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11 finalists for the fifth round of San Francisco Film Society/KRF Filmmaking Grants

The San Francisco Film Society and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation today announced the 11 finalists for the fifth round of SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grants of more than $300,000, to be given to one or more feature films that through plot, character, theme or setting significantly explore human and civil rights, discrimination, gender and sexual identity and other urgent social justice issues of our time. Additionally, the grants support films that have a significant economic or professional impact on the Bay Area filmmaking community. The total amount disbursed in 2009-13 will be nearly $2.5 million, including a total of $485,000 already awarded in the first four grant rounds. Winners of the Spring 2011 SFFS/KRF grants will be announced in mid-August.
For additional information visit
Ashia Chacko: Black Box, development
A feisty conservative reporter unravels a large-scale election fraud scandal and tries to get the word out despite her political doubts and loyalties, a nasty e-vote company and threats to her life.
Mark Decena: The Martyr, screenwriting
The apparent suicide of a peace activist has a galvanizing effect on global efforts to end war and conflict. When the activist unexpectedly turns up very much alive, his colleagues must decide whether the movement's new momentum is more important than one man's existence. For more information visit
John Dilly: Rubbish, development
At 18 years of age, an unprepared orphan must leave the foster care system in which she has spent most of her life and learn to live on her own. An unexpected visit from a probate lawyer presents her with the opportunity to learn about the father she never knew and retreat to the wreck of a rural home that he has left to her, but what she really needs to do is acquire the skills to move on and fend for herself. For more information visit
Guetty Felin: A Rooster on the Fire Escape, screenwriting
During the ruthless dictatorship of Jean-Claude Duvalier, a Haitian family flees their homeland for temporary exile in New York City, where they adapt to their new homeland with varying degrees of success. The fall of the dictator, years later, propels the youngest daughter to confront her father about the reasons for the family's exile and the ensuing tragedies that befell them. For more information visit
Aurora Guerrero: Mosquita y Mari, postproduction
The friendship between two young Chicanas develops into a tender love and challenges their well-established familial responsibilities, forcing them to choose between their obligations to others and staying true to each other. For more information visit
Adam Keker: National Park, screenwriting
Seven years after America and its allies defeated an alien invasion, the final battlefield is about to become a national park. The country is in a period of national soul-searching and the very few enemy aliens who were not exterminated have been released into the park in a program to save them from extinction. They are a lightning rod of controversy that threatens to become a national conflagration when hikers find the body of a child.
Timothy Kelly: The Cherokee Word for Water, production
A single mother moves back to Oklahoma from Oakland to raise her two daughters in her Cherokee childhood home. Deplorable conditions are driving families apart, and she resolves to find a way to help her tribe stay intact by spearheading a project to provide running water to the community. The success of the project inspires other Cherokee people to start their own community projects and launches the political career of Wilma Mankiller, who became the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. For more information visit
Matthew Lessner: Ross, screenwriting
A hardworking young man's well-established and staid life is upended after he posts an offhand comment to his Facebook profile, drawing the attention of numerous secretive government agencies and setting off a bizarre chain of events. Forced to abandon the only life he has ever known in an instant, he finds himself in the midst of a minefield of paranoia and mistaken identity, struggling to determine who can be trusted. For more information visit
Ian Olds: The Western Habit, screenwriting
An Afghan refugee who made his living as a fixer for Western journalists tries to make the complicated transition from surviving in his war-torn homeland to a new, more placid life in Northern California. Safe from the dangers of war but increasingly restless, he quits his menial job and tries to adapt his journalistic skills to coverage of local crime but runs afoul of local pot growers. Dire news from his family back home forces him to choose between returning to his familiar but dangerous life in Afghanistan or staying in America and forging a new life. For more information visit
Banker White: Di Good Di Bad and Di Wowo, screenwriting
War has been raging for more than six years in the countryside of the small West African country of Sierra Leone and is now spreading toward the capital city of Freetown. Rumors of politicians pocketing the wealth of the country's rich diamond mines and natural resources have spawned anger and unrest. In the midst of this chaos, a young boy searches for his father, who has not returned from the diamond mines in the north. On his journey, he meets two dangerous and hardened men who have their own reasons for locating the missing miner, and they join forces to achieve their goals. For more information visit
Benh Zeitlin: Beasts of a Southern Wild, postproduction
In this mythological epic inspired by the coastal erosion crisis caused by the ruination of America's wetlands, a heroic young girl fights to save her father, who has been stricken by a mysterious illness, and her rapidly sinking island home. As temperatures skyrocket and the ice caps melt, an army of ferocious prehistoric beasts, freed by the melting of the glaciers, approaches. Convinced that her father's sickness and the environmental disaster are inextricably linked, the girl sets out to find the one woman who can save them. For more information visit
The SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grants support work by local filmmakers as well as attract projects of the highest quality to the Bay Area, providing tangible encouragement and support to meaningful projects and benefiting the local economy. In addition to a cash grant, recipients will receive various benefits through the Film Society's comprehensive and dynamic filmmaker services programs.
For more information visit
Kenneth Rainin Foundation is a private family foundation that funds inspiring and world-changing work. We are dedicated to enhancing quality of life by promoting equitable access to a baseline of literacy, enabling inspiration through the arts and supporting research that will lead to relief for those with chronic disease. The Foundation will focus its efforts on the San Francisco Bay Area and specific medical issues and will utilize its networks, resources, and commitment to socially responsible practices to support innovation, collaboration and connection.


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