SFFS/KRF grants are awarded twice a year to promising feature film projects that will impact the Bay Area filmmaking community. Nearly $3 million dollars have been granted since the 2009 inception of this flagship program. Winners will be announced in November.
Past grant winners include Kat Candler’s “Hellion” and Ira Sachs’ “Love Is Strange,” Destin Cretton’s beloved SXSW 2013 prize winner “Short Term 12,” Ryan Coogler’s critics’ baby “Fruitvale Station,” winner of prizes at Cannes and the Independent Spirit Awards, and 2013 Best Picture Oscar nominee “Beasts of the Southern Wild” by Benh Zeitlin.
Here are this year’s finalists:
Absence – Cherien Dabis, writer/director/producer – screenwriting
Palestinian refugee who unexpectedly becomes head of household must sneak into
Israel from the West Bank in order to earn a decent enough living to support
his family. It’s there, where he’s confronted daily with the enemy, that he
must come to terms with his own anger or face the same fate as his father. More
info at cheriendabis.me.
Dark Forest – Elena Greenlee, writer/director – screenwriting
millennial—equally versed in neuroscience and party drugs—steps out of her
depths into the complex world of Amazonian shamanism. She finds herself in the crossfire
of an intense battle for power being waged in a magical dimension she’s not
even sure she believes in.
Everything Else (Todo Lo Demás) – Natalia
Almada, writer/director/producer – production
awakens to find her cat dead at the foot of her bed. Denying the loss of her
sole companion, she continues her routine as she has for the past 35 years,
donning her grey skirt and practical heels and taking the women’s subway car to
work in Mexico City. Memories are unleashed from the morning’s tragedy as old
wounds begin to bleed and she recalls the drowning of her child. More info
Fairyland – Andrew Durham, writer/director – screenwriting
sudden death of her mother, a young girl is uprooted from her home and taken to
San Francisco in the 1970s to be raised by her bisexual hippy father. Inhabited
by poets, artists and drag queens, her free-spirited upbringing feels like a
fairytale, until she reaches adolescence and begins to question the environment
in which she was raised and some of the choices her father made.
Five Nights in Maine – Maris Curran, writer/director/producer; Carly Hugo,
producer – postproduction
African American man, reeling from the tragic loss of his wife, travels to
rural Maine to seek answers from his estranged mother-in-law, who is herself
confronting guilt and grief over her daughter’s death.
The Future – Fabio Mollo, writer/director – screenwriting
Paolo is a
35-year-old single gay craftsman raised in an orphanage. His journey from the
north to the south of Italy is an on-the-road story about the meaning of
fatherhood and the pursuit of the future. More info at vimeo.com/fabiomollo.
God Bless the Child – Robert Machoian, writer/codirector; Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck,
codirector; Robert Thomas, producer; Laura Heberton, producer –
spend a summer day on their own. Only the eldest—the one girl, 13—knows their
mother may never be coming back, and while looking after her brothers she lets
them just be little kids, drawing them closer to herself as the day goes by.
More info at 433pictures.com.
Mediterranea – Jonas Carpignano, writer/director – postproduction
his native Burkina Faso, Ayiva makes the perilous journey across the Sahara and
Mediterranean in search of a better life in Europe. Once in Italy, he must
balance his desire to provide for his family in Africa with the intolerance and
harsh working conditions he finds in his newly claimed home.
The Messenger – Marilia Hughes, co-writer/director; Cláudio Marques, co-writer/director
official of the justice system, Iris, 27 years old, is responsible for
transmitting what is mostly bad news. The young woman tries to keep her
distance from people, but violence makes Iris experience a feeling of revolt
that she has previously tried to ignore. More info at coisadecinema.com.br.
Morris From America – Chad Hartigan, writer/director; Sara Murphy, producer –
Morris is a
13-year-old, overweight, African American living in Heidelberg, Germany with
his father, Curtis. The kids there make fun of him for being fat, for being
black and for being American so he’s having a difficult entrance into
adolescence. That is until he meets 14-year-old Katrin, and immediately falls
head over heels in love. As they strike up an odd friendship, Morris pulls
further away from Curtis, but closer to accepting himself as he is. More info
Radio Dreams – Babak Jalali, writer/director; Marjaneh Moghimi, producer –
and misunderstood Iranian musician lands in San Francisco to pursue his
lifelong dream of recording with Metallica, while a mysterious beautiful woman
takes over his radio show.
Skunk – Annie Silverstein, writer/director – screenwriting
tensions erupt in a small watershed town east of Houston after a sexual prank
by a group of teenage boys is linked to a local girl’s suicide. 14-year-old
Laney, riddled with guilt and grief over the loss of her friend, begins her own
investigation which has unforeseen consequences. More info at anniesilverstein.com. We covered the project at Cannes, here.
Songs My Brother Taught Me – Chloe Zaho, writer/director/producer – postproduction
restless Lakota teen, fights to escape his life on the reservation but soon
realizes that it’s far more complicated than he thought to leave the only place
he has ever known.
Kris Swanberg, writer/director – postproduction
high school teacher discovers she is pregnant at the same time as one of her
most promising students, and the two develop an unlikely friendship while
struggling to navigate their unexpected pregnancies.