Keith Wilson awarded Sundance documentary grant

Keith Wilson, a lecturer in the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies, was named recipient of a grant from the nonprofit Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program.

The fund offers non-recoupable support for nonfiction projects that continue to elevate and advance cultural dialogue and break new ground in creativity and innovation from filmmakers with a distinct voice and vision, and a meaningful connection to the work they create.

Wilson is the producer of the film, “I Didn’t See You There,” a documentary about a disabled filmmaker who launches into an unflinching meditation on freakdom and (in)visibility when a circus tent goes up near his apartment. The film is directed by Reid Davenport.

“Receiving this grant is transformative for our project,” Wilson said of the grant. “Securing funding for independent, artist-driven documentary work is always an uphill battle, so the financial piece of the award is greatly appreciated.”

Wilson was named a 2021 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow for the same film project earlier this year. The Fellowship included participation in a week-long Producers Summit, as well as year-long mentorship, creative support and networking opportunities with industry professionals.

“In many ways, the intangible support the Sundance Institute has provided us in the form of mentorship, professional development, and access to industry networks, have been even more essential than the finances,” Wilson added.  

The Documentary Fund supports the work of nonfiction filmmakers from around the world. The fund has been a critical force in supporting work that has expressed the world in creative, complex, and provocative ways, and has created cultural and social impact around some of the most pressing issues of our time.

A total of $600,000 in unrestricted grant support has been provided to the projects in various stages of production and distribution, including eight in development, eight in production, three in post-production, and one in post-production and impact. The projects’ subject matter feature topics of disability, feminist history, globalization, grief and loss, and housing inequality, among other areas. A complete list of recipient projects can be viewed here.

Grants are made possible by The Open Society Foundations, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Kendeda Fund.

This cycle, eight out of the ten U.S. films granted are helmed by at least one BIPOC director. This statistic reflects the fund’s commitment to emerging artists whose voices have been historically marginalized in hegemonic Western societies.

“With this expansive cohort, the Documentary Film Fund is holding true to its commitment to independent storytelling. As we celebrate 20 years of funding hundreds of films, these films are a tangible representation of all that we stand for and value,” said Carrie Lozano, Sundance Institute, Director of Documentary Film Program and Artist Programs.

Lee, Wilson join EMST faculty

Grady College is proud to welcome Sanghoon Lee and Keith Wilson to the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies.

“Keith and Sanghoon bring an exceptional depth of vision and skill to the department and college,” said James Hamilton, a Jim Kennedy New Media Professor and head of the EMST department. “They’re not only outstanding teachers, they’re also talented filmmakers and creative artists.”

Lee is an assistant professor for the MFA Film, Television and Digital Media program and will be spending most of his teaching time at the program’s location at Trilith in Fayetteville, Georgia. When he is not teaching, Lee is a director, producer, writer and cinematographer for independent film projects and documentaries. Lee has completed several award-winning dramatic features as the cinematographer and producer, including “Second Moon,” “Chicago Heights” and “Hogtown.” His feature documentaries include “Breakfast at Ina’s” and “Today We Saw the Face of God.” In 2018, Lee wrote and directed his first feature film, “Banana Season,” which premiered at the Bentonville Film Festival. Currently, he is working as a producer and the cinematographer on a feature documentary project, “Art and Pep.”

Lee, a graduate of the MFA program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was a professor of film production and studies for ten years at the MFA program at Governors State University, as well as teaching at DePaul University and Northwestern University. He is a native of South Korea.

Wilson is a lecturer of production and cinematography classes. He is a 2021 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellow as the producer for the feature-length documentary “I Didn’t See You There.” For his in-progress feature film, the “Untitled Frank Moore Project,” he was a 2019 North Points Fellow and a 2018 BAVC Mediamakers Fellow. Wilson’s short documentary film, “The Tree,” premiered at the 2017 DOC NYC Film Festival and screened at MoMA’s 2019 Doc Fortnight program. He received his MFA in Film Production from the University of Texas-Austin, where he was a University and Jesse Jones Fellow. He is a native of Atlanta.

Keith Wilson selected as a 2021 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow

New EMST lecturer Keith Wilson has been selected as a 2021 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellow.

“This is a singular honor for documentary producers,” said Jay Hamilton, head of EMST. “Sundance is the premiere venue for independent filmmakers, and for Keith to have a project chosen for these programs places it at the forefront of new and exciting visual storytelling.”

Wilson’s documentary project for the labs is titled: “I Didn’t See You There.” Spurred by the spectacle of a circus tent that goes up outside his Oakland apartment, a disabled filmmaker launches into an unflinching meditation on freakdom, (in)visibility, and the pursuit of individual agency.

Along with nine other fellows, Wilson will be a part of the Sundance Institute’s weeklong Documentary Producers Lab July 25-29. Joining them for the Producers Summit during August 2-5 will be more than 50 industry leaders and 65 independent filmmakers. Both programs will be taking place digitally at https://collab.sundance.org/.

Keith Wilson is a director, creative producer, and visual artist whose work has been exhibited at Sundance, Berlinale, South by Southwest, Hot Docs, the U.S. National Gallery of Art, documenta14, and the Museum of Modern Art. He received his MFA in Film Production from the University of Texas-Austin, and grew up on a cul-de-sac in suburban Atlanta.

The Sundance Institute’s Producers Program champions the current and next generation of producers across fiction and nonfiction film and encompasses a year-round series of Labs, Fellowships, granting and events.

The Labs support emerging independent producers and engage the community of veteran producers who sustain the vibrancy and vitality of independent film. Under the guidance of advisors, the Labs allow fellows to deepen the creative potential of their projects, develop their creative instincts and evolve their storytelling, communication and problem-solving skills at all stages of their project. The fellows continue on through the Producers Summit and receive ongoing year-long mentorship, creative support, and networking opportunities with industry.

The Producers Summit brings together diverse sectors of the industry including financiers, packaging agents, distributors, and domestic and international sales representatives with emerging and mid-career producers for a revolving series of conversations around critical issues facing the field and producer sustainability. The program includes curated talks, one-on-one meetings, roundtables and a keynote conversation with Hasan Minhaj exploring the critical role of bold, personal storytelling.