Talent Watch: Spring 2014 SFFS/KRF Grant Finalists

Finalist,  The Other Kids , Director: Chris Brown

Finalist, The Other Kids, Director: Chris Brown

San Francisco Film Society and Kenneth Rainin Foundation just selected 15 projects for 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 eye out for the winners in late April. 


Ad Inexplorata – postproduction
Mark Elijah Rosenberg, director; Josh Penn, producer

Captain Stanaforth is a NASA pilot alone on a one-way mission toward the unknown. 


Afronauts – screenwriting
Frances Bodomo, writer/director 

In March 1965, the U.S. and the USSR rush to get the first man on the moon. Thousands of miles away, the Zambia Space Academy hopes to enter the race with their “spacegirl” Matha Mwamba. Based on true events. 


Betamax – packaging 
Terrie Samundra, writer/director; Xandra Castleton, producer 

With the release of the first home video camcorder, a teenage Sikh boy and a squatter punk girl become unlikely friends and filmmaking collaborators. It’s complicated, but so is London, which is at the brink of race riots and a punk youth uprising in the summer of 1976. 


Black Metal – screenwriting 
Kat Candler, writer/director 

After a career spent mining his music from the shadows, the lead singer of a metal band and his family experience a chain reaction of turmoil following the murderous actions of a teenage fan. 


Chickenshit – screenwriting 
Jessica dela Merced, writer/director 

In struggling Detroit, a lonely middle-school girl befriends a daring group of boys who adventure through the ruins of the once majestic city. With their help, she devises a plan to track down and capture the arsonists responsible for a recent string of fires, including the one that claimed the life of her father. 


Clash – screenwriting
Mohamed Diab, writer/director 

In wake of the recent removal of the former Egyptian president, Hayman—a jaded, claustrophobic revolutionary—is stuck in an overcrowded truck with clashing brotherhood and military supporters. Engulfed in hatred and violence, he must learn to reconcile his love for Egypt in order to survive.


Five Nights in Maine – production
Maris Curran, writer/director/producer; Carly Hugo, producer; Matt Parker, Producer 

A young African American man, reeling from the tragic loss of his wife, travels to rural Maine to seek answers from his estranged mother-in-law, who is herself confronting guilt and grief over her daughter’s death.

The Fixer – preproduction
Ian Olds, cowriter/director; Paul Felten, cowriter; Caroline von Kuhn and Lily Whitsitt, producers 

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 underworld 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. 


IO – production
Clay Jeter, writer/director; Jason Berman, producer 

One of the last survivors on a post-cataclysmic Earth, the idealistic daughter of a famous scientist races to find a cure for her poisoned world before the final Exodus shuttle abandons the planet forever. 


Mobile Homes – screenwriting 
Vladimir de Fontenay, cowriter/director; Danielle Lessovitz, cowriter 

A young runaway must decide between defending the life she knows with the man she loves and protecting her young son from them both. 


Oscillate Wildly – packaging 
Travis Matthews, cowriter/director; Keith Wilson, cowriter/producer 

 When his disability check arrives much reduced, a hot-headed young gay man with cerebral palsy is forced to confront the disability he has let define his whole being. 


The Other Kids – postproduction
Chris Brown, director/producer 

The Other Kids takes a raw, intimate look into the struggles of six small-town teenagers as they push through their final days of high school. 


Our Lady of the Snow – Screenwriting
Tom Gilroy, writer/director 

When the Bishop decides to sell a gothic convent isolated in the snowy woods, the elderly nuns living there begin to have ecstatic visions, which he dismisses as faked. But as the visions spread to the convent’s teenaged atheist cook, inexplicable supernatural events follow, with no one sure of their cause. 


Patti Cake$ – packaging 
Geremy Jasper, writer/director/composer; Dan Janvey, producer  

Patricia Baccio, aka Patti Cake$, is a big girl with a big mouth and big dreams of rap superstardom. Stuck in Lodi, New Jersey, Patti battles an army of haters as she strives to break the mold and take over the rap game. 


Snow the Jones – production 
Alistair Banks Griffin, writer/director/producer 

When teenage vagabond Lexi joins a traveling door-to-door sales crew, she discovers a world much darker than the one from which she was trying to escape. For more information visit twogatesofsleep.com.

Past SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grant winners include Kat Candler’s Hellion and Ira Sachs’ Love is Strange, both of which premiered to strong reviews at Sundance 2014; Short Term 12, Destin Cretton’s sophomore feature which won both the Narrative Grand Jury Award and Audience Award at South by Southwest 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 Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin’s debut phenomenon which won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize and Cannes’ Camera d’Or in 2012 and earned four Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture).