The Kayla Thomas Grant

The Kayla Thomas Filmmaker Grant


To be awarded to one or more Rooftop Films alumni filmmakers to help them to complete a short film that communicates the power of hope, collaboration, and togetherness to make positive change. This grant is in commemoration of our dear friend and teammate, Kayla Thomas. Each year, when we award this grant, we are reminded of her—of how she made our lives more beautiful and helped us create too many special moments to count. She made our burdens lighter, and this grant is but a small way in which we can emulate her and do the same for others. As we were creating this grant, we knew we wanted to help new films get made, and—particularly—to support films we thought would make Kayla happy.

Rooftop Films will donate $1,000 towards this filmmaker grant, and any money that we raise from this campaign—up to $5,000—will also go towards it. We will then select and announce the grant winner(s) each winter.

Thank you for your support and helping us remember this talented, kind and lovely young woman.

Donate online or mail a check payable to Rooftop Films, Inc. to:

Rooftop Films, Inc.
232 Third Street, Suite E106
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Rooftop Films Inc. is a 501(c)3 public charity; all contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Past Kayla Thomas Filmmaker Grant Recipients

Leah Shore | Focus, Susan (Currently in production)
My mother Susan is an Ocularist, who has been hand painting and sculpting custom artificial eyes for the past 36 years. People from around the world travel to see my mother because she is such a unique commodity and changes the lives of every one of her patients that step into her office, one eye at a time.

Cameron Mullenneaux & Jasmine Luoma | You’re Listening to Delilah (Currently in pre-production)
Guided by the hypotonic buttery voice of the queen of the airwaves, You’re Listening to Delilah is a bizarre and unforgettable journey into the lives of her fervent listeners.

Ryan Gillis and Miguel Jiron | Fowl  (Currently in production)
When the bars close in the Louisiana bayou, a girl stumbles home to find her kitchen overrun by a coven of satanic chickens. Obsessed with becoming human, the coven tries to force the girl into an unholy body-swapping ritual. She doesn’t respond well to being told what to do.

Tess Martin | Orbit (Screened during the 2019 Summer Series)
Orbit is a 5 minute short film about the relationship between humanity and the sun. Phonotropes (rotating discs which are filmed to bring the animation to life) reveal intimate scenes of our star’s effect on our lives. They let us ponder the life-giving energy that flows through our planet, and make us realize that we are but a blip in the grand scheme of time.

Cara Cusumano | Shipwrecked (Currently in post-production)
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. Cara is the Senior Programmer for the Tribeca Film Festival. Prior to Tribeca, she programmed for the Hamptons International Film Festival and has also worked with film organizations including the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the Brooklyn International Film Festival, IFP, POV, and Chicken & Egg. Her debut film The Bloop screened with Rooftop during the 2016 Summer Series

Laura Stewart | Welcome (Screened during the 2018 Summer Series)
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. Laura is a director & stop motion animator living in Montreal, Canada. Her films Blobby and 93 both were selected for the Rooftop Films Summer Series.

Thank you to the supporters of the Kayla Thomas Filmmaker Grant

Desiree Carver-Thomas
Abigail Disney
Debra Acquavella
Gigi Agius
Ingrid Benedict
Opal Hope Bennett
Nicole Bergman
Kathleen Berry
Jeffrey Bowers
Sarah Brundage
Kyle Brunette
Ecaterina Burton
Emily Cameron
Justin Campbell
David Ciancio
Cara Cusumano
Ilene Danuff
Adam D’Arpino
Nichole Davis
Jerome DeHey
Gregory DeLaurier
Danielle DiGiacomo
Sara Dosa
Nathan Elbogen
Ted Eschweiler
Ella Fleming
Augustine Frizzell
Samantha Garland
Mara Gerstein
Arlene Gilbert
Bobby Gorman
Vanessa Gould
Laura Heberton
Taylor Hom
Kevin Hopper
Tara Kini
Sabrina Kissack
Juli Kobayashi
Dana Krieger
Kara Krupnick
Jeanette Ling
Elias Luna
Megan MacMurray
Reinaldo Marcus Green
Megan Masur
Mila Matveeva
Samir Mehta
Theresa Meyer
Jamie Morgan
Merete Mueller
Molly OBrien
Angela Pablo
Stephanie Palumbo
Estee Pierce
Virginia Reticker
Michael Rodriguez
Mark Elijah Rosenberg
Daniel Rosenfeld
Deborah Rudolph
Enid Ryce
Sara Sampson
Samantha Sartori
Susan Schwartz
Gabriel Sedgwick
Taylor Smiley Wolfe
Shonda Smith
Adrienne Smith
Rhonda Smith
Caitlin Stewart
Leib Sutcher
Joseph Tullio
Seth Unger
Melanie Valencia
Marjorie Wechsler
Taylor Wolfe
Liz Zimiles

Rooftop Films
232 3rd Street, #E106
Brooklyn, NY 11215