Film Society Flicks at Sundance 2015

We have been reeling from Sundance's program announcements and are thrilled that a number of SFFS-supported endeavors will be featured in this year's festival. Four of our five total films that will travel to Park City in January were made by female filmmakers, and all of these films were directly supported by various initiatives that live in the Film Society's Filmmaker360 program. Congratulations to all of the filmmakers & crews involved in these incredible & moving projects – congrats also to SFFS / KRF Producing Fellow Jonathan Duffy, who has a film of his own in the mix (Beaver Trilogy Part IV). We are so proud to support your work. Best of luck to those in competition!

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Advantageous – a narrative feature written & directed by current FilmHouse flex-use resident Jennifer Phang – US Dramatic Competition

Gwen is the ideal spokesperson for a radical new technology allowing people to overcome their "natural disadvantages" and begin life anew. But when her job and family are threatened, Gwen has decide if she will undergo the procedure herself. Advantageous navigates a dystopic near-future world to uncover what a parent is willing to sacrifice to protect their child.

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The Royal Road – an SFFS fiscally sponsored doc written, directed & produced by Jenni Olson – New Frontier exhibition

A cinematic essay in defense of remembering, The Royal Road offers up a primer on the Spanish colonization of California and the Mexican American War alongside intimate reflections on nostalgia, butch identity and Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo – all against a contemplative backdrop of 16mm urban California landscapes, and featuring a voiceover cameo by Tony Kushner. This bold, innovative film from acclaimed San Francisco filmmaker Jenni Olson combines rigorous historical research with lyrically written personal monologue and relates these seemingly disparate stories from an intimate, colloquial perspective to tell a one-of-a-kind California tale.

Songs My Brothers Taught Me – a narrative feature written, directed & produced by SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grant winner Chloé Zhao – US Dramatic Competition

Johnny, a restless Lakota teen, fights to escape his life on the reservation but soon realizes that leaving the only place he has ever known is far more complicated than he thought. A complex portrait of modern day life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Songs My Brothers Taught Me explores the bond between a brother and his younger sister, who find themselves on separate paths to rediscovering the meaning of home.

Unexpected – a narrative feature written & directed by SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grant winner Kris Swanberg – US Dramatic Competition

An inner-city high school teacher finds herself pregnant at the same time as one of her most promising students, and the two develop an unlikely friendship while struggling to navigate their unexpected pregnancies.

Western – an SFFS fiscally sponsored doc written, directed & produced by Bill & Turner Ross – US Documentary Competition

In the middle of the plains, along the meandering Rio Grande, sits Eagle Pass, Texas, a town of about 30,000. For centuries, this border town has shared a physical as well as cultural landscape with those across the river, coexisting, intermarrying, culturally cross-pollinating and establishing a singular bi-national community in the American West. But now its geographic location has suddenly placed Eagle Pass literally and figuratively in the middle of divisive debates over violence, immigration and international trade. This film is the Ross brothers' Western: a sprawling portrait and emotional mosaic, a living, breathing visual essay on the realities of the frontier in the 21st century.


Filmmaker360 oversees one of the largest film grant programs in the country, which disburses nearly $1 million annually to incubate and support innovative and exceptional films at every stage of production. Other elements of Filmmaker360 include our FilmHouse Residencies, Producers Initiative programs and project development & fiscal sponsorship consultation. Additional grants and awards the Djerassi Residency Award / SFFS Screenwriting Fellowship, the SFFS / Hearst Screenwriting Grant, the SFFS / Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaking Grant and Off the Page, a program that provides private script-reading sessions with celebrated actors for filmmakers with screenplays in development.