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Ford Producers Grant

SVFF-030921-Producers-Grant

Few festivals are able to truly make a difference in a filmmaker’s journey in getting their project to the big screen! Together, Ford and SVFF are doing just that.  It began in 2020 with a powerful story of injustice and redemption from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jessica Sanders that, with the grant as its catalyst, is now in the works as a major motion picture.

In 2021, Ford and SVFF continue their partnership with a winning recipient receiving a $25,000 grant – a critical infusion to help a producer build their project from concept to completion. Projects will be reviewed by a committee including SVFF staff, industry experts and representatives from Ford. With the field narrowed to 3, the grant recipient will be selected by judge, Alice Gu. An award winning director and cinematographer, Gu wowed audiences this past year with her documentary feature The Donut King.

The selected winner will walk away with a $25,000 Ford Producers Grant to take their project one big step closer to reality.

Get an All Access Pass to stream and watch this conversation between Alice Gu and the winner!

2021 WINNER

Tiger Girl struck me immediately for its originality and uniqueness of story. Beyond the ingenuity, the artistry reflected in Andrew’s vision was breathtakingly imaginative and I really wanted to be able to support this risk-taking film to fruition.”

 Alice Gu, 2021 Ford Producers Grant Jugde

Andrew Thomas Huang

TIGER GIRL

Set in 1967 Los Angeles, Tiger Girl is a coming of age fantasy about a repressed Chinese American teenage girl haunted by a tiger lurking in her attic. When pressured by her immigrant mother’s rigid social expectations, the girl embarks on a search for self-possession and must learn that the tiger hunting her is the tiger within.

ANDREW THOMAS HUANG BIO

Writer-director & executive producer Andrew Thomas Huang crafts hybrid fanta- sy worlds and mythical dreamscapes. A Grammy-nominated music video director and visual artist, Huang’s collaborators include Bjork, Thom Yorke and FKA Twigs among others. His films have been commissioned by and exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Sydney Opera House, and the Museum of Contem- porary Art, Los Angeles. Inspired by his Chinese heritage and East Asian mythology, Huang is passionate about queer Asian storytelling that interweaves magic, history and folklore. Huang has received support from the Sundance Directors & Screen- writers Labs, Film Independent, Cinereach, IFP , SFFILM and K Period Media. Huang graduated with a degree in Fine Art and Animation from the University of Southern California.

MEET THE FILMMAKER

"Lily Chan & the Doom girls" Trailer

Huang used his short film “Lily Chan and the Doom Girls” as proof of concept for Tiger Girl

Conversation with the Ford Producers Grant Winner

2021 Finalists

Thomas Torrey

all the names we buried

A traveling insurance adjuster finds himself car wrecked and stranded deep in the south Georgia countryside. When a simple-minded local man happens upon the accident, the traveler is forced to rely on the stranger’s help in covering up the death of a young female hitchhiker killed at the scene. Without immediate means of returning home, the traveler’s guilt compounds as he is forced to stay in town and interact with the local Sheriff, who is investigating the car accident.

Meet the filmmaker

Thomas Torrey BIO

Thomas Torrey is an American producer, writer and director. He holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College (’06) where he was the charter recipient for the George Nicholas Award for Excellence in Filmmaking.

As head of Short Form Programming for INSP TV, Thomas produced a slate of narrative shorts for cable and web exhibition, including the award-winning television special Old Henry, starring Ralph Waite, and the western House of the Righteous, starring Edward James Olmos.

Thomas’s feature films include the single-location festival favorite Fare, distributed by The Orchard, which he also directed and which won top jury and audience awards at South Bay, Charlotte, Push and Naples; and the “Certified Fresh” sci-fi thriller Minor Premise, which premiered at the 2020 Fantasia Fest and was distributed by Utopia. Forbes called the film “one of the best sci-fi films in recent years.” Thomas’s is in pre-production on his southern drama All the Names We Buried, which will star John Magaro, Ray Nicholson and Dale Dickey.

Daniel Talbott

Samantha Soule

midday black midnight blue

Isolated in an empty house on the edge of the sea in the Pacific Northwest, Ian remains mired in long-held grief and shame over the loss of Liv, a woman he loved dearly who died nearly two decades ago. Ian’s reality becomes increasingly haunted by visions and fantasies, including the arrival of Ash – a young man whom Liv seems to have chosen over him. With the memory of Liv clamoring to be released, and his daily existence turning ever darker, Ian will have to find a way to let her go, even if it kills him.

Meet the Filmmakers

TALBOTT AND SOULE BIOS

Daniel Talbott (Writer/Director/Producer) is a writer, director, actor, and a Lucille Lortel Award winning theater producer. TV writing includes The Conners and The Mist, as well pilots under option including at Sonar, WIPP, and currently In Her Blood at Fabel. He has two feature films in active development: Yosemite with dir. Hari Sama attached (2020 SVFF High Scribe Finalist), and Gray in Denmark with Motor Productions, dir. Martin de Thura. He recently directed the shorts Telling Time (Beverly Hills FF, Omaha FF, NYC Indie Theatre FF) and Light (Oxford FF, SF Indie Fest, OUTshine Miami). He is the artistic director of Rising Phoenix Rep, a graduate of Juilliard, and a member of the Actors Studio.

Samantha Soule (Writer/Director/Producer/Cast) is a New York based actor and filmmaker. She recently wrote and edited the short Telling Time (dir. Daniel Talbott), and directed and edited the shorts Shed (Special Jury Award, New Wave Munich) and Birdwatching (feat. Amanda Seyfried and Sharon Washington). Film/TV as an actor includes Queen’s Gambit, Outer Banks, Nos4a2, FBI:Most Wanted, City On A Hill, Tales Of The City, Godless, The Irishman, and Revolutionary Road. Broadway: The Philanthropist, Dinner at Eight, Coram Boy, and Off-Broadway includes plays at MCC, The Public, Rising Phoenix Rep, Rattlestick, Signature, NYTW, The Atlantic, and more. BFA: The Juilliard School. Artistic Associate of Rising Phoenix Rep, company member of The Forest of Arden.

2020 Winner

Jessica Sanders- Picking Cotton

Jessica Sanders

Jessica Sanders is an Academy Award – nominated, Sundance and Cannes Award – winning director and producer of narrative and documentary films and commercials. Her pilot “Embrace” just won the 2020 SXSW Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Episodic Pilot. She has been passionate about directing “Picking Cotton” since she featured Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson’s exceptional story in her Sundance-winning documentary “After Innocence,” a game changer in criminal justice reform.

Picking Cotton

“Picking Cotton” is based on the New York Times bestseller about the riveting true story of Jennifer Thompson, a Southern white college student who was raped at knifepoint and Ronald Cotton, the black man she identified as her rapist.  After spending 11 years in prison Ronald was exonerated and freed, the first case overturned by DNA in North Carolina. The two are now friends and activists for criminal justice reform. In an amazing twist, Ron solved his own case when he realized he was serving time with the real rapist. John Grisham says, “Few stories of wrongful convictions have happy endings, but this one…is far different. It is the powerful account of violence, rage, redemption, and, ultimately, forgiveness.”

2021 Producers Grant Judge

Alice Gu

Alice Gu Bio

Alice Gu is an award-winning director and director of photography. A Los Angeles native, Alice began her career as a director of photography, working with renowned directors Werner Herzog, Stacy Peralta, and Rory Kennedy, among others. Her commercial clients for print and live action include TBWA/ Chiat Day, Media Arts Lab, Deutsche, Edelman, Berlin Cameron, Cole & Weber, Pereira & O’Dell, Doremus, Publicis, Beats by Dre, Laird Hamilton, ESPN, FIFA, NFL, NHL, NBA, the WSL, Apple, Peta, and the American Humane Association. “Take Every Wave: the Life of Laird Hamilton” made its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017, a documentary film directed by Academy Award nominated director, Rory Kennedy, and lensed by Alice Gu. “The Donut King” is Alice’s feature directorial debut was slated to premiere in canceled 2020 SXSW film festival. Despite the cancellation, the film won the Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Documentary Storytelling, as well as the One in a Million Award at the canceled 2020 Sun Valley Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize at the Bentonville Film Festival. A feature-length documentary about the rise and fall of a Cambodian refugee turned donut tycoon, “The Donut King” is executive produced by Academy Award-winners Ridley Scott and Freida Lee Mock.

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