GPFO was proud to manage the Derek Freese Documentary Fund (DFDF) which has been given biennially to a US independent filmmaker and provides up to $35,000 in finishing funds for a feature-length documentary film with a strong narrative. 

After 25 years of support to film students and established filmmakers, the board of directors is announcing that the Derek Freese Film Foundation is soon ceasing operations. As a result, the Derek Freese Documentary Fund is no longer being given.

DFDF winners:

2013: Alive Inside, winner of the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music. His camera reveals the uniquely human connection we find in music and how its healing power can triumph where prescription medication falls short.

Michael founded The Alive Inside Foundation, dedicated to healing loneliness and disconnection in all our lives, especially in the lives of the very young and the very old living with dementia. They partner with communities to connect the generations and shift our relationship with life, aging, and growing up – and seek to end loneliness using empathy, music, life story, and film.

2015: Almost Sunrise an Emmy-nominated documentary by Michael Collins and Marty Syjuco, is a powerful story of veteran resilience and recovery. The film follows two Iraq veterans, Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson, who struggle with depression upon returning home from service. Fearful of succumbing to the epidemic of veteran suicide, they seek a lifeline and embark on a 2,700-mile walk across America as a way to confront their inner pain. The film captures an intimate portrait of two friends suffering from the unseen wounds of war as they discover an unlikely treatment: the restorative power of silence and meditation.

The filmmakers are committed to helping veterans, so they started the Moving Mountains Impact Campaign to empower veterans, family members, and health care providers to explore evidence-based solutions for moral injury, PTSD, and breaking the stigma around mental health.

2017: Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable, Sasha Waters Freyer’s documentary on the life and work of acclaimed photographer Garry Winogrand. His artistry encompassed the heartbreak, violence, hope, and turmoil of postwar America. The film tells the story of an artist whose rise and fall was larger-than-life, full of contradictions, and totally unresolved. The film has received critical acclaim and was released in theaters nationwide in 2018.

2019: Memphis, David Zucker (Director, Producer) tells the story of Memphis, a young man with cerebral palsy, as he navigates love and life and the harsh realities he faces as someone with a disability striving to be independent.

The Derek Freese Film Foundation was created in 1997 to honor the memory of Derek Freese, an aspiring filmmaker who passed away two days after arriving in Hollywood to pursue his dream of making movies.

The 3rd Biennial Derek Freese Documentary Fund Award goes to
Sasha Waters Freyer, Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable. (2017)

Congratulations to Sasha!   Thank you for all the wonderful submissions.
DFDF is offered biennially and will open for submissions in January, 2019.