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SF Film Society Names 8 Screenwriting Finalists (Exclusive)

SF Film Society Names 8 Screenwriting Finalists (Exclusive)

The San Francisco Film Society has revealed the eight finalists for the seventh annual SFFS/Hearst Screenwriting Grant. The $15,000 grant will be awarded to a screenwriter, or screenwriting team, that has been practicing for at least five years and who has previously written at least one feature screenplay.

The grant is intended for US-based writers, with priority given to those whose past works were successfully made into finished films. The winner will be announced mid-October.

This year’s finalists listed below. One of the past grant winners, Ian Olds, is just now going into production on “The Fixer” starring James Franco. This year, finalists include “Howl” and “The Celluloid Closet” writer/director Rob Epstein, and Maris Curran, whose David Oyelowo-starrer “Five Nights in Maine” premieres in Toronto.

READ MORE: TIFF First Look: David Oyelowo and Dianne Wiest Lead ‘Five Nights in Maine’

Andrew Burrows-Trotman (writer/director) – If We Left
Inspired by the events that led to the creation of the Residential Care For the Elderly Reform Act, If We Left tells the story of a cook and a janitor who stay without pay to care for abandoned senior residents when their assisted-living home is shut down in Castro Valley, CA.

Christina Choe (writer/director) – Seed War
When a teenage girl discovers her mission to save an agricultural Noah’s ark, she embarks on a dangerous quest to save humanity. Seed War is a story set in a dystopian future about the endangerment of our food supply, the ethics of genetic engineering, and the fate of a seed bank.

Maris Curran (writer/director) – Selene
Selene fears she has laryngitis again. On a routine doctor visit to get antibiotics, she is diagnosed with a rare condition that leaves her permanently voiceless. As her world turns upside down and she struggles to communicate and adapt, she discovers that this new limitation leads to the opening of a new world.

Cheryl Dunye (writer/director) and Marc Smolowitz (producer) – Black is Blue
Black Is Blue is a chilling dramatic tale inspired by the 2013 murder-suicide of a trans woman
who shot and killed a trans man before turning the gun on herself. Using characters from the award-winning short film of the same title, this feature follows two queer people of color who struggle to find home in their bodies and in the ever-changing city of Oakland.

Rob Epstein (writer/director) – Dogpatch
Jake, a successful, funny, smart and handsome filmmaker in his 50s, lives alone in a funky Victorian in San Francisco. Jake’s lover—the love of his life—died of AIDS 25 years ago along with all of Jake’s friends from his younger days. Jake has never quite gotten over this, nor has he ever truly dealt with his grief…that is, until the ghosts of his dead friends visit to set him free.


Brent Green (co-writer/director) and Thyra Heder (co-writer) – Over The Eaves

In this stop-motion animated film, a young boy begins inventing strange, hand-made machines to ease his mother’s hard labor and bring joy to her monotonous life. When his most daring invention backfires and changes life on Earth forever, his neighbors struggle to understand whether he has done them harm or shown them what they have been missing.

Natalia Leite and Alexandra Roxo (co-writer/directors) – Seeds
After a complicated abortion that leaves her infertile, June decides to visit a “psychic surgeon” in the Brazilian desert with her estranged friend, Camila, only to get caught in the middle of a sexual abuse scandal.


Lanre Olabisi (writer/director) – Highway to Nowhere

One border tells three intersecting stories: one about a young teen trying to cross it in search of his
father; another about a young man trying to impress his father by controlling both sides of it; and the last about a grizzled US border patrol officer whose life is thrown into upheaval when he is assigned to protect it.

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