Women In Film, Los Angeles has revealed the recipients of its 33rd annual Film Finishing Fund, which awards cash grants and production services to complete works-in-progress films that are by or about women.
A total of nine grantees were chosen by an industry jury for the calendar year 2018. This edition’s crop emerged from 390 feature-length narrative films, documentaries and shorts, submitted from 22 countries.
“The 2018 grantees tackle some of society’s most pressing issues and work in innovative ways to tell excellent stories that matter,” WIF executive director Kirsten Schaffer said. “Through the Film Finishing Fund, we are able to support these filmmakers at a crucial moment of their journey to help ensure their voices are heard. We, along with our partners Stella Artois, are proud to support them and look forward to their success.”
Previous WIF grantees have gone on to win Oscars, Emmys and festival awards. Last year’s fund included Amy Adrion’s documentary Half the Picture and Christina Choe’s Nancy, both of which bowed at Sundance and scored distribution deals. Another docu, Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler’s United Skates, won the audience award at Tribeca and will air on HBO next month.
Here is this year’s list of recipients:
STELLA ARTOIS GRANTS
Decade of Fire
Directed by Gretchen Hildebran & Vivian Vazquez
LOGLINE: One woman’s search to uncover how her childhood Bronx neighborhood was destroyed by racism, neglect and fires.
End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock
Directed by Shannon Kring
LOGLINE: Indigenous women risk their lives to stop the oil pipeline construction that desecrated their ancient burial and prayer sites and threatens their land, water, and very existence.
Rooting for Roona
Directed by Pavitra Chalam & Akshay Shankar
LOGLINE: A little girl named Roona Begum is born in the North East of India with an unprecedented head size caused by a birth defect. This is the story of one family and how they raise an extraordinary child against insurmountable odds.
Directed by Christine Delp & Pilar Timpane
LOGLINE: After 25 years of living in the US, a Guatemalan grandmother threatened with deportation takes sanctuary in a North Carolina church.
NARRATIVE FEATURE FILMS
The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open
Directed by Kathleen Hepburn & Elle-Maija Tailfeathers
LOGLINE: Two Indigenous women from vastly different backgrounds find their worlds colliding as one of them, Rosie, flees a violent domestic attack. What begins as an urgent and terrifying escape, tentatively expands as the women weave a fragile bond in their short time together while navigating the complexities of motherhood and the ongoing legacy of colonialism.
Directed by Alexandra Kotcheff & Hannah Leder
LOGLINE: ‘The Planters’ is a dark comedy about Martha Plant, a reclusive telemarketer grieving the loss of her parents, who finds unlikely friendship in Sadie Mayflower, a Jesus-loving vagrant with multiple personalities. This is a radical experiment in feature filmmaking – two women, starring in, and making a film with no on-set crew.
Una Great Movie
Directed by Jennifer Sharp
LOGLINE: A beautifully diverse movie about a Black American woman traveling to Mexico, slowly turns into a romantic comedy with an all-white cast. A quirky cerebral look into the commercial Hollywood system, juxtaposed with a heartwarming movie that portrays Mexicans and Black people as humans rather than stereotypes.
Documentary Feature Films
How to Have an American Baby
Directed by Leslie Tai
LOGLINE: There is a city in Southern California that is teeming with pregnant women from China. HOW TO HAVE AN AMERICAN BABY is a kaleidoscopic voyage, told through multiple perspectives, into the booming shadow economy catering to Chinese birth tourists who travel to the U.S. on birthing vacations in order to obtain U.S. citizenship for their babies.
Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres
Directed by Suzanne Kai
LOGLINE: The lights, the crowds, the music! Ben Fong-Torres covered it all at Rolling Stone as a legendary writer, rock journalist and the magazine’s first music editor. The documentary about Ben’s life is an epic sweep through the world of rock and roll. The American-born son of Chinese immigrants, Ben grew up in Chinatown with only a radio to the outside world. Driven by a passion for music and writing, and a wicked sense of humor, his groundbreaking work helped define American culture. He became a voice of a generation which changed America forever.