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Gucci Loves Docs

The influential Italian fashion label has entered into a unique partnership with the Tribeca Film Institute, the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, designed to provide finishing funds for documentaries that illuminate issues of social justice. Submissions begin February 5.

In a conversation with World News Tonight's Dan Harris at a private dinner last month celebrating the new Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, director Alex Gibney recalled an Alfred Hitchcock quote which had been brought to his attention by colleague Albert Maysles—"In fiction films, the director is God, and in documentaries, God is the director." The work of great doc makers like Maysles, who was also in attendance, and Gibney, whose provocative Taxi to the Dark Side (TFF '07) was just nominated for an Academy Award, offers both a model and an inspiration for the kind of filmmaking Gucci and Tribeca hope to encourage through their unique new partnership.

The fund will provide support for directors who seek to illuminate issues of social justice through the medium of film—"the investigators, voyeurs, commentators, and the ones who shine a light where many people don't even want to peek," as Tribeca Film Institute co-founder Jane Rosenthal, who co-hosted the night with Robert De Niro, put it in remarks to an audience that also included acclaimed documentary filmmakers D. A. Pennebaker (Don't Look Back), Barbara Kopple (Harlan County USA), Rory Kennedy (Ghosts of Abu Ghraib), Alan Berliner (Intimate Stranger), and Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern (The Devil Came on Horseback).


Gucci America president Daniella Vitale spoke of her company's enthusiasm for entering a true partner relationship with the Tribeca Film Institute. "These collaborations reflect the importance of corporate social responsibility in our organization, and the obligation that we have to help create a platform for social change and humanitarian issues," she said recently. Indeed, Gucci has been an active supporter of the broader independent filmmaking community of late. While the company's best-known recent foray into the film world has been the elegantly provocative perfume commercial it commissioned from auteur David Lynch last year, it has also been busy on several other fronts: It established a similar post-production grant last year in association with the traveling documentary film festival Ambulante, which provides finishing funds for Mexican feature-length documentaries. And in 2006, it also launched the Gucci Group Award at the Venice Film Festival, given to an artist who has made a remarkable contribution to a film during the last 18 months; last year, the second annual award went to Julian Schnabel, for his direction of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

"I think that for some subjects, documentaries are more powerful and more appropriate than fiction films," Gibney observed, before thanking Gucci for making more of them possible.

Submissions for the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund open February 5 and run through April 11. Films should explore issues of social justice and currently be in production or post-production, with an intended exhibition date in 2009. For complete details, and to enter a film, visit the Tribeca Film Institute.


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