SFFILM and the Westridge Foundation have announced the finalists for the Spring 2020 round of SFFILM Westridge Grants, one of the key narrative support programs offered by SFFILM Makers. The winning projects from this group of finalists will be announced in late May.
The Westridge program is designed specifically to support the screenwriting phase of narrative feature projects whose stories focus on the significant social issues and questions of our time. Providing support at this critical early stage 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 Fall 2020 round of Westridge Grants is currently accepting applications, with a final deadline of July 2. Find out more at sffilm.org/makers.
As always, 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.
SPRING 2020 SFFILM WESTRIDGE GRANT FINALISTS
And You as Well Must Die
Audrey Ewell, writer/director
And You as Well Must Die is a story of loss and healing that uses psychological horror and haunted-house tropes to chart a course through the disorienting maze of grief. Rowan, reeling after her fiancé’s death, attempts to establish contact with him but finds herself confronting hard truths about their relationship and ultimately herself. When an attractive but enigmatic widower offers his support, she must decide how far she’ll go to become whole again.
Hannah Peterson, writer/director; Taylor Shung, producer
At a public high school in Los Angeles, Genevieve and Ben form an indelible bond as they graduate to an uncertain future.
Pete Nicks, writer/director; Michael Gottwald and Noah Stahl, producers
Escaping Morgantown follows the life of a mixed-race African American man — from childhood, to Howard University, through a one-year prison sentence during the War on Drugs — as he confronts the complex realities and painful truths about identity, race, addiction, and incarceration in America. Based on the true story of the director’s life.
Laci Dent, writer/director/producer
Della, a 13-year-old African American girl, lives in rural Louisiana with her curiously devout mother Ida. After Della begins to experience peculiar bodily symptoms linked to her mother’s prayers, both women find themselves at the center of a dark practice tied to their ancestry, the Baptist Church, and the land they’ve inherited.
Elegance Bratton, writer/director; Chester Algernal Gordon and Effie Brown, producers
In the age of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a young homeless man must conceal his attraction for his drill instructor in order to survive Marine Corps boot camp.
Frida Perez, writer/director/producer; Rachael Moton and Gia Rigoli, producers
A teenage girl from the Bronx is taken on a twisted journey through New York days after her 18th birthday.
Sushma Khadepaun, writer/director; Monique Walton, Producer (US) and Andrea Kuehnel, producer (Germany)
Anita, an enthusiast of American sitcoms in small-town India, orchestrates her own “arranged marriage” and moves to America in the hope of a more exciting and independent life. But Anita’s escape begins to feel like a trap when she finds herself completely dependent on her husband in suburban Texas. Anita must find a way to reconcile her expectations with her reality.
Andrew Thomas Huang, writer/director; Angela C. Lee, Nate Matteson, and Hiro Murai, producers
Set in 1966 Los Angeles, Tiger Girl is a coming-of-age fantasy about a repressed teenage Chinese American girl haunted by a tiger lurking in her attic. When pressured by her immigrant mother’s rigid social expectations, the girl must learn that the beast upstairs is the tiger within that will set her free.
Priscila Torres, co-writer/director; Vincent Bates, co-writer
A strong-willed Salvadoran immigrant struggles to maintain her sense of dignity after an extensive delay in the arrival of her work authorization. When she’s notified that her application has been placed on hold, she puts her marriage and future at risk by working illegally for a landscaping company.
Untitled Opa-Locka Project
Keisha Rae Witherspoon, director/co-writer; Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, co-writer/producer; Jonathan David Kane. producer
Untitled Opa-Locka Project is a meditative and ultimately transcendent story about a strange young man named Ev who struggles with the ills of a small world because he has already touched the stars. A paranoid and isolated young card shark from inner-city Miami, Ev believes his mother was abducted by aliens, and now seeks answers from a suspicious new UFO cult in the neighborhood.
The Weight of Land
Daniel de Lacerda e Drummond, writer/director/producer; Aaron Fink, Gia Rigoli, and Esteban Zuluaga, producers
When a family of Latino ranch hands learns they’ve inherited one of the largest ranches in Arizona, the promise of a better future seems certain. But when their bosses also lay a claim to that land, a grisly blood feud unravels.