Meet the Finalists of the Fall 2018 SFFILM Westridge Grant

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

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.


Captain C!
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.
Katelyn Vs.
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.
Off Peak
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. 
Righteous Acts
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

IndieWire Breaking Film and TV Industry News — May 18

IndieWire Breaking Film and TV Industry News — May 18

Friday, May 18

– EXCLUSIVE: SFFILM, in partnership with the Westridge Foundation, announced today the projects that will receive a total of $100,000 in funding in the inaugural round of SFFILM Westridge Grants. Five filmmaking teams were granted funding to help support the screenwriting and project development stages of their narrative feature films. SFFILM Westridge Grants, which are awarded twice annually, are designed for US-based filmmakers whose stories take place primarily in the United States and focus on the significant social issues and questions of our time. The next application period is now open.

SFFILM Westridge Grants provide film projects support in their critical early stages, safeguarding filmmakers’ creative processes and allowing artists to concentrate on thoughtfully developing their stories while building the right strategy and infrastructure to guide them through financing and production.

“The Westridge Foundation is an incredible new ally in empowering US-based filmmakers grounded in Bay Area values,” said Caroline von Kühn, SFFILM Director of Artist Development. “This grant supports artists grappling with important topics in our country’s culture. This group of inaugural winners, through their valuable perspectives and historically underrepresented voices, will shape how we engage in conversations about these topics, collectively and with one another.”

Check out the full list of winners, plus information on their films, below.  

“Back Seat”
Lana Wilson, writer/director; Shrihari Sathe, producer – screenwriting – $20,000
An immigrant woman leaves her young son alone in the back seat of a car, setting off a firestorm of controversy in the liberal community where she lives. As the town’s latent xenophobia bubbles to the surface, and the woman’s parenting abilities are scrutinized in increasingly disturbing ways, she fights to prove that she’s a worthy mother — to the town, to her children, and to herself.

Russell Nichols, writer – screenwriting – $20,000
A traumatized Black boy, whose brother was killed by a cop, volunteers for an experiment that tests his powers of prediction to prevent future murders.

“Miss Juneteenth”
Channing Godfrey Peoples, writer/director; Neil Creque Williams, producer – development – $20,000
Turquoise, a former beauty pageant queen turned hardworking single mother, enrolls her rebellious daughter, Kai, in the “Miss Juneteenth” pageant to compete for the grand prize — a college scholarship. Determined to keep Kai from making her same mistakes in life, Turquoise saves her tips from working at a juke joint to buy her daughter the grandest pageant dress of all. However, Kai is more interested in her school’s dance team and chasing her high school crush.

“Stay Awake”
Jaime Sisley, writer/director; Kelly Thomas and David Ariniello, producers – development – $20,000
For years, teen brothers Ethan and Derek Reynolds have tried to help their mother, Michelle, overcome her prescription drug addiction with little success. When Michelle goes missing after another binge, Ethan and Derek begin to question whether they should continue trying to find and help Michelle, or move on with their lives at the expanse of saving her.

Maya Perez, writer – screenwriting – $20,000
Based on actual events, “Taliesin” tells the story of a young Black couple hired to work at the infamous Taliesin home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The remote location becomes a pressure cooker, and tensions around race and gender boil over with tragic consequences — the most horrific mass murder in Wisconsin history.

Indies, Rejoice! This New Grant Awards $25,000 to Narratives in Development

Indies, Rejoice! This New Grant Awards $25,000 to Narratives in Development

By Emily Buder,

This morning, SFFILM announced an exciting new development resource for independent filmmakers in the U.S. The SFFILM / Westridge Grants, aimed at independent narrative feature films, will award four to five grants of $20,000–$25,000 each spring and fall. The first application period is now open through February 2018.

The new grant was created to support the screenwriting and development phases of U.S.-based films that focus on what SFFilm describes as "significant social issues and questions of our time." The inaugural winners will be announced in May 2018.

In addition to the cash grants, recipients will also receive various benefits through SFFILM's artist development program, as well as support and feedback. Grantees will also get the opportunity to spend a week in the Bay Area attending a programmed retreat geared towards honing their craft and making connections in the industry.

"We can’t wait to get started finding next year’s breakthrough talent and giving them the help they need to build the proper foundations for their films," said Caroline von Kuhn, a program director at SFFilm. Past recipients of SFFilm grants include Fruitvale StationBeasts of the Southern WildShort Term 12, and Patti Cake$.

Read the full story at No Film School!

In Partnership with Westridge Foundation, SFFILM Announces New Grant Program for Narrative Filmmakers

In Partnership with Westridge Foundation, SFFILM Announces New Grant Program for Narrative Filmmakers

By Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine

There’s long been an imbalance between grants available to fiction filmmakers as opposed to documentarians, and today SFFILM, the Bay Area-based nonprofit, has announced in partnership with the Westridge Foundation new biannual grants and other resources for narrative filmmakers based across the U.S. Four to five grants of $20,000 – $25,000 will be given each spring and fall, and applications are now open for the first cycle, which runs through February, 2018.

Read the full post from here!