Welcome Home: Introducing Our New FilmHousers

Over at the Film Society, we are absolutely overwhelmed with excitement: This afternoon, we officially announced the latest round of filmmakers who we have awarded FilmHouse Residencies. This innovative program, made possible by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation with additional funding from the San Francisco Film Commission, supports narrative and documentary feature films by making office space available free of charge for 12-month residencies to independent filmmakers actively engaged in various stages of production. We are thrilled to welcome thirty-six filmmakers under the FilmHouse banner.

FilmHouse, located in a beautifully renovated space in the innovative multicultural development at 644 Broadway, consists of both private offices and a dynamic shared flexible use space. An expansion of the flex use group of filmmakers, which now includes a number of production teams that are previous office residents, has resulted in a bustling, diverse and energetic center of creative collaboration. In addition to office space, all FilmHouse residents benefit from a robust guest speaker series, featuring lectures and presentations by leading industry professionals; resident-led workshops and work-in-progress screenings; access to SFFS networking events; and numerous other community-building programs and events. A major component of the Film Society’s Filmmaker360 program, FilmHouse functions as a vibrant workshop and creative hub for filmmakers of all kinds.

The mix of emerging voices and experienced veterans is particularly exciting, and we have high hopes for the collaborative potential within this group. If the last year in the new space has taught us anything, it’s that there are so many unexpected creative outcomes that can be born out of the FilmHouse community.
— Jury Statement

The panelists who reviewed the applicants’ submissions were filmmaker and former FilmHouse Resident Daneen Akers; SFFS Documentary Coordinator Athena Kalkopoulou; filmmaker and Kenneth Rainin Foundation board member Rivkah Beth Medow; SFFS FilmHouse Manager Amanda Todd; and Director of Filmmaker360 Michele Turnure-Salleo.

Alyssa Fedele – Children of Volta, production
Alyssa Fedele is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and cofounder of Collective Hunch, a San Francisco–based production company. She is producing and editing Children of Volta, a feature documentary that follows a group of children as they are rescued and rehabilitated from slavery on Lake Volta in Ghana. Fedele has previously directed the award-winning feature length documentary Family of the Wa’a, and has produced and edited short documentaries for the Getty Museum, Teaching Channel, Pearson Foundation and Hewlett Foundation. 

Zachary Fink – Children of Volta, production
Zachary Fink is the award-winning producer and director of photography of The Cave, a Discovery Channel film about an international expedition to map the world's deepest cave. Fink cofounded the film production company Collective Hunch, and he works with Actual Films as a producer, director and director of photography. He has shot, produced and directed for HBO, National Geographic, Discovery, PBS and MTV. He is currently directing Children of Volta, a feature documentary that follows the rescue and rehabilitation of child slaves in Ghana.

Mario Furloni – Freeland, screenwriting
Mario Furloni is a Brazilian filmmaker and cinematographer based in Oakland, CA. His first film Pot Country (codirected with Kate McLean) won Best Documentary at the USA Short Film Festival (2012), was an official selection at Hot Docs (2012) and at Big Sky (2011) and a national finalist for the 2012 Student Academy Awards. He is the cinematographer and coproducer in the ITVS-funded documentary The Return (Loteria Films), which is currently in production. Most recently, he shot the short documentary After My Garden Grows by Academy Award-winning documentarian Megan Mylan. 

Ariana Garfinkel – Glass, preproduction
Ariana Garfinkel is an independent film producer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She produced the award-winning feature documentary Boys of Summer, distributed by Tribeca Film and broadcast by ESPN, PBS and Sundance Channel internationally. She produced two narrative shorts, Sea Meadow and A Juice Box Afternoon, both directed by Lily Baldwin, with whom she is now developing the narrative feature film Glass. Other projects include the documentaries Best and Most Beautiful ThingsNuns on the Bus, Symphony of the Soil, Sonatas of the Soil, Wrenched and Trumbo.

Joshua Grannell - The Wizard of Odd, screenwriting
Having graduated with a film degree at Penn State, Joshua Grannell moved to San Francisco in 1996 where he discovered the Trannyshack club. He performed there as Peaches Christ and in 1998 created his own event Midnight Mass—a movie series celebrating cult films with live events. In 2009, Grannell wrote and directed his first feature film All About Evil, staring Natasha Lyonne. Grannell continues to produce live movie events that often sell out the Castro Theatre. He has been honored at the San Francisco Film Society's Essential SF event and teaches at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Jason Headley, Find the Good, screenwriting
Jason Headley’s short films have been featured on NBC’s Today Show, SundanceTV, Banksy’s Dismaland, the front page of Funny or Die, the TED Conference, Vimeo Staff Picks and film festivals far and wide. Headley has been selected to participate in the IFP Emerging Storytellers program, and has been commissioned by Heineken, Sony and Chrysler to write, direct and produce original short films. 

Richard Levien – Collisions, production *
Richard Levien has been writing, directing and editing award-winning films for 10 years. Levien’s short film Immersion, about a ten-year-old boy from Mexico who struggles to fit in at his new school in the US, premiered at Slamdance in 2009. Immersion won the No Violence Award at Ann Arbor and the prize for Best Bay Area Short at the San Francisco International Film Festival. In 2009 Levien won the inaugural SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grant, for screenwriting on Collisions (formerly La Migra). In 2013 the project was awarded a second SFFS / KRF Filmmaking Grant for development.


Kate McLean – Freeland, screenwriting
Kate McLean is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. She is currently producing the forthcoming PBS documentary Freedom Fighters, about a group of exonerated men who form their own detective agency, as well as Immigrant Nation, a film and interactive project supported by the Tribeca Film Institute and The MacArthur Foundation. She codirected the short documentary The Caretaker, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, was featured in the New York Times’ OpDocs series and broadcast on POV. McLean also codirected the short documentary Pot Country (with Mario Furloni).

Jennifer Phang – Advantageous, outreach / distribution *
Jennifer Phang’s sophomore feature Advantageous won the US Dramatic Competition Special Jury Prize in Collaborative Vision at Sundance 2015. Phang is a recipient of a San Francisco Film Society Women Filmmaker Fellowship. Her award-winning debut feature Half-Life premiered in 2008 at the Tokyo International and Sundance film festivals. It screened at SXSW and was distributed by Sundance Channel. She was invited to the Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab and was awarded a SFFS FilmHouse Residency and Sundance Institute Feature Film Grants in support of Advantageous.


Joe Talbot – The Last Black Man in San Francisco, research and development
Joe Talbot’s films have screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival three times and his work has been covered in VICE, The Atlantic, Indiewire, the San Francisco Chronicle and Filmmaker Magazine, where he was recently profiled in the 25 New Faces issue. His short film Z-Man (codirected with his younger brother Nat) won the Golden Gate Award at the 2011 San Francisco International Film Festival. While working on his second short Last Stop Livermore he met Jimmie Fails, and the two began collaborating on The Last Black Man in San Francisco, adapted from Fails' real life story.

Diane Weipert – Boyle Heights, development *
Diane Weipert has worked in film for over a decade. Her screenwriting debut, Solo Dios Sabe (starring Diego Luna and Alica Braga) opened the World Cinema Competition at Sundance in 2006. She has collaborated on feature film projects with Eddie Izzard, Michelle Rodriguez, Peter Bratt, John Hays (founder of WildBrain Entertainment) and others. Two of her original scripts are being packaged at agencies in LA. Her latest project, Boyle Heights, will be her directorial debut.

In addition to these 11 Office Residents, we are thrilled to welcome 25 Flex Use Residents, all of whom have full access to the FilmHouse space and programs.

Catharine Axley – Attla, postproduction
Anthony Cianciolo – The Jerome Project, preproduction *
Hervé Cohen – Life Underground, production *
Jonathan Duffy – Black Metal, packaging; All That We Love, screenwriting; Sorry to Bother You, screenwriting; Oscillate Wildly, production *
Stephen Eyer – Seventh-Gay Adventists, outreach and education *
Emily Gibson – Destin, preproduction
Shane Gill – 47th & Partition, screenwriting
Sean Gillane – Ship to Sea, screenwriting
Mohammad Gorjestani – Somehow These Days Will be Missed, screenwriting *
Steph Green – Santiago & The Cyclops, screenwriting
Elena Greenlee – Dark Forest, screenwriting *
Anne Hamilton – Untitled Anne Hamilton Project, postproduction
Chris Mason Johnson – Untitled screenplay, screenwriting *
Travis Mathews – Oscillate Wildly, production *
Michael Morgenstern – Island in the Sun, screenwriting
Myra Paci – Bite, screenwriting
Dawn Porter – Trapped, postproduction
Malcolm Pullinger – Somehow These Days Will be Missed, screenwriting *
Jessica Ramirez – Futbolistas 4 Life, postproduction
Rob Richert – All Rhodes, screenwriting
Boots Riley – Sorry to Bother You, screenwriting *
Matthew Riutta – Man Up Above, screenwriting *
Jun Stinson – Futbolistas 4 Life, postproduction
Laura Wagner – Tracktown, postproduction; A Place to Live, screenwriting; Reza and the Refugees, screenwriting; Man Up Above, screenwriting *
Ephraim Walker – The Riders, development *

The asterisks in both of the above lists indicate returning residents. As with all Film Society grants, in addition to the cash awards, recipients new and old gain access to numerous benefits through Filmmaker360, the Film Society’s comprehensive and dynamic filmmaker services program. Filmmaker360 is a leader in the field of non-profit support of cinema and offers unparalleled assistance and opportunities designed to foster creativity and further the careers of independent filmmakers worldwide. Filmmaker360 oversees one of the largest film grant programs in the country, which disperses nearly $1 million annually to incubate and support innovative and exceptional films at every stage of production. Other elements of Filmmaker360 include project development consultation, FilmHouse Residencies, Off the Page screenwriting workshops, fiscal sponsorship and information resources.

The San Francisco Film Society champions the world’s finest films and filmmakers through programs anchored in and inspired by the spirit and values of the San Francisco Bay Area. Building on a legacy of more than 50 years of bringing the best in world cinema to the local audiences, SFFS is now a national leader in film exhibition, media education and filmmaker services.