May 11, 2010
Sara Archambault,
LEF Program Manager

Dear Friends of LEF,

The LEF Foundation is excited to announce 9 grants totaling $165,000 to independent documentary filmmakers creating innovative feature-length films, each with a unique artistic voice.

The LEF Moving Image Fund invests in projects that demonstrate excellence in technique, strong storytelling ability, and originality of artistic vision and voice. In addition to this criteria, the grantees represent a group of filmmakers at different stages in their artistic careers, from emerging to established makers.

LEF received approximately 70 inquiries for this deadline, with 20 proposals invited for review. The 9 grants awarded represent 6 production awards at $15,000, and 3 post-production grants at $25,000 each.

The selected filmmakers address a broad range of subjects while sharing a unique intimacy with their subjects and bringing a strong creative eye to their work. The grantees are:



Anya Belkina - $15,000
Memory Meshes
An experimental, animated documentary that pays tribute to the filmmaker’s late grandfather, the inventor of Russian computers, Memory Meshes explores Belkina’s own experiences with computer technology from the late 1980s to the present.

Yu Ying Wu Chou & Marlo Poras - $15,000
The Mosuo Sisters
Two spirited daughters from China’s last remaining matriarchal society are thrust into the worldwide economic downturn, when they lose the only jobs they’ve ever known.

Sara Giustini & PJ Raval
- $15,000
Untitled Gay Retiree Documentary
Against the backdrop of various LGBTQ-friendly retirement communities, this feature-length documentary captures the experiences of several LGBTQ seniors as they navigate their “golden years”.

Jake Mahaffy - $15,000
In a poor storefront church in Milwaukee, an eight-year old autistic boy died during a prayer service, and a pastor is accused of crushing the child to death. ACTS is a documentary film about faith healing and a man who tried to perform a miracle and failed.

Jason Mann & Cecily Pingree - $15,000
Betting the Farm
This character-driven film follows a group of small-scale dairy farmers in Maine as they attempt to launch an organic milk that will save their families’ way of life.

Beth Murphy - $15,000
What Tomorrow Brings
What Tomorrow Brings takes us to the village of Deh Subz in Afghanistan, where an American-sponsored girls’ school is challenging centuries of conservative social tradition.



Steven Ascher & Jeanne Jordan - $25,000
Raising Renee
This feature-length documentary is about accomplished artist Beverly McIver and the consequences of her promise to take care of her mentally disabled sister Renee after their mother dies.

Verena Paravel - $25,000
Foreign Parts
This feature-length video documents the junkyards of the Iron Triangle and their inhabitants in Flushing, Queens over the course of four seasons.

Jeff Silva - $25,000
Ivan and Ivana
A film about a couple from war-torn Kosovo who have found asylum in the US, Ivan and Ivana traces their successes and failures within the context of the American Dream.


In addition to this group of grantees, LEF has awarded (4) pre-production grants in Fall 2009 with (4) more expected in Summer 2010. In total, LEF will be distributing $205,000 in funding to documentary production over the course of our 2010 fiscal year.

Upcoming grant deadlines are 18 June 2010 and 17 September 2010 for projects seeking pre-production support. Please check for details regarding LEF Moving Image Fund guidelines and eligibility.

We extend our warmest congratulations to this group of grantees and our best wishes for success to all the projects reviewed for this deadline.

Warm Regards,

Lyda, Sara & Nellie

A private family foundation dedicated to the support of contemporary arts, LEF was established in 1985 with offices in Massachusetts and California. The Moving Image Fund was launched in 2001 through the LEF office in Cambridge, MA to support independent film and video artists. Since its inception, the Moving Image Fund has supported over 200 independent filmmaker projects with more than $2,000,000 in funding.

For more information on the Foundation or its funded projects, please contact Program Manager Sara Archambault: 617.492.5333, or

LEF Foundation
PO Box 382066
Cambridge, MA 02138