Hot Films in the Making

Hot Films in the Making are films that we highly support. They have excellent concepts and brilliant filmmakers, they should be in our finals in the future.

We give each filmmaker chosen for our Hot Films in the Making the opportunity to add their projects to this list.  It is their choice.

Please check out the films that interest you and give them your support! 

Spring Grant 2020 Hot Films in the Making

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#CANCELLED: When "High School Musical" gets particularly heinous.

#CANCELLED is a new pilot where a comeback-seeking-ex-child-star-turned-rapper, her mogul mega millionaire manager, and their social media scheming assistant become the stars of a murderous scandal of their own.

#CANCELLED is adapted from the eponymous 2019 Encore Award Winning Play at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Originally set to film in the spring of 2020, production for #CANCELLED will resume this fall, once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. #CANCELLED features original pop and rap tunes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsCsHTFEnLM ), fresh talent, and unfiltered fun. Inquiries: cancelledthepilot@gmail.com

Another Time, Another Place

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As he experiences inexplicable, darkly realistic dreams and visions, truths of past and present collide in the life of a young member of a fictional administration headed by a President with autocratic inclinations. “Another Time, Another Place” is a thoroughly engaging story that dares to explore parallels of the current U.S. political climate to that of pre-war Germany. The story transcends time and place and concludes with a thought-provoking and provocative twist.

Army of Love/Prophets of Change

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Can music overcome borders and walls and bring Palestinian and Israelis together? Army of Love tracks musicians both Israeli and Palestinians through their unique journeys with the intent to inspire change.

There is an astounding grassroots network of artists and musicians, Palestinians and Israelis, Jewish and Muslim, straight and gay who constantly call for change and embody a clear message: we wait for no one, we are the change we want to see, and we believe that music is the way!

Baltic Truth

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Baltic Truth is the deeply personal and intensely moving story of one man's fight to reclaim his birthright, and expose the horrific details of Latvian involvement in the murders of his family and neighbors during the Holocaust. It is a story with deep implications for the present and future, and when society allows the truth of history to be swept aside and responsibility is denied, justice must have a voice. The film will reveal the little known truth about the collaboration with the Nazi regime in the Baltic States; how neighbor turned on neighbor without hesitation, prompting a massacre of unbelievable proportions; how it has all been kept under wraps throughout the last century.

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A six-year-old indigenous girl (Amaya Juan) discovers a Hispanic migrant her age who has lost her father while traveling through the Tohono O’odham tribal lands into the United States.

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In this fable, twin siblings unlock a potent secret about Water’s mystical powers and use it to try to save their mother’s life and their kingdom.

Future Cosmos Flow is the second film in a water conscious film trilogy, Crystals of Transformation, about the power of water to transform, heal and renew our lives. These films feature Fuchsia Lin’s elaborate and sustainably built costumes worn by performers and set in motion through dance.

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From the time we are young, girls are pressured into a set belief of beauty standards. Hair is certainly high on the list and is often labeled as our "crown and glory." Where does this notion fit for females with alopecia (the partial or complete absence of hair from areas of the body where it normally grows)?

"I Am More Than My Hair", is a documentary film that includes stories of females who've experienced hair loss due to a health-related condition and how they empower themselves to see beauty beyond the media's standards.

Infamous Characters, Notorious Villains

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Log Line: One Big Happy Family, Roots and All

After her grandmother is diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, historian Heather Andolina begins to uncover her unique genetic past and finds that she is the decedent of a mysterious group of people known as Melungeons, who were a mixed ethnic group of people who settled in Appalachia. Andolina travels all over the east coast in search for answers and discovers the haunting history of the Melungeon people, filled with their own folklore, heritage and heartbreaking tales of discrimination.

The Melungeon people‘s history shaped an entire culture, and showcases the disturbing account of the strange and unforgiving history of race in America.

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Trapped in a high cost, low wage nation, several Americans seek to survive—and thrive—on wheels. A 60-year-old woman desperate to escape a toxic marriage moves into a minivan, and sets out on a quest for belonging. A young girl comes of age in an RV after her parents sell their suburban home and embrace “roadschooling.” A self-made YouTube star saves others from homelessness—one van at a time. As each of these characters embarks on an unforgettable road trip across a strange new America, hopes and expectations confront hard realities. They seek true freedom, but at what cost? How will this radical experiment change them? How will their journeys change the way we see America?

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Without a defined legal path to citizenship, many migrators live every day in fear of deportation and separation from their families. At risk to lose it all, Out of the Shadows tells the story of two undocumented immigrants whose stories, like many others, have been lost in mainstream media. A brother and sister who are undocumented immigrants from Guatemala living in the United States. Their journey is admirable and heart wrenching as Yessica and Antonio describe their month-long border crossing experience.

ROCKY FLATS

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You buy a home only to realize you are sharing your backyard with a nuclear superfund site. ROCKY FLATS is a feature documentary that tells an under-the-radar but urgent environmental story about nuclear waste left in the American landscape by the Cold War’s nuclear weapons production. Throughout the country, former nuclear weapons plants have been remediated or left to crumble, and in some cases are still in operation, posing significant threats to surrounding communities and its residents.

Roots/Raizes

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A Question of Belonging. Roots/Raízes is the story of an artist and a filmmaker, a New Zealander and a Brazilian, two people shaped by different cultural and social mores, which threaten to destabilize their capacity to live as man and wife. While Bruce documents life in Fabia’s village in northeast Brazil, Fabia, through Bruce’s photography, comes to see her own culture for the first time with fresh eyes; to see the beauty, simplicity and modesty of the people she grew up with, and their (threatened) traditions as part of an ancient and inherently sustainable way of living. The film takes place over five years as Fabia turns her camera on Bruce and they negotiate work, love and belonging.

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At the beginning of the 19th century, Germans from Europe and Germany moved to Azerbaijan. Their role in the history of Azerbaijan was outstanding. For example, while people were lighting a candle in Tsardom of Russia, Azerbaijanis were using electric lamps owing to Germans. Furthermore, they brought the first railway, asphalt, and telegraph to Azerbaijan as well. But during World War II 22841 Germans were exiled to Kazakhstan and Siberia. One of these families was the Shollers. Sholler gave his granddaughter who was 6 months old to an Azerbaijani family due to the harshness of conditions of exile. We-SSP Production has shot a feature movie about this girl’s life and German’s culture.

Tablescape!

Documentary

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At the Los Angeles County Fair, setting a table is more than a domestic affair. It’s a knife fight.

Tablescaping is defined as the “art of setting a table,” but at the L.A. County Fair, it’s much more than that. More performance art than culinary art, the tables are elaborate displays of home-ec fantasy.

Tablescape! delves into this unique world that brings together ladies from the Inland Empire and gay men from Palm Springs. It’s a colorful, visual comedy with heart.

The Battle of Henry Johnson

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In May 1918, in the Argonne forest, France, Henry Johnson, an American soldier of the 369th black infantry division, changed the outcome of the war. With the help of his fellow soldier Needham Roberts, Johnson fought and defeated a raid of thirty elite German special forces. If the 369th, also known as the Harlem Hell fighters, did not help the French fill the gaps in their line, the entire French army and maybe all of Europe could have fallen. That night has been immortalized historically as “The Battle of Henry Johnson” and the significance of this event needs to be told and be told as accurately as possible. This film will not only be action packed but do right by these brave men.

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When a Hawaiian poet living on the street to protect his addict daughter comes to the aid of a socialite overcome by loss, the course of many lives are changed as they experience newfound purpose redefining what it means to be family.

We Remember: Songs of Survivors

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"We Remember: Songs of Survivors" celebrates the lives of five Holocaust survivors as they partner with professional songwriters to craft songs to help them shed light on their experiences, turning them into uplifting songs of healing, resilience and pride. The survivors then join their songwriters as they perform their final creation in a rare and highly emotional live concert attended by family, friends and the community. Our crews document the entire process from their first meet-ups, through months of intimate and difficult soul-searching sessions, as together they create a very powerful and personal song. The process was life-changing for all involved.

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In the 1980s and ‘90s, amidst rampant fear and confusion, women took a risky stand to fight against the stigma and discrimination experienced by people caught in the AIDS epidemic while giving care and dignity to those who were dying. The pragmatic nurse, the fierce lawyer, the open-hearted therapist – these are simple words that describe the three women in this documentary short, but there is nothing simple about their stories. When the AIDS epidemic came to Boston, these women found their way to the front lines of the crisis. Through the sadness and desperation of those dark times, they found meaningful moments of resiliency and have messages for us all that flow from their experiences.

 

 

 

Fall Grant 2019 Hot Films in the Making

2020: A Van Odyssey (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Ola Kalejaye and Rachel Severein
2020: A Van OdysseyTwo filmmakers embark on a 20,000 mile journey across the North American continent, following one momentous year in the lives of an eclectic group of people within the millennial countercultural movement known as “Vanlife”.
A People’s History of Chicago (Web/TV Series)
Produced and Directed by Mark Blottner and Olivia Pearson
A People's History of Chicago

Based on poet Kevin Coval’s recently published, “A People’s History of Chicago”, this documentary web series focuses on the struggles, actions, and hopes of the oppressed throughout Chicago’s history. Celebrating victories won by collective action and artistic achievements via poetry and interviews, we inspire our audience to actively participate in shaping their own history. Each episode is based on one poem with stanzas woven throughout each storyline.

Always Love (Short)
Produced and Directed by Eric Casaccio
Always Love

During a public shooting tragedy, a troubled marriage faces the hardcore truth while loved ones lose their lives.

Creating Zinzi (Feature)
Produced by Hands in the Clay Films | Director TBD
Creating Zinzi

A late-blooming playwright seeks to ensure that her musical’s African characters are authentic and, defying the producer who is backing her, she takes her Broadway actors to Cape Town to work with indigenous artists. There, her dreams of collaboration vanish when she encounters clashing cultures, real life perils, and ancestor spirits who are threatening the production she struggles to put on.

Dear Doris (Documentary)
Produced by Kanani Koster | Director Scott Braucht
Dear Doris

Dear Doris is a wickedly fun documentary exploring the infamous San Francisco drag queen, Doris Fish, and the making of her cult film, Vegas In Space; which took 8 years to raise the funds for and over 18 months to shoot. With Doris Fish’s tenacity and symbiotic partnership with Phillip R. Ford, the film’s dramatic production behind the scenes rivals the campy Sundance cult classic. By the film’s completion in the early 90s, Doris Fish passed away after becoming infected with AIDS never knowing that the film would go on to screen at Cannes and Sundance. The documentary is a bittersweet letter to both her legacy and San Francisco gay community of the 80s.

Delivering Justice: A Movement Is Born (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Jen Gilomen
Delivering Justice: A Movement Is Born

In the U.S., more and more women, especially women of color, die in childbirth each year. “Delivering Justice: A Movement Is Born” will investigate why, and will follow women across all walks of life – pregnant mothers, midwives, researchers, and leaders — who are building a movement to achieve “birth equity.”

Eight (Short)
Produced by Lyndsay Rowan | Directed by Keith Farrell – Old Hall Films
Eight

Logline:
Loose tongues cost lives. Choose your words carefully.

Short description:
Mary’s internal conflict is between her desire to let her voice be heard and the fear of imprisonment that will occur if she utters more than 8 words a day. In this short drama, the camera will often be hand held and close on Mary, oppressively as she struggles from day to day. Wide angle lenses used in extreme closes ups, showing how our characters are trapped in their daily lives, desperate to escape and unable to say whatever is on their mind.

Embraced (Documentary)
Produced and by Joel Sheagren
Logline: Embraced: Truth About Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, also known as FASD, is a comprehensive portrait of the Western Hemisphere’s number one birth defect and its impact on every aspect of society.

Synopsis: Embraced: Truth About Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, takes us on a remarkable journey that
crisscrosses the US and Canada in an effort to raise public awareness of FASD, the number one birth defect in the Western Hemisphere, and ask why FASD often finds itself an outsider among the cadre of mental and physical disabilities when it is 100% preventable.

For Rosa (Short)
Produced by Ashley Flores and Sabrina Ehlert | Directed by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone
For Rosa

For Rosa is a fictional film inspired by the Madrigal Ten, a group of women who were ten of many Latina immigrants sterilized without consent while giving birth at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center during the 1970s. This story follows Eva, a fictional mother, who after being informed of her sterilization, is faced with the life altering decision of joining Jessica, a 26 year old fierce Chicana attorney, and nine other women in a lawsuit against the hospital despite the shame she might receive from her community and family.

HERbeat (Documentary)
Produced by Jennifer Weir | Directed by Dawn Mikkelson
HERbeat

Taiko drumming has thundered throughout ancient Japanese art and culture, traditionally reserved only for men; now resounding as high art on the contemporary world stage, taiko is both ancient and modern, ever-evolving. The HERbeat film project follows the top five women in taiko from the United States and Japan as they prepare to perform together for the first time, each forging her own path, pursuing art that fuels her soul despite seemingly insurmountable cultural, financial, and personal barriers.

High Her Frequency (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Annette Brown
High Her Frequency

The embodiment of the art of revolution…female artists, visionary creators of future, lead the crusade for social and environmental justice.

Hyde Park (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Michelle Hansen
Hyde Park

Hyde Park is a groundbreaking documentary spotlighting the deadly, but often ignored, problem of environmental racism. Of all racial inequalities in the U.S. today, one that is often overlooked, but is perhaps most insidious, is environmental injustice—the fact that blacks are more than twice as likely as whites to live in neighborhoods with uncontrolled toxic waste. Throughout the last twenty-five years, study after study has confirmed this statistic. Environmental racism is pervasive.

In Hyde Park, an African American community in Augusta, Georgia, residents fall ill from industrial contaminants. Surrounded by seven industrial facilities and without funds to relocate, citizens-turned-ac

Inner Wound Real (Short)
Produced by Sour Peach Films (Chelsea Moore and Erica Rose) | Directed by Carrie Hawks
Inner Wound RealInner Wound Real tells the story of three people of color who used self-harm in order to feel better, then seek out new methods of coping. This animated documentary short takes you inside their emotional journey.
Lee Fields: Take Me Back (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Jessamyn Ansary and Joyce Mishaan
Lee Fields: Take Me BackLee Fields: Take Me Back tells the story of a legendary soul singer, 5 decades in the making. Through his incredible journey, we’ll also tell the story of soul music – how it began, and why it endures.

His voice has been compared to James Brown, but Lee Fields is no knockoff – he’s the real thing. In the 60’s and 70’s, he made his living touring the Chitlin’ Circuit alongside some of the greatest names in blues and soul history. He sang with Kool and the Gang before they were famous. But, as the 70’s came to a close, disco began its reign and Lee’s soul career plummeted.

For decades, he thought his music dreams were dead. But with one phone call, everything changed…

Leveling Lincoln (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Arden Teresa Lewis
Wissam: an Iraqi story

“Leveling Lincoln” brings back to the forefront the first case in the Northern USA, where a school was torn down in the quest for equal rights in education. Mrs. Taylor vs. The Board of Education of New Rochelle, NY 1961 – was a landmark case brought by Lincoln School parents and 12 of their children and began busing in the North. Many still remember the fight against redlining and school segregation. The techniques used by the NAACP lawyer Paul Zuber spread to New Jersey and Chicago. The changes still affect the city today. Amid archival photos and newsreels our interviewees reflect on their childhood after the case, and how it relates to today’s educational struggles.

Li’l Liza Jane: A Movie About A Song (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Emily Cohen and Dan Gutstein
Li'l Liza Jane: A Movie About A Song

There is no film dedicated to a single American popular tune, and there is no tune like “Li’l Liza Jane.” The song has transcended slavery, race, poverty, geography, and musical genres to become one of the most recorded, recited, and beloved songs in the popular canon. This documentary will present the cultural history behind “Li’l Liza Jane,” coupled with an original soundtrack by star musicians.

Can the story of America’s favorite poor gal brighten a fractured country?

Lifesaver (Feature)
Produced by The Great Griffon, Blue Slate Films | Directed by David Beck
Lifesaver

Fired from her teaching job at a Catholic school after 22 years, a transgender woman contemplates suicide until she meets a young girl who has two fathers – one of whom recently left with a woman – and they have a profound impact on each other’s life.

Limping Towards Babylon (Feature)
Produced and Directed by Julius Galacki
Limping Towards Babylon

In the comedy drama, “Limping Towards Babylon”, five college roommates are all secretly in love with the wrong person, until a professor’s theft lights the fire that ignites their contained passions.

Lucky Milo (Documentary)
Produced by Donald Marcus and Lisa Milligan | Directed by Edmund Milligan Marcus
Lucky Milo

Lucky Milo is a feature length documentary which tells the extraordinary true story of Marine Lance Corporal Milo Imrie (1989-2018) through his extensive video and written diaries and by intimate, heartfelt and sometimes shocking interviews with friends, family and fellow Marines.

The film will delve deeply into the current suicide and mental illness epidemic sweeping our nation’s Veterans by exploring its effects on one astonishing life, while examining the inspiring, innovative therapies and organizations leading the charge toward recovery.

The film is edited and directed by a close childhood friend of Milo’s and produced in full cooperation with his family.

Machine (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Becky Beamer
Machine

MACHINE
LOG LINE
90 minutes, Documentary Feature Film
The Theta Nu Epsilon secret society, otherwise known as the Machine, hides in the shadows of folklore and fraternity at the University of Alabama. The Machine embodies power and intimidation through the University of Alabama Student Government Association, which acts as a political proving ground that breeds racism, corruption, and economic disparity within the community. Historically, Machine leaders funnel into Alabama’s local, state, and national politics, completing the cycle that is the greater Alabama Machine.

Narcissus (Feature)
Produced by Siyu Lin | Directed by Grace Gao
NarcissusAn Asian American actress in New York city takes her own life after slumping into plastic surgery addiction.
Nowheres Wolf (Short)
Directed by Suzanne Moulton
Nowheres Wolf

Longing to belong – Lone wolf OR-7 wanders into lands unfamiliar searching for a new family. We follow him on a journey where he is hopeful and playful and even finds a snack that reminds him of happy pup days. He bounds with excitement as he discovers a partial wolf pack. Will they accept him? And will we accept him too?

This is a stop-motion animated glimpse into his Journey.

Peg Murray: A Legacy of Inspiration (Documentary)
Produced by Amie Sponza | Directed by Catherine Tatge
Peg Murray: A Legacy of Inspiration

“Peg Murray: A Legacy of Inspiration” is an interview style documentary of the Tony Award winning actress, her life and career in the theatre, TV and film spanning her 95-year life. Peg shares how she built her career starting post WWII, started her own Touring Players company and landed on Broadway and soap operas. It is directed by Emmy Award winning producer/director, Catherine Tatge.

Pocahontas Returns (Feature)
Produced and Directed by Nadja Verena Marcin
Pocahontas Returns
Feature film, 90 mins, digital cinema, 2020
New York, USA & Santa Cruz, BoliviaThe feature film Pocahontas Returns explores lost values inside our contemporary world and the search for ancient wisdom via the mise-en-abyme of hypermodern New York and neo-baroque Santa Cruz in Bolivia via an interracial love story blended with Telenovela and performance art.Nadja Verena Marcin’s first feature film “Pocahontas Returns” has been awarded funding for the Fiscal Year 2019 by the New York State Council on the Arts and is fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Punderneath It All (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Abigail Hagan
Punderneath It All

What do wedding hashtags, dad jokes, and epic rap flows all have in common? Puns! Exposing the punderbelly of wordplay culture in the US, this film follows multiple individuals as they participate in pun competitions across the nation, while exploring puns in pop culture and their popularity that spans generations.

Redneck Games (Feature)
Produced by R.H. Elkhatib | Directed by Kevin B. Smith
Redneck Games

A sleazy attorney tricks three redneck brothers into the service of a billionaire in the hopes that their shenanigans will cause a fatal accident that will allow the attorney to inherit a fortune.

Resist (Documentary)
Produced by Susan O’Brien, Dasha Kova, and Jillian Goldstein | Directed by Susan O’Brien
Resist

RESIST is a short documentary capturing the all-women identifying collective Resistance Revival Chorus, whose mission is centered on addressing inequality around the world by advocating for social justice through joyful protest and spiritual song. The film’s mission is to intimately profile the group and its individual members as well as reframe the concept of “resistance,” exploring how protest can be as simple, beautiful and impactful as raising your voices together in song.

Rocky Flats (Documentary)
Produced by Livia Perini | Directed by Nancy Wolfe
Rocky Flats

What happens when a huge nuclear weapons plant closes down in your neighborhood? ROCKY FLATS tells the story of the decommissioning of our atomic weapons plants, through events now unfolding in Colorado – where communities are facing off with big government over the toxic legacy of the Cold War in their backyards.

ROCKY FLATS is a feature documentary about an under-the-radar yet urgent environmental story – of the massive amount of nuclear waste left in the American landscape by our Cold War nuclear program.

Rosie (Short)
Produced by Kaylin Stewart | Directed by Tessa Germaine
Rosie

In 1943 America, factory worker Rose Donnelly must stand up for her female co-workers when their supervisor ignores blatant harassment and refuses to treat them as equals to their male co-workers, regardless of the risk to the women’s safety, and the war effort.

Inspired by true stories from the “Real Rosies” of WWII, this film gives a fictionalized backstory to the iconic Rosie the Riveter character depicted in the “We Can Do It!” poster by artist J. Howard Miller. This film intends to honor the real working women from WWII, as well as promote safe working environments for women today.

Sándor’s Oregon Trail: The Barlow Road (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Sándor Lau
Sándor's Oregon Trail: The Barlow Road

Find the center of the universe in the middle of nowhere. Without dying of dysentery.

Writer, filmmaker, and raconteur Sándor Lau walks most perilous path pioneers faced in the 2,000 miles of their journey from Missouri to Oregon in feature documentary film, Sándor’s Oregon Trail: The Barlow Road.

On his journey Sándor meets cultural descendants of early pioneers living their history in new ways. He also learns from Native Americans who belonged to this land long before there was an Oregon Trail, and learns the lessons of their traditions and resilience.

Since I Been Down (Documentary)
Produced by June Nho Ivers, Saman Maydani, and Gilda Sheppard | Directed by Gilda Sheppard
Since I Been Down

Logline
In 1993, we allowed a law to pass that sent children to prison for life as irredeemable. What happened to them during this legacy of captivity?

Short Synopsis
In America’s backyard, a community held captive by policies targeting gangs and drugs, sacrifice their youth for a false sense of safety, security, and prosperity. Nearly forty years later, a true path to justice and healing is led from inside their prison walls.

Submittan (Short)
Produced by Samantha Wessel | Directed by Susumu Kimura
SUBMITTAN is a sci-fi short film about Chase, a Japanese immigrant graphic designer and a single mother of two daughters, struggling to survive in a future city called Submittan. Facing eviction, she takes a job interview to design a poster for the city’s campaign… a dark plan for the city’s own inhabitants.
Submittan (Feature)
Produced and Directed by Travis Mills
Submittan

Texas Red tells the amazing true story of an African-American outlaw who was chased by hundreds of men in the winter of 1940 through the Mississippi wilderness. Texas Red was a juke joint owner and successful businessman in the segregated South. When angry locals raided his cabin one night, Red went on the run with his partner the Oklahoma Kid, leading to an incredible chase and struggle for survival.

The Donation trailer (Other)
Produced by Bailey Heesch | Directed by Tom J. Post
The Donation trailer

When a young couple decides to donate their eggs and sperm without telling each other, what could possibly go wrong? “The Donation” is a comedic and daring story of two families who’s lives are intertwined by a moment of struggle, hope and love.

The Sum of Our Parts (formerly Free Agent) (Documentary)
Produced by Roseanne Malfucci | Directed by Roseanne Malfucci and Joy E. Reed
The Donation trailer

While supporting her partner Kelly in his gender confirmation surgery, Roseanne is triggered by her sexual trauma and faced with an unexpected opportunity to pursue legal action against her abuser. THE SUM OF OUR PARTS follows the couple on a quest to reclaim their identities and help each other heal.

The Transhumanist (Feature)
Directed by Anna Arlanova
The Transhumanist

A person is diagnozed with a rare genetic disease. The existing medicine is unable to help him — so he decides to become the very first experimental subject of a head transplantation.

Too Soon: The Comedy of 9/11 (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Nick Scown and Julie Seabaugh
Too Soon: The Comedy of 9/11

When it seems incomprehensible to laugh again in the aftermath of 9/11, comics struggle to tell jokes in the turbulent days, weeks, and years that follow. They ultimately discover that humor is in fact more vital than ever before as a force for uniting and healing audiences – and themselves – in the face of tragedy.

Uncommon Scents (Documentary)
Produced by Kristina Bauer and Angela Jensen Ehmke | Directed by Kristina Bauer, Angela Jensen Ehmke, and Pierre Thiebaut
Uncommon Scents

A passionate aromatherapist sets out to teach over-eager essential oil consumers about the need for education and safety and learns the most important lesson is that everyone, including educated aromatherapists like herself, need to change their ways.

Voice of Vanilla (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Maureen Maloney
Voice of Vanilla

A Malagasy mother, whose livelihood depends on vanilla, will do whatever it takes to give her daughter a better life, but there are many challenges that threaten to destroy her chances…and possibly her world.

Voice of Vanilla is a documentary that follows one woman through her journey of vanilla cultivation, walking deep into the jungles and experiencing the day-to-day struggles of raising a child, growing her crops, battling storms, and defending her livelihood. This is a film that connects people across great distances through the shared experiences of humanity, and builds empathy for the many challenges women farmers are facing.

Water and Fire: Painting as a Paraplegic (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Stephen J O’Shea
Water and Fire: Painting as a Paraplegic

Water and Fire is a film about Kathyna Hatla, a painter turned paraplegic, who embarks on a cross-country pilgrimage to exhibit and display her artwork for the first time. The gallery of her exhibition is in Galveston, where she had her last fond memory as an able-bodied mother of four. It’s been 20 years since Kat has visited the beach, and it’s been her dream to launch her career as an artist for even longer. This film will capture both of these milestones, showcasing her drive and perseverance throughout.

Wissam: an Iraqi story (Documentary)
Produced by Taif Alkhudary | Directed by Mend Mariwany
Wissam: an Iraqi story

Iraq currently has between 250,000 and one million missing persons, estimated to be the highest number in the world.

Wissam follows the heart wrenching and sometimes absurd stories of the disappeared, families’ search for their loved ones and activists’ tireless and often treacherous work for justice and accountability.

Narrated by Salam, whose son Wissam was abducted by US forces in plain sight just 300 metres from his house in Baghdad in 2005, the film uncovers the impenetrable web of government officials, international institutions, global militaries, and paramilitaries that families and activists must navigate in order to find even the smallest traces of the missing.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Summer Grant 2019 Hot Films in the Making

A Good Wolf (Documentary)
Directed by Ramey Newell
A Good Wolf

A feature-length documentary following an activist, a hunter, and a biologist as they navigate a volatile controversy surrounding a tract of land adjacent to Denali National Park — a 40-year struggle between fur trappers and wildlife activists, state and federal authorities, and conflicting views about the role of wild places in America.

Ady Barkan Documentary (Documentary)
Produced by Amanda Roddy | Directed by Nicholas Bruckman
Ady Barkan Documentary

When 32-year-old father Ady Barkan is diagnosed with ALS, he sets out across the country with his wife, 2-year old son, and a motley crew of comrades to launch the most unlikely political movement in a generation.

Angels Night (Feature)
Produced by Shahid Muhammed | Directed by Ron Cobert
Angels Night

Dramedy-Based on historical events: In the aftermath of Detroit’s turbulent past still burns the rage of a frustrated young fire fighter. He is determined to save his son and other troubled youth from the city’s annual tradition of arson and vandalism.

Bat (Short)
Produced and Directed by Gitanjali Kapila
Bat

A suburban shaman slays her dragon-mother with the help of her best friend’s 10 year old son and a VR program simulating flight.

Canoandes ’79 (Documentary)
Produced by Sonia Szczesna | Directed by Adam Nawrot
Canoandes '79

Five students escape the Soviet Regime and find themselves on the other side of the globe, the first people to navigate the deepest canyon in the world.

Colonies in Conflict (Documentary)
Produced by Elephant Corridor Films | Directed by Rajani Mani
Colonies in Conflict

The film follows the decline of native honeybees in India and explores the story of men and women who are working to reverse the tide – their lives forever intertwined with these beautiful yet temperamental creatures – scientists, ecologists and farmers who are eager to listen to what the bees are saying.

At its core, COLONIES IN CONFLICT is about hope, and the message that human and animal interactions must remain positive, or it may have daunting implications for our planet.

Cowboy Joe Redux (Short)
Produced and Directed by Jingjing Tian
Cowboy Joe Redux

A Chinese girl becomes enamored by the American cowboy culture as a way to cope with her dysfunctional family only to become more isolated by society as a result of it. Through it all, she discovers the true meaning of what it means to be a cowboy and becomes her own unique self.

Dear Brother (Feature)
Produced by Lionwolf Films | Directed by Kesav Wable
Dear Brother

Inspired by true events, “Dear Brother” is the fictional story of a Pakistani-American boxer who fights for his freedom after he’s ensnared in an FBI counter-terrorism sting operation. Blending elements from boxing film classics such as “Rocky”, “Raging Bull” and “The Hurricane”, with the suspenseful drama ripped from today’s headlines about America’s never-ending “war on terror”, “Dear Brother” is the boxing epic for our times.

Exploiting Eden: Île-à-vache (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Raquel Gómez-Rosado
Exploiting Eden: Île-à-vache

This is a story of disillusions and human rights violations, that unfolds with a tourism development project. It happens in Île-à-vache, a small island in the south of Haiti, an unexploited paradise in the Caribbean, where tourism is the main economy. The program starts as part of a global vision for Haiti with interest in encouraging social-improvement aspects. But as always in Haiti, from paradise to hell there is just one step. What seems an opportunity for profit and common wealth, becomes a nightmare for its people.

Fight Back (Documentary)
Produced by Cecilia Albertini and Joshua Levion | Directed by Cecilia Albertini, Lesley Elizondo
Fight Back

FIGHT BACK is a feature-lenght documentary that chronicles the efforts of the Ya Basta! coalition, which was created by a group of female janitors that have survived sexual abuse in the workplace.

After enduring the abuse for months, Annabela and Veronica decided to finally break the silence and speak up. With the support of the Union, SEIU United Service Workers West, the Ya Basta! coalition has taken major steps to fight sexual abuse in the janitorial industry in California. This documentary tells the story of the brave women and men behind this coalition.

Fritz Lang: Cinematic Oracle (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Mike Frankel and Darren Rudy
Fritz Lang: Cinematic Oracle

The definitive story of the turbulent life and career of pioneering and influential 20th Century Film Director FRITZ LANG. Covering a sweeping career as a visionary genre creator in Weimar Germany and his prodigious output as an emigre in Hollywood.

Frog Catcher (Short)
Produced by Sherial McKinney, Shelby Silverman, and Reina Higashitani | Directed by Reina Higashitani
Frog Catcher

Inspired by a true story, FROG CATCHER is set in the post-Gold Rush era of 1870’s Northern California, when women were arrested under a “cross-dressing” law for wearing trousers. Jean Bonnet, a frog catcher who is known as a “man-woman”, develops a relationship with the wife of a wealthy businessman. But some seek to bring Jean to swift justice.

In the late nineteenth century, many women lived as men in order to survive, earn a living wage, and attain freedom. While most of them remained hidden, Jean Bonnet chose to stay visible to the public even though Jean was arrested more than twenty times.

To make a donation, please visit: www.un-nun.com/frog-catcher

Hear my Voice (Short)
Produced by Charles Meunier | Directed by Daniele Guerra
Mike moved to London hoping to find love and launch his opera career. Four years later, his journal is now his best friend. During yet another hook-up, he sees the apparition of his Grandmother, a glamorous, eccentric woman with whom Mike used to travel the world. She is not impressed with what she finds. Her repeat visits push Mike to come to terms with himself, and allow him to make an unexpected connection with barista, Andy.
How to Successfully Fail in Hollywood (Feature)
Produced and Directed by C.M. Conway
How to Successfully Fail in Hollywood

Have you ever tried to succeed in an industry where thousands of struggling artists are on the ‘bottom’ of the pyramid, and a tiny portion of wildly successful artists are on top? If you’re an actor, musician, dancer, writer, crafts person or painter – statistically speaking, this is YOU.

Time to flip this model, you in? This film is your film, and represents the voices of the female and minority artists in all trades determined to make it – on our terms.

Synopsis: Through life-changing adventures with her gay, Latino friend Ben; Ellie becomes the unwitting expert on humorously and poignantly using slip-ups as stepping stones to try to find an authentic self in outrageous Hollywood.

Hurricane (Other)
Produced and Directed by Nick Fitzhugh
Hurricane

Land is the only thing worth killing, worth fighting, worth lying and worth dying for.

After a devastating hurricane lays waste to their homes, Barbudans must overcome a second and potentially even greater threat––the sale of their island to foreign interests in the name of rebuilding, upending 300 years of communal land ownership.

It’s What’s on the Inside (Feature)
Produced by Faviola Rivas and Kimberly Joy McBride | Directed by Eddie Vigil V
It's What's on the Inside

It’s What’s on the Inside is a romantic-comedy narrative feature film about Rachel, an agoraphobic life coach who cannot practice what she preaches. Through the support of her delivery guy, landlord, and clients, she takes steps to have a life outside her apartment by embracing her darkness and light. Our film focuses on issues of mental health and the incremental steps one can make with a supportive community to begin a positive journey of transformation. The relationships in this film are not meant to replace therapy and proper medication, but rather complement those strategies and focus on the more social-side of recovery, which depictions of mental health struggles often overlook.

La Ramona (Short)
Produced and Directed by Antonio De Jesus Sanchez
La Ramona

“La Ramona” is a short story about the journey of a shy and innocent 16-year-old Mexican girl who is sold into the world of human sex trafficking. Tapo, a human smuggler, transports a group of undocumented immigrants along with Ramona through the middle of the desert and delivers them to Gerardo, a second coyote. Gerardo takes Ramona to a drop house to take up shelter for the night and when morning comes he will transport her to his sex trafficking liaison in Los Angeles.

Learned Behavior (Web/TV Series)
Produced by Amy Parker, Ahlaam DeLange, Lauren Harris, and Lena Elmeligy | Directed by Lena Elmeligy and Lauren Harris
Shway is a dramedy webseries pilot about identity, belonging, culture, and the negotiations first-generation young adults make in the world we live in.

View trailer: https://vimeo.com/346492570 (PW: unlearn)

Leveling Lincoln (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Arden Teresa Lewis
Leveling Lincoln

“Leveling Lincoln” brings back to the forefront the first case in the Northern USA, where a school was torn down in the quest for equal rights in education. Mrs. Taylor vs. The Board of Education of New Rochelle, NY 1961 – was a landmark case brought by Lincoln School parents and 12 of their children and began busing in the North. Many still remember the fight against redlining and school segregation. The techniques used by the NAACP lawyer Paul Zuber spread to New Jersey and Chicago. The changes still affect the city today. Our subjects speak on camera of this pivotal case, their childhood after the case, and how it relates to today’s educational struggles.

Mary’s Third Act (Feature)
Produced by Elisabeth Durkin | Directed by Shaina Feinberg
Levelin Lincoln

In “Mary’s Third Act,” filmmaker Shaina Feinberg is the epitome of the sandwich generation – she is raising her young son while caring for her elderly and widowed mother, Mary. Blending fiction and non-fiction, Shaina interrogates her aging mother’s plans for the future in an effort to make Mary live out her dreams, whether she likes it or not.

Moonchild (Short)
Produced by Jake Katofsky and Dwight Wilson II | Directed by Mimi Lee
Levelin Lincoln

After receiving a mysterious package on her 18th birthday, Lana goes on a journey to visit her father’s grave, discovering the true significance of the package and and her father’s death.

My Heavenly City (Short)
Produced by Ace Salvador | Directed by Sen-I Yu
My Heavenly City

“My Heavenly City” follows Mavis, a lonely and penniless international student who starts working as a Mandarin-English interpreter in order to make ends meet. Through her interpreting assignments, Mavis witnesses the struggles and sufferings of her clients and begins to reflect on her own life as well as her place in the city. This short drama aims to depict a poetic portrait of immigrants’ lives in New York City through the eyes of the interpreter, Mavis. I hope to explore the themes of loneliness, blending into American life and the warmth of human connections.

My Mother’s Table (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Hsuan Yu Pan
My Mother's Table

Fadila Maamo and Fayza Gareb, Kurdish mother and daughter, fled from Syria, collaborate with Brooklyn based chef Hannah Goldberg to introduce the flavor from their hometown, Aleppo.

Often Forgotten (Documentary)
Produced by Alezandra Russell | Directed by Jacqueline Romano
Often Forgotten

The Often Forgotten is a feature documentary film that tells the stories of at-risk young boys who are exploited, abused and trafficked within the sex tourism industry of Thailand, the social violence that perpetuates this on-going issue and the activists who are fighting to give these boys the support, aid, and justice they desperately need.

Pure (Web/TV Series)
Produced by Julia Morizawa, Briggon Snow, and J. Everley | Directed by Cate Carson
Pure

In the distant future where genetic modification has divided society, a warrior and her captive become unlikely allies as they journey to the Annex, escape the Dissension, and learn what it means to sacrifice for the future of their people.

Quill and the Man (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Amanda Cole
Quill and the Man

My father played in a band that played the now infamous 1969 Woodstock Festival, but never found any success or any peace afterwards. Growing up under the shadow of my father’s artistic losses had profound personal impact; I decided to dig deeper…

Roots/Raizes (Documentary)
Produced by Sue Marshall | Directed by Fabia Oliveria
Roots/Raizes

New Zealand artist Bruce Hunt and filmmaker Fabia Oliveria sacrifice everything for art, love and Brazilian cowboys.

Shadow Players (Short)
Directed by Mel Piper | SHADOW PLAYERS is looking for a producer
Shadow Players

A stranded adventurer must tell his story-travelling lover the beginning of her new story before she disintegrates with the ending of their time together.

* Spring 2019 ScreenCraft Film Fund Semifinalist * Selected for the Talent Lab at Reykjavík International Film Festival 2019 *

FANTASY SHORT. LIVE-ACTION HYBRID. 12 MINS.

Lead Actress AMY MOLLOY (UK). DoP BELLA HALBEN. Visual Effects PLANET X (NL/B).

Sign The Show: Deaf Culture, Access & Entertainment (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Cat Brewer
Sign The Show: Deaf Culture, Access & Entertainment

In hopes of generating easier and/or open access to all individuals at live music and comedy shows while bringing an awareness of how entertainment connects all cultures, the documentary Sign the Show: Deaf Culture, Access & Entertainment brings together entertainers, Deaf and Hard of Hearing community members, and ASL interpreters to discuss, in a humorous, heartfelt and insightful way, accessibility for the Deaf & HOH and what it’s like to connect Deaf and hearing audiences at live performances.

Silent as the Grave (Feature)
Produced by Brad Podowski | Directed by Brad Podowski & Dan Gremley
Silent as the Grave

An obsessive documentary filmmaker battles powerful unknown forces as he investigates his uncle’s mysterious death, a tragedy that has plagued his family for decades.

Soyuzmultfilm (working title) (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Ethan Bien
Soyuzmultfilm (working title)

Stalin launched the USSR’s animation program to educate and indoctrinate, but it became a giant Sesame Street, a public TV project that captivated generations of Soviet kids with an incredible array of cartoons, including some of the finest animated art the world has ever known. Now, Vladimir Putin’s administration has relaunched Soyuzmultfilm, but can the new collective of artists recreate the magic of the old days? And what does their experience reveal about what it is to be an artist today?

The Badge, The Gun & The Hangman’s Noose (Short)
Produced by Kathy Oliver and Edward Santiago | Directed by Vanessa Ionta Wright
The Badge, The Gun & The Hangman's Noose

A ruthless desperado faces the ghosts of his past, as he flees from the law of the Old West.

The Binding of Isaac (Short)
Produced by Molly Jiang | Directed by Anika Benkov
The Binding of Isaac

A Hasidic bookbinder in search for binding materials stumbles across an ad on craigslist offering binding lessons for submissive women, which he responds to, becoming entangled in an emotionally intense BDSM relationship with a stranger on the internet.

The Eremite (Feature)
Produced by Mark Sposato, Courtney Sposato, and Kent Moran | Directed by Mark Sposato and Courtney Sposato
The Eremite

A rebellious journalist follows a provocative lead to a rural mountain community harboring a mysterious recluse with secrets that may just hold the key to the survival of our species.

This is the story of Jamie Jenkins, a driven but reckless reporter on a quest for truth and meaning in a world that rarely offers either. She leaves the familiar to investigate an impossible occurrence in a backwoods town and uncovers a mystery that could dictate the fate of humanity. Along the way, she finds community, friendship, and maybe something more with an unlikely group of misfits. Each must decide what they’re willing to sacrifice to regain agency in their lives and change the course of history.

The Green Box: At the Heart of a Purple Heart (Documentary)
Produced by Holly Stadtler | Directed by Vicki Hughes and Holly Stadtler
Mysterious clues in a forbidden green box launch a son’s discovery of a father he never knew – a WWII pilot whose love and courage are woven with iconic historic events. Meet a hero; remember a time we must not forget.
The Last New Year (Short)
Produced by NK Gutierrez | Directed by Natasha Parker
The Last New Year

A thirty- something Blaxican sets out to capture the orgasm and man of her dreams. After a three year dating hiatus Alyssa finds herself in situations that leave her feeling like she knows even less about life and love than she did in her twenties.

The Long Rescue (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Jennifer Huang
The Long Rescue

An intimate journey into an unseen world, The Long Rescue follows Filipina teen sex trafficking survivors for five years as they recover in a secret shelter and re-enter the world – hoping to overcome the poverty, predators, and pimps of their childhood. Can they reach their dreams of independence, or will they slide back into exploitation?

Tonton Macoute (Feature)
Directed by Nigel Robinson
Tonton Macoute

For generations Haitian parents would warn their children of Tonton Macoute. A mysterious man that goes out at night hunting down bad children out after dark and stuffing them into a sack where no one will ever see them again. Thus encouraging generations of good behaving children.

Jean-Claude a.k.a JC isn’t a child anymore. On his eighteenth birthday, he celebrates by sneaking into the school with a group of his friends in the middle of the night free to do whatever they want with no one watching.

As the night progresses and friends start disappearing JC realizes that Tonton Macoute is more than just a bedtime story – he is real…

Unearthed (Other)
Produced and Directed by Nick Fitzhugh
Unearthed

Brazilian Master Chef Alex Atala scours the hidden places of the world in search of dietary and culinary secrets and beautifully fuses them to help create the ultimate in sustainable human cuisine that will guide us and our planet to greater health by reinventing the way we eat—one delicious dish at a time.

Veggie Revolution (Documentary)
Produced by Bárbara Tavares & Frandu Almeida | Directed by Bárbara Tavares
Veggie Revolution

VEGGIE REVOLUTION is a feature documentary about the social, political, and economical rise of veganism as the fastest growing social movement in the world today. A portrait of individuals who struggle against a status quo and strive to change the world.

Worin (Documentary)
Produced and Directed by Beth Lane
Worin

Filmmaker Beth Lane takes road trips across Germany and the United States on a quest to uncover the silent heroes who assisted in the emigration of her mother, the youngest of seven Jewish siblings who were hidden in the town of Worin, Germany, between 1943 and 1945. Who were the people that helped the Weber siblings survive Nazi Germany? Why did they risk their lives to help seven strangers? Extraordinary stories are unearthed as Beth travels across two continents and discovers the impact the Weber siblings had on so many people over 70 years ago, unravelling the question, “would you hide me?”