The Dart Center Documentary Film Fellowship – supported by The Dart Foundation of Mason, Michigan – will take place February 11-17, 2024 in Grand Cayman.
“Today’s documentary filmmakers immerse themselves in the most difficult human experiences, bringing audiences into intimate engagement with stories of violence, crisis and tragedy,” said Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. “This new Dart Center fellowship will harness the energy and innovative spirit of documentarians committed to trauma-aware storytelling, equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to work with vulnerable individuals and communities ethically and effectively, and to advance the well-being of documentary teams on these demanding and crucial projects.”
The week-long fellowship will bring 12 filmmakers together with leading experts on core issues of trauma science as well as innovators in documentary practice, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas, experiences and challenges in the profession.
Seminars will focus on ethical documentary reporting and engagement of vulnerable people in all stages of production; narrative and craft challenges specific to documentary film; duty of care to subjects and sources; self-care and resilience; as well as organizational and peer support from pre-production through film distribution.
The program will equip filmmakers with the knowledge and skills to approach victims and survivors with sensitivity and depth; understand the complexity of trauma survivors' experiences; tell more insightful, multi-dimensional and nuanced stories about those impacted by trauma; make more informed, ethical choices when covering traumatic events; and create self-care and peer support plans that span development through distribution, awards and streaming runs.
"For decades, the Dart family has been impressed by the success the Dart Center has had in advancing and recognizing excellence in reporting on victims of violence and providing training and support for the journalists that tell those stories,” said Dart Foundation President Jim Lammers. “Ken Dart and the Dart Foundation are pleased to support expansion of the Dart Center’s science-driven principles to filmmaking with a fellowship for documentarians whose work focuses on those whose lives have been profoundly impacted by traumatic events.”