A couple of announcements on the screenwriting grants front
today from the San Francisco Film Society. Alistair Banks Griffin has won the $15,000 SFFS/Hearst Screenwriting
Grant to develop his screenplay for “Snow the Jones,” and Lea Nakonechny was
awarded the Djerassi Residency Award, which provides a one-month
all-expenses-paid writer’s retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains to work on her
script “A Sweeter World.” More info on the two winners, below.
The Hearst Grant is awarded annually in the fall to a writer residing in the United States who has been practicing
for at least five years and who has previously written a minimum of one feature
The Djerassi Residency Award provides uninterrupted time for work and
collegial interaction, in a beautiful rural location.
Alistair Banks Griffin
Alistair Banks Griffin was born in England and raised in New
Orleans. After earning a BFA at Rhode Island School of Design, Griffin
premiered his short film Gauge at the 2008 New York Film Festival. In 2009 he
was the recipient of a Cinereach grant for his first feature film script Two
Gates of Sleep, which competed for the Camera D’Or in the Fortnight selection
of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and won the Grand Prize at CPH:PIX. He is
currently participating in the 2013 Berlinale Residency with his period
screenplay Therese, produced by Treme creator Eric Overmeyer. Snow the Jones
will be his second feature film.
Snow the Jones
When teenage vagabond Lexi joins a traveling door-to-door
sales crew, she discovers a world much darker than the one from which she was
trying to escape. Snow the Jones explores the very real world of sales crews, where kids are taught to lie,
cheat and steal to make sales while sleeping six to a room every night,
ex-military managers force kids with the lowest sales to fistfight until
unconsciousness and owners cook the books while hooking kids on drugs and life
on the road. Lured into the lifestyle with promises of riches, new friends,
adventure and nightly hedonistic romps in road side motels, Lexi soon learns
that she has entered into a battle for nothing less than her own soul. Built
upon the true stories of former sales crew survivors, the film is an experiential
trip into a dark side of the American dream and a lost young girl looking for a
place to belong.
Lea Nakonechny is a Montreal-based filmmaker originally from
rural Saskatchewan, Canada. Her 53-minute documentary Two Museums (2005) won
the Artistic Vision Award at the 2006 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in
Missoula, Montana and toured 18 commercial theaters across Saskatchewan.
Nakonechny was one of the eight female directors selected from across Canada
for the 2012–13 Women in the prestigious Director’s Chair program at the Banff
Centre, supported by NBC Universal. Nakonechny’s short film Edge of the Desert
(2009) premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and screened at a
dozen other festivals around the world. Her feature-length script Nowhere Road
was a semi-finalist in the 2011 Slamdance Screenplay Competition, a
Second-Rounder in the 2012 Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition, and was
selected for the 2013 edition of IFP’s No Borders International Co-Production
Market during Independent Film Week in New York City.
A Sweeter World
After falling on hard times when his bees die off, Jim Wiebe
kills a competing beekeeper for his honey. Finding refuge in a Hutterite
colony, he sees a chance at salvation. But how long can a guilty man stay in a
place where the number one rule is to love thy neighbor?