We’re counting down the top documentary news of 2011 on New Year’s Eve!

Ford Foundation Logo

The Ford Foundation launched a $50 million multi-year fund for social-justice documentaries in early 2011, and announced as its initial partners Sundance Institute, ITVS and the Tribeca Film Institute.

For the Tribeca Film Institute, Ford pledged about $1 million a year over five years to fund projects that integrate film with new media, “from video games and mobile apps to social networks and micro-blogging.”

Winners of the inaugural Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund grants (totaling $400,000) included 18 Days in Egypt, the crowd-sourced documentary about the Egyptian revolution, The Interrupters, which will use the grant to build digital shrines to victims of violence, and Map Your World, a project inspired by the documentary The Revolutionary Optimists that aims to share health-related data to improve quality of life.

(P.S. If you want to see how the web is increasing the impact of social-issue documentaries, might we suggest checking out POV’s 2011 season film companion sites and subscribing to the POV Films blog?)

The 2011 Documentary Year in Review Countdown…

#12: Online payments
Ford Foundation Funds Webified Documentaries

#11: Off-camera confrontation
Michael Moore Sues the Weinsteins over ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ Accounting

#10: A film by you
‘Life In A Day,’ a Documentary Culled from 80,000 Filmmakers, Premieres Online

#9: Cameraless documentary
‘Senna’ Breaks U.K. Box-Office Records

#8: Mobile device legend
Cinéma Vérité Pioneer Richard “Ricky” Leacock Dies

#7: Good karma
‘My Reincarnation’ Breaks Records on Kickstarter

#6: Seeing is beliebing
3-D Documentaries Hit Theaters

#5: Risks become real
War Documentarian Tim Hetherington (‘Restrepo’) Killed in Action

#4: No flash in the pan
Popcorn.js Brings HTML5 and Interactivity to Documentaries

#3: Mystery man
What if Banksy Wins an Oscar?

#2: Web threats
The Stop Online Privacy Act Catches the Web Off Guard

#1: Freedom fighters
The West Memphis 3, Subjects of the ‘Paradise Lost’ Documentary Series, Are Set Free

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POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.