Nov 11, 2019
$100,000 Awarded to Support US-Based Independent Filmmakers Developing Narrative Feature Screenplays
San Francisco, CA – SFFILM, in partnership with the Westridge Foundation, announced today the projects that will receive a total of $100,000 in funding in the latest round of SFFILM Westridge Grants. Five filmmaking teams were granted funding to help support the screenwriting and project development stages of their narrative feature films. SFFILM Westridge Grants, which are awarded twice annually, are designed for US-based filmmakers whose stories take place primarily in the United States and focus on the significant social issues and questions of our time. The application period for the next round of grants is now open at sffilm.org/makers; the deadline to apply is February 12, 2020.
SFFILM Westridge Grants provide support to film projects in their critical early stages, safeguarding filmmakers’ creative processes and allowing artists to concentrate on thoughtfully developing their stories while building the right strategy and infrastructure to guide them through financing and production. In addition to cash grants, recipients will benefit from SFFILM’s comprehensive and dynamic artist development program, SFFILM Makers, as well as support and counsel from SFFILM, the Westridge Foundation, and a dedicated mentor.
The panelists who reviewed the finalists’ submissions were Sofia Alicastro, SFFILM Artist Development Manager, Filmmaker Programs; Lauren Kushner, SFFILM Interim Director of Artist Development; Lauren McBride, film producer; Shelby Rachleff, Westridge Foundation Program Manager; and Jessica Smith, Agent at United Talent Agency.
In a statement, the jury said, “What stood out to us were the beautiful and striking ways in which these five narratives artfully tackle important social concerns of our time with nuance. We were particularly moved by the range of emotional landscapes featured here, including lyrical and textured musings on the past and present, and what it means to come of age. From high-stakes dilemmas and sibling camaraderie in the midst of gentrification to quiet moments of reflection and meditative musings on the unraveling of life, the jury found each of these five remarkable stories uniquely impactful and stirring.”
FALL 2019 SFFILM WESTRIDGE GRANT WINNERS
all dirt roads taste of salt
Raven Jackson, writer/director; Maria Altamirano, producer – development/packaging – $20,000
Through lyrical portraits evoking the texture of memories, all dirt roads taste of salt viscerally and experientially explores the life of a Black woman in Tennessee, from her youth to her older years.
Isabel Sandoval, writer/director; Carlo Velayo, producer – screenwriting – $20,000
Ellen, a mixed-Filipino transwoman raising an adopted baby with her husband in Brooklyn, unknowingly gets reconnected with Rebecca, a working-class Caucasian woman who had given her up for adoption as an infant son. The two mothers ultimately realize that their frayed bond goes deeper than the biological.
Each Other’s Mothers
Lara Jean Gallagher, writer/director/producer; Aimee Lynn Barneburg, producer – screenwriting – $20,000
After getting her period for the first time at a remote resort on the Oregon coast, a girl discovers a coven of maids harvesting her virgin blood.
Joy and Pain
Sanford Jenkins, writer/director/producer – screenwriting – $20,000
An exploration of two families, through the lovers who unravel and bind them, as they prepare for a new child.
Rachael Moton, writer/director – screenwriting – $20,000
Unexpectedly hit with a huge debt, two Black students at a PWI in rapidly gentrifying North Philadelphia are forced to come up with money quick. They unknowingly find themselves at the center of a huge cheating scandal after they begin doing their classmates’ homework for money.
The SFFILM Westridge Grant is part of a robust suite of funding and support initiatives facilitated by SFFILM Makers, the artist development branch of SFFILM. Additional programs include the SFFILM Rainin Grant, the SFFILM Documentary Film Fund, the FilmHouse artist residency program, and a range of fellowships and professional development opportunities. For more information, visit sffilm.org/makers.
The Westridge Foundation seeks to support individuals, organizations, institutions, and programs dedicated to promoting community and/or national social good.
SFFILM Makers (formerly “Filmmaker360”), the organization’s artist development program, provides significant financial and creative resources to independent filmmakers through grants, fellowships, residencies, fiscal sponsorship, and more. Since 2009, over $7 million has been disbursed to more than 200 film projects in various stages of production. Highlights include the SFFILM Rainin Grant and the SFFILM Westridge Grant, which together distribute the most nonprofit funding for narrative features in the United States; a joint effort with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to cultivate stories rooted in science and technology; and the Documentary Film Fund, a partnership with the Jenerosity Foundation. For more information, visit sffilm.org/makers.
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 12,000 students and teachers 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. For more information visit sffilm.org.