Jul 8, 2020
$195,000 in Grants Awarded to Seven Narrative Feature Projects in Various Stages of Production
San Francisco, CA – SFFILM, in partnership with the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, announced today the projects that will receive a total of $195,000 in funding in the latest round of SFFILM Rainin Grants. Seven filmmaking teams were granted funding to support the next stage of their creative process, from screenwriting to post-production. SFFILM Rainin Grants are awarded twice annually to filmmakers whose narrative feature films will have significant economic or professional impact on the Bay Area filmmaking community and/or meaningfully explore pressing social issues.
The next application period for SFFILM Rainin Grants opens October 5; for more information visit sffilm.org/makers.
SFFILM, in partnership with the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, is the largest granting body for independent narrative feature films in the United States. The SFFILM Rainin Grant program has awarded over $5 million to more than 100 projects since its inception, including Channing Godfrey Peoples’ Miss Juneteenth, which premiered to great acclaim at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival prior to its online release last month; Joe Talbot’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco, which won a record number of juried prizes at Sundance 2019 and was released in theaters nationwide by A24; Nijla Mu’min’s Jinn, which won a Special Jury Award at SXSW 2018 following its premiere there; Boots Riley’s indie breakthrough Sorry to Bother You, which had a successful release last summer through Annapurna Pictures before winning an Indie Spirit Award for Best First Feature; Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Monsters and Men, which won a Special Jury Prize at Sundance 2018; Short Term 12, Destin Cretton’s sophomore feature which won both the Narrative Grand Jury Award and Audience Award at SXSW 2013; Ryan Coogler’s debut feature Fruitvale Station, which won the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature, the Un Certain Regard Avenir Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in the narrative category at Sundance 2013; and Ben Zeitlin’s debut phenomenon Beasts of the Southern Wild, which won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize and Cannes’ Camera d’Or in 2012 and earned four Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture).
The panelists who reviewed the finalists’ submissions are Sofia Alicastro, SFFILM Artist Development Manager: Filmmaker Programs; Sophie Gunther, SFFILM Artist Development Manager: Film Funds; Anne Lai, SFFILM Executive Director; Angela Lee, Associate Director, Artist Development, Film Independent; Shelley Trott, Director, Arts Strategy & Ventures, Kenneth Rainin Foundation.
The panel noted in a statement: “We were struck by this group of remarkable storytellers, diverse in every sense of the word, whose narratives grapple with issues as personal as sibling dynamics and as broad as global political movements. This particular slate of films demonstrated an adept exploration of identity from unique points of view and impressed us through their clear articulation of passion and thoughtfulness. We are excited to work with this interesting group of makers and are thrilled that this round of grants is able to support both the projects and the artists behind them.”
SPRING 2020 SFFILM RAININ GRANT WINNERS
Catch the Fair One
Josef Kubota Wladyka, writer/director; Kimberly Parker and Mollye Asher, producers – $45,000 for post-production
In Catch the Fair One, a boxer plans her own abduction in order to find her missing sister.
Estrada para Livramento (Road to Livramento)
Giuliana Monteiro, writer/director/producer; Beatriz Monteiro, co-writer – $25,000 for screenwriting
Two estranged brothers are forced together when their family home is destroyed by corporate greed. The stringent rules for financial compensation require them to embark on a long journey through the south of Brazil in search of their younger brother.
If We Left
Moon Molson, writer/director; Andrew Burrows-Trotman, writer; Miles Maker, producer – $25,000 for screenwriting
A cook and a janitor stayed without pay to care for abandoned senior residents when their assisted living home was shut down in Castro Valley, CA. Their selfless act of friendship and heroism became the feel-good story of 2013 and led to the Residential Care for the Elderly Reform Act.
Federica Gianni, writer/director; Lara Costa-Calzado and Tatiana Bears, producers – $25,000 for screenwriting
In the aftermath of an earthquake that destroys their village, a gay teenager and his ultraconservative brother are sent to live in the margins of Rome. Alone and in a big city, the brothers are forced to confront the different men they are becoming as they search to find love and work, and breathe new life in the crumbling infrastructures around them.
Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, writer/director; Christine Sanders, producer – $25,000 for screenwriting
Madame Négritude is a technicolor adventure through the brilliant and mercurial mind of Martiniquan writer and political heroine Suzanne Césaire.
On the Mat
Daniel Antebi, writer/director; Alexandra Byer, Madeleine Askwith, and Michael Gottwald, producers – $25,000 for development
Ilan, 16 and queer, must untangle himself from a secret relationship with his martial arts coach.
Christopher Cole, writer/director – $25,000 for screenwriting
Doug is a disaffected music journalist who has ambitions of being an influential writer. Butcher is an egocentric superstar rapper. They look exactly alike. After Doug interviews Butcher, he haphazardly agrees to play his double in a music video. When one gig as Butcher turns into too many, Doug struggles to find his own voice while reckoning his relationship with the public, substances, and a budding romance with his new editor Ana.
SFFILM Rainin Grants are made possible by the generosity of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. In addition to funding, grant and loan recipients also receive a range of benefits through SFFILM Makers, SFFILM’s comprehensive artist development program. These benefits, customized to every individual production, can include one-on-one project consultations, creative development, additional fundraising assistance, resource and service recommendations, and networking opportunities, among many others. For more information visit sffilm.org/makers.
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 $7.5 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 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. For more information visit sffilm.org.