Fall 2015 SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grant Winners

We are thrilled to announce the projects that have won the latest round of SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grants, which will receive a combined total of $270,000. Seven filmmaking teams were granted funding to help with their next stage of their creative process, from screenwriting to postproduction. The Film Society’s flagship SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grants are awarded twice annually to filmmakers for narrative feature films that will have significant economic or professional impact on the Bay Area filmmaking community. More than $3 million has been awarded since the launch of the Film Society’s grant program in 2009.

The panelists who reviewed the finalists’ submissions are Noah Cowan, SFFS Executive Director; film producer Jonathan Duffy; film producer and literary manager Jennie Frankel Frisbie; Jennifer Rainin, Chief Executive Officer of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation; and Michele Turnure-Salleo, Director of Filmmaker360.

“The jury was impressed with the range and breadth of talent exhibited in all of the finalist projects, and it was a difficult process settling on these seven winners,” the jury noted in a statement. “It is a great pleasure to be exposed to the wealth of amazing stories in every review round, and in particular we felt a strong presence of Bay Area voices and values in this finalist group. To see the Film Society’s efforts to direct support towards creative producers bear new fruit is also very gratifying.”

“Many of these films are in their earliest stages, and it’s always exciting to lend our support at the inception of a great project,” said Turnure-Salleo. “A number of the projects that we’ve placed early bets on are nearing completion—like The Fixer—and it’s immensely satisfying to follow a film we care about all the way through its creative process. We can’t wait until all of these films are where The Fixer is now—on the verge of being ready to be shared with the world.”


The Fixer – Ian Olds, writer/director; Paul Felten, co-writer; Caroline von Kuhn, producer – $75,000 for postproduction

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. 


Freeland – Mario Furloni and Kate McLean, cowriter/directors; Laura Heberton, producer – $25,000 for packaging

In the last season of black market marijuana growing before legalization, a mother and daughter must reconcile their differences in order to survive in an increasingly inhospitable world.


Little Woods – Nia DaCosta, writer/director/producer; Rachael Fung, producer – $25,000 for packaging

Ollie sneaks into Canada to get medication for her terminally ill mother and other residents in her overwhelmed oil boomtown. She is caught and forced to stop her illegal business, even though it means leaving the people she aids with no better options. When her estranged sister Deb asks for her help, Ollie has to decide whether or not it’s worth it to help her when it will put both of their lives at risk.


The Lusty (working title) – Silas Howard, writer/director; Antonia Crane, cowriter; L.A. Teodosio, producer – $35,000 for screenwriting

In San Francisco in the late 1990s, an army of strippers at the Lusty Lady confront dangerous labor practices and go on to create the first exotic dancers’ union in the world. Based on a true story.


Ma/ddy – Devon Kirkpatrick, writer/director – $35,000 for screenwriting

In this dark comedy, life after death takes on a whole new meaning for a genderqueer widow following the loss of their wife. 


Over The Eaves – Brent Green, writer/director; Thyra Heder, cowriter; Carly Hugo, Matt Parker and Alexandra Pitz, producers – $50,000 for preproduction

A young boy living on a farm begins inventing strange, hand-made machines to ease the family’s hard labor, but his ambitions quickly grow. When his most daring invention backfires and changes life on Earth forever, the townspeople struggle to understand whether he has done them harm or shown them what they have been missing.


Reza and the Refugees – Aaron Douglass Johnston, writer/director/producer; Laura Wagner, producer – $25,000 for packaging

A ragtag team of Middle Eastern political refugees in Holland enters the Eurovision song contest in an effort to save their friend from deportation and certain death.


The San Francisco Film Society, in partnership with the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, is the largest granting body for independent narrative feature films in the United States. The SFFS / KRF program has funded more than 50 projects since its inception, including Jonas Carpignano’s Mediterranea, which premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and has created buzz all over the international festival circuit; Chloé Zhao’s Songs My Brothers Taught Me, which screened at Sundance and Cannes and will be released in theaters this fall; 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).