Sundance Documentary Fund Announces Grants to Four Projects from Mexico and Chile

499 Years by Rodrigo Reyes

499 Years by Rodrigo Reyes

The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund has announced the most recent grantees, 25 nonfiction films from 12 countries, which includes four projects from Mexico and one from Chile. The support includes unrestricted grants to films in the development, production, post-production and audience engagement stages, and is made possible by founding support from Open Society Foundations.

The four projects from Mexico are Return to Oaxacalifornia by Trisha Ziff, 499 Years by Rodrigo Reyes, El compromiso de las sombras by Sandra Luz Lopez Barroso, and The Inventory by Ilana Coleman. The Chilean project is Los árboles nos cuentan / The Trees Tell Us by Carlos Sepúlveda.

Receiving support for development, Return to Oaxacalifornia, follows the Mejía family, twenty-one years after director had originally shot them. Who are they today? The film explores their worlds, dreams and contradictions; Fresno to Oaxaca. A road trip crossing three generations, two cultures and one border.

Produced by Inti Cordera and Andrew Houchens, 499 Years explores the brutal legacy of colonialism in Mexico nearly five centuries after Cortez arrived in the Aztec Empire. Bold, unique, and strikingly cinematic, the film confronts how past traumas continue to affect contemporary reality, challenging us to seek ways to forgive, heal and overcome our shared histories of violence.

The Trees Tell Us follows María, a seventy-three year old-farmer afflicted by a lung cancer caused by chemical pollution of the surrounding factories in a town of Ventanas, Chile. She will try to save her fields, leading us to magical spaces where the trees and their past come to life.

El compromiso de las sombras follows Lizbeth, who orchestrates the funerary rituals in her Afro-Mexican community, where the toll for victims of violence and organized crime continuously increases. She will guide us through this reality and help us reflect on the importance of saying goodbye to our loved ones.

In The Inventory, families seek justice for their forcibly disappeared relatives in México, while a fictionalized committee of linguists perform an inventory of the dictionary.