Announcing the Fellowship Winners

We were honored to receive nearly a hundred applications. Initially, we had planned to announce one winner. The number of worthy applicants and the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in led us to re-evaluate our potential. We decided that our sponsors’ generosity allowed us to grant awards to three sets of filmmakers and projects.

A total of $20,000, personal mentorships with leading filmmakers Gary Hustwit, David Sampliner, and Gretchen Hildebran (learn more about the mentors here), and other opportunities for career and project advancement are presented to:

  • Braulio Jatar and Anaïs Michel for their moving depiction of Venezuelan refugees trying to rebuild their lives in Cùcuta (working title);
  • Angelos Rallis for his heart-rending portrait of an orphaned girl in Bangladesh searching for her birth father in Mighty Afrin (working title);
  • Tom Laffay for his stirring work about the identity and spirituality of the Siona indigenous people in Colombia in Tigre Eléctrico (working title).

Learn more about each of the Fellows and their projects on our Fellows page here.

We are proud to support these brave and ambitious filmmakers and to help them move forward with their projects in a time of much uncertainty. We can’t wait to see these films and see them shared with the world.

It has been more than a year since we lost Andy. We miss his friendship, his partnership, his laughter, and his work. We are moved to see his legacy embodied in this year’s Fellows.

The Andrew Berends Film Fellowship would like to thank all of our generous donors, both individuals and foundations, as well as our friends at IFP, VICE, D-Word, Pure Non-Fiction and the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship. Special thanks to Fellowship Board members Aaron Soffin, Michiel Pilgram, Brenden Hussey, Maria Ibrahimova, and Jason Gardner.

Even as we announce this year’s winners, we are beginning to plan for next year’s Fellowship. Please consider contributing to the Fellowship through our fiscal sponsor here.

Download Full Press Release

Andrew Berends Tribute, IFC Center, Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Berends Tribu8te IFC 5/25/2019

Filmmaker Andrew Berends appeared multiple times on the IFC Center stage for the screening series Stranger Than Fiction (now called Pure Nonfiction). His films as a director include THE BLOOD OF MY BROTHER documenting life in Iraq under U.S. occupation; DELTA BOYS about militants in Nigeria’s oil conflict (which landed him briefly in Nigerian jail); and MADINA’S DREAM about refugees in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains. He also served as a camera person on other projects including the Oscar-winning FREE SOLO. In March 2019, he took his own life at the age 46, after bouts of depression and being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The news brought an outpouring of testimonials from his admirers. This tribute brings together his friends and colleagues to share clips from his films and stories from his life. Donations from this event where used to launch The Andrew Berends Film Fellowship, to support independent filmmakers.

With: Thom Powers, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Dr. Isabella Alexander, Aaron Soffin, Mike Liss, Jason Gardner, Philip Robertson, Doug Block, Thomas Lennon and others.
This evening was co-sponsored by the Fulbright Film Series.

Help us launch the Andrew Berends Film Fellowship

We are now accepting donations for the Andrew Berends Film Fellowship through IFP here.

The mission of this fellowship is to seek out and support emerging filmmakers from all walks of life that embody Andy’s spirit and determination, with a focus on sharing unheard stories. It was born out of the desire of Andy’s family, friends, and colleagues to keep his memory alive and active in the world of documentary where he himself thrived. We hope you will consider helping keep Andy’s memory and spirit alive by supporting the fellowship. More details including when and how to apply for the fellowship will be available on this site in the coming months.

You can donate to the fellowship here: