Rooftop Films announced the recipients of their 2010 Filmmakers’ Fund grants. The Filmmakers’ Fund was created to allow deserving filmmakers, who are often forced to exhaust all available resources making one film, to complete their next film.

One dollar of every ticket sold during the summer film festival goes into the Filmmakers’ Fund and back to filmmakers whose work was shown in the form of grants.

In addition, Rooftop Films grants production services and mentorship by working with local partners at Edgeworx Studios, Eastern Effects, and Chicken & Egg Pictures.  

Past grantees have included Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild and Glory at Sea, Lee Isaac Chung’s Lucky Life, Ian Cheney’s The City Dark, Sara Zia Ebrahimi’s Norman Schwartzkopf Made Me Gay, Moon Molson’s Crazy Beats Strong Every Time, James M. Johnson’s Knife, Dustin Guy Defa’s We Have No Home, Don Hertzfeldt’s I Am So Proud Of You, Spencer Parsons’ Chainsaw Found Jesus, Erin Hudson’s Long Haul, Fabio Wuytack’s Persona Non Grata, Jerry Henry’s Something Other Than Other and dozens more.  

Rooftop Films has four grants available: two for feature-length films and two for short films. The 2010 grants and recipients are:

Rooftop Films & Edgeworx Post Production Grant 

Edgeworx Inc. (www.edgeworx.com) is a post-production house based in Manhattan. With a fourteen year track record, Edgeworx provides full service production and post-production. Their areas of expertise include motion graphic design, animation, VFX, editorial and finishing. For this grant, Edgeworx will provide 1-2 weeks of post-production services to one feature-length film. The Rooftop Films and Edgeworx Post-Prodcution Grant 2010 recipient is:  

T. Sean Durkin (New York, NY) – Martha Marcy May Marlene

Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult. After being gone for 3 years, Martha returns home to live with her sister and her sister’s husband. Martha’s brainwashed social views and  her loss of normal human behavior make it impossible for her to connect with her family. As her isolation grows, so does her severe paranoia. In an attempt to explore her recent past and make sense of the cult life she has escaped, Martha enters into a dizzying state of confusion where no one can be trusted and the escalating fear that the cult is hunting her, grips her every move. Based on the true story of an escapee from the Manson cult, this quiet psychological thriller comes from the director of the Cannes-award winning Mary Last Seen. Shot by Jody Lee Lipes (Tiny Furniture), one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 Faces to Watch,” and edited by Zachary Stuart-Pontier (Catfish) Martha Marcy May Marlene was a participant at the Sundance Filmmaker Labs. www.blfilm.com

Rooftop Films & Eastern Effects Equipment Grant

Eastern Effects (easterneffects.com) is film production rental house based in Brooklyn. Since 1999, Eastern Effects has been providing Lighting & Grip Equipment Rentals for Independent Feature Films, Television Productions, Corporate & Industrial Videos, Student filmmakers, and Live Broadcast. For this grant, Eastern Effects will award 30 days of lighting and grip equipment to one feature-length film. The Rooftop Films and Eastern Effects Equipment Grant 2010 recipient is:

Andrew Semans (Brooklyn, NY) – Nancy, Please tells the story of Paul Brawley, a young, gifted, aimless PhD candidate at Yale. Paul has just moved into an apartment with his competent, pragmatic girlfriend, Jen, and is struggling to complete his dissertation before embarking on a career in academia. Adulthood looms; responsibility beckons. There’s just one snag: as Paul is unpacking his belongings, he discovers that he has left behind a seemingly inconsequential object that Paul feels is of great importance to his dissertation and, therefore, to his future. He will have to retrieve it from his former roommate, the obstinate, casually sinister Nancy. Caught between an impatient girlfriend and an equally impatient thesis advisor, Paul starts to lose his grip. His annoyance turns to rage and then to obsession. Unable to accept his “defeat” at Nancy’s hands, Paul rushes headlong into a thresher of emotional torment and physical punishment. His life will get much, much worse before it gets better.

From the director of I’d Rather Be Dead Than Live in this World and All Day Long, both of which played at Rooftop, and shot by Eric Lin (The Exploding Girl), Nancy, Please is a trenchant genre-bender that combines heightened naturalism with elements of the macabre and surreal. Relentless and darkly comic, the film dramatizes how a seemingly mundane conflict can – in the proper psychological soil – evolve into something dangerous and explosive, and how passivity and misplaced idealism can lead to horrific consequences. www.facebook.com/nancyplease

Rooftop Films / Chicken & Egg Short Film Grant for Women Filmmakers

In collaboration with Chicken & Egg Pictures (www.chickeneggpics.org), Rooftop Films has created a special short film grant for women filmmakers, emergent and veteran, non-fiction and fiction, who have made a commitment to use their storytelling skills to address the social justice issues of our time. The grant is for $6,000, and will include a minimum of 10 hours of mentorship or collaboration with a veteran filmmaker. The Rooftop Films / Chicken & Egg Short Film Grant for Women Filmmakers 2010 recipient is:

Eva Weber (England & Guinea) – Black Out
Set in Equatorial Guinea, this evocative and poignant documentary will show the struggle of a number of young children to reconcile their daily lives in one of the poorest countries in the world with their desire to learn. Only about a fifth of Guinea’s 10 million people have access to electricity and even those that do experience frequent power cuts. The average Guinean consumes 89 kilowatt-hours per year—equivalent to running an air conditioner for four minutes a day. Students have discovered G’bessi International Airport at the outskirts of Conakry. As the sun sets over the capital, hundreds of elementary and high school students head to the airport, hoping to reserve a coveted spot under the oval light cast by one of a dozen lampposts in the parking lot. The film will join a number of children on their track to the airport and spend the night with them at the airport until they go back home. Black Out is a tale about the myths of globalization—an international airport brings empty promises of prosperity, but these resourceful children are desperate to gain an education. Weber’s previous films at Rooftop were City of Cranes and Steel Homes, which appeared on the Channel 4 and POV, and played at festivals including Sundance, IDFA and Silverdocs. www.oddgirlout.co.uk

Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Short Film Grants

Rooftop Films believes that short films do not receive the attention they deserve in the world of film, and that all too often even a festival which prominently includes short films does little for the filmmaker in the long run. Rooftop Films earmarks for the Filmmakers’ Fund one dollar from every ticket sold and every submission fee received. We believe that instead of giving each filmmaker ten dollars, giving away a few larger sums (up to $3,000) toward specific projects is a better way to help the filmmakers and the independent filmmaking community in general. The 2010 recipients of the Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Short Grants are:

Kelly Sears (Houston, TX) – Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise

Part disaster film, part Freudian animation, “Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise” is a collage animation made from early-mid 1970s high school yearbooks. A series of absurd and horrible disasters strike this American high school that eerily mirror larger political and social markers of the time – the final days of the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, doomed cults, frenzied meditations and underground radical groups. These catalysts set in motion an unsettling chain of events that overtake this high school one extra curricular activity at a time. This cinema verité styled film echoes a larger sense of trepidation, collapse and mania that not only characterized this time, but resonates in the current cultural climate as well. Sears has screened multiple films at Rooftop, including “The Drift,” “Devil’s Canyon” and “Voice on the Line,” which have also appeared at venues around the world, including at Sundance, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. www.kellysears.com

Emily Carmichael (Brooklyn, NY) – Ledo and Ix Fight Monsters
Ledo and Ix Fight Monsters is the third film about Ledo and Ix, two adventurers in an old-school fantasy video game. This film centers particularly on Ledo, the tiny 8-bit heroine who has been obsessively upgrading her weapons and tirelessly honing her attacks, all in preparation for great battles that have never materialized. In the first two Ledo and Ix films (both shown at Rooftop) she strode boldly into the void and found only the other side of the void, and boldly approached a blot on the map that might have been brain fungus but instead was a stupid town, offering only the promise of stupid human interaction. Ix was really excited about that. But Ledo doesn’t want human interaction. Frankly, she gets enough of that from Ix. What she wants is to do some damage. In this third film in the series, it looks like she’ll get a chance to do just that. But, since the early 90’s video game that our heroes inhabit is extremely primitive, it’s likely to go worse and more hilariously than Ledo hopes. Carmichael’s films have appeared at Slamdance and SXSW, among others. www.kidcandrive.com

Johannes Nyholm (Sweden) – Las Palmas

Marja, a middle-aged woman is by herself on a holiday in the sun. We follow her one day from morning to night. She makes clumsy attempts to approach other people but is constantly rebuffed. At a bar she makes overtures to the guests and staff, gets drunk and dances on the tables. She then turns out to be broke and not able to pay the bill. She visits the beach, swims out to an empty boat out in the sea. Falls asleep. She awakens, burnt by the sun. And there, on the edge of the boat, finally finds a friend: a seagull. They sing together. From the renowned Swedish animator of Dreams from the Woods, this classical narrative of loneliness is complicated by the method used: the role of the middle-aged woman Marja will be played by a toddler, the other characters by marionette puppets. The choice of a one-year old in the lead role adds a delightful comic effect, an irrational, unbridled element that is impossible to direct. The film thus becomes both a documentary depiction of a small child, and a depiction of a much older woman’s humiliation and exclusion. Nyholm’s previous two films have premiered at Cannes, and his work is supported by the Swedish Film Institute. www.johannesnyholm.se

Christopher Miner (Memphis, TN) – Don’t Kill Your Son’s Life

Donʼt Kill Your Sonʼs Life is reflective documentary about the birth of Miner’s first son and his first year of having a child. This direct and poignant style follows Miner’s other work, as seen at Rooftop, including Between Me and the Earth, about loss of virginity, making a commitment to one person, loss of faith; and Every Other Girl In the World, addressing the early days of marriage, regret and past relationships. The film includes hours of footage shot before his son was born, during the actual birth, and throughout his first eleven months, and also incorporates other issues/events, including Miner’s own father being diagnosed with bone cancer, a fanatical five-year-old child preacher from Mississippi, Miner’s somewhat serious mental breakdown over the past year following his refusal to take anti-depressant medication, and finally Miner’s newfound joy/obsession with writing raps set to country music about death and pornography. Represented by Mitchell-Innes + Nash Gallery, Rooftop is proud to support this daring artist’s move into the independent film world. www.miandn.com/#/artists/christopherminer/

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