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14 Finalists Compete for Up to $300K in San Francisco Film Society Grants

14 Finalists Compete for Up to $300K in San Francisco Film Society Grants

The 14 finalists for the latest round San Francisco Film Society / Kenneth Ranin Foundation Filmmaking Grants include “A Ciambra,” writer/director Jonas Carpignano’s follow-up to Cannes sensation and AFI FEST selection “Mediterranea,” and “As I Lay Dying” editor Ian Olds’ portrait of an Afghan journalist in Northern California, “The Fixer.” Winners will be announced in November.

READ MORE: “Introducing the New Auteurs and American Independents of AFI FEST 2015”

Up to $300,000 will be awarded to one or more of the finalists, part of more than $3 million awarded through the grant program since its inception in 2009. Winners also receive customized benefits through Filmmaker360, the San Francisco Film Society’s filmmaker services program, including one-on-one project consultations, project feedback, fundraising assistance, resource and service recommendations, and networking opportunities.

Awarded twice annually to narrative features at various stages of production that will have a
significant economic or professional impact on the Bay Area filmmaking
community, past grantees include “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Short Term 12,” “Fruitvale Station,” and “Love Is Strange.” 

READ MORE: “Interview: Ryan Coogler Talks Honoring Oscar Grant, Slain at ‘Fruitvale Station'”


“A Ciambra” – Jonas Carpignano, writer/director; Jon Coplon and Ryan Zacarias, producers

Pio is a young Romani boy living in southern Italy who must decide how far he is willing to go to keep his family together and repay his brother’s debt.

“AWOL” – Deb Shoval, writer/director; Jessica Caldwell and L.A. Teodosio, producers

Joey, 18, falls hard for Rayna, 27, a sexy, married mother of two. Threatened by Rayna’s husband, fired from her job at the local dairy and without many economic opportunities, Joey reluctantly joins the Army. Days before deployment to Afghanistan and still wildly in love, she returns home to rural Pennsylvania and plans to go AWOL with Rayna and her kids.

“Chasing Greatness” – Chris Bailey, writer/director

“Chasing Greatness” is the story of NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury, who finds redemption halfway across the globe after suffering tragedy off the court.

“Dara Ju” – Anthony Onah, writer/director; Justin Begnaud, producer

A young Nigerian American financier struggles with love, family and a prescription drug dependency as his ambitions steer him down a criminal path.

“The Fixer” – Ian Olds, co-writer/director; Caroline von Kuhn, producer

An Afghan journalist is exiled from his war-torn country to a small bohemian community in Northern California. When he attempts to turn his menial job on the local police blotter into “Afghan-style” coverage of local crime, he gets drawn into the backwoods of this small town—a shadow Northern California where sex is casual, true friendship is hard to come by and an unfamiliar form of violence burbles up all around him.

“Freeland” – Mario Furloni and Kate McLean, cowriter/directors; Laura Heberton, producer

In the last season of black market marijuana growing before legalization, a mother and daughter must reconcile their differences in order to survive in an increasingly inhospitable world.

“Little Woods” – Nia DaCosta, writer/director/producer; Rachael Fung, producer

Ollie sneaks into Canada to get medication for her terminally ill mother and other residents in her overwhelmed oil boomtown. She is caught and forced to stop her illegal business, even though it means leaving the people she aids with no better options. When her estranged sister Deb asks for her help, Ollie has to decide whether or not it’s worth it to help her when it will put both of their lives at risk.

“The Lusty” (working title) – Silas Howard, writer/director; Antonia Crane, cowriter; L.A. Teodosio, producer

In San Francisco in the late 1990s, an army of strippers at the Lusty Lady confront dangerous labor practices and go on to create the first exotic dancers’ union in the world. Based on a true story.

“Ma/ddy” – Devon Kirkpatrick, writer/director

In this dark comedy, life after death takes on a whole new meaning for a genderqueer widow following the loss of their wife.

“Over The Eaves” – Brent Green, writer/director; Thyra Heder, cowriter; Carly Hugo, Matt Parker and Alexandra Pitz, producers

A young boy living on a farm begins inventing strange, hand-made machines to ease the family’s hard labor, but his ambitions quickly grow. When his most daring invention backfires and changes life on Earth forever, the townspeople struggle to understand whether he has done them harm or shown them what they have been missing.

“Reza and the Refugees” – Aaron Douglass Johnston, writer/director/producer; Laura Wagner, producer

A ragtag team of Middle Eastern political refugees in Holland enters the Eurovision song contest in an effort to save their friend from deportation and certain death.

“Rogue” – Mark Kindred, writer/director; Reinaldo Marcus Green, producer

An ex-cop gone rogue wages “asymmetric and unconventional warfare” on the corrupt police force that fired him, resulting in the biggest manhunt in California’s history. Inspired by true events.

“These Animals” – Vivian Tse, writer/director

The story of an astronaut’s last year spent on Earth, as she prepares to crew the first manned mission to Mars. It’s a one-way trip.

“Your Face in Mine” – Malik Vitthal, writer/director; Ismet Prcic, cowriter

In the near future, a broken man struggles to find a way to love himself again, and agrees to help an old acquaintance who has undergone “racial reassignment surgery” to tell his story, a task that turns out to be bigger and more complicated than he anticipated.

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