True Life Fund
The True Life Fund returns for its seventh year to demonstrate that documentaries can create change by offering tangible assistance to the real-life subjects of a new non-fiction film. And it acknowledges that documentary filmmakers and festivals thrive because of the stories given to us by people often of limited means.
While we can’t yet raise money for the subjects of every film (one day!) we can spotlight one film each year and raise funds to support and honor those who appear in front of the camera. We do this by actively collaborating with filmmakers, whose intimate knowledge of their "characters" enables us to pinpoint needs and most effectively target our efforts.
We are proud to announce in 2013 the True Life Fund will recognize Sebastian Junger’s Which Way is the Front Line From Here? The Life & Time of Tim Hetherington. The film traces the career of journalist Tim Hetherington, who died covering the Libyan civil war in 2011. Money raised by the True Life Fund will go to Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC) and the Milton Margai School for the Blind in Sierra Leone.
Which Way is the Front Line? is particularly touching because of the emotional, directorial salute by Junger, a close friend and colleague of Hetherington. In 2010, the two co-directed the Oscar-nominated documentary Restrepo (T/F 2010) about a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
Shortly after the release of Restrepo, Hetherington was hit by a shrapnel from a mortar blast in Misrata, Libya and bled out while being transported to the hospital. As a result of Hetherington’s death, Junger established RISC and continues as its director. RISC’s mission is to promote the safety of freelance journalists in combat zones by training journalists to treat life-threatening injuries on the battlefield. True Life Fund proceeds will be earmarked to provide free trainings. The Milton Margai School for the Blind, an important site for Tim both personally and professionally, has been designated as a charity that the Hetherington family supports.
Which Way is the Front Line From Here? is the seventh True/Life Film, and the sixth presented in partnership with The Crossing, a local church who will once again sponsor the True Life Fund in 2013. Returning for the second year, The Bertha Foundation will again provide matching funds.
- 2007: Working with We Are Together director Paul Taylor and producer Teddy Leifer, the fund raised $8,500 to buy school supplies for the Children of Agape singing choir of South Africa.
- 2008: With Very Young Girls director David Schisgall and GEMS (Girls Educational & Mentoring Service) founder Rachel Lloyd, the fund raised $9,000 to provide services to girls recovering from the trauma of sexual exploitation.
- 2009: With Burma VJ director Anders Østergaard, we sent over $9,000 to support the intrepid, underground journalists featured in his film Burma VJ to help purchase cameras and other equipment vital to their efforts to document the ongoing revolution in Burma.
- 2010: With Enemies of the People co-directors Thet Sambath and Rob Lemkin, the fund sent $10,000 to help Sambath's efforts to interview former members of the Khmer Rogue in Cambodia.
- 2011: Working closely with The Interrupters director Steve James and the team at Kartemquin, we raised $15,000 to help three real-life Midwestern superheroes Ameena Matthews, Cobe Williams and Eddie Bocanegra of the anti-violence group CeaseFire.
- 2012: With the help of a generous matching grant from the Bertha Foundation, we distributed $30,000 to the five brave families featured in Lee Hirsch’s Bully