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The $20,000 prize, presented by Durga Entertainment and IFP, helps filmmakers balance parenthood with a career.
Writer-director Olivia Newman has been awarded the second annual Durga Entertainment Filmmaker Grant, New York-based film production company Durga Entertainment and IFP announced Monday.
The $20,000 grant was created to recognize the challenge of balancing parenthood with independent filmmaking. American directors working in narrative film who also are alumni of IFP were eligible to apply.
Newman, a mother of two young children, intends to use the grant to produce her first narrative feature, First Match, the story of a teenage girl from Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood who decides that joining the all-boys high school wrestling team is the only way to win the affection of her estranged father.
Last Sunday evening at Lincoln Center, Eleanor Burke was awarded the first ever IFP Durga Entertainment Filmmaker Grant, which offers a $20,000 prize to an IFP alum who juggles filmmaking and parenting. Burke attended the 2009 IFP Filmmaker Labs with her debut Stranger Things, and the 2012 No Borders Co-Production Market with Bright as Day, which Burke says is “about an aging anti-social wanderer and a teenage truant who band together to save an abandoned horse.” The script also took part in the Sundance Producing Lab and the Hamptons Screenwriting Lab. Concurrently, Burke is prepping Through and Through, which will participate in the Venice Biennale College Cinema in October. The film follows a loving but careworn husband who looks after his incapacitated wife full-time. Burke is directing with her filmmaking partner Ron Eyal, with Lucas Joaquin set to produce.
Of the award, which was made possible by Ritu Pande and Kishori Rajan of Durga Entertainment, Burke said, “Being a parent of a young child while pursuing a filmmaking career is, of course, challenging. I’ve actually found being a parent inspiring and since having my baby I feel my creative vision has expanded, but I’ve been doing a lot of my writing with my baby on my lap! This grant is going to make a huge difference. It will help me get my next film made and take care of my family.”
September 16, 2014 (Brooklyn, NY) – IFP and Durga Entertainment announced Eleanor Burke as the recipient of the 2014 Durga Entertainment Filmmaker Grant, established for an alumnus of IFP who is balancing a filmmaking career with parenting. The grant provides a $20,000 unrestricted prize to encourage the recipient to continue on his or her career path of making quality independent films. American directors or screenwriters working in narrative film who have participated in the IFP Independent Filmmaker Labs or IFP Independent Film Week’s Emerging Storytellers or No-Borders International Co-Production Market were eligible.
The grant was announced at a special reception at IFP’s Independent Film Week, which brings the international film and media community to New York City to advance new documentary and narrative works-in-progress in support of the future of storytelling. Through the facilitation of over 3,500+ custom, one-to-one meetings with the financiers, executives, influencers and decision-makers in film, television, new media and cross-platform storytelling, the program nurtures the work of both emerging and established independent filmmakers to help them complete their latest works and connect with audiences.
“We are thankful to Ritu Singh Pande and Kishori Rajan from Durga for partnering with IFP to offer this critical and innovative support to our artists,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director of IFP and the Made in NY Media Center. “Eleanor is such a talented filmmaker, and in her second career, is a new mother. We’re very excited that we can support her life and work with this grant.”
“Filmmaking and parenting are both distinctively all-consuming undertakings, making the challenge to balance family and career for filmmakers an increasingly formidable path.” said Durga Entertainment Founder Ritu Singh Pande. “We are thrilled to support IFP’s work by offering this grant to aid their rising to that challenge.”
Burke is a graduate of IFP’s 2009 Independent Filmmaker Labs with her debut feature, Stranger Things, which garnered critical accolades including the Grand Jury Prize at the Slamdance and Woodstock Film Festivals. She is also an alumni of 2012 No Borders Co-Production Market with Bright As Day. Through & Through, her next feature script that is one of 12 projects selected to attend the 2014 Venice Biennale College Cinema this fall.
“May in the Summer kicked off Sundace with two of the festival’s traditional themes: family dysfunction and cultural reassimilation. Get ready for the wedding of the year.”
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