SF Film Society Launches New Women Filmmaker Fellowship

January 22, 2015
San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking

Original article by Ryan Lattanzio

The folks behind the San Francisco International Film Festival have launched a new initiative to support underserved voices.

The state of things for female directors in Hollywood may be looking bleak, but one organization is looking to make a difference on the indie side.

The San Francisco Film Society has just launched the SFFS Women Filmmaker Fellowship, a new suite of services that will support female writer/directors working on their second or third narrative feature with financial backing, programs and events, mentorship services, industry connections and more.

Backed by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and facilitated by SFFS’ Filmmaker360, this fellowship will provide direct assistance to an underserved group of storytellers and help build sustainable careers for women filmmakers everywhere. Also, the fellowship will give priority to projects in the under-represented genres of sci-fi, comedy, action, thriller and horror.

Participants in the SFFS Women Filmmaker Fellowship must working on a second or third English-language narrative feature screenplay budgeted at no more than $3 million. Fellows must also have had a previous film premiere at a major international festival.

Applications will open in winter 2016. The fellowships will take place from April to October each year, overlapping with the Film Society’s San Francisco International Film Festival (April 23–May 7). Program support includes:

  • A $25,000–$40,000 cash grant, which must be used for living expenses. Individual amounts depend on place of residence and estimated travel costs to participate in Bay Area fellowship components.
  • Placement in FilmHouse Residency program and access to all FilmHouse programs and activities.
  • One-on-one consultation with film industry experts from the Bay Area and beyond regarding casting, 
financing, budgeting, legal issues, distribution and other relevant topics.
  • Weekly one-on-one consultation services provided by Filmmaker360 staff, with feedback on screenplays, verbal pitch strategies and written materials such as synopsis and treatment.
  • Presentations and networking opportunities with Bay Area narrative filmmakers.
  • Expenses covered for one 3-day networking trip with a Filmmaker360 staff member from San Francisco to Los Angeles, for meetings with established industry professionals

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