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San Francisco Film Society Announces Hearst Grant and Djerassi Residency Screenwriting Winners

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood October 25, 2013 at 11:32AM

A couple of announcements on the screenwriting grants front today from the San Francisco Film Society. Alistair Banks Griffin has won the $15,000 SFFS/Hearst Screenwriting Grant to develop his screenplay for “Snow the Jones,” and Lea Nakonechny was awarded the Djerassi Residency Award, which provides a one-month all-expenses-paid writer's retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains to work on her script “A Sweeter World.” More info on the two winners, below.
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San Francisco Film Society

A couple of announcements on the screenwriting grants front today from the San Francisco Film Society. Alistair Banks Griffin has won the $15,000 SFFS/Hearst Screenwriting Grant to develop his screenplay for “Snow the Jones,” and Lea Nakonechny was awarded the Djerassi Residency Award, which provides a one-month all-expenses-paid writer's retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains to work on her script “A Sweeter World.” More info on the two winners, below.

The Hearst Grant is awarded annually in the fall to a writer residing in the United States who has been practicing for at least five years and who has previously written a minimum of one feature screenplay.

The Djerassi Residency Award provides uninterrupted time for work and collegial interaction, in a beautiful rural location.

Alistair Banks Griffin
Alistair Banks Griffin

Alistair Banks Griffin

Alistair Banks Griffin was born in England and raised in New Orleans. After earning a BFA at Rhode Island School of Design, Griffin premiered his short film Gauge at the 2008 New York Film Festival. In 2009 he was the recipient of a Cinereach grant for his first feature film script Two Gates of Sleep, which competed for the Camera D'Or in the Fortnight selection of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and won the Grand Prize at CPH:PIX. He is currently participating in the 2013 Berlinale Residency with his period screenplay Therese, produced by Treme creator Eric Overmeyer. Snow the Jones will be his second feature film.

Snow the Jones

When teenage vagabond Lexi joins a traveling door-to-door sales crew, she discovers a world much darker than the one from which she was trying to escape. Snow the Jones explores the very real world of  sales crews, where kids are taught to lie, cheat and steal to make sales while sleeping six to a room every night, ex-military managers force kids with the lowest sales to fistfight until unconsciousness and owners cook the books while hooking kids on drugs and life on the road. Lured into the lifestyle with promises of riches, new friends, adventure and nightly hedonistic romps in road side motels, Lexi soon learns that she has entered into a battle for nothing less than her own soul. Built upon the true stories of former sales crew survivors, the film is an experiential trip into a dark side of the American dream and a lost young girl looking for a place to belong.

Lea Nakonechny
Lea Nakonechny

Lea Nakonechny

Lea Nakonechny is a Montreal-based filmmaker originally from rural Saskatchewan, Canada. Her 53-minute documentary Two Museums (2005) won the Artistic Vision Award at the 2006 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula, Montana and toured 18 commercial theaters across Saskatchewan. Nakonechny was one of the eight female directors selected from across Canada for the 2012–13 Women in the prestigious Director's Chair program at the Banff Centre, supported by NBC Universal. Nakonechny’s short film Edge of the Desert (2009) premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and screened at a dozen other festivals around the world. Her feature-length script Nowhere Road was a semi-finalist in the 2011 Slamdance Screenplay Competition, a Second-Rounder in the 2012 Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition, and was selected for the 2013 edition of IFP's No Borders International Co-Production Market during Independent Film Week in New York City.

A Sweeter World

After falling on hard times when his bees die off, Jim Wiebe kills a competing beekeeper for his honey. Finding refuge in a Hutterite colony, he sees a chance at salvation. But how long can a guilty man stay in a place where the number one rule is to love thy neighbor?

This article is related to: News, San Francisco, San Francisco Film Society, Awards


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.