Eight independent filmmakers are winners in the latest round of Spring 2015 San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) / Kenneth Rainin Foundation (KRF) Filmmaking Grants awards, and will receive funding to help with their next stage of their creative process, from screenwriting to production. The projects will receive a total of $300,000.
The Film Society’s flagship SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grants are awarded twice annually to filmmakers for narrative feature films that will have significant economic or professional impact on the San Francisco Bay Area filmmaking community. The SFFS / KRF program has funded more than 50 projects since its inception, including such success stories as Kat Candler’s Hellion and Ira Sachs’ Love Is Strange, both of which premiered to strong reviews at Sundance 2014; Short Term 12, Destin Cretton’s sophomore feature which won both the Narrative Grand Jury Award and Audience Award at South by Southwest 2013; Ryan Coogler’s debut feature Fruitvale Station, which won the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature, the Un Certain Regard Avenir Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and 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 and earned four Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture).
SPRING 2015 SFFS / KRF FILMMAKING GRANT WINNERS
Ian Olds, writer/director; Caroline von Kuhn and Lily Whitsitt, producers — $75,000 for production
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 burbles up all around him.
Sally El Hosaini, writer/director — $25,000 for screenwriting
When his father abandons him deep in the Guyanese jungle, the rebellious son of a narcissistic church leader discovers a new life of freedom. His utopia is soon shattered when “Dad” arrives with hundreds of followers. Driven by the universal need for a father’s love he becomes complicit in the depravity he previously rejected. Based on Stephan Jones’s true-life story.
Laure de Clermont Tonnerre, writer/director — $25,000 for screenwriting
Roman Coleman is halfway through serving an 11-year sentence for attempted murder when he is offered the chance to participate in an ongoing rehabilitation therapy program involving the training of recently captured wild mustangs. Through his struggle to communicate with the animals, trainers, and other inmates he is forced to face his past and must learn confront his inner demons.
Travis Mathews, writer/director; Andrew Carlberg, Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams, producers — $75,000 for production
When a first love challenges his guarded sense of what’s possible, a hot-headed young gay man with mild cerebral palsy is forced to confront the disability he’s let consume and define him. travisdmathews.com
Reza and the Refugees
Aaron Douglas Johnston, writer/director; Charlotte Scott-Wilson, Trent Scott-Wilson and Laura Wagner, producers — $25,000 for screenwriting
A ragtag team of Middle Eastern political refugees in Holland enters the Eurovision song contest in an effort to save their friend from deportation and certain death.
Sorry To Bother You
Boots Riley, writer/director; Jonathan Duffy, George Rush and Kelly Williams, producers — $25,000 for screenwriting
A Black telemarketer discovers a magical way to make his voice overdubbed by a White actor, propelling him into the upper echelon of a macabre universe where he is selected to lead a species of genetically manipulated horse-people, called the Equisapiens. thisisthecoup.com
Staring at the Sun
Ryan Piers Williams, writer/director; Jason Michael Berman, America Ferrera and Caroline Kaplan, producers — $25,000 for screenwriting
After a massive solar event knocks out the world’s technological infrastructure, healthcare becomes a vital commodity. An elite group of United Nations aid workers given access to the best healthcare are tasked to isolate the sick from the healthy and privileged. When a young aid worker finds himself in a forbidden love, he must choose between a life of solitude or an uncertain fate with the woman he loves.
What Waits For Them In Darkness
Stephen Dunn, writer/director — $25,000 for screenwriting
11-year-old Skipper gets separated from her family during the Newfoundland resettlement and stranded alone in her floating house on the high seas of the Atlantic where reality mixes with the rich folklore of Newfoundland for a dark fantasy adventure.