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Catapult Film Fund Announces New Development Grants

Written by 06 Jan,2016

SAN FRANCISCO  January 5, 2016 - Catapult Film Fund awards development grants to eight documentary films. 

The films chosen tell a wide range of stories, with particularly strong characters and innovative storytelling. "We're especially thrilled with this group of grantees. We started Catapult Film Fund five years ago with the idea of supporting films just like these: powerful narratives with compelling characters, unique access and a creative perspective," says Catapult Co-founder Lisa Kleiner Chanoff.


"These eight filmmakers are coming to Catapult right as they are about to investigate a character, shoot some new material or translate footage that will tell them what kind of film they can make.  This is when a development grant really makes a big impact.   These filmmakers have secured access to amazing stories and have specific ideas about how to treat this sometimes complex material in an innovative way.  We are very excited about this new slate of films," says Catapult Co-founder Bonni Cohen.


The following films were chosen to receive Catapult Film Fund grants:



Director: Marcus Lindeen  

In 1973 five men and six women went on a dramatic raft expedition across the Atlantic Ocean for 101 days to study human aggression and sexuality. This documentary reunites them forty years later to reveal what actually happened during one of history's strangest group experiments. 



Director: Preston Randolph

ALL WE'VE LOST follows events in the case of Barry Beach, revealing the emotional story of an aging mother, who despite continuous denial, battles the State of Montana to free her son from prison and discovers their story has inspired historic change.



Director: Mohamed Siam 

Filmed over four years, this observational journey follows an Egyptian girl's self-discovery and search for her own place, identity and sexuality, as she transitions from childhood into adulthood, growing up as a young female in a macho society within a constantly changing country. 


Director: Anne Barliant

Celebrities, snipers, smuggling and courage - this is the story of Sarajevo's first film festival and the continuing struggle to rebuild. 


Director: Jeremy Xido

BOLOR AND THE BONES tracks Dr. Bolor Minjin, one of Mongolia's first female paleontologists, as she travels from her new home in New York City back to the Gobi desert to investigate how the dinosaur bones were stolen from one of the richest fossil sites in the world. Following the trail of poached bones around the globe, she encounters renowned scientists, "commercial paleontologists," high-end art traders, local politicians, poachers, and other players with lucrative stakes in the underground economy of international fossil trading.


Director: Maxim Pozdorovkin

After several bank robberies carried out in the name of art (and money), video artist and former MIT professor Joseph Gibbons leaves prison, re-enters the art world, and tries to go straight for the very first time. 


Directors: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

A photographer's quest leads to America's real gun experts: men, women, and children from all backgrounds throughout the country who were shot and survived. The survivors' compelling stories bypass polarizing arguments and embody the effects of US gun laws.


(The eighth project is not described here due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter.)




Since Catapult launched in 2010, the fund has supported 76 films with development grants and mentorship. Of these, to date 17 have made it to completion and have screened in festivals and theaters around the world, including five that will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2016.



Catapult gives crucial early support to propel forward projects that hold the promise of a unique story that should be told in film. Catapult Film Fund provides development funding to documentary filmmakers who have a compelling story to tell, have secured access to their story and are ready to shoot and edit a piece for production fundraising purposes.


Catapult support begins with a development grant but can continue until the film premieres. Catapult grantees have access to an informal mentorship program with Catapult's co-founders, Bonni Cohen and Lisa Kleiner Chanoff, in areas including story development, production process, fundraising and distribution strategy. In addition, Catapult grantees are eligible to receive funding beyond development, in the form of Momentum Grants, Consultation Grants, and post-production grants.  


Catapult's mission is to enable filmmakers to develop their film projects to the next level at a stage where funding is hard to find. The Fund doesn't require that films fit within specific issue categories. It supports powerful stories and moving storytelling across a broad spectrum of issues and perspectives. Catapult has supported of a range of films, from individual portraits to stories with global implications.


To learn more about Catapult supported projects, please visit



January 18, 2016 -  Click here for information on how to apply!