The unique DocLands program DocPitch works to connect filmmakers and their ideas to distributors, organizations, philanthropists, fellow filmmakers–and future audiences. A jury consisting of David Eckles, Filmmaker Fund; Maida Brankman, Genuine Article Pictures; and Joni Cooper, DocLands’ Director of Programming selected five film projects currently in development through an open call that brought in 102 projects. These five ‘pitchers’ presented their projects on stage to an audience, accompanied by trailers for each of their films. All members of the audience were given a ballot prior to the filmmakers’ presentations to vote for their favorite pitch.

These five pitching teams presented their projects on stage to an audience, accompanied by a trailer and audience Q&A. Following the presentations, the audience voted and filmmakers Jim LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham won the cash award of $10,000 provided by an anonymous donor for their documentary Crip Camp, the story of Camp Jened, a place where kids with disabilities in the 1970’s could find a sense of community. The excitement and emotion on stage was palpable when it was announced that the original prize had suddenly shot up to $25,000 thanks to the same donor who felt the filmmakers deserved a prize more in line with the quality of their projects. LeBrecht and Newnham then paid it forward and shared $5000 of their prize with fellow pitchers, Sara Lafleur-Vetter and Romin Lee Johnson for their project The Sacred & the Snake! In addition, each pitching team received $1000 from an additional anonymous donor who wished to recognize the amount of work that goes into putting a winning pitch together. For more information on all five projects:

Photos © Tommy Lau Photography  |  Chris Markisz  |  Tommy Lau Photography