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Cara Mertes new director of JustFilms


The Ford Foundation has appointmented Cara Mertes as director of its JustFilms program. Mertes will succeed Orlando Bagwell, the founding director of JustFilms, who is returning to filmmaking after eight years at The Ford Foundation.

Cara Mertes

During Bagwell's tenure JustFilms launched as a five-year, $50-million initiative from the Ford Foundation. Bagwell built up the program by forging creative collaborations with established filmmaking institutions to broaden the reach of this work and by investing in interactive storytelling to drive audience engagement. The fund has supported more than 80 documentary films in its first three years.

Cara Mertes is currently the director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund, where she has led the effort to expand the field globally since 2006. At Sundance Institute, Mertes expanded documentary funding and awards to over $2 million for dozens of social issue films annually. She also expanded the Documentary Labs to work with over 100 artists annually and created a series of international creative partnerships to launch new global initiatives.

Prior to Sundance Institute, Mertes was executive producer of the "P.O.V." documentary series at PBS. She also served as executive director of American Documentary, Inc., produced and directed for PBS, curated independent Focus for WNET/New York, and she has taught and written about independent documentary and social change.

Cara Mertes will continue at Sundance Institute through the summer and begin her new position in September, 2013.

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For over 75 years it has worked to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Links to the EDN Financing Guide: JustFilmsThe Ford FoundationSundance Documentary FundPBS. 

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