EXCLUSIVE: San Francisco Film Society Announces 2013 FilmHouse Residencies

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by Beth Hanna
December 6, 2012 2:20 PM
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San Francisco Film Society
The San Francisco Film Society has announced the filmmakers who have been awarded the FilmHouse Residencies, to begin February 2013. The program supports independent filmmakers by making office space available free of charge for a six- or twelve-month term, allowing the directors to actively engage in various stages of film production. The filmmakers are listed below.

FilmHouse residents also benefit from a speaker series, workshops and work-in-progress screenings, all in-house.

Applications are due for the next term in April 2013. Visit the SFFS website for more info.

List of 2013 FilmHouse residents:

Serge Bakalian, Way of the Warthogs

Documentary feature, preproduction, 12-month residency

Serge Bakalian is a San Francisco-based filmmaker and activist. He worked for the F.A.O. of the United Nations and Greenpeace International before moving to San Francisco in 2007 to produce film and theater dedicated to the Middle East. In 2011, Bakalian completed the award-winning Default: the Student Loan Documentary, which has seen been released on PBS and LinkTV. He has worked on a wide range of issues and campaigns, notably on defending the biodiversity of the world's food supply against genetic modification. Bakalian holds a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in International Relations from the London School of Economics. Way of the Warthogs features the Oakland Warthogs Youth Rugby program, the challenges faced by its student athletes and the impact of rugby in America's inner cities.

Cheryl Dunye, (Per)mission

Narrative feature / live performance, screenwriting, 12-month residency

Cheryl Dunye, a native of Liberia, received her MFA from Rutgers University and is an Associate Professor at California College of the Arts. She has received numerous national and international honors for her work in the media arts. Dunye wrote, directed and starred in the first African American lesbian feature film, The Watermelon Woman. Her other works have been included in the Whitney Biennial and screened at festivals in New York, London, Tokyo, Cape Town, and Sydney. Dunye has served on the Directors Guild of America's Independent Council and on the advisory board for IFP's Gordon Parks Award. (Per)mission is a digital narrative / live cinema performance illuminating the personal and political scenarios (past, present, future) of Cheryl, a black butch feminist filmmaker as she struggles to define herself in a pluralist society where language and emotions conflict with her authentic visibility.

Christie Herring, The Campaign

Documentary feature, postproduction, 12-month residency

No stranger to politics, Christie Herring grew up working on campaigns for public office in Mississippi. Today she is an award-winning independent documentary director with a strong interest in social justice. Her first film Waking in Mississippi focused on the wildly controversial election of the first black mayor in Herring's childhood hometown -- a contest that ended in the threat of a race riot. Her short films Chickens in the City, Howdy Partner, and Bodies and Souls have won multiple awards, screened at dozens of film festivals around the world, and have aired on PBS. The Campaign is a human drama following ordinary people caught in a political firestorm, the campaign to defeat California's Proposition 8 and defend same-sex marriage.

Jonah Markowitz, Start at the End

Narrative feature, screenwriting, 12-month residency

Jonah Markowitz has been professionally making films for the past 13 years. He wrote and directed the critically acclaimed independent feature film Shelter, which won the HBO Award for Outstanding First Feature and the Scion Director's Award, as well as audience awards in New York, Vancouver, Sao Paulo and Melbourne, among others. The film was named "The Number 1 Gay Film of All Time" by AfterElton.com in their bi-annual poll. Previously, Markowitz wrote and directed two short films, I Left Me and Hung Up, which screened at over 40 festivals worldwide and were both programmed at the American Cinematheque. Start At The End is about a childless gay couple becoming caretakers of their teenage niece and nephew following a fatal car accident.

Banker White and Anna Fitch, The Genius of Marian

Documentary feature, postproduction / outreach, 12-month residency

Banker White directed and produced the award-winning documentary Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, which tells the story of a group of six Sierra Leonean musicians. The film was nominated by the International Documentary Association for best feature in 2006, won grand jury awards at AFI Fest, Full Frame Film Festival and Human Rights Watch Film Festival, and earned audience awards at SXSW and Miami International Film Festival. It was also broadcast on POV in North America, HBO Latin America and NHK in Japan. In 2009, he founded WeOwnTV, a collaborative filmmaking and storytelling project based in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The Genius of Marian is an intimate documentary about a family struggling with change and loss as a wife and mother grapples with early-onset Alzheimer's disease and seeks to share memories of childhood and of her own mother, the renowned painter Marian Williams Steele.

Anna Fitch is an Emmy Award-winning director whose work has aired on National Geographic, Channel 4, TLC and PBS. Her films BugWorld: War of Two Worlds and Bug Attack have won numerous awards, including an Emmy for Best Documentary Directing in 2003 for the former. In 2011 her short The Burning Wigs of Sedition screened at the National Gallery of Art, the Seattle International Film Festival, the Woodstock Film Festival, the San Francisco Film Society's Cinema By the Bay, the Perth Revelation Film Festival and Rooftop Films, and won a Best of Festival prize at the Black Maria Film Festival and an Audience Award at SF IndieFest.

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