Every year since 2009, the San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) selects multiple film projects to receive the biannual SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant that helps fund some of the best up-and-coming narrative features that support the Bay Area filmmaking industry.
The grant is presented in tangent with the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, and is the largest granting body for independent narrative feature films in the U.S. The winners of the grant will be announced in November, with one or more of the fifteen projects eligible to receive upwards of $250,000 for assistance in post-production, screenwriting, or packing.
The fall 2016 finalists are as follows:
“Buoyancy” – Rodd Rathjen, writer/director:
Chakra, a Cambodian teenager, leaves his family to seek a better life in Thailand, but is soon sold onto a Thai fishing trawler and enslaved at sea indefinitely, working 22 hours a day with little food. Chakra gradually realizes his only hope of freedom is to become as violent as his captors.
“Chickenshit” – Jess de la Merced, writer/director; Jon Coplon, producer:
With the help of a ragtag group of boys, 11-year-old Phoenix sets out on a dangerous mission to save her Detroit neighborhood from arsonists and to prove herself to her father.
“Collisions” – Richard Levien, writer/director; Frazer Bradshaw and Vincent Cortez, producers:
Twelve-year-old Itan’s promising life in San Francisco is turned upside down when she comes home from school with her six-year-old brother to find her apartment ransacked and her mother missing. Suddenly she must rely on her estranged uncle, a big rig truck driver, to drive them across the country, find Itan’s mother, and stop her deportation.
“Cowboys” – Anna Kerrigan, writer/director; Anil Baral, producer:
A family in western Montana is torn apart when a complicated but well-intentioned father tries to help his trans son but is accused of kidnapping.
“En El Septimo Dia” – Jim McKay, writer/director:
“En el Septimo Dia” is a film about a group of undocumented immigrants from Puebla, Mexico who live in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Bicycle delivery guys, construction workers, dishwashers, deli workers, and cotton candy vendors, they work long hours six days a week and then savor their day of rest on Sundays on the soccer fields.
“Glass” – Lily Baldwin, writer/director; Ariana Garfinkel, producer:
A driven contemporary dancer turns internet sensation after a important critic recognizes her raw talent. When her life is invaded and electronically exposed by an insidious stalker, she mines a power she didn’t know she had.
“The Last Black Man in San Francisco” – Joe Talbot, writer/director; Carlton Evans and Khaliah Neal, producers:
Jimmie Fails dreams of buying back the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Now living in the city’s last, dwindling Black neighborhood with his oddball best friend Prentice, he must search for belonging in the rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind.
“Lucky Star” – Matthew Riutta, writer/director:
In the 1980s, a Madonna-obsessed gay teenager enters a singing contest to escape from his small Indiana town. He enlists help from a retired opera diva on his paper route.
“1991” – Yared Zeleke, writer/director:
Running away from arms traffickers, a group of girls get lost deep in the southern Ethiopian wilderness until they encounter an unknown tribe. When riches are accidentally found in the remote region, the girls must choose between fulfilling their dreams or rescuing the tribe that once saved them.
“The Seahorse” – Devon Kirkpatrick, writer/director; Steven Berger and Kim Parker, producers:
“Life after death” takes on a whole new meaning for a gender-fluid widow following the loss of her wife.
“Selene” – Maris Curran, writer/director:
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.
“Sicilian Ghost Story” – Antonio Piazza and Fabio Grassadonia, co-writer/directors; Massimo Cristaldi and Nicola Giuliano, producers:
Luna, a young Sicilian girl, refuses to accept the sudden disappearance of the boy she loves, and enters into the dark world where he is being held captive. Only their enduring love gives her the power to return to the infinite space of life.
“Those That Leave” – David Casey, writer/director:
In the dark of winter, an outsider travels to a small Greenlandic town in search of ancient treasure. There, he becomes entangled in a perilous struggle with the Arctic and the people of the village, determined to protect their way of life from the transgressions of the outside world.
“Togetherish” – Nikole Beckwith, writer/director; Anthony Brandonisio, producer:
When a young loner is hired as the gestational surrogate for a single middle-aged man, the two navigate their sudden awkward intimacy the best they can. Most of the time.
“Walking Out” – Andrew Smith and Alex Smith, co-writer/directors; Brunson Green and Laura Ivey, producers:
A teenage urbanite travels to rural Montana to go hunting with his estranged “off-the-grid” father. As they ascend into the wilderness, father and son struggle to connect on any level. When an unexpected encounter with a grizzly bear leaves them both with serious injuries, the boy must carry his father to safety if they are to survive.
In the past, the SFFS/KRF grant has helped to fund such films as “Short Term 12,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” and “Fruitvale Station,” to name a few. In addition to the cash grant, the winners will also receive access to resources and benefits from SFFS’s filmmakers services program. To learn more about the SFFS/ KRF Filmmaking Grant, click here.