The 12 finalists were announced for the latest round of San Francisco Film Society / Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaking Grants; more than $300,000 will be awarded to one or more narrative feature films at any stage of production. Winners of the spring 2013 SFFS/KRF Grants will be announced in mid-April.
Recent SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grant winners include Short Term 12, Destin Daniel Cretton’s sophomore feature which just won both the Narrative Grand Jury Award and Audience Award at South by Southwest 2013; Ryan Coogler’s debut feature Fruitvale, which won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in the narrative category at Sundance 2013; and Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin’s debut phenomenon which won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize and Cannes’ Camera d’Or in 2012, earned four Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture) and became an indie box office smash.
Rod Blackhurst, director and Josh Murphy, producer – North (production)
Rack is a 38-year-old recently released ex-convict, struggling with his return to a neglectful society. Emotionally discarded by his family and caught in a flawed parole system, he embarks on a bicycle journey to northern California to find Rebecca, the girl he left behind. With his criminal past threatening to resurface at every turn, Rack discovers what it means to be truly free and how fragile his newly gained freedom can be.
Jonas Carpignano, writer/director – A Chjana (preproduction)
After leaving his native Burkina Faso, Ayiva makes the perilous journey across the Sahara and Mediterranean in search of a better life in Europe. Once in Italy, he must balance his desire to provide for his family in Africa with the intolerance and harsh working conditions he finds in his newly claimed home.
Grainger David, writer/director – Nocturne (working title) (screenwriting)
Nocturne is the story of a white South Carolina cop on the verge of retirement who accidentally kills a young black teenager he suspects of a recent robbery and murder. In a moment of extreme weakness, he hides the boy’s body in a woodshed-only to return a day later to discover it has disappeared.
Ian Hendrie and Jyson McLean, co-writers/directors/producers – Mercy Road(development)
Based on true events, Mercy Road traces the political and spiritual odyssey of a small town housewife as she turns from a peaceful pro-life activist to an underground militant willing to commit violence and murder in the name of God.
Dan Kern, writer/director and Jay Van Hoy, producer – Relapse(screenwriting)
Relapse is a sci-fi thriller about an amnesia patient accused of murder who goes on the run in an attempt to prove his innocence and save the woman he loves.
Maryam Keshavarz and Paolo Marinou-Blanco, cowriters – The Last Harem(screenwriting)
The Last Harem follows the battle between Jayran, a young musician girl, and Malik Jahan, the mother of the newly-ascended boy-king, for the affection of the new monarch and control of the palace’s extensive harem. Whoever wins becomes the most powerful woman in the Persian empire…
Richard Levien, writer/director and Chad Burris, producer – La Migra(development)
Twelve-year-old Itan’s life in San Francisco is turned upside down when she comes home from school to find her apartment ransacked and her mother missing. Suddenly she must rely on her estranged uncle Eevencio, who she suspects is a criminal. They cross the country in Eevencio’s dilapidated truck, through the labyrinth of immigration detention, trying to find Itan’s mother and prevent her from being deported.
Zeresenay Mehari, writer/director and Leelai Demoz, producer – Dare(postproduction)
Dare is the story of a young lawyer who operates under the government’s radar until one young girl’s legal case exposes everything and threatens the survival of her work and life.
Tommy Oliver, writer/director/producer – 1982 (postproduction)
Semi-autobiographical and inspired by true events, 1982 tells the story of a black father whose wife succumbs to a crack cocaine addiction and his efforts to shield his young daughter from the ill effects of having a drug-addicted mother. Set at the very onset of the crack epidemic, the film is about a father doing whatever he can to protect his family.
Vendela Vida, cowriter and Eva Weber, cowriter/director – Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name (screenwriting)
28-year-old Clarissa discovers on the day of her father’s funeral that everything she believed about her life was a lie. She flees New York and travels to the Artic Circle to find her real father, but instead is reunited with her mother who abandoned her when Clarissa was only 14.
Caroline von Kuhn, producer – The Fixer (development)
An Afghan journalist is exiled from his war-torn country to a small bohemian community in Northern California. When he attempts to turn his menial job on the local police blotter into “Afghan-style” coverage of local crime, he gets drawn into the backwoods of this small town — a shadow Northern California where sex is casual, true friendship is hard to come by and an unfamiliar form of violence emerges all around him.
Josef Wladyka, cowriter/director – Manos Sucias (production)
A desperate fisherman and a naive young man embark on a dangerous journey trafficking drugs up the Pacific coast of Colombia. Hidden beneath the waves, they tow a narco-torpedo filled with millions of dollars worth of cocaine. Together they must brave the war-torn region while navigating the growing tension between them.