Filmmaker Fund Grantees

About the Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Grants

Unlike festivals which give awards for filmmakers’ past works, the Rooftop Filmmakers Fund is an opportunity to help our community of filmmakers make their next movie.  Rooftop Films sets aside $1 from every ticket sold and $1 from every submission fee received and grants those funds to alumni filmmakers for their film productions. Rooftop Films has ten grants available —six for feature length films and four for short films. Each year, Rooftop Films will give away over $35,000 in cash grants, $25,000 of which is courtesy of our sponsor GarboNYC and funds feature films. Our equipment and service grants are valued at more than $200,000 and come courtesy of our sponsors at Eastern Effects , Edgeworx Studios, Brigade Marketing, Technological Cinevideo Services, Downtown Community Television, and Nice Shoes

We’ve been screening films since 1997, and every filmmaker who has ever shown a film with Rooftop is eligible for our grants. Only filmmakers who have screened a movie at Rooftop Films’ festival are eligible.

Past Grantees by Year: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

The 2016 Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Grantees Were:

Rooftop Films and Garbo NYC Feature Films Grant

Garbo NYC is a transgressive clothing company that was created by stylist Anett Gabriel, who had a desire to pay tribute to working class women and their sacrifices during the westernization of Hungary. As proud supporters of Rooftop Films, Garbo NYC has made $25,000 available in cash grants for one or two feature-length films to provide funding for key cast and crew. The 2016 recipients were:

Robert Greene | Bisbee ’16
Bisbee ’17 will follow multiple characters in Bisbee, Arizona as they work to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the controversial Bisbee Deportation, where 1200 striking miners were violently exiled from town. The film will combine observational documentary with musical reenactments, leading up to a centennial dramatization of Bisbee’s “darkest day.”

Kirsten Johnson | Deadpan
Dick Johnson, an 84 year old psychiatrist is simply going about his business, when his car crashes, he gets hit by an avalanche, he has a heart attack, a bookshelf falls on him, and a wave washes him out to sea. But although his spectacular deaths keep happening, nothing keeps him down. Until it does. Stuntmen risk their lives to insure spectacular death after hilarious death as Dick Johnson tries to stay alive until the end of his days. (Pictured, left)

Rooftop Films and Brigade Festival Publicity Grant

Brigade knows that audiences are constantly evolving, so they stay a step ahead by pushing beyond the basic publicity and marketing model. Their cutting-edge campaigns generate buzz and demand attention by engaging with core consumers on every level. Brigade will offer one feature-length film full publicity services for the film’s North American premiere. (Valued at $15,000 in services).

Joshua Z Weinstein | Menashe
Within Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community, a widower battles for custody of his son. A tender drama performed entirely in Yiddish, the film intimately explores the nature of faith and the price of parenthood.

Rooftop Films and Sound Lounge Sound Mix Feature Film Grant

Sound Lounge is an audio post-production company that provides creative services for TV and radio commercials, feature films, television series, digital campaigns, gaming and other emerging media. Sound Lounge will provide one Rooftop Films alumni with a package of sound mixing services, including use of sound mixing facilities and the services of a professional sound mixer, for up to 40 hours of sound mixing and 8 hours of playback and notes.

Sara Dosa | The Road Through Invisible
An unexpected environmental film about invisible elves, financial collapse and the power of belief told through one Icelandic family’s quest to save a threatened landscape – and the beloved home they’ve lived in for generations.

Rooftop Films and Nice Shoes Color Correction Grant

As a creative partner for feature filmmakers Nice Shoes has helped bring critically acclaimed films such as Lovesong, Pitch Perfect 2, Heaven Knows What, These Birds Walk, The Invisible Front, Arias with a Twist, and the Academy Award-nominated Garbage Dreams to the big screen. We are equally adept working from concept through completion or anywhere in-between, including production, design, color, finishing or visual effects. Nice Shoes will provide one Rooftop Films alumni with a package of color correction services for one new feature film. The package will include prep, color grading, and delivery.

Yoni Brook | The Experience Designer
ND Austin is a designer who creates worlds in places most of us avoid: water towers, derelict bridges, and sewers. Yet there is a place he has hidden since his adolescence: the island in the Alaskan wilderness where his parents raised him as part of an apocalyptic Christian commune. After one of his projects takes a tragic turn, ND realizes he must make peace with his past. Over one summer, ND returns to Chichagof Island to stage an experience to summon and confront the ghosts of his childhood.

Rooftop Films and Eastern Effects Equipment Grant

Eastern Effects is film production rental house based in Brooklyn. Since 1999, Eastern Effects has been providing Lighting & Grip Equipment Rentals for Independent Feature Films, Television Productions, Corporate & Industrial Videos, Student Filmmakers, and Live Broadcast. For this grant, Eastern Effects will award 30 days of lighting and grip equipment to one feature-length film.

Reinaldo Marcus Green | Monsters and Men
Monsters and Men is an interwoven narrative about police violence, racial profiling and the power of perspective. Set in Bed Stuy Brooklyn, the story is told in three chapters, each from a new protagonist’s point of view: the neighborhood street hustler, a police officer, and an all-star teenage athlete. We follow the unspooling narrative as each person is impacted by the fallout from a violent episode of police brutality.

Rooftop Films Technological Cinevideo Services Camera Grant

Technological Cinevideo Services (TCS) has been the rental home for world-famous professional motion picture equipment for more than 30 years. TCS will award 21 days of high-quality camera and lens equipment for one feature-length film.

Ja’Tovia Gary | The Evidence of Things Not Seen
The Evidence of Things Not Seen is a portrait of one woman’s effort to transcend the trauma of her history. The filmmaker embarks on an intimate journey to explore the relationships with the people closest to her as well as the situations and events which helped to shape her. From tense meetings with former lovers and estranged siblings to intimate and revealing therapy sessions we learn about the healthy and not so healthy ways in which she attempts to cope. A compelling and non-traditional confessional, the film reveals a glimpse into the life of a woman on a journey to confront the emotional issues that plague her. The film provides a personal look at a woman determined to redefine herself under tenuous circumstances.

Rooftop Films and Edgeworx Post-Production Grant

Edgeworx Studios is a post-production house based in Manhattan. With a sixteen-year track record, Edgeworx provides full service production and post-production. Their areas of expertise include motion graphic design, animation, VFX, editorial and finishing.

Petra Costa | Impeachment
With the impeachment of Brazil’s first female president Dilma Rousseff, the nation is cracked open – embroiled in an epic political tragedy of corruption and betrayal. By intimately depicting the realpolitik on-screen, Impeachment elucidates the chaos of collapse, closely following the President and other key players involved in this urgent political crisis as it unfolds within the heart of Latin America’s biggest economy.

Rooftop Films / DCTV Equipment and Services Feature and Short Film Grantees

Founded in 1972, DCTV is an established media arts resource for NYC’s independent filmmaking community, providing affordable workshops, production equipment and space rentals, post-production facilities, signature screenings and events, renowned youth programs, and more all under the same roof as its award-winning documentary production house. DCTV will provide $5,000 credits to two separate filmmakers for DCTV equipment, services or classes. Available gear includes cameras, lights, sound recording.

Alexa Lim Haas | Agua Viva
Interacting physically and intimately with strangers all day, a manicurist in Miami attempts to communicate unsaid words and unexplored feelings through a language she cannot speak. Woven with imagined sensations, daily curiosities, and phrases not fully understood, Agua Viva explores the observations of a woman longing to connect in a place she cannot express herself in. (Pictured, left)

St. John McKay | Suicide Mondays
On Saturday, the 9th of January, the filmmaker decided to finally kill himself. On Sunday, the 10th of January, he figured out how he was going to do it. On Monday, the 11th of January, he was going to jump off a bridge onto the little island where he lost his virginity. This documentary is about that weekend.

Rooftop Films and Adrienne Shelly Foundation Short Film Grant For Women

The Adrienne Shelly Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated in loving memory to the uniquely gifted actor and filmmaker Adrienne Shelly, whose highly accomplished life was tragically cut short November 1, 2006. ASF supports the artistic achievements of female actors, writers and directors through a series of scholarships and grants, providing recipients with financial support and consultative access to the Foundation’s advisory board of actors, directors, producers, composers, law, publicity, academic and trade professionals. Reflecting Adrienne’s spirit, generosity, courage and whimsy, its goal is to recognize the passion and commitment of women artists in creating their work, and provide them with support and guidance during periods of transition and struggle. For this grant, ASF will award one $3,000 grant to a female director.

Naima Ramos-Chapman | Piu Piu
A routine trip to the city turns into a surrealist nightmare when a restless young woman tries to escape the confines of romance in order to find herself.

Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Short Film Grant

For the Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Short Film Grant, we will award grants ranging from $500-3,000 to male and female filmmakers. We will give grants to 3-6 projects, totaling $5,746.

Merete Mueller | The Blue Room
This experimental short documentary looks at the impact of bringing nature to the incarcerated individuals who are most removed from it.

John Wilson | The Road to Magnasanti
A simple guide on how to finish New York City.

Hilary Campbell | Uncle Jim
A young woman spends two weeks on the road with her Uncle Jim, a 63 year old bachelor and wine salesman from California. (Pictutred, left)

Rooftop Films and Kayla Thomas Filmmaker Grantees

The Kayla Thomas Filmmaker grant, in commemoration of our dear friend and teammate, will be rewarded every year to one or more Rooftop Films alumni filmmakers to help them to complete a short or feature film that communicates the power of hope, collaboration and togetherness to make positive change. As we were creating this grant we knew we wanted to help new films get made, and particularly to support films that we thought would make Kayla happy

Laura Stewart | Welcome
Laura Stewart’s quirky and heartwarming animated short film Welcome tells the story of a tiny blob of a man who makes cookies for his neighbor and falls into his oven and through to a parallel dimension.

Cara Cusumano | Shipwrecked

Cara Cusumano’s short film Shipwrecked tells the story of Cornwall, a charming seaside town in England whose beachfront was transformed for decades when a rogue wave capsized a container ship that was transporting 4.8 million pieces of shipwreck-themed Lego pieces.

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

The 2015 Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Grantees Were:

ROOFTOP FILMS AND GARBO NYC FEATURE FILMS GRANT

Garbo NYC is a transgressive clothing company that was created by stylist Anett Gabriel, who had a desire to pay tribute to working class women and their sacrifices during the westernization of Hungary. As proud supporters of Rooftop Films, Garbo NYC has made $25,000 available in cash grants for one or two feature-length films to provide funding for key cast and crew.

Kitty Green | Casting JonBenet

Selected for her ability to approach a complex situation with narrative nuance and filmic innovation, Kitty Green was awarded for her film Casting JonBenet a sly and stylized documentary about the infamous murder of child model JonBenet Ramsey, that will be crafted using casting tapes and recreations by people from the community to create an emotional investigation of the case and its ramifications.  Kitty Green’s previous films include Ukraine is Not a Brothel, which won the 2015 AACTA Award for Best Feature Length Documentary, and The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul, which won the Jury Award for best non-fiction short documentary at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. (Pictured above, at top)

Sebastian Silva | Demon Me

Sebastian Silva’s work includes the MaidNasty Baby, and Crystal Fairy, all of which have won numerous awards around the world.

Rooftop Films / Brigade Marketing Festival Publicity Grant

Brigade knows that audiences are constantly evolving, so they stay a step ahead by pushing beyond the basic publicity and marketing model. Their cutting-edge campaigns generate buzz and demand attention by engaging with core consumers on every level. Brigade will offer one feature-length film full publicity services for the film’s North American premiere. (Valued at $15,000 in services).

Anna Rose Holmer | The Fits

Toni, an 11-year-old tomboyish boxer, lands a spot on an after-school drill team in the West End community of Cincinnati. Enamored by the power and confidence of the team, Toni eagerly absorbs routines, masters drills, and even pierces her own ears to fit in. As Toni descends deeper into the girls’ world, the lingering nostalgia for her brother’s guidance fades away. We witness the joy of her first friendships and her discovery of dance. Yet, she grapples with her individual identity amid her newly defined social sphere. At its heart, “The Fits” is a meditation on movement as seen from the perspective of teenage girls, juxtaposing the precise, powerful, and intentional movements of drill with subconscious, spontaneous, and uncontrolled movements of collective hysterics. “The Fits” was developed and produced through the Venice Biennale Cinema College, and had its World Premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 2015. Rooftop Films showed The Fits during the 2016 Summer Series.

Rooftop Films / Technological Cinevideo Services Camera Grant

Technological Cinevideo Services has been the rental home for world-famous professional motion picture equipment for more than 30 years. For this grant, TCS will award 21 days of high-quality camera and lens equipment for one feature-length film.

Khalik Allah | Jamaica

Can the ancestral herbs of Jamaica whose efficacy in healing the body is undeniable, also be the answer to the larger issues that plague the island of Jamaica? Using intimate portraiture and stylistic innovation, Khalik Allah is depicting the undepicted. Using an out-of-sync polyphonic audio track with a uniquely beautiful slow motion video component creates a break in the viewer’s conciseness which invites them to participate in the film in a similar way one would when reading a novel. Allah said, “This film is an herbal and spiritual take on Jamaica told from the inside out. It is an intimate quest of Faith through the mind of Jamaica’s rarest, most remote inhabitants: the Maroons. Throughout the film the question will be raised as to “what’s the answer?” The answer to the problems of poverty, crime and governmental negligence that plague the country.” Production on the film has already begun, with additional shooting continuing into 2016.

Rooftop Films / Eastern Effects Equipment Grant

Eastern Effects is film production rental house based in Brooklyn. Since 1999, Eastern Effects has been providing Lighting & Grip Equipment Rentals for Independent Feature Films, Television Productions, Corporate & Industrial Videos, Student Filmmakers, and Live Broadcast. For this grant, Eastern Effects will award 30 days of lighting and grip equipment to one feature-length film.

Lauren Wolkstein & Chris Radcliff | The Strange Ones

Mysterious events surround the travels of two brothers as they make their way across a remote American landscape. On the surface all seems normal, but what appears to be a simple vacation soon gives way to something more complex, dark, and potentially deadly. Wolkstein and Radcliff said, “We want to create a film where a seemingly simple story gives way to multiple possibilities, and where objective truth is a perpetually elusive thing. As the film progresses, it becomes clear that the brothers relationship may not be what we think, and the trip may hold disturbing implications. The characters are of the type that we consistently find intriguing—those who find themselves navigating complicated emotional terrain, who lie as easily as they tell the truth, and keep their secrets hidden.” Wolkstein and Radcliff plan to shoot the film in the summer of 2016.  Rooftop Films showed The Strange Ones during the 2017 Summer Series.

Rooftop Films / Edgeworx Post-Production Grant

Edgeworx Studios is a post-production house based in Manhattan. With a fifteen-year track record, Edgeworx provides full service production and post-production. Their areas of expertise include motion graphic design, animation, VFX, editorial and finishing. For this grant, Edgeworx will provide 1-2 weeks of post-production services to one feature-length film

Anja Marquardt | Wolf

Wolf is a fictional feature film about a real-life elite unit of Native American trackers who patrol the Arizona border zone, targeting drug and human trafficking.

Rooftop Films / DCTV Color Correction Feature Film Grant

DCTV Equipment Rentals is one of the only rental houses that does not require production insurance and is open 7 days a week, striving to make otherwise expensive pro camera, lighting and audio gear accessible. DCTV Workshops provide over 200 hands-on workshops in video production, post-production, producing, and graphic & web design each year, taught by working industry professionals in an intimate and interactive environment. For this grant, DCTV will provide 2-3 weeks of production equipment and workshop enrollment to two filmmakers making short films.

Sarah J. Christman | Swarm Season

“Bees taught us how to die.” Against the backdrop of social and environmental uprising, a traveler encounters an endangered species in its last gasp. Filmed on the Big Island of Hawaii, Swarm Season combines observational documentary and speculative fiction to reexamine the relationship between human beings and the natural environment in the past, present, and future. If honeybees—one of the most resilient and cooperative species on the planet—are being pushed to the point of extinction, what kind of future do humans have on earth?  Production on the film has already begun, and Christman aims to complete the movie by the end of 2016.

Rooftop Films / DCTV Equipment and Services Short Film Grant:

Ryan Mauskopf | Sloof’s Supershop

Sloof’s Supershop is the beginning of a cartoon series about a big red fuzzy wizard-scientist who, along with his swiss-army robot, runs a fantastical shop where people can buy potions, genies, and everyday time machines. Upstairs, however, in Sloof’s amazing laboratory, unbelievable things happen all the time. Rooftop Films showed Sloof’s Supershop during the 2017 Summer Series.

Rooftop Films / DCTV Equipment and Services Short Film Grant and Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Short Film Grant

Nathan Kensinger | Managed Retreat

“Managed Retreat” is a short documentary portrait  of three communities in Staten Island inundated by Hurricane Sandy, now purchased by the State government, to be torn down and returned to nature as rising sea levels reclaim New York City’s coastline.

Rooftop Films / Adrienne Shelly Foundation Short Film Grant For Women

The Adrienne Shelly Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated in loving memory to the uniquely gifted actor and filmmaker Adrienne Shelly, whose highly accomplished life was tragically cut short November 1, 2006. ASF supports the artistic achievements of female actors, writers and directors through a series of scholarships and grants, providing recipients with financial support and consultative access to the Foundation’s advisory board of actors, directors, producers, composers, law, publicity, academic and trade professionals. Reflecting Adrienne’s spirit, generosity, courage and whimsy, its goal is to recognize the tremendous passion and commitment of women artists in creating their own work, and provide them with support and guidance particularly during periods of transition and struggle. For this grant, we will award one $3,000 grant to a female director.

Jennifer Reeder | All Small Bodies

In the aftermath of a catastrophe, two young girls are lost in the woods. Abandoned by all adults, the girls’ sense of the world that was and what will be is influenced by treasured artifacts. When harsh weather and a menacing hunch force Z and Bub to abandon their hand built shelter, they must carve out a utopic new world—reclaiming their autonomy and also their childhood. This feminist speculative fiction is a loose variation of Grimms’ Hansel and Gretel and presents coming-of-age as a supernatural process. The film will be shot in Germany in April 2016.

Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Short Film Grants

We believe that short films do not receive the attention they deserve in the world of film, and that all too often even a festival which prominently includes short films does little for the filmmaker in the long run. For the short film grants, Rooftop Films earmarks one dollar from every regularly-priced ticket sold and every submission fee received for the Filmmakers’ Fund. Every year, filmmakers whose movies have screened at Rooftop Films are eligible to apply for grants for their future productions. We believe that instead of giving each filmmaker ten dollars, giving away a few larger sums (up to $3,000) toward specific projects is a better way to help the filmmakers and the independent filmmaking community in general.

Christopher K. Walker & Michael Beach Nichols | Beast of Man

Young men seek salvation and learn to ride bulls at an annual christian camp in western Oklahoma. A verite documentary that promises to be dramatic, compelling, and visually stunning, “Beast of Man” will be an immersion into a world where the summer camp experience for kids as young as six years old blends religion with the most dangerous organized sport in the world. Filming is already complete, and Nichols and Walker aim to complete the movie by April 2016.

Niki Lindroth von Bahr | The Burden
“Market Place” is an animated musical with apocalyptic undertones, shot in analogue stop motion technique with puppets and models. The film is divided into four episodes that respectively take place in a supermarket, a long term hotel, a call center and a hamburger restaurant. All of the settings are located in a modern market place next to a large freeway somewhere in Sweden at night.

In addition to the above grants, Rooftop Films helped negotiate post-production services at Metropolis Films for alumni filmmaker Robert Greene.

Robert Greene | Kate Plays Christine

This nonfiction psychological thriller follows actor Kate Lyn Sheil as she prepares to play the role of Christine Chubbuck, a Florida television host who committed suicide on air in 1974. Christine’s tragic death was the inspiration for Network and the mysteries surrounding her final act haunt Kate and the production.

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

The 2014 Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Grantees Were:

Rooftop Films and Piper-Heidsieck Feature Film Grant

Champagne Piper-Heidsieck has a long history of supporting cinematic achievement. For this grant, Piper-Heidsieck will provide a $10,000 cash grant to a Rooftop alumni filmmaker who has demonstrated grand and bold efforts in cinema, and who is at a critical stage in his/her production of a new, independent feature film. The 2014 recipient is:

Ana Lily Amirpour | The Bad Batch
In a desert wasteland in Texas, a muscled cannibal breaks one important rule: don’t play with your food. The Bad Batch is a savage love story and a psychedelic Road Warrior, inspired by films like El Topo and Wild at Heart, and shot in bold saturated hues and stylings of the 80’s & 90’s, with a wicked techno & western-laced soundtrack. Shown at Rooftop in 2017 (Picture above, at top) 

Rooftop Films and Eastern Effects Equipment Grant

Eastern Effects is film production rental house based in Brooklyn. Since 1999, Eastern Effects has been providing Lighting & Grip Equipment Rentals for Independent Feature Films, Television Productions, Corporate & Industrial Videos, Student Filmmakers, and Live Broadcast. For this grant, Eastern Effects will award 30 days of lighting and grip equipment to one feature-length film.

Christina Choe | Nancy
Nancy, is a psychological drama about a 35-year old serial imposter who lives at home with her abusive, elderly mother. Desperate for love, she creates a fake blog and catfishes a lover, until her hoaxes cause epic and tragic consequences. NANCY will be Christina’s feature directorial debut.

Rooftop Films Technological Cinevideo Services Camera Grant

Technological Cinevideo Services has been the rental home for world-famous professional motion picture equipment for more than 30 years. For this grant, TCS will award 21 days of high-quality camera and lens equipment for one feature-length film.

Rachel Israel | Keep the Change
Based on Israel’s Columbia thesis short film, “Keep the Change” stars non-professional actors Brandon Polanksy and Samantha as two individuals with autism who fall in love. Polanksy stars as David, a man who tries to hide his high-functioning autism, but is nonetheless forced to attend a support group for people with disabilities. There he meets Elisofon’s character, a shy woman with autism.

Rooftop Films and Edgeworx Post-Production Grant

Edgeworx Studios is a post-production house based in Manhattan. With a fifteen-year track record, Edgeworx provides full service production and post-production. Their areas of expertise include motion graphic design, animation, VFX, editorial and finishing. For this grant, Edgeworx will provide 1-2 weeks of post-production services to one feature-length film. The 2014 recipient is:

Bernardo Britto | Jacqueline (Argentine)
Starring Camille Rutherford as a “25-year-old French Edward Snowden-type” who takes refuge in Argentina after leaking government secrets, Jacqueline (Argentine) is a live action feature film that will be shot from the perspective of a documentary crew she’s hired to trail her while awaiting the fallout. Shown at Rooftop in 2016

Rooftop Films Domicile NYC Sound Mix Grant

Domicile NYC is a post-production facility that caters to the independent film and television producer. They strive to produce the highest quality in picture and audio finishing. For this grant, Domicile will award a 5.1 Surround Sound Mix for one short fiction or documentary film. The 2014 recipient is:

Jarred Alterman and Ryan Scafuro | American Renaissance
AMERICAN RENAISSANCE is a short documentary that takes place at the largest outdoor Renaissance Faire in America. Knights, wizards, goths, fairies and demons all stood in front of our static lens and slowly, stories began to unfold… A family who chose to raise their 13-year-old son on the road. A Parisian expat, performing as a mime. A young woman who left the “real world” behind after the death of a close friend.

Rooftop Films / DCTV Equipment and Services Feature and Short Film Grant

DCTV Equipment Rentals is one of the only rental houses that does not require production insurance and is open 7 days a week, striving to make otherwise expensive pro camera, lighting and audio gear accessible. DCTV Workshops provide over 200 hands-on workshops in video production, post-production, producing, and graphic & web design each year, taught by working industry professionals in an intimate and interactive environment. For this grant, DCTV will provide 2-3 weeks of production equipment and workshop enrollment to two filmmakers making short films. The 2014 recipients are:

Rooftop Films / DCTV Equipment and Services Feature Film Grant:

Trey Shults | Krisha
Adapted from an award-winning short film of the same name, Krisha tells the story of a multi-generational family that is gathering for Thanksgiving. Krisha has not seen her family for ten years, but when she decides to join her family for a holiday dinner, tensions escalate, and Krisha struggles to keep her demons at bay. Shown at Rooftop in 2015

Rooftop Films / DCTV Equipment and Services Short Film Grant:

Frances Bodomo | Beatdown
Beatdown is a web series that follows a carefree black vigilante girl gang. Our protagonists skip school (“they’re not teaching our history anyways”) to loiter, chat, protect New York’s unprotected, and avenge the crimes that the NYPD won’t touch: from getting their hair petted to “columbusing” to gentrification. It begins as a series of vengeful (and comedic) wish fulfillments that grow bloodier and bloodier … until we start to question & complicate our discourse on brutality, power, female weakness, justice, etc. Beatdown asks the question: when the violence against us isn’t physical, how do we fight it?

Steven Girard | Floaters Dot Com
Floaters Dot Com is a half animated, half live-action short film about two men who work for a company that “collects” human beings. Floaters employees beam targeted civilians with a hallucinatory impulse to login to floaters.com, where the victim is sucked into his/her computer and dragged through a slew of websites. After the victim’s deepest fantasies and worst nightmares come true, he/she is “ejected” from the computer’s drive as a Free Trial disk.

Rooftop Films and Adrienne Shelly Foundation Short Film Grant For Women

The Adrienne Shelly Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated in loving memory to the uniquely gifted actor and filmmaker Adrienne Shelly, whose highly accomplished life was tragically cut short November 1, 2006. ASF supports the artistic achievements of female actors, writers and directors through a series of scholarships and grants, providing recipients with financial support and consultative access to the Foundation’s advisory board of actors, directors, producers, composers, law, publicity, academic and trade professionals. Reflecting Adrienne’s spirit, generosity, courage and whimsy, its goal is to recognize the tremendous passion and commitment of women artists in creating their own work, and provide them with support and guidance particularly during periods of transition and struggle. For this grant, we will award one $3,000 grant to a female director. The 2014 recipient is:

Debra Granik | Second Act
Second Act is a documentary about inmate re-entry. Once released, felons often find themselves held apart from mainstream society, particularly in regards to employment. To survive, many turn to various forms of entrepreneurship. This film follows a man recently released from prison who is attempting to build his own business. In pursuing his dream, the subject of our documentary must navigate the transition from one lifestyle to another, negotiate a new and unfamiliar world, and wrestle with the question of who he is and what he wants.

Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund Short Film Grant

We believe that short films do not receive the attention they deserve in the world of film, and that all too often even a festival which prominently includes short films does little for the filmmaker in the long run. For the short film grants, Rooftop Films earmarks one dollar from every regularly-priced ticket sold and every submission fee received for the Filmmakers’ Fund. Every year, filmmakers whose movies have screened at Rooftop Films are eligible to apply for grants for their future productions. We believe that instead of giving each filmmaker ten dollars, giving away a few larger sums (up to $3,000) toward specific projects is a better way to help the filmmakers and the independent filmmaking community in general. The 2014 recipients are:

Joanna Arnow | Bad at Dancing
Bad At Dancing. A perpetual third wheel and awkward outsider, Joanna increasingly inserts herself into the relationship of her more charismatic roommate Eleanore. The two women test each other’s sexual and emotional boundaries in this surreal dark comedy. Shown at Rooftop in 2016

Reka Bucsi | LOVE
An animated short film about love that will show love in three chapters: Longing, Love and Solitude. Haiku-like scenes will show different characters evolving along these states of emotions. The goal is to capture feelings through pictures and surreal situations which are undescribable by words. Shown at Rooftop in 2016

Efren Hernandez | Ham Heads
Barry and Larry are the world’s oldest living conjoined twins. After retiring from the sideshow circuit, they move into their brother’s house. Barry is sick and he’s getting worse, Larry not far behind him. As their sickness develops, they take trips to the beach; they waltz together; they fight about the volume on their separate television sets. They look out of their living room window at their old-lady neighbor who drinks too much beer. They play games with their teenage nephew and Larry verbally harasses the doctor who checks up on them. They get visits from old friends and spend every moment of every day together. Whether it is good or bad, it is their life together. Shown at Rooftop in 2016

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

The 2013 Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Grantees Were:

ROOFTOP FILMS / AT&T FEATURE FILM GRANT

AT&T is the presenting sponsor of Rooftop Films 2013 Summer Series, and will award one filmmaker $10,000 cash for their feature film, at a critical stage of production.  For this grant, AT&T will award one filmmaker $10,000 cash for their feature film, at a critical stage of production. “AT&T is committed to New York City’s vibrant arts and culture scene, and we are thrilled to support independent artists through the Rooftop Films Feature Film Grant,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President – AT&T. “New York is a hub for filmmaking, aiding our cultural and economic development, and AT&T is proud to be a part of this important citywide movement. I am excited our support for the filmmaker grant has enabled the making of films like  A Chjana [2013 AT&T grantee], Western [2012 AT&T grantee] and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, and look forward to their introduction to audiences across New York City.”  The 2013 recipient is:

Jonas Carpignano | A Chjana
Determined and courageous Burkinabé friends, Ayiva and Abas, must persevere through the difficult journey across Africa on their way to finding new opportunities in Europe. But with their family and new home, local hostility and intolerance all hanging in the balance, Ayiva and Abas must consider what price a ‘better life’ is really worth. Rooftop screened Carpignano’s award-winning short film, A Chjana in 2012 and Bayou Black in 2011. (Pictured above, at top)

ROOFTOP FILMS / DCTV EQUIPMENT & SERVICES GRANT

Founded in 1972, DCTV is an established media arts resource for NYC’s independent filmmaking community. DCTV provides affordable workshops, production equipment rentals, post-production facilities, a signature screening series, renowned youth programming, and more – all under the same roof as its award-winning documentary production house.  DCTV Post provides independent filmmakers edit, color correction, and mastering suites with the highest quality service at the lowest possible cost. For this grant, DCTV will provide our color correction/mastering suite for one feature film for up to 12 days. The 2013 recipients are:

Sam Green | The Great Heart of Humanity
The Great Heart of Humanity is a new feature-length ‘live documentary’ by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam Green. The film, which is inspired loosely by the Guinness Book of Records, will weave together portraits of record-holding people places and things to create a meditation on fate and the outer contours of the human experience. The film will be screened with live narration and live soundtrack performed by the chamber group yMusic. Rooftop Films screened Sam Green’s film “Pie Fight ’69” (co-directed with Christian Bruno) in 2000 and his live documentaries Fog and The Biggest Smallest in 2013.

Darius Clark Monroe | Evolution of a Criminal
Deep in the heart of Texas, what begins as an innocent tale of family, sacrifice, and financial hardship quickly escalates into a true-crime thriller. Fusing together compelling interviews, striking re-enactments, and home video, we are forced to ask ourselves how a 16 year old honor roll student evolved into a bank robber. Rooftop screened Monroe’s short film Train in 2011.

Natalie Paul | Sweet Tea
It’s a hot afternoon in gentrified Brooklyn, when Nicki, a tough native Brooklynite meets for the first time her boyfriend’s “baby mother” Amy – who turns out to be a Southern blond belle. The two women, as opposite as they are, challenge each other and somehow come to see each other in ways only the other can. Sweet Tea explores the reality of complicated relationships and complicated people – and how they desperately try to hang on, move on, make things work or let things go. Rooftop Films screened Natalie Paul’s first short film, Everything Absolutely (co-directed with Terence Nance) in 2013.

ROOFTOP FILMS & EASTERN EFFECTS EQUIPMENT GRANT

Since 1999, Brooklyn-based Eastern Effects has been providing Lighting & Grip Equipment rentals for Independent Feature Films, Television Productions, Corporate & Industrial Videos, Student Filmmakers, and Live Broadcast. In 2012, they opened Eastern Effects Studios and now offer NYS Level 2 Qualified sound stages, production offices, and support services to the film community. For this grant, Eastern Effects will award 30 days of lighting and grip equipment to one feature-length film. The 2013 recipient is:

Todd Rohal | Sweet Cheeks
Sweet Cheeks is the story of two nine-year-old brothers, Tyson and Tyler Butterfield, growing up among the twenty-four adopted children that live together in a one-room house where they eat, sleep, and get raised up by their loving parents. The boys find a gift for their mother inside of an abandoned mailbox which leads them on a mission where they run afoul of a slick reverend with strange ideas about love, steal a car from a daredevil hobo, get chased by a 6-inch tall man in a balloon, and confront Jesus Christ in heaven above. Sweet Cheeks exists in the uncharted territory located somewhere between the  Our Gang shorts of the 1930s,  Paper MoonNight of the Hunter, Duck Soup and  Forbidden Zone. Rooftop screened Rohal’s short films Knuckleface Jones and Hillbilly Robotin 2000 and 2001 and his feature-length films The Guatemalan Handshake in 2006 and The Catechism Cataclysm in 2012.

ROOFTOP FILMS & EDGEWORX POST-PRODUCTION GRANT

Edgeworx Studios is a post-production house based in Manhattan. With a sixteen-year track record, Edgeworx provides full service production and post-production. Their areas of expertise include motion graphic design, animation, VFX, editorial and finishing. For this grant, Edgeworx will provide 1-2 weeks of post-production services to one feature-length film.

Zachary Treitz & Kate Lyn Sheil | Men Go To Battle  
In the fall of 1861, most Americans predicted that the War Between the States would end by Christmas. Henry and Francis Mellon couldn’t care less. The two are struggling to hold on to their crumbling estate while bracing for another winter in central Kentucky. Living together in the last remaining structure on their family’s hemp farm, the two have become suffocatingly close. Francis’ practical jokes become more and more antagonistic until the night he accidentally injures Henry in a fight. Henry disappears in the night, leaving Francis alone to discover the hardship and deprivation that the war has in store for him. Rooftop has screened numerous films starring Kate Lyn Sheil, and showed Treitz’s short films The Mean Time (2008) and We’re Leaving (2011). Shown at Rooftop in 2015

ROOFTOP FILMS EQUIPMENT GRANT

Rooftop Films strives to support as many filmmakers as possible. This year, one film had a particular need for generators for nighttime shooting. Through the Rooftop Equipment Rental program, we are pleased to be able to help one additional film through a special grant. The 2013 recipient is:

Keith Miller | Five Star  
Five Starfollows Primo and John as they face the challenges of urban manhood. For Primo, who turned Blood at age 12 (in the movie and in real life), this includes understanding what it means to be a father and an honest man. John has to decide if gang life is the path for him. Connecting them is John’s father, who was Primo’s mentor, and whose recent death by a supposedly stray bullet sets the story in motion. Based closely on real life elements, the distinction between the story in the movie and events in the ‘real world’ is intentionally blurred. Five Staris a follow up to Keith Miller’s award winning feature Welcome to Pine Hill (Rooftop 2012) ,which was based off his short film Prince/William (Rooftop 2010).

ROOFTOP FILMS AND ADRIENNE SHELLY FOUNDATION SHORT FILM GRANT FOR WOMEN

The Adrienne Shelly Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated in loving memory to the uniquely gifted actor and filmmaker Adrienne Shelly, whose highly accomplished life was tragically cut short November 1, 2006. For this grant, we will award one $3,000 grant to a female director. The 2013 recipient is:

Heather Courtney | Untitled Texas Project
“Untitled Texas Project” will follow one reproductive services clinic’s struggle to survive in a state that has made massive cuts in family planning funding.  In their efforts to get rid of abortion, Texas state legislators have also restricted access to contraception, women wellness exams, and pre-cancer screenings, resulting in 76 clinics either closing completely or cutting family planning services.  This short documentary explores the human side of policy decisions, as we follow a year-in-the life of one west Texas clinic and the fall-out for their patients. Rooftop screened Courtney’s feature documentaries Letters from the Other Side (2006) and Where Soldiers Come From (2011).

ROOFTOP FILMMAKERS’ FUND SHORT FILM GRANT 

We at Rooftop Films believe that short films do not receive the attention they deserve in the world of film, and that all too often even a festival which prominently includes short films does little for the filmmaker in the long run. For the short film grants, Rooftop Films earmarks one dollar from every regularly-priced ticket sold and every submission fee received for the Filmmakers’ Fund, dispersing grants up to $3,000. The 2013 recipients are:

Riley Hooper | The World’s Longest Yard Sale  
Now in its 26th year, the world’s longest yard sale runs from Michigan to Alabama the first weekend of every August. It’s a massive exchange of not only goods, but also cultures, customs, ideas, and narratives. Riley Hooper’s short documentary focuses on objects being sold and bought along the route of the sale to reveal personal stories about the people buying and selling them — universal stories of family histories, love, loss, nostalgia, and the human experience. Rooftop screened Hooper’s film Flo in 2013.

Yung Jake | kickstarder
“ayo, this Yung Jake. i’m about to drop the most interactive rap video ever. 4 reel. it’s gonna be a video that automatically inserts my supporters; the people who have my back from day one (through day 30) of the time that KS is release will be forever embedded into the video, they jus have to pay a little. my day 1-30 niggas. yeah, so whatever img you want can be dragged onto the video wherever/whenever and publicly displayed for the world to see. like on my shirt or you can be in the background of the shot in my hood. prices range on how dope the area of insertion is. Rooftop Films screened my Datamosh video in 20013 that’s how they found me.

Mike Plante | Giuseppe Makes a Movie  
In Ventura, CA, Giuseppe Andrews makes movies in his trailer park. A former child actor, Giuseppe is inspired by the crazy independent filmmakers of history: Cassavetes, Bunuel and Fassbinder… and now has 30 features of his own. With a handwritten script, a video camera, an acting ensemble of neighbors and homeless men and a few hundred bucks, we follow Giuseppe and crew as he sets out to make a feature film in just two days and shows that filmmaking is not for a small elite group but for everyone. Made by Adam Rifkin and by Mike Plante, whose Orbit(film): Earth short played at Rooftop in 2012.  

Tom Schroeder & Lisa Paclet | Island
Isola del Giglio is the smallest island of the archipelago that includes Elba and Monte Cristo.  One of the three small villages on the island, Campese, serves as a summer vacation retreat for middle class Italian families.  Island will be a 12 minute animated film documenting the course of one day in Campese rendered in an impressionistic, sketchbook style. Rooftop screened Paclet’s film Ursonate (2006) and three of Schroeder’s films:  Bike Ride (2002), Bike Race (2011) and Marcel, King of Tervuren (2013).

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

The 2012 Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Grantees Were:

ROOFTOP FILMS / AT&T FEATURE FILM GRANT

AT&T is the presenting sponsor of Rooftop Films 2013 Summer Series, and will award one filmmaker $10,000 cash for their feature film, at a critical stage of production.  For this grant, AT&T will award one filmmaker $10,000 cash for their feature film, at a critical stage of production. “AT&T is committed to New York City’s vibrant arts and culture scene, and we are thrilled to support independent artists through the Rooftop Films Feature Film Grant,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President – AT&T. “New York is a hub for filmmaking, aiding our cultural and economic development, and AT&T is proud to be a part of this important citywide movement. I am excited our support for the filmmaker grant has enabled the making of films like  A Chjana [2013 AT&T grantee], Western [2012 AT&T grantee] and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, and look forward to their introduction to audiences across New York City.”  The 2012 recipient is:

Bill and Turner Ross | Western
Bill and Turner Ross’ third feature film will be documentary portrait of the modern frontier. Augmented by the lives of a cross-section of residents in and around Eagle Pass, Texas, we will get a sense of the symbiosis inherent in a border community. The stories, experiences and daily trials of these people will provide a real glimpse at life along the U.S.-Mexico border. Viewers will be given the chance to explore the world behind the curtain of sensational news coverage and stereotyping. Rooftop screened the Ross brothers award-winning documentary 45365 in 2009. (Pictured above, at top)

THE ROOFTOP FILMS & DCTV COLOR CORRECTION GRANT

Founded in 1972, DCTV is an established media arts resource for NYC’s independent filmmaking community. DCTV provides affordable workshops, production equipment rentals, post-production facilities, a signature screening series, renowned youth programming, and more – all under the same roof as its award-winning documentary production house.  DCTV Post provides independent filmmakers edit, color correction, and mastering suites with the highest quality service at the lowest possible cost. For this grant, DCTV will provide our color correction/mastering suite for one feature film for up to 12 days. The 2012 recipients are:

Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin | The Notorious Mr. Bout
On March 6, 2008, four men meet in a Bangkok hotel to discuss a $25 million arms deal. But two of them are undercover agents, and the conversation is secretly recorded. When officers raid the conference room, Viktor Bout, the world’s most famous arms dealer, is handcuffed and put up against the wall. He famously mouths the words, “game over.” That’s where this documentary begins, with unprecedented behind-the-scenes footage from officials and Bout himself. Rooftop screened Gerber’s documentary Full Battle Rattle in 2009.

ROOFTOP FILMS & EASTERN EFFECTS EQUIPMENT GRANT

Since 1999, Brooklyn-based Eastern Effects has been providing Lighting & Grip Equipment rentals for Independent Feature Films, Television Productions, Corporate & Industrial Videos, Student Filmmakers, and Live Broadcast. In 2012, they opened Eastern Effects Studios and now offer NYS Level 2 Qualified sound stages, production offices, and support services to the film community. For this grant, Eastern Effects will award 30 days of lighting and grip equipment to one feature-length film. The 2012 recipient is:

Allison Bagnall | Funny Bunny
In this off-beat comedy, a compulsive do-gooder (Kentucker Audley) and a trust fund man-child (Olly Alexander) embark on a slipshod quest to vie for the heart of an afflicted but beautiful factory-farming activist (Kate Lyn Sheil) whom they have never actually met. Rooftop screened Bagnall’s film The Dish and the Spoon in 2011.

ROOFTOP FILMS & EDGEWORX POST-PRODUCTION GRANT

Edgeworx Studios is a post-production house based in Manhattan. With a sixteen-year track record, Edgeworx provides full service production and post-production. Their areas of expertise include motion graphic design, animation, VFX, editorial and finishing. For this grant, Edgeworx will provide 1-2 weeks of post-production services to one feature-length film. The 2012 recipient was:

Shaka King | Newlyweeds
Lyle is a repo-man, an often perilous and/or heart breaking enterprise. His sole companion is his girlfriend Nina, an unemployed, capricious, dreamer. To dull the stress of their daily lives, they self-medicate with marijuana. But what should be a match made in stoner heaven turns into a love triangle gone awry in this black comedy about addiction. Rooftop screened two of King’s previous films, Clockwork (2006) and Herkimer DuFrayne, 7th Grade Guidance Counselor (2011).

ROOFTOP FILMS EQUIPMENT GRANT

Rooftop Films strives to support as many filmmakers as possible. This year, one film had a particular need for generators for nighttime shooting. Through the Rooftop Equipment Rental program, we are pleased to be able to help one additional film through a special grant.The 2012 recipient was:

Jeremy Saulnier | Blue Ruin
In this realistic horror / thriller, when a reclusive vagrant returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of revenge, he uncovers a terrible truth about his past and finds himself in a desperate fight to protect his estranged family. Rooftop screened Saulnier’s Goldfarb (1999) and Murder Party (2007).

ROOFTOP FILMS AND ADRIENNE SHELLY FOUNDATION SHORT FILM GRANT FOR WOMEN

The Adrienne Shelly Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated in loving memory to the uniquely gifted actor and filmmaker Adrienne Shelly, whose highly accomplished life was tragically cut short November 1, 2006. For this grant, we will award one $3,000 grant to a female director. The 2012 recipient is:

Talibah Newman | Sweet Honey Chile 
Sweet Honey Chile is a film about a young boy who is larger than life, but is trapped within the confines of an absurd, suffocating world. Though weighed down by the trappings of poverty, Honey tries to help his short-fused and short-sighted mother deal with her grief. Newman’s previous film, Busted on Brigham Lane, played at Rooftop Films in 2012.

ROOFTOP FILMS / DCTV EQUIPMENT & SERVICES SHORT FILM GRANT

DCTV Equipment Rentals is one of the only rental houses that does not require production insurance and is open 7 days a week, striving to make otherwise expensive pro camera, lighting and audio gear accessible. DCTV Workshops provide over 200 hands-on workshops in video production, post-production, producing, and graphic & web design each year, taught by working industry professionals in an intimate and interactive environment. For this grant, DCTV will provide 2-3 weeks of production equipment and workshop enrollment to two filmmakers making short films. The 2012 recipients were:

Jesse Moss | Reality Party
A documentary about a group of Southern California teenagers who get together and have a party. Then the parents show up. And the cops too. But this party is different. It’s a “fake ” party, to show parents what actually happens at teenage parties. But for Jace, the “director, ” the experience is a kind of existential nightmare, forcing him to revisit his own painfully awkward teenage years again and again. Rooftop showed Moss’ documentary Full Battle Rattle in 2009.

Julia Pott | Neighbors “Diamonds”
In this endearing narrative music video, a trapped little boy and a wounded girl flee to the ocean as their bodies splinter into brightly colored glitter, in a parable about the brevity of life and the need for adventure. Rooftop previously screened Pott’s animated films Howard (2011) and Belly (2012).

ROOFTOP FILMMAKERS’ FUND SHORT FILM GRANT 

We at Rooftop Films believe that short films do not receive the attention they deserve in the world of film, and that all too often even a festival which prominently includes short films does little for the filmmaker in the long run. For the short film grants, Rooftop Films earmarks one dollar from every regularly-priced ticket sold and every submission fee received for the Filmmakers’ Fund, dispersing grants up to $3,000. The 2013 recipients are:

Mauricio Arango | We Won’t Always Be Hyenas
Set in El Salado, Colombia, a town that underwent one of the most vicious massacres in recent Colombian history, this film will mix fictional and documentary elements showing how these peoples’ lives have been impacted by such an event. Scripted in a non-linear fashion, the film explores the ways in which violence permeates and shatters every aspect of one’s life. Rooftop showed Arango’s film The Night of the Moon Has Many Hours (2012).

Stephen Irwin | The Obvious Child
The Obvious Child is an animated film about the complicated relationship between a pet rabbit and his troubled young owner. The film explores childhood delusions and the confusion that religion can cause in a developing mind. Irwin’s previous film, Moxie, played at Rooftop Films in 2012.

Nellie Kluz | Gold Party
Gold is a commodity that thrives in uncertain economic climates; rising gold prices over the past few years have created a boom industry around precious metal scrap. Gold Party watches two gold scrap dealers at work: Kate, an entrepreneur and bodybuilder who buys gold from women at home parties, and Roy, who works long hours processing metal in a small Boston office. Kluz’s previous film, Young Bird Season, played at Rooftop Films in 2012.

Edwin Martinez | The Last Doo Wop
Set in El Salado, Colombia, a town that underwent one of the most vicious massacres in recent Colombian history, this film will mix fictional and documentary elements showing how these peoples’ lives have been impacted by such an event. Scripted in a non-linear fashion, the film explores the ways in which violence permeates and shatters every aspect of one’s life. Rooftop showed Arango’s film The Night of the Moon Has Many Hours (2012).

David and Nathan Zellner | Part-Time Jobs
Part-Time Jobs is a short film amalgamation involving a parallel dimension the filmmakers discovered as children. Rooftop has screened numerous Zellner films, including Kid-Thing (2012), Sasquatch Birth Journal 2 (2011), Quasar Hernandez (2007) and more.

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

The 2011 Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Grantees Were:

ROOFTOP FILMS & EASTERN EFFECTS EQUIPMENT GRANT

Eastern Effects Eastern Effects is film production rental house based in Brooklyn. Since 1999, Eastern Effects has been providing Lighting & Grip Equipment Rentals for Independent Feature Films, Television Productions, Corporate & Industrial Videos, Student Filmmakers, and Live Broadcast.For this grant, Eastern Effects will award 30 days of lighting and grip equipment to one feature-length film.

Gillian Robespierre | Obvious Child
In 2010, Rooftop showed Gillian’s short film of the same title, and helped place her feature screenplay in IFP’s Emerging Narrative showcase. The story follows Donna—to be played by former Saturday Night Live cast member Jenny Slate—a young woman living in Brooklyn who has just had her heart broken, and after a spontaneous one-night stand, finds that she’s pregnant. The film comically follows Donna dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and her post (post) graduate struggles. The idea of adulthood paralyzes Donna, and a world without fart jokes is very scary world to her. But as Donna’s mother and best friend share their experience with abortion, we realize that this irreverent comedy is also addressing a serious subject. Because while parts of Donna’s life may seem bleak, she is an uplifting, funny character, and a joy to watch fumble around, make mistakes, and in the end realize she is exactly where she needs to be. Finally, on her way to the clinic, she happens to run into Sam, the one-night stand who put the proverbial bun in her oven. What follows is a great first date in an unlikely location, an abortion, and a happy ending for all. (Pictured above, at top)

ROOFTOP FILMS & EDGEWORX POST-PRODUCTION GRANT

Edgeworx Studios is a post-production house based in Manhattan. With a fifteen year track record, Edgeworx provides full service production and post-production. Their areas of expertise include motion graphic design, animation, VFX, editorial and finishing. For this grant, Edgeworx will provide 1-2 weeks of post-production services to one feature-length film. The 2011 recipient is:

David Lowery | Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Rooftop screened David’s short films “A Catalogue of Anticipations” and “Pioneer,” and his debut feature, “St. Nick.” “Ain ‘t Them Bodies Saints” is a fiction feature that plays upon the mythology and imagery of the Western to tell an intimate story of hubris and redemption. Set roughly in the late 1970s, the film tells the tale of a renowned outlaw named Bob Muldoon, who escapes from prison after being incarcerated for a string of crimes all across the Southwest. He hightails it to his hometown in the Texas hill country, settles down in an abandoned farmhouse, and plans to call on his wife, Ruth, who years ago was his partner in crime. They now have a daughter, a little girl who was born while he was prison, and Muldoon’s plan is to reunite with the two of them and steal away to the North to start new lives together. He wants to be the man in their life, to provide for them. To be the good father he never had. What he doesn ‘t count on, however, is that Ruth has moved on.

ROOFTOP FILMS AND ADRIENNE SHELLY FOUNDATION SHORT FILM GRANT FOR WOMEN

The Adrienne Shelly Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated in loving memory to the uniquely gifted actor and filmmaker Adrienne Shelly, whose highly accomplished life was tragically cut short November 1, 2006. ASF supports the artistic achievements of female actors, writers and directors through a series of scholarships and grants, providing recipients with financial support and consultative access to the Foundation’s advisory board of actors, directors, producers, composers, law, publicity, academic and trade professionals. Reflecting Adrienne ‘s spirit, generosity, courage and whimsy, its goal is to recognize the tremendous passion and commitment of women artists in creating their own work, and provide them with support and guidance particularly during periods of transition and struggle. For this grant, we will award one $3,000 grant to a female director. The 2011 recipient is:

Sarah Daggar-Nickson | A Light in the Night
Rooftop screened Sarah’s short film Dead Handsin 2011. In her new short, in the woods, in the middle of the night, a girl is running for help. She sees a light and is drawn to an old house. Inside is a young man lost in mourning. She discovers the boy’s mother has committed suicide. He has given up on life because he believes the world to be a dark and perverse place. The girl is in danger, but she has a secret- one that could save the boy or destroy him.

ROOFTOP FILMMAKERS FUND SHORT FILM GRANTS

We believe that short films do not receive the attention they deserve in the world of film, and that all too often even a festival which prominently includes short films does little for the filmmaker in the long run. For the short film grants, Rooftop Films earmarks one dollar from every regularly-priced ticket sold and every submission fee received for the Filmmakers’ Fund. Every year, filmmakers whose movies have screened at Rooftop Films are eligible to apply for grants for their future productions. We believe that instead of giving each filmmaker ten dollars, giving away a few larger sums (up to $3,000) toward specific projects is a better way to help the filmmakers and the independent filmmaking community in general. The 2011 recipients were:

Anna Farrell | Man on Mars
Rooftop screened Anna’s feature documentary “12 Ways to Sunday” in 2010. “Man on Mars” is a short documentary dreamscape into the mind of A.O., an exceptional yet underprivileged 17-year old from Brooklyn, New York. Utilizing hyper-stylized scripting by the subject himself, the film takes on a dream-like state as it sways seamlessly between fiction and non-fiction. Refusing the fate imposed on him by the external world, A.O. is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for science and for his country. Without worrying about a way to get back to Earth, A.O. stares directly into the camera, “I am Alfred Omega, and I am going to be the first man on Mars.”

Lucy Walker | The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
Rooftop Films screened Lucy’s documentary feature Wasteland in 2010. Survivors in the areas hardest hit by Japan’s recent tsunami find the courage to revive and rebuild as cherry blossom season begins. A stunning visual poem about the ephemeral nature of life and the healing power of Japan’s most beloved flower. Directed by Academy Award Nominated filmmaker Lucy Walker, featuring photography by Aaron Phillips and music by Moby.

Zachary Volker | I’m Not Nothing
Rooftop showed Zach’s films Wounded Man and Disappearance in 2011. I’m Not Nothing is a modern-day crime film about our desperate recession-era existence. The film centers on Bill Ellis, an unemployed businessman who is overwhelmed with exorbitant student loans, credit card debt, and late mortgage payments (resulting in an impending foreclosure on his house). By happenstance, he finds himself in the company of a passed-out criminal and a case full of money and bizarre photographs. What follows—his decision to steal the bag; a violent scuffle; a succession of sophomoric (and humorous) criminal behaviors; and an ever-deepening hole he finds himself falling into—marks the beginning of a different life for Mr. Ellis.

Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark | The Seeds
Rooftop screened Todd’s feature Flood Tide, and the short Let Them Believe, the first in a series of films about artists trying to make sense of massive ecological disasters. This new chapter tells a partly fictionalized story of artist and amateur scientist Ian Page and his delivery to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault off the coast of Norway. Unable to gain access to the Vault, Page takes an ice-class expedition sailing vessel even further into the Arctic Circle in search of another place store his precious cargo.

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

The 2010 Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Grantees Were:

ROOFTOP FILMS & EASTERN EFFECTS EQUIPMENT GRANT

Eastern Effects Eastern Effects is film production rental house based in Brooklyn. Since 1999, Eastern Effects has been providing Lighting & Grip Equipment Rentals for Independent Feature Films, Television Productions, Corporate & Industrial Videos, Student Filmmakers, and Live Broadcast.For this grant, Eastern Effects will award 30 days of lighting and grip equipment to one feature-length film.

Andrew Semans | Nancy, Please

Nancy, Please tells the story of Paul Brawley, a young, gifted, aimless PhD candidate at Yale. Paul has just moved into an apartment with his competent, pragmatic girlfriend, Jen, and is struggling to complete his dissertation before embarking on a career in academia. Adulthood looms; responsibility beckons. There’s just one snag: as Paul is unpacking his belongings, he discovers that he has left behind a seemingly inconsequential object that Paul feels is of great importance to his dissertation and, therefore, to his future. He will have to retrieve it from his former roommate, the obstinate, casually sinister Nancy. Caught between an impatient girlfriend and an equally impatient thesis advisor, Paul starts to lose his grip. His annoyance turns to rage and then to obsession. Unable to accept his “defeat” at Nancy’s hands, Paul rushes headlong into a thresher of emotional torment and physical punishment. His life will get much, much worse before it gets better. From the director of I’d Rather Be Dead Than Live in this World and All Day Long, both of which played at Rooftop, and shot by Eric Lin (The Exploding Girl), Nancy, Please is a trenchant genre-bender that combines heightened naturalism with elements of the macabre and surreal. Relentless and darkly comic, the film dramatizes how a seemingly mundane conflict can – in the proper psychological soil – evolve into something dangerous and explosive, and how passivity and misplaced idealism can lead to horrific consequences.

Rooftop / Chicken and Egg Film Grant

Eva Weber | Black Out 

Set in Equatorial Guinea, this evocative and poignant documentary will show the struggle of a number of young children to reconcile their daily lives in one of the poorest countries in the world with their desire to learn. Only about a fifth of Guinea’s 10 million people have access to electricity and even those that do experience frequent power cuts. The average Guinean consumes 89 kilowatt-hours per year–equivalent to running an air conditioner for four minutes a day. Students have discovered G’bessi International Airport at the outskirts of Conakry. As the sun sets over the capital, hundreds of elementary and high school students head to the airport, hoping to reserve a coveted spot under the oval light cast by one of a dozen lampposts in the parking lot. The film will join a number of children on their track to the airport and spend the night with them at the airport until they go back home. Black Out is a tale about the myths of globalization–an international airport brings empty promises of prosperity, but these resourceful children are desperate to gain an education. Weber’s previous films at Rooftop were City of Cranes and Steel Homes, which appeared on the Channel 4 and POV, and played at festivals including Sundance, IDFA and Silverdocs.

ROOFTOP FILMS & EDGEWORX POST-PRODUCTION GRANT

Edgeworx Studios is a post-production house based in Manhattan. With a fifteen year track record, Edgeworx provides full service production and post-production. Their areas of expertise include motion graphic design, animation, VFX, editorial and finishing. For this grant, Edgeworx will provide 1-2 weeks of post-production services to one feature-length film. The 2010 recipient is:

T. Sean Durkin | Martha Marcy May Marlene

Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult. After being gone for 3 years, Martha returns home to live with her sister and her sister’s husband. Martha’s brainwashed social views and her loss of normal human behavior make it impossible for her to connect with her family. As her isolation grows, so does her severe paranoia. In an attempt to explore her recent past and make sense of the cult life she has escaped, Martha enters into a dizzying state of confusion where no one can be trusted and the escalating fear that the cult is hunting her, grips her every move. Based on the true story of an escapee from the Manson cult, this quiet psychological thriller comes from the director of the Cannes-award winning Mary Last Seen. Shot by Jody Lee Lipes (Tiny Furniture), one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 Faces to Watch,” and edited by Zachary Stuart-Pontier (Catfish), Martha Marcy May Marlene was a participant at the Sundance Filmmaker Labs. (Pictured above, at top)

ROOFTOP FILMMAKERS FUND SHORT FILM GRANTS

We believe that short films do not receive the attention they deserve in the world of film, and that all too often even a festival which prominently includes short films does little for the filmmaker in the long run. For the short film grants, Rooftop Films earmarks one dollar from every regularly-priced ticket sold and every submission fee received for the Filmmakers’ Fund. Every year, filmmakers whose movies have screened at Rooftop Films are eligible to apply for grants for their future productions. We believe that instead of giving each filmmaker ten dollars, giving away a few larger sums (up to $3,000) toward specific projects is a better way to help the filmmakers and the independent filmmaking community in general. The 2010 recipients were:

Emily Carmichael | Ledo and Ix Battle Epically

Ledo and Ix Battle Epically is the third film about Ledo and Ix, two adventurers in an old-school fantasy video game. This film centers particularly on Ledo, the tiny 8-bit heroine who has been obsessively upgrading her weapons and tirelessly honing her attacks, all in preparation for great battles that have never materialized. In the first two Ledo and Ix films (both shown at Rooftop) she strode boldly into the void and found only the other side of the void, and boldly approached a blot on the map that might have been brain fungus but instead was a stupid town, offering only the promise of stupid human interaction. Ix was really excited about that. But Ledo doesn’t want human interaction. Frankly, she gets enough of that from Ix. What she wants is to do some damage. In this third film in the series, it looks like she’ll get a chance to do just that. But, since the early 90’s video game that our heroes inhabit is extremely primitive, it’s likely to go worse and more hilariously than Ledo hopes. Carmichael’s films have appeared at Slamdance and SXSW, among others.

Christopher Miner | Don’t Kill Your Son’s Life

Don’t Kill Your Son’s Life is reflective documentary about the birth of Miner’s first son and his first year of having a child. This direct and poignant style follows Miner’s other work, as seen at Rooftop, including Between Me and the Earth, about loss of virginity, making a commitment to one person, loss of faith; and Every Other Girl In the World, addressing the early days of marriage, regret and past relationships. The film includes hours of footage shot before his son was born, during the actual birth, and throughout his first eleven months, and also incorporates other issues/events, including Miner’s own father being diagnosed with bone cancer, a fanatical five-year-old child preacher from Mississippi, Miner’s somewhat serious mental breakdown over the past year following his refusal to take anti-depressant medication, and finally Miner’s newfound joy/obsession with writing raps set to country music about death and pornography. Represented by Mitchell-Innes + Nash Gallery, Rooftop is proud to support this daring artist’s next move in the independent film world.

Johannes Nyholm | Las Palmas

Marja, a middle-aged woman is by herself on a holiday in the sun. We follow her one day from morning to night. She makes clumsy attempts to approach other people but is constantly rebuffed. At a bar she makes overtures to the guests and staff, gets drunk and dances on the tables. She then turns out to be broke and not able to pay the bill. She visits the beach, swims out to an empty boat out in the sea. Falls asleep. She awakens, burnt by the sun. And there, on the edge of the boat, finally finds a friend: a seagull. They sing together. From the renowned Swedish animator of Dreams from the Woods, this classical narrative of loneliness is complicated by the method used: the role of the middle-aged woman Marja will be played by a toddler, the other characters by marionette puppets. The choice of a one-year old in the lead role adds a delightful comic effect, an irrational, unbridled element that is impossible to direct. The film thus becomes both a documentary depiction of a small child, and a depiction of a much older woman’s humiliation and exclusion. Nyholm’s previous two films have premiered at Cannes, and his work is supported by the Swedish Film Institute.

Kelly Sears | Once it Started it Could not End Otherwise

Part disaster film, part Freudian animation, Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise is a collage animation made from early-mid 1970s high school yearbooks. A series of absurd and horrible disasters strike this American high school that eerily mirror larger political and social markers of the time – the final days of the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, doomed cults, frenzied meditations and underground radical groups. These catalysts set in motion an unsettling chain of events that overtake this high school one extra-curricular activity at a time. This cinema verité styled film echoes a larger sense of trepidation, collapse and mania that not only characterized this time, but resonates in the current cultural climate as well. Sears has screened multiple films at Rooftop, including The Drift, Devil’s Canyon and Voice on the Line, which have also appeared at venues around the world, including at Sundance, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

The 2009 Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Grantees Were:

ROOFTOP FILMS & EDGEWORX POST-PRODUCTION GRANT

Edgeworx Studios is a post-production house based in Manhattan. With a fifteen year track record, Edgeworx provides full service production and post-production. Their areas of expertise include motion graphic design, animation, VFX, editorial and finishing. For this grant, Edgeworx will provide 1-2 weeks of post-production services to one feature-length film. The 2009 recipient is:

Ian Cheney | The City Dark

The night filmmaker Ian Cheney moves into his apartment in New York, he pulls his grandfather’s old telescope onto a Brooklyn rooftop to survey the night sky. But bathed in its glow of orange streetlights, the City that Never Sleeps only has five stars to see. What begins as a disappointing autumn evening becomes a journey to answer a simple question: do we need the dark? From Mauna Kea to Death Valley to Paris, The City Dark explores the world after dusk, capturing a planet increasingly shrouded in light. Featuring a lively soundtrack, engaging animations and a cast of quirky characters, The City Dark is the definitive new film about light pollution and the disappearing dark.

ROOFTOP FILMS & EASTERN EFFECTS EQUIPMENT GRANT

Eastern Effects Eastern Effects is film production rental house based in Brooklyn. Since 1999, Eastern Effects has been providing Lighting & Grip Equipment Rentals for Independent Feature Films, Television Productions, Corporate & Industrial Videos, Student Filmmakers, and Live Broadcast. For this grant, Eastern Effects will award 30 days of lighting and grip equipment to one feature-length film.

Benh Zeitlin | The Beasts of the Southern Wild

In this mythological epic inspired by the costal erosion crisis in Southern Louisiana, Hushpuppy, a 9-year old Bayou Don Quixote, lives in “The Bathtub,” the hardest drinking, fastest sinking island on the planet. Nested in the crumbling swamps of the delta, our ferocious heroine lives with Wink, her beloved yet volatile and hostile father. Reality crashes down on Hushpuppy’s world when her father comes down with a mysterious illness, and nature begins to spiral out of control. With spectacle, humor and a blitzkrieg pace Beasts of the Southern Wild takes on the real life tragedy of land-loss on the Louisiana coast through the lens of little girl who is losing not just the place that made her, but the parent who made her as well. Operatic in its scope, bursting with fireworks, humor, and utter mayhem, from the makers of the award-winning (and Rooftop co-funded) Glory at Sea, Beasts of the Southern Wild is an epic tale about the end of it all. (Pictured above, at top)

ROOFTOP FILMMAKERS FUND SHORT FILM GRANTS

We believe that short films do not receive the attention they deserve in the world of film, and that all too often even a festival which prominently includes short films does little for the filmmaker in the long run. For the short film grants, Rooftop Films earmarks one dollar from every regularly-priced ticket sold and every submission fee received for the Filmmakers’ Fund. Every year, filmmakers whose movies have screened at Rooftop Films are eligible to apply for grants for their future productions. We believe that instead of giving each filmmaker ten dollars, giving away a few larger sums (up to $3,000) toward specific projects is a better way to help the filmmakers and the independent filmmaking community in general. The 2009 recipients were:

Moon Molson | Crazy Beats Strong Every Time

The story is about an African-American twenty-something, Markees, who finds his Nigerian-immigrant stepfather passed out drunk in his building hallway one night. Motivated by shame and the restraining order his mother has placed on his stepfather, Markees and his friends drag the unconscious man into his car in order to find him a more suitable place to sleep. But as the night dwindles on, the young men become increasingly aware of the futility of unloading the stepfather. Tensions build and frustrations mount, forcing the situation toward a violent end. Crazy Beats Strong Every Time will show how in a world where being “hard” is the ultimate masculine value, a basically decent young man—if humiliated, taunted and pushed far enough—can do the unimaginable in the name of “saving face.”

James M. Johnston | Knife

Knife is a searing portrait of vengeance. Set in rural Texas, the story chronicles an unnamed man with a broken spirit. He returns to his family from an unknown place—maybe prison, maybe war. In spite of his family’s warm welcome, the man can’t shake an anger that builds in him, returning to the land that was once theirs, a land that had been in the family for generations, a land that has been stolen, plundered, and sewn with seeds of greed. There’s a force at work, a corruption that destroys homes, nature, families, memories. Told entirely in silence, Knife explores the details, textures, physical actions of his ruinous mission to sate the hatred in his heart with the knife he carries in his hand.

Dustin Guy Defa | Family Nightmare

A personal documentary in which Defa will return to his hometown to explore his family’s long history of violence, substance abuse, and heartache, including two cases of manslaughter, an attempted suicide, a shooting, a fatal overdose, and a death from alcohol poisoning. Defa says he feels detached from his family, yet concerned with their endless suffering. The recent arrest and conviction of the family’s “baby,” Defa’s uncle Billy, has caused him to take action. The film will approach the interviews and new footage in a verite style, interspersed with old home movies and the filmmaker’s voice-over to guide the audience through the past and present. Defa says, “By asking tough questions to family members, discovering things I don’t know about them and about Billy, and illuminating some of the reasons we are the way we are, my objective is to lighten the tragic element of our lives, to observe it as a storyline that is still alive and changing.”

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

The 2008 Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Grantees Were:

Rooftop Films and Chicken and Egg Short Film Grant

Sara Zia Ebrahimi | Norman Schwartzkopf Made Me Gay

A personal film that recounts how “Stormin'” Norman Schwartzkopf’s life has influenced Ebrahimi’s. Norman Schwartzkopf Made Me Gay humorously weaves together personal history with world events in an effort to increase the audience’s knowledge about US foreign policy relations with Iran over the past century. The film draws on a variety of events in Ebrahimi’s life that parallel or directly intersect with Schwartzkopf’s–everything from his childhood memories of Iran where his father was stationed to being arrested by secret service agents for asking him a question. The film will utilize experimental film techniques to add a visually engaging approach to this historical recounting to accompany the unique storyline. (Pictured above, at top)

Rooftop Films and Eastern Effects Equipment Grant

Eastern Effects Eastern Effects is film production rental house based in Brooklyn. Since 1999, Eastern Effects has been providing Lighting & Grip Equipment Rentals for Independent Feature Films, Television Productions, Corporate & Industrial Videos, Student Filmmakers, and Live Broadcast. For this grant, Eastern Effects will award 30 days of lighting and grip equipment to one feature-length film.

Lee Isaac Chung | Lucky Life

Lucky Life, about four friends on a poignant road trip. Mark and Karen are preparing for the birth of their first child, while Jason is coping with his recent diagnosis with terminal cancer. A meditation on life, death and spirituality, Chung says the film, which will begin production in September, was inspired by his trips to Spanish cathedrals, and the revelation of “cinema as a medium for creating spiritual space.” The title comes from a book of poetry by Gerald Stern: “Lucky life isn’t one long string of horrors / and there are moments of peace, and pleasure, as I lie in between the blows.” Lucky Life will be Chung’s second feature film, following on the tremendous success of his debut  Munyurangabo, which screened festivals including Berlin, Toronto, and Cannes, where Variety praised the film as “flat-out, the discovery of this year’s Un Certain Regard [section].” Chung screened his short film Sex and Coffee at Rooftop in 2006.

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

The 2007 Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Grantees Were:

Heidi Brandenburg and Matt Orzel | When Two Worlds Collide

Heidi and Matt are a pair of German and Welsh filmmakers who created Sonneman, an astonishingly lovely and insightful documentary about a man who pursues his dream of living a life with nature, away from the conventions of Western society, discontent with the trappings of the modern world. For their new film, Heidi and Matt have been traveling through the Peruvian Rainforest, spending time with the indigenous peoples and watching as their lives are changed by the increasing pace of oil and gas mining. “The film will show the relationship between the land and its inhabitants, exposing the disruptions to their traditional way of life and their spiritual connection to the land, due to oil extraction. The film will subtly capture the dangers of destroying the Amazon Rainforest with links to global warming and the world’s dependency on oil, expressing the relevance of this situation not only as Peruvian concern, but also as a global problem.” (Pictured above, at top)

Bill Brown | Cumberland

Utilizing his unique and fascinating first-person experimental documentary style, Bill is making “a landscape film about torture.” Bill will be reconstructing the lives of the 7 members of the 372 Military Police Company who were convicted of abusing detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. He will spend time around Cumberland, MD, where these reservists were from, a place that has been transformed from a place that once exported manufactured goods into a place of tremendous economic hardship which now exports soldiers to fight faraway wars. Bill hopes to replace the iconic images of the distant and repellent abused detainees with images that are close-by and recognizable: to trace the line of inquiry from Iraq to the private prisons, fast-food restaurants and big box stores of Cumberland. “I am interested how in a global economy, a small American town is an extension of the global marketplace, and how in a global war on terror, it is an extension of the battlefield. I hope to understand a little better how seven representatives of America’s battered working class came to bear the responsibility for the failure of America’s foreign policy and moral authority.” Bill hails from Lubbock, TX, and Rooftop screened his films Mountain State and Roswell in 2004 and 2005.

Don Hertzfeldt | I am so Proud of You

Don premiered the first chapter of his triptych Everything Will Be OK at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, where the film won the Grand Jury Prize for Short Film. The film follows a stick-figure named Bill as he grapples with depression and madness, and in the new chapter will find Bill struggling with the death of a loved one, the ever-present question of his health, and the apparent unraveling of time. Don has a magically deadpan narrative style, and his elegantly simple drawings, mixed with a dazzling array of direct-animation effects and an ingenious sound design, create an astonishingly moving film. Don lives in Goleta, CA, and is the youngest non-actor ever to be nominated for an Academy Award. Throughout his career he has turned down commercial jobs and lucrative TV deals in order to retain creative control over his animations.

Melanie Shatzky and Brian M. Cassidy | The Blessing of the Animals (Patron Saints)

Brian and Melanie created the eerie documentary God Provides, about people in the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, and Brian co-directed Fish Kill Flea, a feature-length film about a dying mall in upstate New York. Their work “forgoes conventional storytelling methods in order to accommodate stark imagery, elusive characters and a deadpan realism” in a manner which Filmmaker Magazine described as “cogent and sickly surreal.”  Their new film will be a “portrait of love, death and devotion, as witnessed on the day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.” The footage is moving and disturbing, subtly raising questions about both secular and religious faith in a very personal manner. This stand-alone short is also part of a longer piece they are making titled The Patron Saints, a project about faith and uncertainty.

Spencer Parsons | Chainsaw Found Jesus

Spencer’s various films—including Resolution, Once and Future Asshole, and the upcoming feature I’ll Come Running,—utilize a kind of hyper-reality which blends unexpected narrative techniques with a dynamic flair for poignant dialogue and insightful characters. This new film is “a melancholy comedy about two fathers, two sons, and the cocaine sale that brings them all together for an everyday adventure.” Far from your standard drug movie, the sad but hilarious and bizarre script is about “the moment before making a change, and maybe worrying that change just means trading up one sorry addiction for another.” Spencer is one of the co-founders of CinemaTexas, a professor at University of Texas, and, as a crucial member of the vibrant Austin film scene, has been a long-time collaborator with Rooftop Films.

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