Rooftop Filmmakers Fund Grantees, 2007-2012

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The 2012 Grantees were:

 

 


ROOFTOP FILMS / AT&T FEATURE FILM GRANT
AT&TAT&Twas the presenting sponsor of Rooftop Films 2012 Summer Series, and the AT&T Feature Film Grant. “AT&T is thrilled to support independent artists with this Rooftop filmmaker grant,” said Marissa Shorenstein, President, AT&T New York. “Filmmaking is important to New York both culturally and economically and our commitment has extended even further by presenting Rooftop's 2012 Summer Series which builds audiences for the independent and emerging artists who are essential to making New York the culturally rich place that it is.” For this grant, AT&T will award one filmmaker $10,000 cash for their feature film, at a critical stage of production. The 2012 recipient is:


BillandTurnerRoss 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.

 


THE ROOFTOP FILMS & DCTV COLOR CORRECTION GRANT

DCTVFounded 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 recipient is:



Citizen Bout 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
Eastern Effects
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. Past recipients included Benh Zeitlin's  Beasts of the Southern Wild , Andrew Semans'  Nancy, Please , and Lee Isaac Chung's  Lucky Life.  The 2012 recipient is:

 

Funny Bunny 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

Edgeworks 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. Past recipents included Ian Cheney’s  The City Dark , Sean Durkin’s  Martha Marcy May Marlene , and David Lowery's  Ain't Them Bodies Saints. The 2012 recipient is:


NewlyweedsShaka 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
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 is: 

 


Blue Ruin 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
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 2012 recipient is:

Sweet Honey Chile 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 
DCTVDCTV 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 are:

 


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   Rooftop Films
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. Past recipients have included Johannes Nyholm's  Las Palmas , Kelly Sears'  Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise , Emily Carmichael's  Ledo and Ix Battle Epically , Sara Zia Ebrahimi's Norman Schwartzkopf Made Me Gay , Moon Molson's  Crazy Beats Strong Every Time , James M. Johnston's Knife , Dustin Guy Defa's  Family Nightmare , Don Hertzfeldt's  I Am So Proud of You , and many others. The 2012 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.


 

ROOFTOP FILMS & EASTERN EFFECTS EQUIPMENT GRANT

 

Eastern EffectsEastern 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.  The 2011 recipient is: 

 

 


Obvious ChildGillian 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. http://gillianrobespierre.com/Site/Obvious_Child.html

 


ROOFTOP FILMS & EDGEWORX POST-PRODUCTION GRANT

Edgeworks

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:

 

Obvious Child 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. http://atbsfilm.com/

 


 

ROOFTOP FILMS AND ADRIENNE SHELLY FOUNDATION SHORT FILM GRANT FOR WOMEN

  The Adrienne Shelly Foundation
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:

 

City of Cranes 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 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 recipients are: 

Man on Mars 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.” 

Tsunami Sakura 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 (Waste Land), featuring photography by Aaron Phillips and music by Moby. 



Zachary Volker 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.? 

The Seeds 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. Photo credit: Mari Tefre/Global Crop Diversity Trust

 

 


 

The 2010 Grantees were:



2010 ROOFTOP FILMS & EASTERN EFFECTS EQUIPMENT GRANT

 

 

 

Nancy Please 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.

www.facebook.com/nancyplease

 


2010 ROOFTOP FILMS & EDGEWORX POST-PRODUCTION GRANT

Mary Last Seen 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.  www.blfilm.com


2010 ROOFTOP FILMS / CHICKEN & EGG SHORT FILM GRANT FOR WOMEN FILMMAKERS

City of Cranes 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.www.oddgirlout.co.uk

 


2010 ROOFTOP FILMMAKERS' FUND SHORT FILM GRANTS

Once it Started it Could Not End Otherwise 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.

Ledo and Ix 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. www.kidcandrive.com 

Las Palmas 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. www.johannesnyholm.se 

Christopher Miner 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.


The 2009 Grantees were:

2009 ROOFTOP FILMS & EDGEWORX POST-PRODUCTION GRANT 

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
Ian Cheney  | The City Dark

The night filmmaker Ian Cheney moves into his apartment in New York, he pulls his grandfatherʼs 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 and Edgeworx are proud to support the new film from the makers of King Corn (screened at Rooftop in 2007). 
www.thecitydark.com 
www.wickedelicate.com

 


BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD 2009 ROOFTOP FILMS & EASTERN EFFECTS EQUIPMENT GRANT

Benh Zeitlin |  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.  www.court13.com

 


2009 ROOFTOP FILMMAKERS' FUND SHORT FILM GRANTS

Underwritten by Cinereach
CRAZY BEATS STRONG EVERY TIMEMoon 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." 

KNIFE 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.



WE HAVE NO HOME 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."

 


The 2008 Grantees were:

 

2008-2009 ROOFTOP FILMS AND THE CHICKEN & EGG FUND SHORT FILM GRANT

NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF MADE ME GAYSara 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.


2008 EASTERN EFFECTS EQUIPMENT GRANT 
MUNYURANGABO Lee Isaac Chung (director of the acclaimed Munyurangabo, screened at Rooftop on August 23, 2008) received a fully-loaded lighting and grip truck for 30 days for his feature narrative  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.


The 2007 Grantees were:

 

SONNEMAN Heidi Brandenburg & 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.”  www.yachaywasifilms.co.uk 

Confederation Park 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. 

I AM SO PROUD OF YOU 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. www.bitterfilms.com 

The Blessing of the Animals Melanie Shatzky & 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. Brian and Melanie work out of Brooklyn, NY, and you can read more about their work at www.pigeonprojects.com 

Spencer Parsons  |  Chainsaw Found Jesus
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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About Rooftop Films

Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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