On the Scene: Exclusive Interview with Lance Edmands & Kyle Martin

The San Francisco Film Society spent an afternoon with Lance Edmands and Kyle Martin, director and producer of Bluebird - the latest in a long line of FABULOUS films supported by the SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant - before they left for their world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival this week! See sffs.org/filmmaker360 for more details. 

Spring 2013 SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant Winners will be announced tomorrow!

On the Scene: Exclusive Interview with Destin Daniel Cretton

We caught up with Destin Daniel Cretton, who is riding high from his recent sweep at SXSW -- his world premiere of Short Term 12 won both 2013 Grand Jury Award and the Audience Award for Narrative Feature competition!  Short Term 12 was a 2012 SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant winner for postproduction. The video features an insightful interview with Destin about his filmmaking background and creative process, and includes behind-the-scenes footage from the film!


A film by Patrick Trefz for the San Francisco Film Society
Edited by Rosendo Ayala

Latest SFFS/KRF Grant Finalists Announced

San Francisco Film Society and Kenneth Rainin Foundation have announced the 12 finalists for the latest round of SFFS / Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaking Grants; more than $300,000 will be awarded to one or more narrative feature films at any stage of production! SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grants are awarded twice annually to film projects that will have significant economic or professional impact on the Bay Area filmmaking community. Winners of the spring 2013 SFFS/KRF Grants will be announced in mid-April.

Past winners  include: Destin Daniel Cretton's sophmore feature Short Term 12 (Winner of the Narrative Grand Jury Award and Audience Award at SXSW); Ryan Coogler’s debut feature Fruitvale, (Winner of the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in the narrative category at Sundance 2013); and Benh Zeitlin’s debut phenomenon and indie box office smash, Beasts of the Southern Wild (Winner of Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize and Cannes’ Camera d’Or in 2012, and four-time Academy Award nominee -including Best Picture).

Mercy Road by Ian Hendrie and Jyson McLean (in development)


Rod Blackhurst, director and Josh Murphy, producer — North (production)
Rack is a 38-year-old recently released ex-convict, struggling with his return to a neglectful society. Emotionally discarded by his family and caught in a flawed parole system, he embarks on a bicycle journey to northern California to find Rebecca, the girl he left behind. With his criminal past threatening to resurface at every turn, Rack discovers what it means to be truly free and how fragile his newly gained freedom can be.

Jonas Carpignano, writer/director — A Chjana (preproduction)
After leaving 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.

Grainger David, writer/director — Nocturne (working title) (screenwriting)
Nocturne is the story of a white South Carolina cop on the verge of retirement who accidentally kills a young black teenager he suspects of a recent robbery and murder. In a moment of extreme weakness, he hides the boy's body in a woodshed—only to return a day later to discover it has disappeared.

Ian Hendrie and Jyson McLean, co-writers/directors/producers — Mercy Road (development)
Based on true events, Mercy Road traces the political and spiritual odyssey of a small town housewife as she turns from a peaceful pro-life activist to an underground militant willing to commit violence and murder in the name of God.

Dan Kern, writer/director and Jay Van Hoy, producer — Relapse (screenwriting)
Relapse is a sci-fi thriller about an amnesia patient accused of murder who goes on the run in an attempt to prove his innocence and save the woman he loves.

Maryam Keshavarz and Paolo Marinou-Blanco, cowriters — The Last Harem (screenwriting)
The Last Harem follows the battle between Jayran, a young musician girl, and Malik Jahan, the mother of the newly-ascended boy-king, for the affection of the new monarch and control of the palace's extensive harem. Whoever wins becomes the most powerful woman in the Persian empire...

Richard Levien, writer/director and Chad Burris, producer — La Migra (development)
Twelve-year-old Itan's life in San Francisco is turned upside down when she comes home from school to find her apartment ransacked and her mother missing. Suddenly she must rely on her estranged uncle Eevencio, who she suspects is a criminal. They cross the country in Eevencio's dilapidated truck, through the labyrinth of immigration detention, trying to find Itan's mother and prevent her from being deported.

Zeresenay Mehari, writer/director and Leelai Demoz, producer — Dare (postproduction)
Dare is the story of a young lawyer who operates under the government's radar until one young girl's legal case exposes everything and threatens the survival of her work and life. 

Tommy Oliver, writer/director/producer — 1982 (postproduction)
Semi-autobiographical and inspired by true events, 1982 tells the story of a black father whose wife succumbs to a crack cocaine addiction and his efforts to shield his young daughter from the ill effects of having a drug-addicted mother. Set at the very onset of the crack epidemic, the film is about a father doing whatever he can to protect his family.

Vendela Vida, cowriter and Eva Weber, cowriter/director — Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name (screenwriting)
28-year-old Clarissa discovers on the day of her father's funeral that everything she believed about her life was a lie. She flees New York and travels to the Artic Circle to find her real father, but instead is reunited with her mother who abandoned her when Clarissa was only 14.

Caroline von Kuhn, producer — The Fixer (development)
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 emerges all around him.

Josef Wladyka, cowriter/director — Manos Sucias (production)
A desperate fisherman and a naive young man embark on a dangerous journey trafficking drugs up the Pacific coast of Colombia. Hidden beneath the waves, they tow a narco-torpedo filled with millions of dollars worth of cocaine. Together they must brave the war-torn region while navigating the growing tension between them.

Go Watch SFFS Supported Films

The Film Society just wanted to send out a quick shout-out and cheers to a few Filmmaker360 films that are making their rounds at exciting festivals and Bay Area screenings!

Lookin' Good: New Fruitvale Poster

See what's new?  The laurels!  We're still beaming with smiles that Fruitvale won this year's Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award and anticipate a huge reception for it's first Bay Area premiere (TBD, as far as we know).  Once again, we can't help to remind and inspire you that Fruitvale was funded by two SFFS/KRF Filmmaking grants.  The final deadline for applying to our Spring 2013 round is TODAY!

SFFS to Austin! 3 Films Premiere at SXSW

Short Term 12

Short Term 12

SXSW's 2013's lineup was just announced and among them are three films that the Film Society has supported through grants and fiscal sponsorship as they've developed into feature-length films:

Short Term 12

directed by Destin Cretton
Narrativ
e Competition
2012 SFFS/KRF Filmmaking grant winner:  $79,000 for postproduction

The film follows Grace, a young supervisor at a foster-care facility, as she looks after the teens in her charge and reckons with her own troubled past. An unsparingly authentic film, full of both heart and surprising humor.

Spark: A Burning Man Story

directed by Steve Brown and Jessie Deeter
Documentary Spotlight
Currently in SFFS Project Development program

What happens when you allow yourself to act on your dreams? Spark takes us behind the curtain with organizers and participants of Burning Man, revealing a year of unprecedented challenges and growth.

This Ain't No Mouse Music

directed by Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling
Special Events
Currently in SFFS Project Development program

Roots music icon Chris Strachwitz (Arhoolie Records) takes us on a hip-shaking stomp from Texas to New Orleans, Cajun country to Appalachia, searching for the musical soul of America.

In Focus: SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant Winners

In Focus: SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant Winners

Yesterday we announced the latest winners of this fall's SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant, which supports feature narrative films that uplift the Bay Area professionally and economically. Or as our Executive Director Ted Hope put it, "Wow. We just gave away $300K!" So without further ado, we invite you to meet the winning bunch of filmmakers.

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Sundance 2013 Roundup

Sundance 2013 Roundup

By now, you've probably heard—the official selections are in for Sundance 2013's U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competitions. Among them are five films that the Film Society has supported through grants and fiscal sponsorships as they've developed into feature-length, fully-formed films:

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An Interview with Ryan Coogler

by Michele Turnure-Salleo, Director, Filmmaker360

It's clear when you meet Ryan Coogler that he is something special.

I met Ryan in January 2012 at Sundance Film Festival. Soon after the festival, we met again back in San Francisco and began talking about living in the Bay Area, filmmaking and his film, Fruitvale, which follows the true story of Oscar Grant, who was killed in a police shooting in Oakland on New Year’s Eve 2008.

He shared his script with me and it was clear that he was a natural fit for our recently launched Off the Page program, where we bring actors to the Bay Area to workshop scripts with writer/directors involved with us in various ways. Ryan had actors Melonie Diaz and Michael B. Jordan attached and it looked likely that they were going to start shooting in July. We thought it would be an incredible experience for them all to get to know one another in the Bay Area where the film would be shot, and to meet Oscar Grant’s family prior to beginning production.

Ryan was already a finalist for the SFFS/Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaking Grant, but it was during the months leading up to and during Off the Page that we really got to know him, his producing team (Nina Yang, Sev Ohanian and Gerard McMurray) and his project. He had recently graduated from USC and had returned to the Bay Area determined to make films here. We introduced him to Bay Area crew and then in late spring 2012 awarded him a $100,000 SFFS/KRF grant for production. The grant review panel was incredibly moved by this very timely and poignant story of Oscar Grant, and its exploration of the contemporary issue of the police shooting and killing of young unarmed African American men. And while we are committed to working with filmmakers from all over the country, finding someone local who so perfectly fit our mandate to support filmmakers and films that uplift the Bay Area professionally and economically . . . was like hitting the jackpot.  

But to be honest, a big reason the film was funded is because we were so taken by Ryan as an individual. He is talented, passionate, creative, collaborative and yet very humble . . . Every interaction with Ryan has been a pleasure. He is the heart and soul of his film and that really came out in the way we’ve worked together this past year.  Hard to believe it’s only been a year.

I wonder who I’ll meet next year . . .


Ryan Coogler is currently a finalist for the Fall 2012 SFFS/Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaking Grant. Winners will be announced in early December.