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The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) has teamed up with The Fledgling Fund to award the first The Fledgling Fund Outreach and Engagement Grant for Social Issue Documentaries to The Way We Get By, which aired on POV this week. We send our congratulations to filmmakers Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly for this fantastic honor.

For those of you who missed the broadcast of the film, it’s streaming in its entirety online until December 12, 2009.

The $10,000 grant for The Way We Get By was made possible through the generous support of The Fledgling Fund, and the award was given to support a discreet part of the film’s larger outreach and engagement plan — specifically, to support three community screenings around military bases that have had the highest casualties and rate of suicides, PTSD cases and domestic violence. These three community screenings will also highlight the companion Web-based Returning Home Project, as well as inform and educate audiences relevant to the film following the national broadcast of the film on POV.

“This grant speaks directly to the core of Fledgling’s mission: to foster audience engagement around the issues presented in documentaries,” says Milton Tabbot, senior director of programming at IFP. “We greatly appreciate The Fledgling Fund’s continuing support of social issue documentarians from IFP Programs, which they have done since 2006.”

Additional grant finalists included: Fresh, directed by Ana Sofia Joanes; Land of Opportunity, directed by Luisa Dantas; and Speaking in Tongues, directed by Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider. The grant was open to recent alumni projects of IFP’s Spotlight on Documentaries program where the social-issue driven project is now in post-production or completed.

The juried award was selected by Pat Aufderheide (professor and director, Center for Social Media at American University), Caitlin Boyle (founder, Film Sprout), Sheila Leddy (executive director, The Fledgling Fund) and was presented by The Fledgling Fund’s founder and president, Diana Barrett.

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Former POVer Ruiyan Xu worked on developing and producing materials for POV's website. Before coming to POV, she worked in the Interactive and Broadband department at Channel Thirteen/WNET. Ruiyan was born in Shanghai and graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Modern Culture and Media.