San Francisco Bay Area film festival promoters SFFILM, in partnership with the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, has announced the development projects that will receive a total of $250,000 in funding in the latest round of SFFILM Rainin Grants.
The organization has backed a prominent slate of past grant winners, including current buzz films Sorry To Bother You and Blindspotting, as well as prominent alumni films Fruitvale Station and Beasts of the Southern Wild.
“Our track record of alerting the US indie world to its most important new talent got a major shot in the arm with four-time SFFILM grant-winner Boots Riley’s Sorry To Bother You opening huge this past week, following in the footsteps of previous SFFILM/Rainin discoveries like Ryan Coogler with Fruitvale Station, Rei Green with Monsters and Men, and Benh Zeitlin with Beasts of the Southern Wild,” SFFILM Executive Director Noah Cowan told Deadline. “These are films we will all be talking about for the next two years. Take note!”
In the current round, ten filmmaking teams were granted funding to support the next stage of their creative process, from screenwriting to post-production. SFFILM Rainin Grants are awarded twice annually to filmmakers whose narrative feature films will have significant economic or professional impact on the Bay Area filmmaking community, or meaningfully explore pressing social issues.
Applications are currently being accepted for the Fall 2018 round of SFFILM Rainin Grants. The deadline to apply is August 29. For more information visit sffilm.org/makers.
The SFFilm Rainin Grants is the largest granting body for independent narrative feature films in the United States. The SFFILM Rainin Grant program has awarded over $5 million to more than 100 projects since its inception.
The panelists who reviewed the finalists’ submissions are Noah Cowan, SFFILM Executive Director; Lauren Kushner, SFFILM Senior Manager of Artist Development; Kimberly Parker, film producer; Jennifer Rainin, CEO of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation; Jenny Slattery, SFFILM Associate Director of Foundations and Artist Development; Shelby Stone, President of Production at Freedom Road Productions; and Caroline von Kühn, SFFILM Director of Artist Development.
“We are delighted to support these ten extraordinarily talented filmmaking teams, five of whom are filmmakers based here in the Bay Area,” said a statement from the jury. “Each of these filmmakers is creating a rich and singular world while wrestling with essential social justice issues. We look forward to being allies and supporters to these artists as they bring this expansive range of visions to life.”
SPRING 2018 SFFILM RAININ GRANT WINNERS
Cops and Robbers
Jinho “Piper” Ferreira, writer; Jason Michael Berman, producer (screenwriting) – $25,000 – Frustrated with the lack of impact of his artistic efforts and haunted by the police killing of Oscar Grant, John “Jay” Punch decides to pay his own way through the police academy in an attempt to create change from the inside. He finds out very quickly that he’s in for the fight of his life, and the thing most likely to be changed is him.
Suzanne Andrews Correa, writer/director (screenwriting) – $25,000 – In Ciudad Juarez, a city where violence against women goes unnoticed and unpunished, an unlikely heroine emerges to seek justice.
I’m No Longer Here
Fernando Frias, writer/director; Gerardo Gatica, Gerry Kim, and Alberto Muffelmann, producers (post-production) – $40,000 – After a misunderstanding with members of a local cartel, 17-year-old Ulises Samperio is forced to migrate to the US, leaving behind what defines him most: his gang and the dance parties that he loves so much. He tries to adapt to American life, but quickly realizes that he would rather return home than confront the alienation he faces in New York.
Bassam Jarbawi, writer/director; Shrihari Sathe and Yasmine Qaddumi, producers (post-production) – $30,000 – After 15 years of imprisonment, Ziad struggles to adjust to modern Palestinian life as the hero everyone hails him to be. Unable to distinguish reality from hallucination, he unravels and drives himself back to where it all began.
Sandhya Suri, writer/director; Diarmid Scrimshaw and Anna Duffield, producers (screenwriting) – $25,000 – In the rural hinterlands of Northern India, a young woman police officer is drawn into a sex crime investigation steeped in prejudice and corruption. Her journey to confront the killer challenges both who she is and who she wants to become.
Tani Ikeda, director/co-writer; A-lan Holt, co-writer (screenwriting) – $15,000 – A young girl goes to live with her grandparents in Japan after her mother dies. There she discovers that the people who are supposed to protect her can’t, and she must rely on her own magic to save herself.
Shit & Champagne
D’Arcy Drollinger, writer/director, Michelle Moretta and Brian Benson, producers (screenwriting) – $25,000 – Shit & Champagne is a high-octane, high-camp, slapstick send-up of the iconic exploitation films of the 1970s. The film is a tribute to female empowerment flavored with borscht belt comedy, with an original funk score, fabulous vintage-inspired fashion, and cross-gender casting.
Elizabeth Oyebode, writer (screenwriting) – $25,000 – Thirty years after slavery’s end, a pugnacious Black newswoman, embarks on a life-threatening investigation into the Black lives that America contends do not matter.
Travis Matthews, writer/director; Mollye Asher, João Federici and George Rush, producers (screenwriting) – $15,000 – A young homeless woman prepares to leave San Francisco for a new opportunity, but when her brother goes missing, she loses herself on a mysterious journey that puts her in mortal danger.
Todos los Cuerpos Pequeños (All Small Bodies)
Jennifer Reeder, writer/director; Laura Heberton, writer/producer (screenwriting) – $25,000 – In a not-too-distant dystopian future, in the wake of a climate-change-related disaster, two nearly wild mixed-race girls with special powers named Z and Bub fight to survive along the desert ruins of the former US/Mexico border wall.