In 2016, Sundance partnered with The Kendeda Fund to cultivate, fund, and elevate stories that addressed one of the most significant public health and equity issues in America: gun violence.

We supported stories where gun violence intersected with other social issues, like suicide, domestic abuse (A Journey Into the Storm, dir. Sandra Salas), everyday gun violence (When Claude Got Shot, dir. Brad Lichtenstein), mass shootings, movement building (Newtown and Us Kids, dir. Kim Snyder), community violence, and resilience (Charm City, dir. Marilyn Ness). In 2017 we hosted a small event that brought together filmmakers, journalists, cultural thinkers, and activists to talk about the role of documentary film in effecting progressive social change around the culture of gun violence in the United States. This gathering reached across sectors and disciplines, forging new alliances and coalitions.

However, given the magnitude of the gun violence epidemic in the United States, there are still stories that need to be told, new voices that need to be heard, and new alliances that need to be forged. So, in the spring of 2020, we commissioned this report to inform our strategy around building a more robust pipeline of stories that address gun violence in the U.S., as well as to highlight ways of working more collaboratively within the fie ld of gun violence prevention.

Our fundamental goal was to explore the challenges film makers face in getting film s in this space funded, from production through impact. We also wanted to outline opportunities for collaboration between film and issue funders, as well as activists and film makers, to push for social, cultural, and policy change.

More than just providing information, it is our hope that this report acts as a catalyst to promote dialogue and help build local coalitions between artists, funders, and advocates. Together we can work toward, empowering national movements, reframing the conversation to include BIPOC communities, reaching conservative audiences, and motivating policymakers to support communityba sed approaches of violence prevention.

We have also committed $250,000 through the generous support of The Kendeda Fund to support nonfiction short stories addressing gun violence. The initial findings of this report helped inform our collective strategy moving forward: one with a focus on the intersectionality of gun violence with broader issues of racial justice; housing segregation; lack of investment in public infrastructure, education, and public health; policing; criminal justice; domestic violence; mental health; suicide; and corporate influence on guns. 

Additionally, we are committed to highlighting and supporting stories from within communities, from film making teams who have been personally affected by this issue. In our review and selection process, we involved impacted communities and sought to include panelists with a diverse range of lived experiences.

It is our hope that this report and the surrounding dialogue will lead to more equitable collaborations among stakeholders, grounded in partnerships with the communities most affected by gun violence and in specific issue areas that intersect with gun violence. 

We are grateful for Eliza Licht, Will Jenkins, Michon Boston, and Alice Quinlan and the incredible research and analysis they offer in this report. We are also deeply appreciative of The Kendeda Fund, David Brotherton (fund advisor for gun violence prevention and communications) and Diane Ives (fund advisor for people, places, and planet), for their incredible thought partnership, generosity, and commitment to this space. And lastly, thank you for taking the time to read this report. We look forward to engaging in further conversations to ensure this important work continues.