Documentary Films

Ceres Trust supports innovative documentary films that address critical environmental and economic issues affecting human health and well-being, modern ecosystems, and habitat stability. The films are produced and distributed to transform public understanding and opinion on key issues, helping to spark learning that leads to active participation with organizations seeking social change. Major support has been provided for documentary films that exemplify the mission and values of the Ceres Trust.

You Got to Move!

You Got to Move!

You Got to Move!, directed by Lucy Massie Phenix and Veronica Selver, follows communities of southerners in becoming involved in social change. The Highlander Folk School, a school for community organizers, serves as the hub connecting the lives of those chronicled.

These stories live now, relevant and useful today when the people of the United States, all of us, are struggling to live and breathe, and to VOTE to save our democracy. We Got to Move!



A triumphant documentary about fighting with your whole heart, UNFRACTURED follows biologist and mother Sandra Steingraber as she reinvents herself as an outspoken activist and throws herself into an environmental war that many believe is unwinnable. From Gracie Award-winning filmmaker Chanda Chevannes (Living Downstream), UNFRACTURED held its World Premiere at the Opening Night Gala of the 2017 Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival in Toronto, where the film won the Best Canadian Feature Film award.

Burned the FIlm


BURNED: Are Trees the New Coal? is a feature-length documentary which takes an unwavering look at the latest energy industry solution to climate change. The film tells the story of how woody biomass has become the fossil-fuel industry’s renewable, green savior, and of the people and parties who are both fighting against and promoting its adoption and use.

Karen Karnes

Don’t Know, We’ll See

Don’t Know, We’ll See, written and directed by Lucy Massie Phenix, shares the story of beloved ceramicist, Karen Karnes, as a way to explore the creative process that we are all engaged in during our lives.

living downstream

Living Downstream

Living Downstream, directed and produced by Chanda Chevannes, follows ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D over one pivotal year as she travels across North America, educating audiences about the links between cancer and ones’ environment.

on coal river

On Coal River

On Coal River, directed by Francine Cavanaugh and Adam Wood, follows four West Virginians who challenge the domination of the largest local employer, the Massey Energy Company, who controls the coal mining operations in the Coal River Valley.

taking root

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai,  directed and produced by Alan Dater and Lisa Merton, is an in-depth and complete film about Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai.  Made during the last decade of her life, the film portrays how her act of planting trees and her commitment to education and empowerment of women, grew into a nationwide movement for environmental and human rights.

The Vanishing of the Bees

The Vanishing of the Bees

The Vanishing of the Bees, directed and produced by George Langworthy  and Maryam Henein, centers around the relationship that Americans have with bees – as pollinators, producers of honey, and as indicator species that through their massive die-offs are signaling a strain on the natural world caused by industrial agricultural practices and chemical exposure.

bonsai people

Bonsai People: The Vision of Muhammad Yunus

Bonsai People: The Vision of Muhammad Yunus follows Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi economist whose bank pioneered micro-loans.


  1. Ceres Trust | Inside Philanthropy on June 25, 2024 at 2:17 pm

    […] The trust funds documentary films related to the environment and climate change and that work to “transform public understanding and opinion on key issues.” Specifically, its film grants support “innovative documentary films that address critical environmental and economic issues affecting human health and well-being, modern ecosystems, and habitat stability.” Documentaries that have received funding through this program include Burned, which investigates the energy industry’s interest in biomass as a solution to climate change, and The Vanishing of the Bees, which focuses on colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon threating bees worldwide. Further information about the types of film projects it funds and descriptions of other past projects can be found here. […]