Women In Film, Los Angeles announced the recipients of the 32nd annual Film Finishing Fund. 370 feature-length narrative films, documentaries and shorts were submitted from 22 countries and 16 were chosen as grantees.
Previous winners of the Fund have gone on to win Academy, Emmy, Sundance, Berlin Film Festival and Peabody Awards among other accolades The Film Finishing Fund provides cash grants and in-kind production services to complete films that fit the established criteria of being by, for or about women. The works-in-progress are viewed by a special jury of women in the industry who select the winning films.
“One of the ways we achieve gender parity, is by ensuring that female filmmakers have the resources they need to produce excellent work,” said WIF Executive Director Kirsten Schaffer. “Women In Film is enormously proud that for 31 years we have enabled talented filmmakers to complete their films and bring their remarkable stories to the world”
Stella Artois began a partnership with Women In Film LA in 2017 and has expanded their support of female filmmakers by investing in the Finishing Fund for the first time. They have provided four new $25,000 grants for fiction and documentary films by women who are using the power of film to inspire social change.
“Stella Artois has long supported filmmakers who are using the power of their craft to impact social change. With these grants, we hope to further underscore our commitment to women in the industry and shine a spotlight on these important/relevant causes,” said Carolyn Zwiener, Brand Director, Stella Artois. “We’re also thrilled to be honoring this year’s winners and their films at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival through dedicated events in partnership with Women In Film.”
WIF, LA has also announced Delta Air Lines as the “Official Airline of Women In Film” The airline supports WIF’s mission to achieve gender parity in the screen industries and acts on its commitment by providing flights to support WIF programs, including the Film Finishing Fund.
Read the list of winners below.
Stella Artois Films
Directed by Florencia Krochik
Pathways tells the stories of five undocumented families and the hurdles they face as they struggle with their immigration status. The film weaves together their captivating stories and also explores the crippling immigration policies that have led to the hardships they face.
Nuns on the Bus
Directed by Melissa Regan
Sister Simone Campbell and her band of feisty nuns fight for the poor and marginalized, challenge the Catholic church and US government, and wrestle with their own power and voice as they journey across an increasingly divided America.
Half the Picture
Directed by Amy Adrion
Using the current EEOC investigation into Hollywood’s discriminatory hiring practices as a framework, successful women directors talk about their career paths, struggles, inspirations and hopes for the future of the industry.
Directed and produced by Tina Brown & Dyana Winkler
When America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community of thousands battle in a racially charged environment to save an underground subculture–one that has remained undiscovered by the mainstream for generations, yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talent.
Narrative Feature Films
Directed and written by Christina Choe
Blurring lines between fact and fiction, Nancy becomes increasingly convinced she was kidnapped as a child. When she meets a couple whose daughter went missing thirty years ago, reasonable doubts give way to willful belief – and the power of emotion threatens to overcome all rationality.
Directed and written by Nijla Mu’min
Summer is a carefree, black teenage girl whose world is turned upside down when her mother abruptly converts to Islam and becomes a different person. At first resistant to the faith, she begins to reevaluate her identity after becoming attracted to a Muslim classmate, crossing the thin line between physical desire and piety.
Directed by Jen McGowan
When an overachieving college senior makes a wrong turn, her road trip becomes a life-changing fight for survival in rural Kentucky.
Aqui Y Ahora
Directed and written by Paz Leon
Lara is a modern dancer who’s insecure about her talent but lives for her craft. When she gets offered a scholarship to join a dance company in Berlin for three years, her life completely changes. Going to Berlin means to leave everything that makes her country her home. This dream for which she has worked so hard, becomes an internal conflict that forces her to reevaluate her priorities and understand herself in a way she’s never done before.
Directed and written by Roxy Toporowych
Inspired by her experiences on Maidan, Julia pursues a degree in photojournalism and dreams about winning a coveted scholarship to Germany. She also continues her activism by volunteering at the Kyiv Military Hospital, visiting with soldiers injured in the war. At the hospital, she meets a troubled soldier, known only as English. A Russian speaker from the conflicted East, he stands out from the other young men with his mysterious persona. English is immediately attracted to Julia’s charisma, finding an escape from his war trauma through her. As romance sparks, Julia and English navigate through contemporary Kyiv; a world of students, soldiers, old soviets, and nationalists. After one intimate night together, Julia invites English to join her on a trip home to her village in the Carpathian Mountains and the more she watches English bond with her family, the more she resists telling him that she is choosing a new life outside of their homeland. A character-driven drama, featuring Ukrainian culture and current events, Julia Blue dives into the psyches of a determined twenty-something and a damaged war hero.
Directed by Patricia Ortega
A religious dressmaker loses her virginity. Penetration is a knife that rip her and makes her think that something happens to her body. Only the arrival of a woman who shake her sexuality, will make her discover the truth: she was born with ambiguous genitals and being a baby, she was submitted to several surgeries to make her a woman. This truth will challenge her to make a decision: to remain a socially accepted but oppressed woman or choose to be a free and inconvenient intersexual and face the moral judgment of the society.
Documentary Feature Films
The Devil We Know
Directed, written, and produced by Stephanie Soechtig
Unraveling one of the biggest environmental scandals of our time, a group of citizens in West Virginia take on a powerful corporation after they discover it has knowingly been dumping a toxic chemical – now found in the blood of 99.7% of Americans – into the drinking water supply. Citizens in West Virginia take on a powerful corporation after they discover it has knowingly been dumping a toxic chemical into the drinking water supply.
Directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal
Blowin’ Up takes us inside the walls of an experimental courtroom in Queens, New York, where the fates of women and young girls arrested for prostitution hang in the balance.
Directed by Dina Naser
Tiny Souls is a documentary film that portrays the lives of the whole generation of children that were affected by wars by following the main character, Marwa. The documentary follows Marwa’s life from childhood to adolescence within the walls of Al Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan, reflecting its effect on her reality and how it shaped her future.
Directed and produced by Burcu Melekoglu & Vuslat Karan
A transgender man struggles with self-realization and acceptance in traditional society of Turkey. Constrained by identification cards color-coded for gender, will he finally be considered for a Blue ID?
The Egg and the Thieving Pie
Directed and produced by Lola-Blanche Higgins
The film follows Shona, a character based on a whale displaced from her world into an urban setting. Shona is ectopic, an outsider, a Community Support Officer, lonely and missing something terribly. Like the animal, she represents she has the greatest capacity for empathy of all the creatures/characters we meet. Shona has to investigate the theft of a strange and precious egg, questioning three people who live in the same building to get to the bottom of the crime. The victim, mourning her lost egg, is the embodiment of a Turtle. The first suspect is a Praying Mantis who we witness killing her husband.The second is a Magpie who turns out to be the thief. Once she has recovered the strange egg, Shona is unable to return it, instead of keeping it for herself to fill the hole left by what she’s missing – the ocean itself.
Futbolistas 4 Life
Directed by Jun Stinson
Futbolistas 4 Life is a film about Latino high school students in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, their immigrant stories, and the healing power of soccer.