. AFI also honors the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year at AFI Awards, the institute’s almanac for the 21st century, while AFI’s 100 Years… series has introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers.  And as the largest nonprofit exhibitor in the United States, AFI’s festivals include AFI FEST presented by Audi in Los Angeles and AFI/Discovery Channel Silverdocs documentary festival in Silver Spring, Maryland. AFI exhibition also offers year-round programming at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in the Washington DC, area. Additional information about AFI is available at


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Supporting Contemporary-Issue Nonfiction Storytellers Worldwide The Documentary Film Program identifies and nurtures innovative nonfiction storytelling globally, supporting 30-50 documentary film projects annually which surface stories of human rights, social justice, freedom of expression, civil liberties, and other pressing issues for global audiences. The Documentary Film Program includes the Sundance Documentary Fund, Creative Labs, the DocSource website, workshops and presentations worldwide, and other initiatives including Stories of Change, a three-year partnership with the Skoll Foundation. The Program comprises one of the world’s foremost resoures for nonfiction filmmakers, reflecting the Institute’s commitment to independent documentary as an increasingly global art form and a critical cultural practice in the 21st century. For more information visit

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