ROUGH CUT RETREAT

A CATAPULT FILM FUND & TRUE/FALSE FILM FEST COLLABORATION

WITH SUPPORT FROM THE CHICAGO MEDIA PROJECT

At the height of summer, when filmmakers are neck-deep in the editing process, Rough Cut Retreat offers a one-of-a-kind mentorship experience. Launched in 2016, RCR unites nonfiction filmmakers and mentors in a creative, supportive, and engaged atmosphere. The retreat acts as a focus group for filmmakers to diagnose what is and isn’t working in their film. After months in an edit suite, filmmakers often lose perspective; this is a key moment for fresh eyes in a safe space. When selecting projects, True/False and Catapult prioritize work that displays an ambitious, idiosyncratic approach to nonfiction storytelling. Additionally, preference is given to emerging filmmakers and projects that are not already receiving significant institutional support. Chosen mentors are professionals who embody creativity and generosity of spirit. 

The RCR call for entries typically opens in early spring. Check back here for more information about the application.

2020

Virtual Retreat / July 25 – 31

Mentors: Bonni Cohen (producer/director, Athlete A, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Audrie & Daisy), David Teague (editor, Cutie and the Boxer, Freeheld, Spaceship Earth), Don Bernier (editor, Athlete A, Always in Season), Rahdi Taylor (producer, Time), Omar Mullick (director/cinematographer, These Birds Walk)

BITTERBUSH

Dir. Emelie Mahdavian, Prod. Su Kim

A portrait of friendship, life transitions, and hard work, as two young women navigate an isolated and beautiful landscape of the American West.

THE IN BETWEEN

Dir. Robie Flores, Prod. Alejandro Flores/Kellen Quinn

This interwoven coming-of-age story chronicles the ordinary and extraordinary moments of growing up on the U.S./Mexico border.

NORTH BY CURRENT

Dir. Angelo Madsen Minax, Prod. Felix Endara

A deep personal history of the complex relationships shared between mothers and their children, this film creatively reframes narratives about incarceration, addiction, trans embodiment, and ruralness.

RAZING LIBERTY SQUARE

Dir. Katja Esson, Prod. Ann Bennett

After years of neglect, residents of Miami’s oldest public housing project learn about an urban revitalization project and brace themselves to fight a new form of racial injustice: climate gentrification. 

UNTITLED PRC PROJECT

Dir. Jessica Kingdon, Prod. Kira Simon-Kennedy/Nathan Truesdell

This multi-faceted portrait takes us inside the growing behemoth that is the nominally communist yet hyper-capitalist People’s Republic of China – and questions what it actually means to live the so-called “Chinese Dream.”

2019

Carey Institute for Global Good, Rensselaerville, NY / August 4 – 8

MAYOR

Dir. David Osit

Mayor follows a charismatic leader’s quixotic quest to build the city of the future in a land paralyzed by its past.

Premiere: True/False 2020

SOCKS ON FIRE

Dir. Bo McGuire

Socks on Fire is a transgenerational docudrama couched in the familial battle between a homophobic aunt and drag-queen uncle over an Alabama grandmother’s estate.

Premiere: Tribeca Film Festival 2020

UNAPOLOGETIC

Dir. Ashley O’Shay

During the height of the Movement for Black Lives in Chicago, Unapologetic captures a community of millennial organizers confronting an administration complicit in state violence against its Black residents, through the intimate stories of two Black queer women, Janaé and Bella.

Premiere: Blackstar Film Festival 2020

FEELS GOOD MAN

Dir. Arthur Jones

 Feels Good Man explores the current cultural moment and political climate through the lens of the Internet’s dankest meme.

Premiere: Sundance Film Festival 2020

WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND

Dir. Iliana Sosa

What We Leave Behind follows the director’s 89-year-old grandfather on his monthly 17-hour bus ride from Primo de Verdad (a rural town in northern Mexico) to El Paso, Texas and Albuquerque, New Mexico to reunite with family separated by borders.

2018

Carey Institute for Global Good, Rensselaerville, NY / July 22 – 26.

Mentors: Erin Casper (editor, Detropia [T/F 2013]), Rachel Grady (co-director, 12th & Delaware), Josh Penn (producer, Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Aaron Wickenden (editor, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? [T/F 2018], and Roger Ross Williams (director, Life Animated [T/F 2015]).

Dir. Mo Scarpelli 

Anbessa explores the rich inner world of a lion-hearted, ten-year-old boy in Ethiopia as he weathers the tides of change that threaten to usurp his community and country.

Premiere: Berlinale 2019

SO LATE SO SOON

Dir. Daniel Hymanson 

Queen of the Battling Butterfly Brigade (its working title at the time of the RCR) is a film about aging, ecstasy, and finding the infinite in the infinitesimal.

Premiere: True/False 2020

SCARS

Dir. Agnieszka Zwiefka

Scars follows a former female fighter and radical ideologue of the Tamil Tigers, in a post-civil war Sri Lanka. When she leaves her quiet countryside life to find her fellow comrades, she faces her own dark past and the trauma of war.  

Premiere: One World Film Festival 2020

STRAY

Dir. Elizabeth Lo

Stray sees the world through the eyes of three street dogs in Turkey, a nation in a profound state of flux. The film finds dignity in both the dogs and the marginalized people around them.

Premiere: Tribeca Film Festival 2020

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES

Dir. Hannah Jayanti

Truth or Consequences is about the eponymous, small desert town in New Mexico banking on the world’s first commercial spaceport. This dusty no man’s land and its longtime residents are both eager for and weary of big changes.  

Premiere: International Film Festival Rotterdam 2020

2017

Gedney Farm, New Marlborough, MA / July 23 – 27

Mentors: Amanda Branson-Gill (producer, The Unknown Known), David Teague (editor, Life Animated; Cutie & the Boxer), Chris Hegedus (director, The War Room), Mark Becker (Director/Producer, Art & Craft; Pressure Cooker), and Pete Nicks (director, The Force).

Dir. Mohamed Siam
Amal follows an Egyptian teenager, from the age of 14 till the age of 20 while she’s searching for her identity within a constantly changing country.

Premiere: IDFA 2017

Dirs. Chase Whiteside & Erick Stoll
América is about a dreamer who reunites with his brothers to take care of their ninety-three year old grandmother, América in southwest Mexico.

Premiere: True/False 2018

 

Dir. André Hörmann
Ringside (formerly, The Punch) takes us into the heart of a high- stakes family drama playing out in a remote Cuban fishing village

Premiere: Berlinale 2019

Dir. Milena Pastreich
Pigeon Kings tracks a peculiar subculture of pigeon competitions in So. Central LA presided over by the godfather Keith London.

Premiere: Seattle International Film Festival 2019

Dir. Kim Hopkins
Voices of the Sea takes us into the heart of a high- stakes family drama playing out in a remote Cuban fishing village.

Premiere: True/False 2018

2016

Mayacamas Ranch, Calistoga, CA / August 7 – 11

Mentors: Nels Bangerter (editor, Cameraperson), Rachel Boynton (director, Big Men,), Pedro Kos (editor, The Square), Dan Krauss (director, The Kill Team), and Kristine Samuelson (director, Tokyo Waka).

Dir. Vaishali Sinha

Premiere: Hot Docs 2017

Dir. Shevaun Mizrahi

Premiere: Locarno International Film Festival 2017 (WIP at True/False 2017)

Dirs. Jeffrey Levine & Landon Van Soest

Premiere: Berlinale 2017

Dir. Jonathan Olshefski

Premiere: Sundance 2017

Dir. Till Shrauder

Premiere: Tribeca 2017