Announcing the finalists for the Fall 2018 SFFILM Rainin Grants

Thirteen exciting fiction feature projects have been just been selected by the SFFILM Makers team as finalists for the Fall 2018 round of SFFILM Rainin Grants. The largest grant program of its kind in the US, the partnership between SFFILM and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation is celebrating ten incredible years of supporting important independent filmmakers telling critical socially driven stories.

The winning projects, which will split $240,000 in this round, will be announced in about a month. In the meantime, get to know this talented group of finalists!

As always, find out more about the filmmaker services provided by SFFILM Makers at


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Ceylan Özgün Özçelik, writer/director/producer; Armagan Lale, producer — screenwriting
On the feast of the sacrifice, a family gathering of women turns into a tragicomic night of bloody vengeance.

all dirts roads taste of salt
Raven Jackson, writer/director; Maria Altamirano, producer — screenwriting
In lyrical, non-linear portraits evoking the texture of memories, all dirt roads taste of salt viscerally and experientially explores the life of a Black woman in the American South, from her youth to her older years.

California Mommy
Sen-I Yu, writer/director — screenwriting
Camellia travels from Taiwan, pregnant and alone, to the California Mommy maternity home in LA — a trip arranged by her wealthy husband’s family to deliver an American citizen. Overcome by her unfulfilling existence, Camellia runs away with her chauffeur on a life-altering journey through the American Southwest.

Matthew Fifer, writer/co-director; Kieran Mulcare, co-director; Jeremy Truong and Ramfis Myrthil, producers — post-production
Some things are worth waiting 17 years for, others should have come out sooner.

Tom Quinn, writer/director; Craig Shilowich, Alexandra Byer, and Matthew Thurm, producers — post-production
For 35 years, Nora Pancowski has been the postmaster of Colewell, Pennsylvania. She runs the office out of her home and has become the center of this community, which has no other common space. When Nora receives word that her office will be closed, she must decide whether to relocate and take a new job or face retirement in Colewell.

The Doubt
Ihab Jadallah, writer/director; Marisa Meier, producer — screenwriting
After 12 years in prison, Ibrahim, a Palestinian topographer, returns to his wife and his son whom he has never met. While the public celebrates him as a heroic symbol of resistance to injustice, his family is left with a broken man, driven by deep doubts and distrust. Only by confronting the trauma can Ibrahim gain a chance for a new life.

Kate McLean and Mario Furloni, writer/directors; Laura Heberton, producer — post-production
Aging pot farmer Devi suddenly finds her world shattered as she races to bring in what could be her final harvest.

Initials S.G.
Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia, writer/directors; Shruti Ganguly and Ivan Eibuszyc, producers — post-production
An aging, Argentine, Serge Gainsbourg wannabe struggles to deal with an acting career he can’t seem to get on track, an affair with an American woman he doesn’t want, and a crime he didn’t mean to commit.

Pedro Gonzales Khun, director; Rodrigo Ordoñez, writer; Vanessa Perez and Laura Irene Arvizu, producers — development
Enrique is deported to Mexico, a country he has never called home. As he struggles to integrate, survive, and force his way back to the US, he meets Rita, who provides shelter and protection that he has never had before, which makes him question where home really is.

Khsara / Pickled
Suha Araj, writer/director/producer; Nilou Safinya, producer — screenwriting
Dumped on her 30th birthday, Nisreen is thrown into a comedic tailspin, forced to choose between love and marriage and not having the luxury of both.

Emily Esperanza, writer/director; Jeffrey Carl Mull, co-writer; Eugene Sun Park, producer — screenwriting
A lonely bathroom attendant at a seedy vaudevillian nightclub longs to become a famous singer and strikes a deal with the devil to make her dream a reality.

The Other Island
Joe Torres, writer/director/producer; Karin Valecillos and Marcel Rasquin, co-writers — screenwriting
Ethan Lundegaard floats lifeless on a beach in the Margarita Island, Venezuela. His mother leaves her native Minnesota looking for an answer. Benítez, a lawyer damaged by his failures, agrees to find out what happened. Every step towards Ethan’s past stirs Benítez’s present, and Benítez must grab his most primitive instincts and free the animal inside him to find the truth and redeem himself.

Sandy Song, The High Priestess of Souls
Pete Lee, writer/director — screenwriting
Sandy Song, a grumpy middle-aged grifter, becomes the sole defender of Oakland’s Chinatown in a battle against loan sharks, white saviors, and demons.

For more information on the artist development programs offered by SFFILM Makers, visit

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