Sponsored Projects

Film Independent Fiscal Sponsorship

New and innovative work, fiscally sponsored by Film Independent.

The Fiscal Sponsorship program opens the door to nonprofit funding for independent filmmakers and media artists, supporting a diverse slate of projects at every stage of the filmmaking process – from development to distribution and beyond.

Support Film Independent's creative community and help bring these projects to life by donating below.

The 3,000 Project

Wisconsin, one of the most incarcerated states in America, abolished parole in 1998 changing the fate of 3,000 parole eligible inmates in its prison system overnight, sparking an inferno of activism and debate surrounding this population from the high offices of government to the streets of Milwaukee as the state grapples with solutions to curb its alarming rate of mass incarceration.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director/Producer: Keith McQuirter
Executive Producer: LaNora Williams-Clark

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A Couple of Secrets

A wild 24-hour first date entangles two quirky, broken individuals, each concealing a deep, dark secret.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Writer/Director: Nicholas Pallos
Producers Andrea Monier, Talia Bella, Steven Step (EP)

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Africa: Untold

Meet Africa’s game-changers: The innovators, educators and pioneers, reimagining and reshaping the continent’s future.

Project type: Documentary Series
Series Director/Creator: Bruce Donnelly
Producer Fermin Rojas

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Alaska Is a Drag

Tough, but diva fabulous, Leo, aspiring drag superstar, is stuck working in a fish cannery in Alaska. He and his twin sister are trapped in the monotony of fist fights and fish guts. Out of necessity, Leo learned to fight back, which catches the attention of the local boxing coach. When a new boy moves to town and wants to be his sparring partner, Leo has to face the real reason he's stuck in Alaska.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Director: Shaz Bennett
Producers: Diane Becker, Jean-Pierre Caner, Melanie Miller

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An All American Affair: The True Story of Maxene Andrews

Maxene Andrews, of the famed musical trio “The Andrews Sisters”, lived parallel lives. In the eyes of the American public, she was a beloved icon of 1940s patriotism. In private, she had many secrets that would have shocked America and destroyed the sisters’ careers and legacy.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Directors/Producers: Amanda Spain & Sandra Alvarez

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Ashland

Children train horses during fire season on the plains of Eastern Montana.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director: Wyatt Maw
Producer: Julie Hook

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Black Hat

A seemingly pious Hasidic man living a secret double life misplaces his black hat one night which will cause his two separate lives to collide in a way he never imagined.

Project type: Narrative Short
Director: Sarah Smith
Writer/Producer: Phillip Guttmann

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Blank Verse Films

Blank Verse Films is an upstart film studio that produces poetry videos. All our videos are online for free on our Youtube channel.

Project type: Interactive Media Organization
Founder/Artistic Director: Mike Gioia
Co-Founder/Development Director: Ted Gioia

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Breasties

In the early weeks postpartum, Rose finds herself unraveling as she struggles to breastfeed her newborn son, Miles. As her baby continues to lose weight, she is faced with an unconventional choice when her best friend Maddie offers to nurse her baby.

Project type: Narrative Short
Writer/Director: Jennifer Kushner
Producers: Megan Korns Russell, Sue-Ellen Chitunya

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Chilies With Nostalgic Flavor

Basma, a drama therapist working in Jordan, is torn between two difficult choices: getting married to the man she loves or pursuing her dream of going back to her hometown of Gaza during the war.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Director/Producer: Asma Bseiso

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Clementine

A heartbroken woman stows away to her estranged lover's lake house where she becomes entangled with a teenage girl.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Director: Lara Jean Gallagher
Producers: Davis Priestley, Aimee Lynn Barneburg

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Conscience Point

Exposing a painful, quintessentially American geography, Conscience Point unearths a deep clash of values between the Native American Shinnecock and their elite Hamptons neighbors, who have made sacred land their playground.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director/Producer: Treva Wurmfeld
Producer: Julianna Brannum

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Co-opted

After her father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, a straitlaced college transfer comes of age in the wild chaos of a legendary student commune. Her identity wavers when she volunteers as “virgin sacrifice” for her co-op’s black mass party and her “Friend of Christian Camp Past” witnesses.

Project type: Narrative Short
Creator/Writer/Lead: Zoë Smurr
Director: Jocelyn Cooper

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Dating Now

A young black woman navigates everything from f*ckboys to ghosting to thirst traps on her misadventures through the dating world of 2017.

Project type: Web Series
Writer/Producer: Tasha Henderson
Producer: Brett Takeshita

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Death and Bowling

Two transgender men meet at the funeral of the esteemed captain of the Lavender League, a community bowling club for older lesbians. Grief and desire seep together as the death of a queer matriarch transforms a community left behind.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Writer/Director/Editor: Lyle Kash
Producer/First AD: Ariel Mahler

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Death of Nintendo

The story takes us into the colorful pop-culture world of these four 13-year old friends, back in the days when video games were still a novelty. Mimaw and her friends Paolo, Kachi and Gilligan go on a journey of self-discovery together as they play games and wrestle with new dilemmas – puppy love, circumcision and other horror stories.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Writer/Producer: Valerie Castillo Martinez
Director: Raya Martin

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Don't Ever Let Go

Mia and her brother Alex find a powerful stone that thrusts them into different paths while bringing them closer then they've ever been.

Project type: Narrative Animated Short
Writer/Director: Fabian Molina
Producer: Ariel Mahler

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Dragstrip 66: The Frockumentary

Never before seen archival video reveals the untold story of an underground LGBTQ nightclub that became a political and creative center for a community besieged by AIDS and discrimination. As club owners Paul V. and Mr. Dan prepare for the Dragstrip 66 finale, patrons, staff, and celebrities reflect on their memories and impressions as the beloved nightclub comes to the end of its historic run.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director/Producer: Phil Scanlon
Co-director/Co-producer: Paul Vitagliano

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Emerging Artists LA

Emerging Artists LA offers access to the film festival experience FREE to filmmakers and film aficionados alike. Submitting a film is free and attending the festival is free and that’s the way we’d like to keep it!

Project type: Film Festival
Curator/Program Director: Erica Mountain
Curator/Art Director: Carla Harris

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Fashion Reimagined

A film about fashion’s impact on the environment and the designer who’s doing something about it, “Fashion Reimagined” follows Amy Powney of London brand Mother of Pearl who decides at the height of her career that she can no longer participate in her industry’s destructive cycle. Instead, she sets off to produce a sustainable collection from field to finished garment, a pioneering journey across three continents that tests her strength and belief in humanity.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director/Producer: Becky Hutner
Director of Photography/Editor: Daniel Goetz

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Flood

A filmmaker tries to fix her problems with her evangelical father in a screenplay with a happy ending. When her plan backfires, she quits writing lines, starts to listen, and becomes a character in her own film.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Writer/Director/Producer/Cinematographer: Katy Scoggins
Unit Production Manager: Jamie González

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Freeze!

In this surrealistic tragicomedy, Joy, 35, visits an offbeat fertility clinic to freeze her eggs after a series of romantic misadventures…only to discover that she is pregnant.

Project type: Narrative Short
Writer/Director: Maya Albanese
Producer: Valerie Steinberg

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The Girl In the Backroom

When you sacrifice everything to be a “voice for the voiceless” and you’ve been a political activist for your entire life, then at age 79 you get to be the snarky grandmother who takes down the guy that no one else could touch.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director: Francine Graff
Line Producer: Jonathan Graff

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God & Salsa

A grief-stricken therapist determined to help a suicidal teen regains her faith in the process with the help of her Salsa instructor and pastor.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Writer/Director/Producer: Jess Thomas
Writer/Producer: Anayancy Thomas

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Hargrove

The gift of an instrument to a kid too poor to afford one is the beginning of Roy Hargrove’s remarkable journey from child prodigy to Grammy Award-winning trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and singer. We follow Hargrove as he travels the world spreading joy through his music, all the while battling a secret and deadly genetic disease.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director: Eliane Henri/Poplife Productions
Cinematographer: Robert Benavides

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HIBM: Her Inescapable Brave Mission

Celebrated UN humanitarian battling a debilitating disease will attempt a twelve-day Grand Canyon mission on horseback and whitewater raft that will include extreme tests of strength, endurance and danger to shatter stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities. Time is of the essence as her body’s muscles waste away, weakening her every move.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Protagonist/Producer: Cara E. Yar Khan
Producer: John Masters

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Holy Water

When a spiritual man is faced with a possible illness, his belief system is questioned and he’s forced to step into his authentic self in order to heal his emotional pain.

Project type: Narrative Short
Writer/Director/Producer: Sebastian LaCause
Producers: Roxanne Morrison, Jai Rodriguez

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In One Split Second

A small crime creates ripple effects in a neighborhood that brings devastating consequences, pushing race relations further in reactionary fallout.

Project type: Narrative Short
Writer/Director/Producer: Chloe Owens
Producers: Tamara Rhoads, Markus Linecker

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Flash Before the Bang (formerly Inside Track)

A sports drama based on a true story, a coach and a group of eight boys from the Oregon School for the Deaf overcome tremendous odds and defy expectations to win the 1986 Oregon State Track and Field Championship.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Writer/Director/Producer: Jevon Whetter
Producers: Delbert Whetter, John Eraklis

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I Was a Simple Man

Like marionettes on a toy stage, the ghosts of Masao’s past haunt the countryside in this tale of a Hawai‘i family facing the imminent death of their eldest.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Director: Christopher Yogi
Producers: Sarah Kim, Ryan Zacarias

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Joyriders

Three kids from the hood find an alien spaceship and take it on a joyride. Now they must decide to help the world that never cared about them, or escape into the unknown.

Project type: Narrative Short
Director: Raymond Carr

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Juke Box Hero

This #metoo / #timesup feature about an aspiring rock star fights a mental breakdown along the road to stardom while pursued by a dysfunctional romantic. Drawn together and torn apart through humor, heartache and hope, the two grapple with the healing power of friendship and the damage wrought by demons of childhood.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Writer/Director: Shero
Writer: Christopher Kawika Brown

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Lady Buds

Six women emerge from the shadows of the California cannabis industry to go legal. As farmers, entrepreneurs and activists, these modern-day superheroes battle government bureaucracy, corporate interests and risk financial ruin in order to fight for the industry they helped create and for the survival of their community.

Project type: Documentary
Director/Producer: Chris J. Russo
Consulting Producer: Sarah Olson

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Last Taxi Dance

In a ballroom called Paradise, in the aftermath of World War II, a beguiling Hawaiian singer dances with a returned American soldier and debates the dignity of the American dream. But when his dance tickets run out, she is left with a harsh choice – for when the dancing stops, this man will die.

Project type: Narrative Short
Writer/Director: Brayden Yoder
Producer: Ciara Leinaʻala Lacy

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Let Your Sisters Be

When sisters Alex and Claire learn of their abuser’s death, they journey to a New Zealand settlement to witness his burial.

Project type: Narrative Short
Director: Aileen O'Sullivan
Writer/Producer: Mary Sewell

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Leveling Lincoln

Leveling Lincoln brings back to the forefront the first case in the Northern USA, where a school was torn down in the quest for equal rights in education. Mrs. Taylor vs. The Board of Education of New Rochelle, NY – 1961, was a landmark case brought by Lincoln School parents. Many still remember and speak on camera of this pivotal case, their childhood after the case, and how it relates to today’s educational struggles.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director/Producer: Arden Teresa Lewis
Producer/Assistant Director: Tinks Lovelace, Bag O' Bones Collective

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Light In Dark Places

A mother makes a shocking discovery when she’s left to pack up her daughter’s house after a tragic car accident.

Project type: Narrative Short
Director: Laguaria Davis
Producers: Valeria Lopez, Steak House

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Living Art

Living Art follows the life of Mara Clawson, a brilliant visual artist battling a life-threatening genetic disease. As she prepares for the largest gallery show of her young career, Mara inspires everyone around her to help create a world full of love and kindness.

Project type: Documentary Short
Director/Writer/Producer: David Rochkind

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Louella

A twelve-year-old girl runs away from home in rural Nevada and crosses paths with a charming man who lures her into prostitution.

Project type: Narrative Short
Writer/Director: Erin Cantelo
Producer: Toby Louie

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Love's Labours Lost

Love’s Labours Lost is Shakespeare’s only comedy where the women reject their suitors – a group of downright dangerous men in power. Our pointed satire, filled with dark humor and wit, will center the marginalized voices of Shakespeare’s female characters and highlight how little patriarchal oppression has changed in over 500 years.

Project type: Narrative Short
Director/Writer/Producer: Nick Musleh
Producers: Kristen Uno, Lydia Hunter

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Lumpia With a Vengeance

The LUMPIA-armed avenger reappears in Fogtown and teams up with high school student Rachel to prevent a crime syndicate from selling drugs masked as food in this action comedy.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Co-Writer/Director/Executive Producer: Patricio Ginelsa
Editor/Executive Producer: A.J. Calomay

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Modern Slave

A young girl coerced into sex-trafficking must escape the emotional cage her “Romeo Pimp” has trapped her in before she loses what little hope remains to live and dream.

Project type: Narrative Short
Co-writer/Director: Spencer Currie
Co-writer/Producer: Dan Sima

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Moving Out

A family drama about the complexities of faith, community, and parent/child relationships.

Project type: Narrative Short
Producer/Director/Screenwriter/Story: Rachel Earnest
Producer/Editor/Story: Ashley Monti

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My Baby is a Bike Helmet

After a miscommunication leads her coworkers to believe that she is pregnant, a seemingly barren waitress allows the fantasy to overtake the reality and finds herself navigating an ever-growing web of lies as she gets closer and closer to her imaginary “full term.”

Project type: Narrative Short
Co-Directors/Producers: Arden Grier, Roxanna Dunlop
Writer: Julia Dixon

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Moxie

In an era of giant Maxi Pads and Phil Donahue, misfit teen Moxie finds her fit with a group of college political activists. But when she becomes pregnant by the rebel leader, she faces her own fight — arguing for her abortion at a time when women’s liberation is coming into its own.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Director: Marya Mazor
Producers: Christina Sibul, Karen Tenkoff

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Necessity: Oil, Water and Climate Resistance

Necessity traces the fight in Minnesota against the expansion of pipelines carrying toxic tar sands oil through North America. Home to much of the world’s precious freshwater resources, the state is also the site of expanding oil industry infrastructure. The film follows indigenous activists and non-indigenous allies in their resistance to the pipelines traversing native lands and essential waterways.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director/Producer: Jan Haaken
Co-Director: Samantha Praus

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Oscillation Transia Film Festival

Oscillation Transia Film Festival is a non-profit traveling event, exploring the intersection of solar energy application and environmental awareness through the art of film.

Project type: Film Festival
Festival Director: Jess Giacobbe
Festival Engineer: Austin Krause

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Phoenix

From unknown migrants to international pop-stars – we will explore how various refugee artists have risen above and triumphed over the disparate and desperate circumstances of their lives.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director: David Henry Gerson
Producer: Odessa Rae

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The Plural of Blood

When one incident triggers a storm, we realize we are more connected than we think.

Project type: Narrative Short
Director/Writer: Mary-Lyn Chambers
Producer: Roxy Shih

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Red

In rural Pennsylvania, a teenage couple’s — James and Lizzy — relationship is interrupted by Aaron, the guy James almost hooked up with four months ago. Red explores being queer in conservative towns during hard times with empathy rather than disdain.

Project type: Narrative Short
Writer/Director/Producer: Scott Sullivan
Producer: Annalea Fiachi

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Rewiring Juvenile Justice

Armed with innovative brain imaging technologies and the emerging field of neurolaw, scientists set a course to advocate for evidence-based juvenile criminal policy.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director: Helena Cortes
Producer: Bria Cole

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Salma's Home

Three Arab women living in modern day Jordan must put their differences aside and work together in order to survive. Tangled in a family drama after Bakri dies, his two wives and his adopted daughter navigate his inheritance, finding out that the only way forward is to try and make peace with each other.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Writer/Director: Hanadi Elyan
Producer: Nathan Bennett

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Saving Miss America

Nearly 100 years after her debut in pop-culture, Miss America is having an identity crisis in the wake of the "Me Too" movement.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director/Producer: Mandi Reno-Matarrese
Producers: Joseph and Phillip Matarrese

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Scars Unseen

A documentary series about the triumph of the human spirit, following six men and women who have overcome domestic violence.

Project type: Documentary Series
Co-Director/Producer: Meredith Yinger
Co-Director/Director of Photography: Natalie Perez

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Scenes From Our Marriage

Co-stars Ela’ (Clarke Peters) and Legbani (Yolonda Ross) burn up the stage in a new racially fueled Broadway play. But when trust is violated, fact and fiction become blurred as the couple wrestles with what it means to love and succeed as black artists in show business.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Writer/Director/Executive Producer: Yolonda Ross
Producers: Sasha Solodukhina, Adaptive Studios, NightFox Entertainment

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Season of the Witches

Season of the Witches is a psycho-social crime thriller following three American PhD students volunteering in post-hurricane Puerto Rico who accidentally kill a local playboy in a revenge scheme gone wrong. When the “doing good on the Island” women try to cover up the murder, they are pursued by a local detective with demons of her own, raising the stakes on what it means to be loyal and good.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Director: Deborah Riley Draper
Producer: Liz Edwards

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Shangri-LA

An episodic comedy about a group of lovable idiots trying to make it in Hollywood while surviving on the streets of L.A.

Project type: Narrative Series
Director/Co-creator: Drew Rosas
Co-creator: Nick Sommer

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Silk Road

When an opportunistic Indian graduate student finds a bag full of drugs, he decides to sell them on the deep web to make a quick buck. Little does he know that a brilliant Indian American DEA agent is working around the clock to hunt him down.

Project type: Narrative Episodic
Director: Pradeep Katasani
Producer: Amar P

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Snake River

Snake River is a Rock and Roll drama series about the unlikely rise of Luke Weaver, a middle-aged depressive whose talent for self-sabotage is second only to his ability to make great music.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Director/Writer/Prodcuer: Bobby Field
Producer: Ashley Krick
Director of Photography: Zach Voytas

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Something to Live For

A pregnant Palestinian woman, whose husband died in the Israeli prison, wants to avenge his death. Under Hamas’ guidance, she plans a terror attack in Israel. The premature birth of her son makes her reconsider, but will Hamas let her off the hook?

Project type: Narrative Short
Writer/Director: Adva Reichman
Producers: Nahd Bashier, Nicholas Benjamin

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Stan Bitters Modern Primitive

Locations like the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs show how Stan’s work is a staple of the Mid Century Movement from a California artist working since the 1950’s to today. The film is a study of contrasts, Stan, a reserved man, whose work, much like Jackson Pollack’s, is the culmination of physical battle with his preferred medium, clay.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director/Producer: Francesca Di Amico
Director of Photography/Producer: Claudia Unger

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Stateville Calling

Elderly prisoners cost taxpayers billions and are the least likely to reoffend, which is why senior citizen activist Bill Ryan - who already helped to end the death penalty in Illinois - wants to set them free.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director/Writer/Producer: Ben Kolak
Producer: Yana Kunichoff

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Stronger Than Pretty

A young mother's American Dream turns into a living nightmare until she finds the inner strength to listen to a voice she hadn't heard before: her own.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Director: Jaret Martino
Assistant Director: Isabella Olaguera

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Successful Heroin and Opioid Addiction Treatment

It’s no secret that the heroin and opioid epidemic is ravaging communities and our country. It’s time to shed light on some unique and successful ways to treat opioid addiction as we are now in desperate need of finding short and long term solutions to help save lives. 


Project type: Documentary Feature
Director: Jaret Martino
Cinematographer: Jon Schwiegart

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Survival Skills

Meet Jim. A police cadet fresh out of the academy who gets in over his head when he tries resolving a domestic abuse case outside the legal system. Good luck, Jim.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Writer/Director: Quinn Armstrong
Producer: Colin West

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Tahriib

Through intimate first-hand accounts, refugees describe their near-impossible journeys of hope from their African homes to European cities. Alongside, social and other aid workers provide a framework for challenges new immigrants often face as they attempt integration.

Project type: Narrative Short
Director: Daniel W Smith

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Thus: The Conclusion

An experimental long-form visual poem about a solo female traveler reflecting on the principles of human existence through a woman’s lens. Her fragmented memories are juxtaposed with natural imagery captured from Iceland and Africa. The two polar opposite locations visually represent the cognitive dissonance in us all.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director/WriterProducer/Editor: Aimee Jennings

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Too Soon: The Comedy of 9/11

They say Tragedy + Time = Comedy. In the aftermath of 9/11, humor remained America’s most vital tool against fear, anger, and pain. Too Soon is the twenty-year chronology of how comedy stopped completely, slowly regained its footing, and finally grew bigger and more powerful than ever, allowing all of us to unite and heal in the process.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director/Writer: Nick Scown
Producer: Julie Seabaugh

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Ugly Pretty

A fish-out-of-water in “Small Town,” Pennsylvania finds herself in over her head when she has an affair with a local married man and becomes an accessory to a murder. In the end she risks it all to save the lives of two innocent children. Nothing ever happens in a small town… until it does.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Director/Writer/Producer: Hollis Sherman-Pepe
Producer: ShaunPaul Costello

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Until Justice Rolls Down: Bill Moore and the Freedom Walkers

In 1963, a white civil rights activist is murdered while on a Freedom Walk to deliver a letter to the governor of Mississippi. Within a week, a diverse group of Freedom Walkers attempts to complete the walk and are arrested. Forty-five years later, a woman commits to walk the same path and ensure the letter is finally delivered, alongside the surviving Freedom Walkers.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director/Writer: Laura Cross

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What Color Is Blue

What Color is Blue is about the internal impotence that we, as queer youth, feel while facing the people, politicians, and organizations that do not want us to exist.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Director/Writer/Cinematographer: Carman Spoto
Producers: Carman Spoto, Quinn Dougherty

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The Yellow Wallpaper

When a depressed young writer in the late 19th century is restricted by her well-intentioned physician husband to a summer of bed rest in a remote country estate, her isolation — and marriage — sets in motion her descent into madness.

Project type: Narrative Feature
Writer/Director/Producer: Kevin Pontuti
Producer/Lead Actor: Alexandra Loreth

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Yoshi: Wake Up With Me

After learning about the death of his mentor on Facebook, Yoshi walks 8,800 miles to connect with her family and friends. But along his journey Yoshi discovers the courage to look inward and rectify his own past.

Project type: Documentary Feature
Director/Producer: Momo Lee Aoi

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