The San Francisco Film Society and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation announced the five winners of the Spring 2010 SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grants tonight at the Golden Gate Awards at Temple Nightclub – Prana Restaurant. The grants are given twice annually to filmmakers for narrative feature films with social justice themes that will have significant economic or professional impact on the Bay Area filmmaking community. The panelists who reviewed the finalists’ submissions are Jacob Kornbluth, award-winning narrative filmmaker; Ellen Schneider, executive director, Active Voice; Jennifer Rainin, president, Kenneth Rainin Foundation; Michele Turnure-Salleo, director of filmmaker services, San Francisco Film Society; and Graham Leggat, executive director, San Francisco Film Society.

Rainin expressed her enthusiasm for the works selected saying, “I’m so honored to have the opportunity to work with the Film Society and with the smart, thoughtful filmmakers who have participated in our grantmaking process. It’s thrilling to see the quality of creative projects that the filmmaking community has submitted for our consideration. We have such a wealth of talent making exceptional work in the Bay Area, that shines a light on the most important issues of our day. With the SFFS/KRF grants, we have an opportunity to give this community the support it deserves.”

The SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grants support films that through plot, character, theme or setting significantly explore human rights, discrimination, sexual identity and other urgent social justice issues of our time. Over the next four years SFFS and KRF will disburse a series of semiannual grants totaling more than $3 million. Winners for the Spring 2010 grant follow.

Krisy Gosney: Manhandled, $10,000 for script development
Manhandled is the story of a longtime lesbian couple undergoing shock waves of changing perception and identify as one partner’s transition from female to male impacts their relationship.

Annie Howell: Black Kid, $25,000 for preproduction
Black Kid is the comic coming-of-age story of a geeky, 11-year-old biracial kid from San Francisco whose world is turned upside down when his family relocates to a rural, all-white Appalachian town. With the support of his parents, he learns to define himself rather than fulfill the expectations of others.

Barry Jenkins: Jeremiad, $35,000 for script development
Jeremiah goes back to San Francisco following a term in San Quentin and quickly discovers that there’s a stigma on black men returning from prison for which he has a compelling rebuttal, in the form of a prison clinic printout specifically declaring him HIV negative. The ensuing consequences challenge Jeremiah more than his incarceration did until he comes to understand that hope is the product of honesty.

Maryam Keshavarz: Circumstance, $50,000 for postproduction
Against the backdrop of a reactionary Iranian government, a father fights to create a sanctuary of music, art and intellectual curiosity for his two children, but one child’s emerging sexuality is threatened by the other’s newfound religious devotion and political vigilance.

Benh Zeitlin: Beasts of the Southern Wild, $50,000 for postproduction
In this mythological epic inspired by the erosion crisis impacting the wetlands of America’s Gulf Coast, a ferocious young heroine vows to save her father, who is stricken by a mysterious illness, and her rapidly sinking island home.

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