Festival Year: 2020

2020 Garrett Scott Grant
Isabel Bethencourt, Parker Hill, Anne Alvergue, Debra McClutchy

The 2020 Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant has been awarded to Isabel Bethencourt and Parker Hill for Cusp and Anne Alvergue and Debra McClutchy for martha.
Now in its fourteenth year, the grant is presented in honor of filmmaker Garrett Scott, who made a distinctive mark in the documentary genre during his brief career. It recognizes first-time filmmakers who, like Scott, bring a unique vision and style to their documentary films.

9to5: The Story of a Movement
Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar

This film tells the stories of the millions of low-wage, virtually invisible women who populated the clerical pool, served coffee, and suffered sexual harassment before it was recognized as such. In the 1970s, they gathered their courage and rose up against their bosses, large corporations, and institutions.

Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa
Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, Mike Attie

In Philadelphia, counselors at a women’s health fund field calls from women seeking to end their pregnancies but who cannot afford the procedure. This powerful short intercuts this work with archival footage of the passing of the Hyde Amendment, which successfully limited abortion access for the most financially vulnerable women.

All Cats Are Grey in the Dark
Lasse Linder

Christian and his two cats, Katjuscha and Marmelade, are inseparable. In an attempt to ensure future companionship, Christian breeds Marmelade with a spry tomcat. Tender moments between owner and pet compose this short and lighthearted examination of aging and connection.

Jennifer Redfearn

In the Midwest, against the backdrop of the opioid epidemic and rising incarceration rates, three women navigate the challenges of mothering their children from prison. With poignant sensitivity, this film follows them as they prepare to reunite with their families and rebuild relationships after years of separation.

As Long As You Still Have Arms
Luisa Bäde

From a single stage and with a collection of intricately designed puppets, Frank Karbstein delivers his ultimate performance of the activist work that led him to be imprisoned in the German Democratic Republic during the 1980s. Using memory and theater to explore the lingering question of who among his pacifist group betrayed him, Frank searches for answers through art.

Ryan White

Assassins meticulously examines the 2017 assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, who was killed by two women in the middle of a Malaysian airport. Were the young assailants ruthless killers or individuals duped into taking part in a conspiracy to commit murder?

Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business
Christine Turner

The inimitable 93-year-old artist Betye Saar—known for such electrifying and boundary-pushing pieces as The Liberation of Aunt Jemima—assembles found objects into profound sculptural collages. This short but astute character film captures Saar’s influence in the art world and her passionate philosophy surrounding craft.

Boys State
Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine

This film dramatically captures the political motivations and strategic calculations of a group of young men who, among a thousand other Texas high school students, take part in a weeklong exercise to build a representative democracy from the ground up.

Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn
Ivy Meeropol

Candid interviews with colleagues and acquaintances trace the infamous late lawyer’s life and career, from his early days as a prosecutor in the still-controversial espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg—director Ivy Meeropol’s grandparents—to his work with Senator Joseph McCarthy to his role as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and mentor.

City So Real
Steve James

This four-hour series captures the city of Chicago at a pivotal moment, as residents grapple with a divisive mayoral election alongside the trial of the policeman who killed Laquan McDonald. Documenting the city from multiple vantages, City So Real highlights the experiences of candidates and citizens alike to consider how issues of race manifest across the political spectrum and in everyday lives.

Coded Bias
Shalini Kantayya

This in-depth examination into the profound social ramifications of artificial intelligence follows MIT researcher Joy Buolamwini and other computer scientists as they investigate widespread racial, gender, and other human biases in the algorithms that increasingly impact our lives.

Alexander Nanau

In Romania, an intrepid team of journalists uncover vast corruption across the medical industry—a conspiracy to traffic in diluted hospital disinfectant that results in the deaths of many innocent patients and involves product manufacturers and distributors, hospital managers, government officials, and business moguls. With remarkable access, Collective boldly traces the personal risks involved in bringing the truth to light.

Lizzy Hogenson

In this short film, stop-motion animation illustrates a poignant phone call between a mother and her daughter. By turns tender and firm, their exchange portrays a deep connection despite physical distance.

Desert One
Barbara Kopple

In 1980, the United States attempted a daring, ultimately disastrous military operation to rescue American hostages in Tehran, Iran. Desert One revisits this crucial historical moment, examining the failed mission through the recollections of on the ground participants, political stakeholders, and those personally impacted by the outcome, including officers, soldiers, hostages, President Carter, and others.

Dick Johnson Is Dead
Kirsten Johnson

As a way of preparing herself and her aging father for letting go, filmmaker Kirsten Johnson imagines various ways that he might die, staging and filming the scenarios in intricate, painstaking recreations. Intimate conversations between parent and child infuse their poignant, funny, and wildly imaginative journey.

Feels Good Man
Arthur Jones

When indie comic artist Matt Furie’s creation Pepe the Frog is co-opted by the alt-right, the formerly carefree amphibian becomes an involuntary symbol of hate. Feels Good Man documents the trajectory of Pepe’s online renown to explore an illustrator’s quest to reclaim his character and the liabilities of our cyber culture.

The Fight
Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, Eli Despres

In this on-the-ground film composed of four timely and wrenching narratives, five ACLU lawyers work tirelessly to defend civil liberties. Whether reuniting a parent and child separated at the border or fighting for reproductive rights, voting rights, or the right of a transgender soldier to keep his job, these underappreciated warriors of the courtroom battle on, often at personal cost.