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The San Francisco Film Society announced today the finalists and honorable mention for the second SFFS/Hearst Screenwriting Grant. The grant of $15,000 will be awarded to a mid-career screenwriter who has been a practicing writer for at least five years and who has previously written a minimum of one feature screenplay. The grant is open to writers residing in the United States whose project expresses both a unique personal perspective and an artistic approach to the subject. Priority is given to writers whose previous short or feature screenplays have been produced as independent films. The finalists were selected from 91 applicants submitted in response to a nationwide call for entries.

The SFFS/Hearst Screenwriting Grant, supported by a gift from William R. Hearst III, is a major component of the Film Society’s screenwriting initiative and expanding Filmmaker Services program.

Topaz Adizes, Look for the Light
Look for the Light is the story of a young man whose desire to experience life to its fullest leads him to embark on a career as a photojournalist. A legendary photographer takes him under his wing and helps the rookie navigate the physical and emotional challenges of working amid the incessant chaos and carnage of conflict zones. Over time he comes to understand that the skills needed to succeed as a photojournalist hamper his ability to establish a long-term relationship and a life for himself away from work. In telling the photojournalist’s story Look for the Light examines the nature and news coverage of modern-day conflicts. For more information visit

Eric Escobar, East County
A deputy sheriff who is drowning in debt moonlights for his brother’s eviction agency. His calloused and bitter outlook is shaken when he discovers three children who have been abandoned by their parents in a foreclosed home. Though his search for the missing parents ends tragically, his determination to rebuild a stable life for his own family is renewed. For more information visit

Brent Hoff, Jon of the Delphi
Partially based on a true story, Jon of the Delphi is a black comedy about a cult leader desperately trying to escape his own cult. After 12 years of being worshipped as a living god, the “Oracle of Delphi” wants out. Doubting the sanity of his advisors and fearing for his life, the leader petitions the FBI to infiltrate his compound and save him. The agent assigned to the job abhors cult leaders and is furious to discover he has helped rescue a man he despises from the justice he deserves. On the run from psychotic followers, the two are forced into an unlikely partnership. For more information visit

Roja Gashtili, Mary or Not
A 24 year-old woman struggles to come to terms with her dual identity as Persian and American. As Tehran erupts in protests following a disputed election, her childhood friend, who is becoming increasingly nationalistic, accuses her of abandoning her Persian roots. At the same time her casual yearlong relationship with a non-Persian is evolving. Her struggle to sort out the entanglement of loyalties culminates at a traditional Persian wedding. For more information visit

Maryam Keshavarz, I Desire
I Desire focuses on the rise to power of a 19th century musician of humble origins, who through astute sexual and political maneuvers, elevates her position from concubine to wife of the Iranian king and head of his harem. Although she disrupts the traditional power structure and relentlessly plots to consolidate her power, she wins the king’s unwavering commitment until she is undone by her paranoia. For more information visit

Beverly Kopf and Bobbi Birleffi, Mother or Not
Seattle in the mid-’80s was home to a growing number of families that did not fit the traditional model, as well as a safe haven for lesbians wanting families without the legal and emotional complications of fathers. Mother or Not is the story of an unconventional family and its struggle to define itself in the face of peer pressure to conform, the reluctant acceptance of society and the fluidity of relationships. For more information visit

Paul Lobo Portuges, The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson
The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson dramatizes Rachel Carson’s courageous fight to ban toxic chemicals like DDT while standing up to nearly overwhelming odds. Cancer treatment, the death of her mother and her publisher’s initial rejection of Silent Spring plunge her into a debilitating depression but when the FBI threatens to “out” her as a communist lesbian, Carson resolves to fight back and rewrite the book. Her triumphant defense of her work on a CBS television special turns the tide leading to the publication of her milestone book, the banning of DDT and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency.

David Munro, Bullshit Theories About Life and Stars
A young woman who is the faithful teaching assistant and long-suffering paramour to her Svengali-like professor is attracted to a daft but sexy projectionist, who lights her fire but can’t hold a candle to her dear professor’s intellect. Bullshit Theories About Life And Stars is the coming-of-age story of a young woman’s search for meaning in the universe and sexual fulfillment. For more information visit

Jennifer Phang and Dominac Mah, Look for Water
A married couple discovers that their relationship has lasted to the point of actual invisibility: They cannot see, hear or touch each other, and seem to exist in alternate worlds. With a blend of magical adventure, surrealist mystery and a humorous look at romance Look for Water portrays the journey of a couple in a rut, awakening to their parental instincts, life purpose and finally uncovering the difference between holding on tightly to someone and truly seeing them. For more information visit

Honorable Mention
Richard Strasser, Songwriting with John Lennon
A dispirited family man, fired from a dead-end job and wracked by guilt over his mother’s untimely death finds hope and inspiration in aneurysm-induced hallucinations of John Lennon as he struggles to support his son and pregnant wife and resurrect his boyhood dream of becoming a rock star.

source: sffs

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