by Team Short Term 12
Making an independent film is no easy task. It is truly a never-ending process, one that takes you through the highest of highs and sometimes the lowest of lows. The only way to make it through, alive (and a little sane) is with the helping hand of friends, family, and sometimes the kindness of strangers. For us, our kind stranger was the San Francisco Film Society, who over the course of time has become a very close friend.
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
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.
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:
directed by Destin Cretton
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
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.
directed by Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling
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.