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Seven Films Winning Spring 2019 SFFILM Rainin Grants Announced

in Filmmaking
on Jun 27, 2019

SFFILM in partnership with the Kenneth Ranin Foundation announced today the seven feature films receiving a total of $200,000 in funding as part of the SFFILM Ranin Spring, 2019 grant cycle. These grants are one of the few supporting narrative features, especially in the early stages. One of the films here receives development funding, four receive funds for screenwriting and twofor post-production.

From the press release:

SFFILM Rainin Grants are awarded twice annually to filmmakers whose narrative feature films will have significant economic or professional impact on the Bay Area filmmaking community and/or meaningfully explore pressing social issues. 

Applications are currently being accepted for the Fall 2019 round of SFFILM Rainin Grants; the deadline to apply is July 31. For more information visit sffilm.org/makers.

The panelists who reviewed the finalists’ submissions are Kate Hurwitz, Acquisitions Executive, Cinetic Media; Lauren Kushner, SFFILM Senior Manager of Artist Development; Geoff Quan, Physical Production Executive, Netflix; Shelley Trott, Director, Arts Strategy & Ventures, Kenneth Rainin Foundation; and Caroline von Kühn, SFFILM Director of Artist Development.

The jury noted in a statement: “We are excited to be supporting another strong slate of narrative films that uniquely and creatively explore urgent issues of social justice through different lenses, including several novel approaches to genre, anthology, and accessibility. While each of the projects is distinct in terms of story, point-of-view, and artistic exploration, we are struck that all have taken on a deeply collaborative approach to storytelling—incorporating family members, creative partners, and community alliances throughout their filmmaking process to tell vibrant, complex, authentic stories that will resonate deeply with audiences.”

Previous films receiving SFFILM Ranin grants include Last Black Man in San Francisco, Jinn, Sorry to Bother You, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Fruitvale Station.

The complete list of winners follows.


Flash Before the Bang
Jevon Whetter, writer/director; Delbert Whetter, producer — $25,000 for development. In this funny, heartwarming and inspiring true-life tale, an underdog, ragtag Deaf track team and their checked-out coach must overcome their school’s indifference, outsiders’ low expectations, and their own self-doubts to make it to the State Track & Field Championship.

Kayla & Eddie En Français
Iyabo Boyd, writer/director; Joseph Boyd, contributing writer — $25,000 for screenwriting. Straight-laced hotel consultant Kayla Williams lands in Paris for work when her rambunctious, recovering addict father Eddie shows up unannounced, hoping to prove himself as a supportive father. Though suspicious of his sudden presence, Kayla cautiously lets Eddie back into her life as they navigate the local French African hipster scene and Paris’ Narcotics Anonymous community, unpacking years of strife and facing what it means to be a family in recovery.

A Lo-Fi Blues
Ed Ntiri, writer/director; Winnie Wong, Bryan Lindsay, Jason Garcia, producers — $25,000 for screenwriting. An aging blues musician, who believes that his late wife is trapped inside of a song, develops a unique friendship with his nephew, an aspiring lo-fi hip-hop producer in Oakland, California.

7 Slaves
Alexandre Moratto, writer/director/producer; Thayná Mantesso, writer; Ramin Bahrani, producer— $25,000 for screenwriting. To provide a better life for his family, 17-year-old Mateus accepts a job as a manual laborer in São Paulo. When his employers force him to work for no pay and threaten his family, he becomes trapped in the violent world of modern-day slavery. As his enslavers notice his leadership capabilities, he is forced to decide between working for the very people who have enslaved him or risk his family’s safety.

Shit & Champagne
D’Arcy Drollinger, writer/director/producer; Brian Benson, Michelle Moretta, producers —$25,000 for  post-production. Shit & Champagne is a high-octane, high-camp, slapstick send-up of the iconic exploitation films of the 1970s. Underneath the ridiculous comedy narrative of a stripper with a heart of gold who is forced to take the law into her own hands, is a story where outcasts find each other, where heart does emerge, and where friendship is sacred.

So Unfair
Lori Webster, director; Asia Nichols, writer; Chao Thao, Twilla Amin Tanyi, and Lauren Nichols, producers — $25,000 for  screenwriting. Subverting age-old fairytales, this five-part anthology film explores Black womanhood through a forest-haired girl confined to a terrarium, a magic-pesticide cook with dreams of being her own boss, a musical sawist obsessed with severed limbs, a house sitter haunted by dancing fetuses, and a skin-bleaching actor stuck in a live-studio limbo.

Antoneta Kastrati, writer/director; Casey Cooper Johnson, writer/producer; Sevdije Katrati, Brett Walker, and Miguel Govea, producers — $50,000 for post-production. A Kosovar woman is sent to witch doctors to cure her infertility, but when she becomes pregnant, her wartime past comes back to torment her. 

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