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Santa Fe Film Institute Announces 5 Grant Awardees

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5 Filmmakers to earn funding in 2021

 

Five filmmakers will be awarded for Santa Fe Film Institute’s (SFFI) first Regional Grant cycle. Grant recipients include Deja Bernhardt, Sharon Arteaga, Siena Sofia Bergt, Petyr Xyst, and Lois Lipman. 

 

The SFFI team created this grant in 2021 as a professional opportunity to encourage and support filmmakers in New Mexico and the surrounding region. SFFI received applications from filmmakers throughout New Mexico, as well as the surrounding states of Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas during its first cycle. 

 

“It’s really wonderful to award such an exciting group of projects,” said Santa Fe Film Institute President Jacques Paisner. SFFI will provide a total of $5,000 in funding distributed among the 2021 awarded film projects.

 

SFFI’s Regional Grant will continue to directly benefit filmmakers—as well as cast and crew, and other industry members—to help ensure the creation, completion, and success of features and short film projects. The Grand Prize Winner of Santa Fe Film Institute's Regional Grant will also receive a free certificate to use Final Draft's screenwriting application for a full year. Santa Fe Film Institute’s main project, the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, will present its 14th edition October 19th–23rd, 2022.

 

For more information on Santa Fe Film Institute's 2022 Regional Grant cycle, please visit santafefilminstitute.org in early 2022.

 

 

want to support Santa Fe Film Institute's Regional Grant? Click Donate Now then select "Grant Program" in the dropdown menu.

Donate Now!

 
 

 

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ABOUT THE AWARDED PROJECTS

Deja Bernhardt: The Last Hawaiian Sugar

THE LAST HAWAIIAN SUGAR is a short drama set on the only remaining sugar cane plantation on Maui. NUA, a Samoan(12), lives here with her mother. A product of this migrant farm that brought ethnicities from around the world, she has an intensely spiritual connection to the land she exists on, this is how she identifies in the world. Her story is, in essence, a metaphor for the effects Big Sugar, and industrialized farming in whole, has had on the Hawaiian Islands. When Nua learns the mill is closing and they’ll be forced to leave, she attempts to tell her mother about the abuse her step-father inflicts upon her, hoping that they won’t have move with him. When her mother fails to hear her cries for help Nua resolves to sabotage the final sugarcane burn as she prepares to say goodbye to the only home she’s ever known. 

 

 

Sharon Arteaga: In Tow

On the morning of her senior homecoming game, a self-involved high school cheerleader (Sheila) and her overworked single mom (Bonnie) wake up to find that their mobile home is being repossessed... with them inside of it! The estranged women are towed through country roads, arguing to get what each wants, inside their shaking, single-wide trailer. Bonnie tries to save the home she’s worked hard for, while Sheila desperately attempts to escape the moving home in order to make it in time to cheer at her last homecoming game.

 

The mobile home is on its way to the repossession lot by an oblivious truck driver who is immersed in a how-to podcast about acquiring wealth. After a climactic confrontation, the women rekindle their once intimate bond. In a last desperate attempt to save their home, the women find themselves in a stunt worthy of Dwayne "the Rock” Johnson. Not quick enough, the truck driver pulls up to the mobile home repossession lot. The women may have lost their physical home, but they found a deeper connection that will make them stronger than ever.

 

IN TOW is an 18-minute mother-daughter adventure film that looks at failure, forgiveness, and poverty, through drama, humor, and action. It’s about fluctuating dynamics of mother-daughter relationships and opposite effects that poverty can have on a household: with exhaustion on one end and an obsession to live beyond one's means on the other. Ultimately, IN TOW is about losing home and finding it through situations you least expect.

 

 

Siena Sofia Bergt: Radon Daughters

It’s getting harder for Nita Iglesias to balance mourning the loss of her sister, recovering items left in the Northern New Mexico desert by other vanished local women, and fighting to prevent her grandmother’s drug abuse. Her former childhood friend Isidro isn’t helping, either: the ragers he throws in their village church only seem to cause more disappearances, and it always falls to her to clean up toxic party remnants the next morning. But for Isidro, these gatherings offer a distraction from the realities of life in the village--and an opportunity to get even with rich kids from the government lab uphill. Those boys may have all the resources his own mining family could never access; but the radioactive inhalants he cooks up for his guests reassure him that they’ll all be better united in their deaths. 

 

One of those lab kids, Julius Weiss, has just returned from med school after the AIDS-related death of his boyfriend, Ryosuke. Because Ryo’s dad was interned during WWII not far from Julius’ hometown, he plans to scatter his boyfriend’s remaining belongings at the former camp’s site. But he takes a wrong turn along the way, ending up at the village instead--where he discovers his younger sister Karin has been sneaking out to party with Isidro. Karin might only be seeing Isidro (and a few other boys along the way) to gather fodder for the installation she’s making about the missing women; but when the four cross paths at a party near the mines, the consequences of the meeting will change each of their lives forever.

 

 

Petyr Xyst: The Original Shareholder Experience

Rebecca, a darling of her employer The Freedom Company, is asked to meet with her superiors in order to sell a “controversial” product, being held in confidence due to an insurgent anti-colonial movement led by her estranged brother, that threatens to disturb the peace of the Company, which is growing into a quasi-governmental state.

 

They tell her that they want her to introduce the world to the Company’s Indigevillas—a getaway resort that’s a cross between an AirBnb, a New Age Enlightenment compound, and an Indian burial ground. It doesn’t go over as well as they had hoped.

 

Rebecca blows up at them for the first time in her 5 year long career, as they show her their ultra-Millennial launch promo, which depicts a white businessman finding enlightenment on her ancestral territory. Her anger is seemingly kept at bay when she’s offered a generous raise and a donation to her foundation.

 

In her deliberation, she finds herself looking at the protest movement outside, her looming above them on the lush sixtieth floor. Once she sees the Company’s security force slaughter them—including her brother—her mind is made. She arrives on set and burns it all down, sparking the fire of a revolution that will change the world.

 

 

Lois Lipman: Downwinders

DOWNWINDERS is a story of government betrayal with tragic consequences, and of the rise of a grassroots movement for justice. Galvanized by a charismatic Hispanx female entrepreneur, Tina Cordova, those affected have come together to lobby Congress and speak out. While the federal government tracked damage to the remote Nevada communities affected by later test blasts, and eventually made amends through the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA 1990), the New Mexican Downwinders have been ignored.

 

 

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Visit SFFI's Website

 
 

 

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The Grand Prize Winner of Santa Fe Film Institute's Regional Grant will also receive a free certificate to use Final Draft's screenwriting application for a full year.

 

 

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