Cara Mertes

Cara Mertes is currently the director of the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms program, which has supported more than 80 documentary films in its first three years. She previously served as director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, overseeing the activities of the Documentary Film Program and Fund, including granting between $1 and $2 million per year to independent documentarians globally, directing three Creative Documentary Labs at Sundance Resort, supporting documentary programming and panels at the Sundance Film Festival and the Sundance Independent Producers Conference, curating work-in-progress screenings with partner organizations and other initiatives of the DFP. In 2008, she inaugurated STORIES OF CHANGE: Social Entrepreneurship in Focus Through Documentary, a $3 million, 3 year partnership between the DFP and the Skoll Foundation which will fund up to10 films on social entrepreneurs meeting today’s global challenges. The DFP also launched DocSource at, a website connecting independent documentary filmmakers and human rights stakeholders worldwide. Mertes was previously Executive Director of American Documentary, Inc. and Executive Producer of P.O.V., PBS’s acclaimed independent documentary showcase from 1999-2006, where she was recognized with eight Emmy Awards, three George Foster Peabody awards, two duPont-Columbia Awards and three Academy Award nominations, most recently as Executive Producer for Nerakoon: Betrayal. Mertes is Executive Producer of over a dozen independent documentaries, including:  Street Fight; My Country, My Country; Boys of Baraka; and Two Towns of Jasper.  She was the creator and Executive Producer of P.O.V.’s original online showcase, P.O.V.’s Borders, winning a Webby Award, Batten Journalism Award, On-Line Journalism and Parent’s Choice Award.

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