Meet the finalists for the Spring 2017 SFFILM / Rainin Filmmaking Grants

We are very excited to announce the 14 finalist projects contending for the latest round of SFFILM / Rainin Filmmaking Grants! SFFILM / Rainin Filmmaking Grants are awarded twice annually to narrative features that will have significant economic or professional impact on the Bay Area filmmaking community; in this round, more than $250,000 will be distributed to narrative feature film projects at various stages of production. More than $4 million has been awarded since the launch of SFFILM’s flagship grant program in 2009. Stay tuned for the announcement of the winners in June!

Find out more at sffilm.org/makers

SPRING 2017 SFFILM / RAININ FILMMAKING GRANT FINALISTS

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The Continental
Aron Kantor, writer/director; K.M. Soehnlein, cowriter — screenwriting

A young gay Latino immigrant working at New York’s legendary Continental Baths gets swept up in the burgeoning gay rights movement and the early disco scene while navigating an affair with his married boss.

Aron Kantor and K.M. Soehnlein

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87 Fleer
Alex Tse, writer/director; Matt Parker, Carly Hugo and Kelly McCormick producers — pre-production

In 1990s working-class San Francisco, Tony makes the jump from junior high to high school. His diverse group of friends is splintered by a whole new world of peer pressure and cliques. Alienated and angry, a series of choices send Tony down a dark path in the search for respect.

Alex Tse, Matt Parker, Carly Hugo, and Kelly McCormick

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Freeland
Kate McLean and Mario Furloni, co-writer/directors; Laura Heberton, producer — production

In the last season of black-market marijuana growing on a remote, failed commune, a mother and a daughter must reconcile their differences in order to survive in an increasingly inhospitable world.

Kate McLean, Mario Furloni, and Laura Heberton

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Jinn
Nijla Mu’min, writer/director; Avril Speaks, producer — post-production

Summer is a carefree, Black teenage Instagram celebrity whose world is turned upside down when her mother abruptly converts to Islam and becomes a different person. At first resistant to the faith, she begins to reevaluate her identity after becoming attracted to a Muslim classmate, crossing the thin line between physical desire and piety.

Nijla Mu’min and Avril Speaks

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Josephine
Beth de Araújo, writer/director — screenwriting

An obedient eight-year-old girl unintentionally witnesses a rape in Golden Gate Park. Unraveling with fear and paranoia, her subsequent violent outbursts put her family and classmates in jeopardy.

Beth de Araújo

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The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Joe Talbot, writer/director; Khaliah Neal and Carlton Evans, producers — production

Jimmie Fails dreams of buying back the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Now living in the city’s last, dwindling Black neighborhood with his oddball best friend Prentice, the two misfits search for belonging in the rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind.

Joe Talbot, Khaliah Neal, and Carlton Evans

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Little Woods
Nia DaCosta, writer/director; Rachael Fung and Gabrielle Nadig, producers — post-production

For years, Ollie has illicitly helped the struggling fellow residents of her North Dakota oil boomtown access Canadian health care and medication. When the authorities catch on, she plans to abandon her crusade, only to be dragged in even deeper after a desperate plea for help from her sister, Deb.

Nia DaCosta, Rachael Fung, and Gabrielle Nadig

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The Lusty
Silas Howard, writer/director; Antonia Crane, cowriter; L.A. Teodosio, producer — packaging

In the late ’90s in San Francisco, due to unsavory work conditions, a dynamic group of irreverent, punk, artist, feminist strippers decide to resist sex-worker stigma and confront the exploitative labor practices at The Lusty Lady Peepshow, resulting in the first successful exotic dancer’s union in the world.

Silas Howard, Antonia Crane, and L.A. Teodosio

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Music Moves Us
Cyrus Tabar, writer/director — screenwriting

In the near future where music is outlawed in an authoritarian state, a passionate woman and her friends in Oakland, California, throw illegal techno dance parties and broadcast on a bootleg pirate radio station to bring people together.

Cyrus Tabar

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Raja
Deepak Rauniyar, writer/director — screenwriting

Raja is a socially rooted police procedural and a race-against-time thriller, as well as a portrait of Nepal, a complex society on the edge of a new future.

Deepak Rauniyar

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Refuge
Mohammad Gorjestani, writer/director; Malcolm Pullinger, producer — screenwriting

Set in 2025, a brewing cyberwar between the US and Iran puts Sonia, a young Iranian refugee and activist, at risk of deportation or internment. Her only escape may come at a greater price than she’s willing to pay.

Mohammad Gorjestani and Malcolm Pullinger

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A Rooster on the Fire Escape
Guetty Felin, writer/director/producer; Danielle Dreis, producer — packaging

Upon coming to America, the Celestin family was hopping to leave behind the traumas of the brutal dictatorship of their tropical native land, but the sacrifices they made for their freedom create dark spiral from which they might not recover.

Guetty Felin

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Sorry to Bother You
Boots Riley, writer/director; Jonathan Duffy, George Rush and Kelly Williams, producers — production

Sorry To Bother You tells the story of Cassius Green, a black telemarketer who discovers a magical key to telemarketing success, propelling him into a macabre universe where he is selected to lead a species of genetically manipulated horse-people.

Boots Riley, Jonathan Duffy, George Rush, and Kelly Williams

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We the Animals
Jeremiah Zagar, writer/director; Jeremy Yaches and Christina King, producers — post-production

Based on the bestselling novel by Justin Torres, We the Animals explores the beautiful and savage nature of family and the viscerally charged landscape of youth through the eyes of Jonah, the youngest son of a mixed-race working-class couple as he discovers his artistic identity.

Jeremiah Zagar, Jeremy Yache,s and Christina King