Fall 2013 SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant Finalists

Finalist Aurora Guerrero

Finalist Aurora Guerrero

San Francisco Film Society and Kenneth Rainin Foundation just selected the latest round of SFFS / Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaking Grant finalists. A total of  $300,000 will be awarded to one or more narrative feature films! Get to know the talented finalists and projects below and keep an out for the winners in late October.


Doctor — screenwriting
Musa Syeed, director/producer/writer; Nicholas Bruckman, producer

Salim, a disgraced young doctor from India, will do anything to rebuild his former life. But when he starts practicing medicine illegally in New York, he's drawn into a medical underworld where he risks losing everything.

Escaping Morgantown — screenwriting
Peter Nicks, writer/director

A young addict arrives at a federal prison camp with a plan to turn his life around, but is drawn into the intoxicating world of a crew of seasoned inmates.

The Fixer  — packaging
Ian Olds, writer/director; Caroline von Kuhn, producer

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 burbles up all around him.

G.E.Z.I.  — postproduction
Aslihan Unaldi, writer/director

This political and psychological drama is a fictionalized account of the dramatic night when a peaceful demonstration in Istanbul's Gezi Park turned into a major national uprising. The story follows three main characters: a strong, liberal woman, her idealistic boyfriend and her apolitical ex-lover. As intricate layers of past secrets are revealed, deeper insight is gained into their characters and situation, which is closely intertwined with the political events accelerating around them.

Hellion  — postproduction
Kat Candler, writer/director; Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams, producers

When his delinquent behavior forces his little brother to be taken away, a motocross-obsessed teenager and his emotionally absent father must take responsibility for their destructive behavior to bring him home.

Kicks  — preproduction
Justin Tipping, writer/director; Joshua Astrachan, David Kaplan and Adele Romanski, producers

Fifteen-year-old Brandon, from a rough part of Richmond, California, has always been picked on. He has survived by running away from trouble all his life. But after getting jumped over a new pair of kicks, Brandon recruits his two best friends to join him on a mission to get his shoes back. The odyssey they embark on is at once the night of their lives and a gamble with life-and-death stakes.

Little Accidents  — postproduction
Sara Colangelo writer/director; Jason Michael Berman, Anne Carey, Thomas B. Fore and Summer Shelton, producers

In a small American coal town, the disappearance of a boy draws a young miner, the lonely wife of a mine executive and a local 14-year-old together in a web of secrets.

Los Valientes / The Brave Ones  — packaging
Aurora Guerrero, writer/director; Chad Burris, producer

Felix Lopez is gay, undocumented and living in San Francisco until his family obligations move him across the country to a small Pennsylvania mining town to join his undocumented sister. Once there, alienated by local and family politics, Felix finds unexpected solace in the company of one person: his sister's husband.

Love Land  — postproduction
Joshua Tate, writer/director/producer; Andrew Richey, producer

Love Land follows Ivy, a young woman with a severe traumatic brain injury, as she faces her refusal to be identified as a person with an intellectual disability. When she is placed in an institution for being a danger to herself and others, Ivy will stop at nothing to prove to the world—and to herself—that she is "normal" enough to transcend the label of "special."

Ma  — screenwriting
Destin Cretton, writer/director

After being a mom for 30 years, Jan is forced to deal with the fact that her youngest son has finally left the nest. On a road-trip down the Oregon Coast, she begins to learn what it means to live life after motherhood.

Manos Sucias  — postproduction
Josef Wladyka, writer/director; Elena Greenlee and Márcia Nunes, producers

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.

Start at the End  — packaging
Jonah Markowitz, writer/director

Start at The End
is a character-driven drama that explores the similarities between the family we are born into and the one that we create. The story begins with a tragic accident that results in a gay couple becoming caretakers of their teenaged niece and nephew. As grief catapults all four onto seemingly individual paths of despair and discovery, the inherent bond of family contains these journeys into one that is shared.

Terrible Love  — postproduction
Christopher Thomas, writer/director; Luke Helmer, producer —

When her wounded husband returns home from Iraq with violent PTSD, a devoted wife must choose between her daughter's safety and the preservation of her marriage.

Recent SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grant winners include Short Term 12, Destin Cretton’s sophomore feature which won both the Narrative Grand Jury Award and Audience Award at South by Southwest 2013 and is currently in theaters nationwide; Ryan Coogler’s debut feature Fruitvale Station, which won 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, has had a wildly successful two-month theatrical run and is an Oscar hopeful in multiple categories; and Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin’s debut phenomenon which won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize and Cannes’ Camera d’Or in 2012, earned four Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture) and became an indie box office smash.