Back to IndieWire

Rooftop Films Announces Recipients of 2013 Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Grants, Among Them Kate Lyn Sheil, Mike Plante, Todd Rohal and Yung Jake

Rooftop Films Announces Recipients of 2013 Rooftop Filmmakers' Fund Grants, Among Them Kate Lyn Sheil, Mike Plante, Todd Rohal and Yung Jake

Rooftop Films announced today the winning recipients of its 2013 Filmmakers’ Fund grantees. The 12 grants are funded through Rooftop’s annual festival in addition to partnerships with Edgeworx Studios, Eastern EffectsThe Adrienne Shelly Foundation, DCTV and a sponsorship from AT&T.

“Every year, it is an honor
for us at Rooftop to be able to support a new crop of amazing films thanks to
the support of our community, our audience, partners and sponsors,” said Rooftop Films’ Founder and
Artistic Director Mark Elijah Rosenberg. “We are proud
to reflect the diversity of our community by awarding grants to a wide range of
films this year, from comedies and wild new media projects to serious films
addressing global political issues. Each of these filmmakers previously
screened at our festival, so it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to give
something back to them and help them make new films which will soon astonish
the world.”

The 2013 Grantees, their sponsors, and the films’ synopses are listed below:

Rooftop Films / AT&T Feature Film Grant
Jonas CarpignanoA Chjana
and courageous Burkinabe friends, Ayiva and Abas, must persevere through the
difficult journey across Africa on their way to finding new opportunities in
Europe. But with their family and new home, local hostility and
intolerance all hanging in the balance, Ayiva and Abas must consider what price
a “better life” is really worth. Rooftop screened Carpignano’s award-winning
short film, A Chjana, in 2012 and Bayou Black in 2011.

Rooftop Films / Eastern Effects Equipment Grant
Todd Rohal, Sweet Cheeks
is the story of two nine-year-old
brothers, Tyson and Tyler Butterfield, growing up among the
24 adopted children that live together in a one-room house where they
eat, sleep, and get raised up by their loving parents. The boys find a gift for
their mother inside of an abandoned mailbox which leads them on a mission where
they run afoul of a slick reverend with strange ideas about love, steal a car
from a daredevil hobo, get chased by a six-inch-tall man in a balloon, and
confront Jesus Christ in heaven above. Sweet Cheeks exists in the
uncharted territory located somewhere between the Our Gang shorts
of the 1930s, Paper MoonNight of the Hunter, Duck
and Forbidden Zone. Rooftop screened Rohal’s short
films Knuckleface Jones and Hillbilly Robot in 2000 and 2001 and
his feature-length films The Guatemalan Handshake in 2006 and The
Catechism Cataclysm
in 2012.

Rooftop Films / Edgeworx Post-Production Grant
Treitz and Kate Lyn Sheil,
Go To Battle
In the fall of 1861, most Americans predicted
that the War Between the States would end by Christmas. Henry and Francis
Mellon couldn’t care less. The two are struggling to hold on to their crumbling
estate while bracing for another winter in central Kentucky. Living together in
the last remaining structure on their family’s hemp farm, the two have become
suffocatingly close. Francis’ practical jokes become more and more antagonistic
until the night he accidentally injures Henry in a fight. Henry disappears in
the night, leaving Francis alone to discover the hardship and deprivation that
the war has in store for him. Rooftop has screened numerous films starring Kate
Lyn Sheil, and showed Treitz’s short films The
Mean Time
(2008) and We’re Leaving (2011).

Rooftop Films / DCTV Equipment and Services Grant
Sam Green,
Great Heart of Humanity
The Great Heart of Humanity is a new
feature-length “live documentary” by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam
Green. The film, which is inspired loosely by the Guinness Book of Records,
will weave together portraits of record-holding people places and things to
create a meditation on fate and the outer contours of the human experience. The
film will be screened with live narration and live soundtrack performed by the
chamber group yMusic. Rooftop Films screened Sam Green’s film Pie Fight ’69 (co-directed with Christian Bruno) in 2000 and his live documentaries Fog and The Biggest Smallest in 2013.

Darius Monroe Clark,
The Evolution of a Criminal
Deep in the heart of Texas, what begins as an innocent tale of
family, sacrifice, and financial hardship quickly escalates into a true-crime
thriller. Fusing together compelling interviews, striking re-enactments, and
home video, we are forced to ask ourselves how a 16 year old honor roll student
evolved into a bank robber. Rooftop screened Monroe’s short film Train in

Natalie Paul,

It’s a hot afternoon in gentrified Brooklyn, when Nicki, a tough
native Brooklynite meets for the first time her boyfriend’s “baby
mother” Amy – who turns out to be a Southern blond belle. The two women,
as opposite as they are, challenge each other and somehow come to see each
other in ways only the other can. Sweet Tea explores the reality of
complicated relationships and complicated people – and how they desperately try
to hang on, move on, make things work or let things go. Rooftop Films screened
Natalie Paul’s first short film, Everything Absolutely (co-directed with
Terence Nance) in 2013.

Rooftop Films Equipment Grant
Keith Miller, Five Star
Five Star follows Primo and John as they face
the challenges of urban manhood. For Primo, who turned Blood at age 12 (in the
movie and in real life), this includes understanding what it means to be a
father and an honest man. John has to decide if gang life is the path for him.
Connecting them is John’s father, who was Primo’s mentor, and whose recent
death by a supposedly stray bullet sets the story in motion. Based closely on
real life elements, the distinction between the story in the movie and events
in the ‘real world’ is intentionally blurred. Five Star is a follow up to Keith Miller’s award winning
feature Welcome to Pine Hill (Rooftop
2012), which was based off his short film Prince/William (Rooftop 2010).

Rooftop Films / Adrienne Shelley Foundation Short Film Grant for Women
Heather Courtney, Untitled Texas Project
Untitled Texas
will follow one Planned Parenthood clinic’s struggle to survive in a
state that has made massive cuts in family planning funding, and vilified Planned
Parenthood in particular.  In their
efforts to get rid of abortion, Texas state legislators have also restricted
access to contraception, women wellness exams, and pre-cancer screenings,
resulting in 76 clinics either closing completely or cutting family planning
services.  This short documentary explores the human side of policy
decisions, as we follow a year-in-the life of one west Texas clinic
and the fall-out for their patients. Rooftop screened Courtney’s feature
documentaries Letters from the Other Side
(2006) and Where Soldiers Come From (2011). 

Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Short Film Grant
Riley Hooper, The World’s Longest Yard Sale
Now in its
26th year, the world’s longest yard sale runs from Michigan to Alabama the
first weekend of every August. It’s a massive exchange of not only goods, but
also cultures, customs, ideas, and narratives. Riley Hooper’s short
documentary focuses on objects being sold and bought along the route of the
sale to reveal personal stories about the people buying and selling them: universal stories of family histories, love, loss, nostalgia, and the human
experience. Rooftop screened Hooper’s film Flo in 2013.

Yung Jake, kickstarder
“ayo this Yung Jake. i’m about to
drop the most interactive rap video ever. 4 reel. it’s gonna be a video that
automatically inserts my supporters; the people who have my back from day one
(through day 30) of the time that KS is release will be forever embedded into
the video, they jus have to pay a little. my day 1-30 niggas. yeah, so whatever
img you want can be dragged onto the video wherever/whenever and publicly
displayed for the world to see. like on my shirt or you can be in the
background of the shot in my hood. prices range on how dope the area of
insertion is. Rooftop Films screened my Datamosh video in 20013 that’s how they
found me. email kickstarder@gmail.com to inquire about pre-ordering img spots.”

Mike Plante, Giuseppe Makes a
In Ventura, CA, Giuseppe Andrews makes movies in his trailer park. A
former child actor, Giuseppe is inspired by the crazy independent filmmakers of
history: Cassavetes, Bunuel and Fassbinder… and now has 30 features of his own.
With a handwritten script, a video camera, an acting ensemble of neighbors and
homeless men and a few hundred bucks, we follow Giuseppe and crew as he sets
out to make a feature film in just two days and shows that filmmaking is not
for a small elite group but for everyone. Made by Adam Rifkin and by Mike Plante,
whose Orbit(film): Earth short played
at Rooftop in 2012.

Tom Schroeder and Lisa Paclet, Island
Isola del Giglio is the smallest
island of the archipelago that includes Elba and Monte Cristo.  One of the
three small villages on the island, Campese, serves as a summer vacation
retreat for middle class Italian families.  Island will be a 12-minute animated film documenting the course of
one day in Campese rendered in an impressionistic, sketchbook style. Rooftop
screened Paclet’s film Ursonate (2006)
and three of Schroeder’s films: Bike
(2002), Bike Race (2011) and
Marcel, King of Tervuren (2013).

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: News and tagged ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox