By Brian Brooks | Indiewire February 19, 2009 at 6:42AM
Emerging filmmakers from Japan and Palestine as well as local New York group, Rooftop Films are among the recipients of over $250,000 in grants announced by Cinereach. Ten works-in-progress and organizations committed to Cinereach's mission to support "socially-relevant, artistic filmmaking" will share in the grants, which range from $10,000 to $35,000. The recipients include both narrative and documentary film projects and tackle topics ranging from environmental degradation to assisted living. To date, Cinereach has distributed more then $1.6 million since the organization's founding in 2006.
"This is a tough time for filmmakers and our commitment to supporting meaningful work is stronger than ever," said Philipp Engelhorn, Cinereach founder and executive director in a statement. "We're proud to be involved with this remarkable group of projects."
The full list of films and projects receiving grants (with descriptions provided by Cinereach):
"Blood Feud" (working title), Dir. Joshua Marston | USA/Albania | Narrative
A feature-length narrative film which explores the institution of blood feuds and its effect on a family in modern Albania as seen through the eyes of a 17-year-old boy and his younger sister.
"Habibi Rasak Kharban" (Darling, Something's Wrong with Your Head), Dir. Susan Youssef | Palestine | Narrative
A dramatic digital feature that tells the story of a forbidden love in Gaza, and is the modern re-telling of the famous ancient Arabo-Islamic romance "Majnun Layla."
"Kuichi," Dir. Maiko Endo | USA/Japan | Narrative
On the island of Okinawa, 11-year old Kuichi is a biracial boy growing up in a town built by the US military. Like the town itself, Kuichi is trapped between cultures and identities. As he searches for an outlet for his deep spirituality, Kuichi encounters the mythical forces of nature and the history behind the creation of a place not quite American yet not Japanese.
"Marmato," Dir. Mark Grieco | USA/Colombia | Documentary
The film intimately reveals the lives of peasant miners in the historic gold-mining town of Marmato, Colombia as a Canadian multinational mining company plans a total takeover. Through exclusive access to the families affected and activists fighting for their rights, the film will provide insight into the direct effects of how resources are sought, removed, and at what cost to the people and the environment.
"Pariah," Dir. Dee Rees | USA | Narrative
When forced to choose between the fragile cohesion of her middle-class family and loyalty to her best friend, a Bronx teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression.
"The Patron Saints," Dir. Brian Cassidy, Melanie Shatzky | USA | Documentary
A disquieting and at times surrealistic exploration of an assisted living facility. Bound by first-hand ruminations of Jim, the nursing home's youngest--and recently disabled--resident, the film is a revealing portrait of the changing nature of bodies and minds.
Untitled Project, Dir. Alistair Banks Griffin | USA | Narrative
A new project from Visit Films: When Jack's mother turns up dead at the edge of a field near their rural home, he and his brother set out on an arduous journey to fulfill her last wish.
Untitled Ramin Bahrani Western Project, Dir. Ramin Bahrani | USA | Narrative
A new project from the writer and director of Goodbye Solo, Chop Shop and Man Push Cart.
"Watchers of the Sky," Dir. Edet Belzberg | USA/Chad/Rwanda/The Netherlands | Documentary
Traversing time and continents to explore genocide and the world's response, the film interweaves the lives of four exceptional visionaries while setting out to uncover the story of Raphael Lemkin, one of the greatest humanitarians of the twentieth century.
Rooftop Films 2009 Summer Series, Mark Rosenberg | USA | Screening Series
Rooftop Films engages large audiences with innovative, entertaining, socially-aware films by hosting screenings in unique locations pertinent to the films' subject matter, covering issues relevant to the local communities' diverse audiences. Rooftop Films' 13th annual Summer Series will present 44 nights of film screenings to approximately 25,000 audience members in spectacular outdoor locations throughout New York City.