SFFILM and the Westridge Foundation have announced the finalists for the Fall 2018 SFFILM Westridge Grant, the newest filmmaker support program offered by SFFILM Makers which kicked off with its inaugural grants earlier this year. The winning projects from this group of finalists will be announced in late October.
The SFFILM Westridge program is designed specifically to support the screenwriting and development phases of narrative feature projects whose stories focus on the significant social issues and questions of our time. Providing support at these critical early stages protects filmmakers’ creative processes, and allows them to concentrate on properly crafting their stories and building the right strategy and infrastructure to guide them through financing and production.
The SFFILM Westridge Grant is open to US-based filmmakers whose stories take place primarily in the United States. The application period for the Spring 2019 round opens in late October, with a final deadline in mid-February (exact dates TBA). Find out more at sffilm.org/makers.
In addition to the cash grants, recipients receive various benefits through SFFILM’s comprehensive and dynamic artist development program, as well as support and feedback from SFFILM and Westridge Foundation staff. All grantees will spend one week in the Bay Area attending a programmed retreat geared towards honing their craft, strengthening their scripts, and making connections to other filmmakers and industry professionals.
SPRING 2018 SFFILM WESTRIDGE GRANT FINALISTS
John Paul Su, writer/director
Caleb Diaz is an eleven-year-old Filipino-American queer comic book fanboy who lives in a diverse working-class neighborhood in American suburbia. After saving his classmate from a group of bullies, he is wrongfully accused of stabbing that same classmate. With the impending threat of expulsion, he struggles to prove his innocence, and fulfill his dream of becoming his family’s ultimate superhero.
Kat Grilli, writer
Duel is a sharp comedy inspired by the life of Julie D’Aubigny, a bisexual gender-fluid opera singer who is widely considered to be the best duelist who has ever lived.
Invoking Juan Angel
Daniel Eduvijes Carrera, writer/director
Mexican immigrant Magdalena Cruz is hired as the live-in caretaker for Ian, a severely ill child whose forced isolation has created budding psychic abilities and a fascination for the paranormal. But unbeknownst to Ian’s overprotective father, the distressed Magdalena has a child of her own hidden in the basement bedroom. After the two boys share an unexpected encounter, Ian is convinced the mysterious child must be a ghost and seeks to unravel his tragic story.
Carlyn Hudson, writer/director
Inspired by true events, Katelyn Vs. is the story of an overachieving high school senior who speaks out against abstinence-only sex education, awakening a backlash in the community that forces her to file a lawsuit against her ultra-religious principal.
Julia Solomonoff, writer/director; Christina Lazaridi, co-writer; Jaime Mateus-Tique, producer
Sophie surprises everyone around her by selling her company and ending her career as a high-end landscape architect. Eager to explore her new-found freedom, she stumbles upon a peculiar habit: taking trains up the Hudson River. That’s how she meets Franka, a Puerto Rican schoolteacher fighting to hold on to her home in the midst of gentrification in the area. These women of vastly different backgrounds meet at a moment of mutual crisis, changing each other’s futures.
One Day in ‘98
J. Faye Yuan, writer/director, Travis Davis, producer
One Day in ’98 is a 90s coming-of-age drama set in the rural Midwest, charting a Chinese-American girl’s journey through fifth grade. Angela’s lonely life takes an unexpected turn when she befriends Cody, a tomboyish free spirit. The two become fast friends and fierce allies until one day a platonic kiss lands them in the spotlight, setting in motion an irreversible betrayal that changes the courses of their lives.
Paul S. Flores, writer; Tashana Landray, producer
Sixteen-year-old Edgar wants nothing to do with his father, former gang member Fausto (known as “Placas” for his many tattoos). Placas wants what every father wants: to provide a better life for his son. As Placas strives to put his past behind him, going through tattoo removal and therapy, Edgar is recruited by a rival gang. As Placas’ past and Edgar’s future collide, they both face choices that will change the course of their lives.
Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, writer/director; Cara Marcous, producer
Inspired by true events, Qimmit tells the story of Suvlu, an Iñupiaq hunter who is forced to make a monstrous decision for the survival of his family.
Alicia D. Ortega, writer
Homeschooled teenager Judith thinks she’s finally found her people when she joins the cast of a megachurch “hell house,” where evangelical teens aim to scare people into salvation. But when she doesn’t land the coveted role of the Abortion Girl, she convinces herself she’s the only player doing God’s work and that it’s her holy duty to expose the true wages of sin.
Amman Abbasi, writer/director
Pakistani immigrant Raju is chasing his dreams of success, trying to work his way up the ladder of an unsavory pyramid scheme and pursuing mixed martial arts matches for which he is woefully under-prepared. But when someone who bears a striking resemblance to him commits a local terrorist act, Raju becomes increasingly isolated and identifies with the perpetrator in progressively unsettling ways.
Brett Marty, writer/director; Jib Polhemus, producer; Josh Izenberg and Amelia Whitcomb, co-writers
An older couple’s marriage starts to fray when they decide to spend their life savings on a procedure to rejuvenate their minds and bodies, only to face the dark truth of what it takes to become young again.
For more information about SFFILM Makers artist development programs, visit sffilm.org/makers.