Mar 23, 2021
2021 SFFILM Festival to Showcase Films Supported by SFFILM Makers Grants,
Fellowships and Residency Programs
San Francisco, CA – SFFILM today announced that the 2021 San Francisco International Film Festival’s lineup will include four features and two short films that have received support from SFFILM Makers, the nonprofit organization’s artist development branch, which provides significant resources to independent filmmakers through a variety of grants, fellowships, residencies, and professional development opportunities.
Tasha Van Zandt’s After Antarctica was developed during the director’s SFFILM FilmHouse Residency in 2020. Dash Shaw’s Cryptozoo received a 2016 SFFILM Djerassi Fellowship, and went through the SFFILM Invest program in 2019. We Are as Gods was developed by David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg during their SFFILM FilmHouse residency in 2018. Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh’s Writing With Fire received a 2020 SFFILM Documentary Film Fund grant for post-production. Additionally, both SFFILM-Supported short films included in the 2021 Festival lineup, Daniel Freeman’s If You Hum at the Right Frequency and Erin Semine Kökdil’s Since you arrived, my heart stopped belonging to me, were developed during the directors’ respective FilmHouse residencies in 2020.
“We couldn’t be prouder to see the bold artistic vision this group of extraordinary filmmakers brought to life and can’t wait to share these films with our Festival audiences,” said Lauren McBride, Director of Artist Development. “Knowing the difficulties faced by artists over the past year, SFFILM Makers’ focus has remained on supporting filmmakers and nurturing the independent spirit. It continues to be an honor aiding in the development of incredible projects from around the world and right here in the Bay.”
Since 2009, SFFILM Makers has disbursed over $8 million to more than 200 film projects in various stages of production. Through grants, residencies and year-round programming, SFFILM Makers supports independent filmmakers in all stages of development, providing critical funding and resources to film artists worldwide. SFFILM Makers is home to the SFFILM Rainin Grant program, the largest single granting initiative for independent narrative feature films in the US. Each year, SFFILM Makers gives nearly $1M in grants to filmmakers with supported narrative and documentary feature projects including Fernando Frias de la Parra’s I’m No Longer Here, Channing Godfrey Peoples’ Miss Juneteenth, RaMell Ross’s Hale County This Morning, This Evening, Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, Ljubo Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska’s Honeyland, and Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station. SFFILM’s FilmHouse residency program provides Bay Area-based documentary and narrative filmmakers with artistic guidance, office space, a vibrant creative community, and support from established film industry professionals. SFFILM Makers’ current granting and residency programs are supported by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Jenerosity Foundation, Flora Family Foundation, and Film SF. For more information, visit sffilm.org/makers.
The 2021 SFFILM Festival will run April 9–18 with digital screenings being hosted through the SFFILM site and live screenings and performances at the Fort Mason Flix drive-in theater. Tickets and streaming passes on sale at sffilm.org.
SFFILM SUPPORTED FEATURES AT 2021 SFFILM FESTIVAL
After Antarctica, directed by Tasha Van Zandt
US Documentary Feature – WORLD PREMIERE
In a dramatic attempt to bring attention to climate change, an international expedition led by renowned explorer Will Steger embarked on the first-ever coast-to-coast expedition across Antarctica in 1989. Six men and their sled dogs braved howling storms, sub-zero temperatures, snow crevasses, and other perils as they traversed the icy terrain. Tasha Van Zandt’s enthralling feature debut catches up with Steger 30 years later as he revisits the frigid continent, deftly weaving his contemporary journey with rare, dynamic footage of his original, treacherous seven-month odyssey.
· 2020 SFFILM FilmHouse Residency
Cryptozoo, written and directed by Dash Shaw
US Narrative Feature
Captivatingly far-out in its thrilling storylines and psychedelic visuals, the film opens with a tender scene of forest lovemaking and closes with a spectacular helicopter chase featuring a sword-wielding badass named Lauren, intent on freeing any creature deemed different. Weighty matters of biodiversity and acceptance of the strange and wonderful underpin Shaw’s funny, sexy, and ambitious hand-drawn tale of mythological creatures and the brave souls trying to protect them. Cryptozoo was awarded the NEXT Innovator Prize presented by Adobe at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. At the 2021 SFFILM Festival, Dash Shaw will be honored with the storied Persistence of Vision Award.
· 2016 SFFILM Djerassi Fellowship
· SFFILM Invest, 2019 Slate
We Are as Gods, directed by David Alvarado, Jason Sussberg
US Documentary Feature
Stewart Brand, the visionary founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, is profiled in this fascinating documentary. After settling in the Bay Area in the early 1960s, Brand became a prominent hippie and first published the catalog that Steve Jobs described as “Google in paperback form” in 1968. Now in his eighties, he continues to influence culture and stoke debate with his interest in biotechnology. Through unfettered access, memorable archival footage, and candid interviews, the film charts Brand’s dramatic course from counterculture to cyberculture icon in compelling fashion.
· 2018 SFFILM FilmHouse Residency
Writing With Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh
International Documentary Feature
Investigative reporter Meera emerges as a central character in this moving and triumphant documentary. She is one of the undaunted women from India’s lowest caste behind Khabar Lahariya, an online newspaper and YouTube channel dedicated to uncovering abuses of patriarchy and government malfeasance. Armed only with their smart phones, these fearless journalists roam the state of Uttar Pradesh, delivering unflinching coverage of the country’s extremist Hindu leadership, rape culture, and rampant corruption that victimizes those without voice or power. Writing with Fire premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival where it received the Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary and the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Impact for Change.
· 2020 SFFILM Documentary Film Fund grant for post-production
SFFILM SUPPORTED SHORT FILMS AT 2021 SFFILM FESTIVAL
If You Hum at the Right Frequency, directed by Daniel Freeman
New Visions film screening as part of the Shorts 3 program – WORLD PREMIERE
Artists who have recently lost loves find a warm embrace at the Echo River Art and Memory Center in Northern California. Invited to take part in an experimental summer residency, three such artists process their grief against a lush, forested backdrop.
· 2020 SFFILM FilmHouse Residency
Since you arrived, my heart stopped belonging to me, directed by Erin Semine Kökdil
US Documentary film screening as part of the Shorts 3 program – WORLD PREMIERE
Each year, thousands of Central American migrants journeying north to the US go missing. Kökdil captures moments of tender care, hope, and sadness as a group of mothers travel through Mexico in search of their lost children.
· 2020 SFFILM FilmHouse Residency
2021 San Francisco International Film Festival
The longest-running film festival in the Americas, the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM Festival) is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in one of the country’s most beautiful cities. The 64th edition runs April 9–18 with both Live Events and Streaming Programs, and features a drive-in, juried awards with cash prizes, and an exciting roster of filmmaker guests.
SFFILM is a nonprofit organization with a mission to champion the world’s finest films and filmmakers through programs anchored in and inspired by the spirit and values of the San Francisco Bay Area. Presenter of the San Francisco International Film Festival, SFFILM is a year-round organization delivering screenings and events to more than 75,000 film lovers and media education programs to more than 15,000 students, teachers, and families annually. In addition to its public programs, SFFILM supports the careers of independent filmmakers from the Bay Area and beyond with grants, residencies, and other creative development services.