First-Ever Stop-Motion Animation Hearst Winner

We are thrilled to announce that Brent Green and Thyra Heder have been selected to receive this year’s $15,000 SFFS / Hearst Screenwriting Grant for development of their script Over the Eaves. This prize is awarded in the fall of each year to US-based writers  who have been practicing for at least five years and who have previously written a minimum of one feature screenplay. The panelists who reviewed the finalists’ submissions were Michele Turnure-Salleo, SFFS director of Filmmaker360; and filmmaker Diane Weipert.

The extent to which Brent and Thyra have been able to articulate their creative vision so far—without even a finished screenplay as a reference—has gotten us very excited.
— Michele Turnure-Salleo, Director of Filmmaker360

THE WINNERS: Brent Green & Thyra Heder
Working in the hills of rural Pennsylvania, Brent Green is a self-taught filmmaker, storyteller and visual artist whose films have screened at the Rotterdam Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, the San Francisco Film Society, MoMA, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Walker Art Center and the Hammer Museum. He serves on the board of Rooftop Films, is a 2005 Creative Capital grantee, and the recipient of 2014 MAPfund grant. Green’s work is in permanent collections including the Progressive Collection, the Hammer Museum and MoMA. Green is an alum of the January 2015 Sundance Screenwriters Lab and the 2015 Sundance Directors Lab.

Thyra Heder is an author, illustrator and artist who got her start studying film. She graduated from Brown University with a BA in Art Semiotics and put it to use storyboarding for television, feature films and advertising campaigns. Over the last decade her clients have expanded to include major restaurant groups, design companies and hotels, and her work has been regularly featured in Vogue. Her debut picture book, Fraidyzoo, garnered numerous starred reviews and was one of the ALSC Notable Children’s Books of 2014. Her second book, The Bear Report, will be released this fall. She is an alum of the June 2015 Sundance Screenwriters Lab. 

THE FILM: Over The Eaves
In this stop-motion animated film, a young boy begins inventing strange, hand-made machines to ease his mother’s hard labor and bring joy to her monotonous life. When his most daring invention backfires and changes life on Earth forever, his neighbors struggle to understand whether he has done them harm or shown them what they have been missing.

Previous winners of the SFFS / Hearst Screenwriting Grant are A. Sayeeda Moreno and Micah Shaffer for White (2014), Alistair Banks Griffin for Snow the Jones (2013), Maryam Keshavarz and Paolo Marinou-Blanco for The Last Harem (2012), Ian Olds and Paul Felten for The Fixer (formerly titled The Western Habit2011), Eric Escobar for Conveyance (2010) and Mora Stephens for Made in the USA (2009).

The SFFS / Hearst Screenwriting Grant, supported by a gift from William R. Hearst III, is a component of the prestigious grants program administered through Filmmaker360, the Film Society’s robust filmmaker services department.

Recent Filmmaker360 success stories include Jennifer Phang's Advantageous, which premiered at Sundance 2015, was a smash hit on the festival circuit and is currently streaming on Netflix; 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).