The Fund is supported by
“It’s truly an honor to celebrate a 26 year commitment to supporting such remarkable films,” said WIFF’s co-chairs. “We would like to thank Netflix for their continuous support of this program and we hope to continue this annual tradition for independent filmmakers around the globe.”
The Women In Film Foundation’s Film Finishing Fund’s cash grants have been donated by Netflix, Inc. The company has generously supported the program for the past several years with grants of $50,000 in funding, as well as distribution recommendations and brand association at screenings. Netflix will also provide consultation to filmmakers as their projects are completed. Additional support came from the O'Shaughnessy Foundation.
“We continue to be impressed by the roster of talented filmmakers whose work demonstrates unique artistic vision, intelligence and heart,” said Lisa Nishimura, Vice President, Independent Content Acquisition for Netflix. “WIF is a critical force behind the success of some of Hollywood’s most innovative minds, and we are proud to be a supporter of their Finishing Fund effort.”
The Women In Film Foundation’s Film Finishing Fund (WIFF FFF) provides annual cash grants and in-kind production services to ensure that innovative films for, by, and about women can be completed and seen by audiences worldwide. With 26 years of history and the only one of its kind, the WIFF Film Finishing Fund has proven, time and again, to be an important financing piece for such groundbreaking films as: Kiran Deol’s Woman Rebel, which was short-listed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for 2009 Oscar® documentary short subject and premiered on HBO in August; Cynthia Wade’s Freeheld, which won the 2008 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short; and Freida Lee Mock’s 1994 Oscar®-winning Documentary Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision; four Emmy winning documentaries; and six Oscar® nominees. Films completed thanks to the Film Finishing Fund have also been consistent favorites at festivals worldwide including Sundance, San Francisco, Chicago, Vancouver, Toronto, Berlin, Montreal, and Avignon, and have aired nationally on PBS (“Frontline” and “POV”), HBO and Showtime, as well as internationally in Europe, Asia, and Australia.
The 2011 WIFF Film Finishing Fund winners are:
Narratives Feature Films: Jenny Deller’s Future Weather and Tina Gharavi’s I Am Nasrine
Documentary Films: Lisa Denker’s Ability: The Judy Finelli Project, Kristi Zea’s Everybody Knows…Elizabeth Murray, Debbie Lum’s and Allison Sargent’s Seeking Asian Female, Roynn Lisa Simmon’s Naked and Heather Lenz and Karen Johnson’s Kusama: Princess of Polka Dots
Narrative Short Film: An animated short by Natasha Subramaniam and Alisa Lapidus, Zergüt
2011 Film Finishing Fund Winners (details):
“ABILITY: THE JUDY FINELLI PROJECT” – Documentary
LISA DENKER – DIRECTOR/PRODUCER, ALBANY, CA
One remarkable woman transcends the limitations of living with multiple sclerosis through reconnection to the circus arts and family, recovering the will to live anew.
“EVERYBODY KNOWS… ELIZABETH MURRAY” - Documentary
KRISTI ZEA – DIRECTOR/PRODUCER, VALLEY COTTAGE, NY
The Museum of Modern Art has honored only four women with major retrospectives of their work, most recently Elizabeth Murray. This documentary traces the life and work of this remarkable, dynamic woman whose paintings have broken rules, and established her as a veritable iconoclast of the mainstream art world.
“I AM NASRINE” - Narrative Feature
TINA GHARAVI – DIRECTOR/PRODUCER, SOUTH SHIELDS, TYNE+WEAR, UK
Nasrine could be, and is, any teenager. Events throw her world into revolution as circumstances beyond her control change her life forever. In this subtly observed film we meet a young woman doing her best to understand herself, find a better world, and to deal with the consequences of politics around her. Her brother, Ali, to look after her is also on his own journey. When tragedy befalls the pair, Nasrine has to decide whether to take the reins of her life into her own hands.
“SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE” - Documentary
DEBBIE LUM –PRODUCER/DIRECTOR, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
ALLISON SARGENT – CO-PRODUCER, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Two strangers, an elderly American man and a young Chinese woman, pursue a marriage brokered by the Internet, but they get more than they bargained for when she moves across the Pacific to start a new life with him in America in this intimate and quirky personal documentary about modern love.
“NAKED” - Documentary
ROYNN LISA SIMMONS – DIRECTOR/WRITER/PRODUCER, MIDDLETOWN, CT
Naked is one woman’s grueling struggle with breast cancer. Thoughtful, funny, and courageous, Meredith reveals all as she visits her oncologist, fights with insurers, has her breasts photographed by an artist, and consults with plastic surgeons.
“FUTURE WEATHER” - Narrative Feature
JENNY DELLER – DIRECTOR/WRITER/PRODUCER, PHILADELPHIA, PA
Abandoned by her single mom, a teenage loner becomes fixated on ecological disaster, forcing her and her grandmother, a functioning alcoholic, to rethink their futures.
“ZERGÜT” – Animation Short
NATASHA SUBRAMANIAM & ALISA LAPIDUS, CO-DIRECTORS, LOS ANGELES, CA
Within a refrigerator, a battle ensues as moldy foods forgotten in the depths of the back, rise up against the fresh ingredients that reside in the front. These confrontations escalate to become a war, as foods morph, disintegrate, dance, explode, and become a textural, abstract display of color and form culminating in a grand finale sequence that results in their obliteration.
“KUSAMA: PRINCESS OF POLKA DOTS” - Documentary
HEATHER LENZ – DIRECTOR/WRITER/PRODUCER, IRVINE, CA
KAREN JOHNSON - PRODUCER
Yayoi Kusama’s rise to fame within the art world. In her youth, Kusama rivaled Andy Warhol. Now 82, she has spent the last 30 years in a Tokyo mental institution. This is the story of a misfit who gains acceptance.
Successes in films and television movies, that the WIFF FFF provided finishing funds to include:
Academy Award Winners:
MAYA LIN: A STRONG CLEAR VISION ( dir: Frieda Lee Mock) “Best Documentary Feature,” 1994
FREEHELD (dir: Cynthia Wade, prod: Vanessa Roth) “Best Documentary Short,” 2007
Academy Award Nominees:
LAS MADRES DE LA PLAZA DE MAYO (dir: Lourdes Portillo and Susan Muñoz) “Best Documentary Feature,” 1986
BEYOND IMAGINING (prod: Wendy Weinberg) “Best Documentary Short,” 1991
REGRET TO INFORM (dir: Barbara Sonneborn) “Best Documentary Feature,” 1993
THE FRAGILE PROMISE OF CHOICE (dir: Dorothy Fadiman) “Best Documentary Feature,” 1995
SPEAKING IN STRINGS (dir: Paola di Florio) “Best Documentary Feature,” 1999
THE COLLECTOR OF BEDFORD STREET (dir: Alice Elliott) “Best Documentary Short,” 2002
MEN WHO MOLEST, CHILDREN WHO SURVIVE ( prod: Rachel Lyons) 1985
GIRLS LIKE US (dir: Jane Wagner and Tina Di Feliciantonio) 1993
ANIMATED WOMEN (prod: Patty Wineapple, dir: Sybil DelGaudio) 1994
BE GOOD, SMILE PRETTY (dir: Tracy Droz Tragos) 2004
AMERICAN BLACKOUT - 2006 Sundance Special Jury Prize, Documentary Feature
A WALK INTO THE SEA: DANNY WILLIAMS AND THE WARHOL FACTORY - 2007 TriBeCa Film Festival, NY Loves Docs; 2007 Teddy Award at Berlinale for Best Documentary Feature
CRIME AFTER CRIME - San Francisco International Film Festival's Golden Gate Award and Audience Choice Award for Investigative Documentary Feature 2010
CIRCUMSTANCE - Sundance US Dramatic Competition Audience Award 2010, Narrative Feature
MY SO-CALLED ENEMY - Newport Beach Film Festival 2011: Jury Award, Best Feature Documentary Film; MacGillivray Freeman Films Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking (Feature); Starz Denver Film Festival: Special Jury Prize in Filmmaking; 2010 Hamptons International Film Festival: Brizzolara Family Conflict & Resolution Film Award
GRACE PALEY: COLLECTED SHORTS - 2010 Woodstock Film Festival: Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature; 2010 Denver Starz Film Festival: People's Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature; 2010 Palm Springs International Film Festival: Finalist - Best in Fest
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Women In Film is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women achieve their highest potential within the global entertainment, communication and media industries and to preserving the legacy of women within those industries. Founded in 1973, Women In Film and its Women In Film Foundation provide for members an extensive network of contacts, educational programs, scholarships, film finishing funds and grants, access to employment opportunities, mentorships and numerous practical services in support of this mission. For more information about Women In Film and its programs, visit www.wif.org.