The Women In Film Foundation’s Film Finishing Fund announced the recipients of the 28th annual Film Finishing Fund grant program. The organization’s Film Finishing Fund supports films by, for or about women by providing cash grants of up to $15,000 and in-kind services to filmmakers, ensuring that innovative films can be completed and seen by audiences worldwide.
Over 113 feature-length narrative films, documentaries and shorts were submitted from around the world for consideration. Since the inception of the Fund in 1985, the Foundation has awarded more than $2 million in cash and in-kind services to 170 films.
Unfortunately, women are still significantly underrepresented in the film industry. According to a press release issued by The Sundance Institute and Women In Film, who are collaborating to support independent women filmmakers, there remains a marked disparity between the numbers of feature length films completed by male versus female filmmakers.
WIF’s fundamental belief is that entertainment created by and for women should represent 50% of all content worldwide, in sync with the voice of the population itself. Programs such as FFF are helping to close this gender gap.
The 2013 Film Finishing Fund Recipients
Narrative Feature Films
Afia Nathaniel – Writer/Director/Producer
Afia Nathaniel, computer scientist turned filmmaker, graduated from Columbia University with an MFA in Film Directing. Afia’s directorial debut Nadah had its World Premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival and the film was nominated for the Golden Reel Award in Los Angeles. Afia is the first Pakistani filmmaker whose feature screenplay was one of the top 100 international screenplays by the Academy® in 2007 as semi-finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship.
Film synopsis: Dukhtar (Daughter) is a thriller set in Pakistan. The story follows a mother on the run with her ten-year-old daughter on the eve of the child’s forced marriage to a tribal leader. Based on a true story.
THE FACTORY GIRL
Mohamed Samir – Producer
Mohamed Samir was trained in Egypt as a film editor for 10 years. Graduating from the Hight Institute of Cinema in Cairo in 2002, Samir has a vision and a passion for creating unique works of art. He founded DayDream, a platform for young and inexperienced artists to learn and express themselves in 2009.
Film synopsis: The film is an examination of life in Cairo for a working young woman with hopes, aspirations, and intelligence. The film is being directed by Mohamed Kahn, one of Egypt’s best-known and most influential film directors.
LADONNA HARRIS: INDIAN 101
Julianna Brannum – Director/Producer
Julianna Brannum is a documentary filmmaker out of Austin, Texas. Her credits include the feature The Creek Turns Red and the 5-part PBS special on Native American History, We Shall Remain. In 2007 Julianna was selected as a Sundance Institute/Ford Foundation Fellow. LaDonna Harris: Indian 101, has received grants from Sundance, National Geographic, The Rockefeller Foundation and Tribeca Film Institute.
Film synopsis: Comanche activist LaDonna Harris has led an extensive life of Native political and social activism. The documentary explores how traditional cultural and leadership values are passed on to new generations.
THE LAST ONE
Nadine Licostie – Director
New York, NY
Nadine Licostie‘s experience in the entertainment industry spans nearly 20 years and is focused on creating stories that resonate politically and socially while also attaining entertainment value. Film and television projects include The Good Mother of Abangoh, The Best of the GLAAD Media Awards, GLAAD Image, and the Be an Ally, Be A Friend PSA Campaign for GLAAD.
Film synopsis: This documentary explores the history of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and the breadth and diversity of those AIDS has affected, through moving portraits of the originators of the quilt and the quilt workers who maintain and contribute squares to the quilt.
MIA, A DANCER’S ODYSSEY
Maria Ramas – Director/Producer; Kate Johnson – Director
Culver City, CA
Maria Ramas as been an educator at UCLA for over 30 years. As the Director of Video and Oral History for UCLA’s Academic Advancement Program, she produced award-wining short documentaries. Her articles on women’s history and feminist theory have been anthologized in collections along with writers such as Erich Fromm and Juliet Mitchell. This is her first feature-length documentary.
Kate Johnson has worked as director, editor, producer, motion graphics designer and video artist. Her work has been seen in a variety of venues from The Cannes Film Festival, The History Channel, Channel 5 in France, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, and in theatres and public spaces internationally.
Film synopsis: A daughter’s promise to tell her mother’s story becomes the unfolding of the remarkable life of celebrated 20th Century ballerina, Mia Slavenska: a life in dance, of exile and return, of failure and success, and coming to terms with the impermanence and impact of a life in art.
SPIES OF MISSISSIPPI
Dawn Porter – Director/Producer
Dawn Porter is a documentary filmmaker who won the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival “Creative Promise Award” for Gideon’s Army, which recently premiered on HBO. Dawn was named in 2012 to both Realscreen’s Doc Hot Shots’ 15 Emerging Directors to Watch and The Independent’s 10 Doc Filmmakers to Watch lists.
Film synopsis: A look at the State of Mississippi’s little known efforts to undermine the Civil Rights Movement using a network of both black and white spies who pretended to work for civil rights, while betraying the heroes who fought for equality, and the impact that the betrayal had on the movement and on the families of the spies and the activists themselves.
THE BRAVEST, THE BOLDEST
Pelin Uzay – Producer
Pelin Uzay owns Pactum Films and is a partner in the Zbabam Productions. Pelin, who is Turkish, is one of the founders of the Mithat Alam Educational Foundation in Istanbul. She is also a film consultant for the Claims Conference, an organization that supports Holocaust education and helps Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. Her producing credits include The Time We Lost, Aliens Among Us, and Concerto.
Film synopsis: This is a short narrative film that explores the conflict between human empathy and protocol when two Army officers enter a housing project to notify a woman of her son’s death in combat.