Dandelion Seed, courtesy of Ru Kuwahata & Max Porter
Dandelion Seed, courtesy of Ru Kuwahata & Max Porter

Rooftop Films awarded seventeen cash and service grants to alumni filmmakers, including the Rooftop Films Water Tower Feature Film Grant, which was presented to director Anastasia Kirillova and co-directors Ru Kuwahata & Max Porter. Kirillova will receive $20,000 to help finish her film In the Shadows of Love, and Kuwahata & Porter will receive $10,000 to support their film Dandelion Seed.

“Anastasia Kirillova, Max Porter, and Ru Kuwahata have directed some of the most beautiful short films we’ve ever shown, and we’re honored to be supporting their first features alongside those of so many other talented and dedicated Rooftop alumni,” said Dan Nuxoll, Artistic Director of Rooftop Films. “One of the great pleasures of working at Rooftop Films is that we have the opportunity to not only witness the growth of tenacious artists, but to support their visionary works as well. This year’s grantees are among the most promising in all our years of championing independent cinema, and we can’t wait to see how their creations turn out.”

An alumni of the Royal College of Art in London, Anastasia Kirillova is a Swedish documentary filmmaker whose Sleepers’ Beat played as part of Rooftop’s 2015 Closing Night shorts program. Set in Tokyo, In the Shadows of Love is a story of heartache and yearning that investigates just how far people are willing to go in their quest for love. Presented from the perspective of a highly unconventional woman detective, the film (Kirillova’s first feature-length) gives a face and a voice to stories about romance that normally never see the light of day. Ru Kuwahata & Max Porter are best known for their stop-motion short Negative Space, which was nominated for last year’s Best Animated Short Film Academy Award and screened during Rooftop’s Dark Toons program in May; Dandelion Seed will be their first foray into feature-length animation and is projected to be completed by 2022. The film tells the story of Kayo, a Japanese foreign exchange student who, in 1993, finds magic and wonder in everyday things, including those found at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Kayo’s innocence is tested when disturbing allegations against Jackson come to light, and she subsequently discovers the dark side of the American dream.

“Typically, we wrestle and anguish over these decisions. If we did this year, I hardly took notice of the struggle, because In the Shadows of Love and Dandelion Seed rose to the top almost immediately,” said James Louis, sponsor of the Rooftop Films Water Tower Feature Film Grant.



Rooftop Films Water Tower Feature Film Grant
Anastasia Kirillova, In the Shadows of Love
Ru Kuwahata & Max Porter, Dandelion Seed

Rooftop Films and Brigade Festival Publicity Grant
Bryan Wizemann, You Mean Everything to Me

Rooftop Films and Eastern Effects Equipment Grant
Melanie Shatzky & Brian M. Cassidy, Turquoise

Rooftop Films and NYCEDC Production Office Grant
Joseph Sackett, I Was in Your Blood
Tamika R. Guishard, Rhythm in Blues

Rooftop Films and Edgeworx Post-Production Grant
Scott Cummings, Realm of Satan

Rooftop Films and Red Hook Post Sound Mix Grant
Bill & Turner Ross, Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

Rooftop Films and Technological Cinevideo Services Camera Grant
Emily MacKenzie & Noah Collier, The Sixth Wall


Rooftop Films and Adrienne Shelly Foundation Short Film Grant For Women
Bronwyn Maloney, Re: Shannon

Rooftop Films and DCTV Equipment & Services Grant
Zoe Logan & Joe Kowalski, Armor
Yvonne Shirley, Unconscious Inheritance (working title)

Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Short Film Grant
Axel Danielson & Maximilien Van Aertryck, Awake Brain Surgery (working title)
Alex Mallis, Flatbush! Flatbush!
Sarina Nihei, Polka-dotted Boy

Rooftop Films and Kayla Thomas Filmmaker Grant
Leah Shore, Focus, Susan
Cameron Mullenneaux & Jasmine Luoma, You’re Listening to Delilah

These artists join the ranks of past Rooftop Filmmakers Fund grantees, an illustrious group that includes four films that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival—among them, Penny Lane’s Hail Satan?, Petra Costa’s The Edge of Democracy, and Michael Tyburski’s The Sound of Silence— as well as Eliza Hittman’s highly-anticipated Beach Rats follow-up Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always, Robert Greene’s critically acclaimed Bisbee ’17, Benh Zeitlin’s Academy Award-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild, Gillian Robespierre’s indie smash Obvious Child, and Jeremy Saulnier’s FIPRESCI Critics’ award-winner Blue Ruin.

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