The initiative by Sundance Institute supports works of nonfiction filmmakers from around the globe, with unrestricted grant funding to films in various stages of production.
By Helena Olori
Widow Champion, by award-winning Kenyan director, Zippy Kimundu, has been featured among the 23 projects selected for the 2023 Sundance Institute Documentary Fund totalling a little over a million dollars.
The initiative by Sundance Institute supports works of nonfiction filmmakers from around the globe, with unrestricted grant funding to films in various stages of production. This funding is powered by the Open Society Foundations, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Gucci, and the Kendeda Fund.
This year’s slate has 6 projects in development, 14 in production, and 3 in post-production, exploring themes of humanity in the face of oppression, global conflict, community building, human rights, and social justice.
“These projects carry tremendous potential for narrative change and remind us of the vital importance of bold, risk-taking independent film for a healthy democracy and a thriving civil society,” said Paola Mottura, Documentary Film Fund Director.
Kimundu’s Widow Champion, selected in the production stage, tells the story of a Kenyan widow who, after being thrown off her land and home by her in-laws, becomes an advocate and fights for women’s rights. She organises other widows to demand their rights. Caught between traditional beliefs and the modern world, these women must work with the village elders to create a community court to help solve longstanding conflicts.
Emmy award-winning filmmaker, Heather Courtney, renowned for directing the 2011 Where Soldiers Come From, will serve as producer on the project, alongside Kimundu.
Zippy Kimundu has worked in the global industry for years as a director, producer, and editor. Her works include fiction and nonfiction projects in more than 20 countries. She collaborated with Mira Nair to create the short documentary A Fork, a Spoon & a Knight for the Tribeca Film Institute’s Power of Word Series. She was the assistant editor on Disney’s Queen of Katwe.