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AFS Grants Announced

$115,000 awarded to filmmakers

By Marjorie Baumgarten, 2:15PM, Tue. Sep. 2

AFS Grants Announced

The Austin Film Society is at it again: giving away money to filmmakers and their projects. The 2014 recipients of AFS Grants (formerly the Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund) and Travel Grants have been announced today.

A total of $115,000 has been awarded this year to 37 projects and 40 filmmakers from across the state of Texas. Since 1996 when the Grant started, AFS has given $1.4 million in cash and $172,790 in goods and services to over 330 artists.

Although the list of recipients is heavily Austin-centric and dotted with lots of familiar names, 58% of the awards were given to newcomers. The panel of filmmakers and curators from outside Texas who determined the awardees and allocations included Aaron Katz, the co-writer/director of Land Ho!, which is currently in theaters; Angela Tucker, documentary producer and director; and curator and film journalist Tom Hall, who is the newly named director of the Montclair Film Festival. AFS Associate Artistic Director Holly Herrick administered the 2014 grant.

Congratulations to all. We look forward to seeing these completed projects in the coming months and years.

Feature Narratives:

All That We Love
D: Yen Tan (Austin)

AFS Grant Award: $2,500

MPS Camera Award: $5,000

The death of a beloved pet compels a middle-aged man to examine the fragility of his present relationships.

Any Rough Times Are Now Behind You
D: Alex R. Johnson (Austin)

AFS Grant Award: $5,000

After a sports fix goes wrong and his accomplice is murdered, Charlie Moore flees Texas to South America where he tries to hide out and start anew in the highlands of the Andes.

Booger Red
D: Berndt Mader (Austin)

AFS Grant Award: $10,000

A veteran reporter searches for the truth behind the largest child-sex ring in Texas history. On his journey through the bowels of East Texas, he discovers that the allegations at the root of his investigation might have never happened.

Jackrabbit
D: Carleton Ranney (Austin)

AFS Grant Award: $2,500

Two unlikely computer prodigies must team up to discover the truth behind their mutual friend's mysterious suicide - leading them down a dangerous and revelatory path.

La Barracuda
D: Jason Cortlund & Julia Halperin (Austin)

 AFS Grant Award: $2,500

 A strange woman comes to Texas to meet her half-sister and stake a claim to the family's outlaw music legacy, one way or another.

Nakom
D: Travis Pittman & Kelly Daniela Norris (Austin)

AFS Grant Award: $10,000

Upon his father's sudden death, a talented medical student returns to his home village in Ghana to face the realities of a struggling farm, his family's survival, and the choice between two very different futures.

Never Goin’ Back
D: Augustine Frizzell (Dallas, TX)

AFS Grant Award: $2,500

MPS Camera Award: $5,000

In an attempt to get rent money and avoid eviction, high school drop outs Jessie and Angela embark on a day of adventure that includes dudes, drugs, booze and an ill-advised heist. Just another day in the life of your average 16-year-old girl.

Results
D: Andrew Bujalski (Austin)
AFS Grant Award: $5,000

Set in the fitness industry, Results is an unconventional romantic comedy that follows two mismatched personal trainers, Trevor (Guy Pearce) and Kat (Cobie Smulders), surrender to love propelled by the actions of a newly wealthy client.

Slash
D: Clay Liford (Austin)

AFS Grant Award: $2,500

A teen's online erotic fiction leads him to discover truths about his own sexuality when his newfound notoriety forces him out into the real world.

Slow Creep
D: Jim Hickcox (Austin)

Kodak Film Award (film stock) : $3,000

Mom and dad are out of town, and three teens are excited for a night of movies and sneaked alcohol. What they're not counting on is an attack from the Slow Creep.

Feature Documentaries:

Anthropocene
D: John Fiege (Austin)

AFS Grant Award: $2,500

Through the stories, emotions and visual poetry found in humanity's complex relationships with nature, Anthropocene visits every continent on earth to create a provocative portrait of a new geologic era marked by the sixth mass extinction of species and the permanent imprint of human beings upon every aspect of the planet.

Boom Town
D: Chelsea Hernandez (Austin)

AFS Grant Award: $2,500

Texas’ booming $67 billion construction industry is hailed as a recession-proof economic miracle. Boom Town witnesses the impact of dangerous underpaid working conditions of the industry’s exploited labor force.

In the Shadows
D: Alvaro Torres-Crespo (Austin)

AFS Grant Award: $10,000
In The Shadows tells the story of six gold panners living deep in Costa Rica's rainforest. In the name of environmental preservation, the president has decided to expel all panners from the Osa. This intimate and lyrical film captures the group as it tries to survive an increasingly hostile environment and organize as a community, and questions Costa Rica's famed conservation practices.

Seadrift
D: Timothy Tsai (Austin)

 AFS Grant Award: $5,000

In 1979, the fatal shooting of a white crabber in a small Texas fishing village ignites a maelstrom of hostilities against Vietnamese fishing communities along the Gulf Coast. Seadrift inspects the circumstances surrounding the incident and its tumultuous aftermath, and tells the story of Vietnamese refugees who flee their home country only to be confronted by angry fishermen and the KKK as they search for a new home in a strange land.

Son of a Bug
D: Nicole Marie Tavares & Shams-Tabraiz Muzaffar (Richardson, TX)

AFS Grant Award: $10,000
Son of a Bug is a feature-length documentary that explores the history of the Bugs, the first Pakistani rock band, and contested spaces of culture and religion, particularly what it means to be Muslim and Pakistani American, as revealed through the father-son relationship between former drummer-turned-Texan "Jimmy" Jumshade and his Texas-raised son, Shams-Tabraiz.

Stumped
D: Robin Berghaus (Austin)

 AFS Grant Award: $2,500

After filmmaker Will Lautzenheiser lost his limbs to a bacterial infection, his life was derailed. With his career on hold, Will finds a new creative outlet in stand-up comedy that becomes a form of on-stage therapy. Now, a Boston medical team wants to help Will get his life back by performing an experimental, double-arm transplantation.

Tower
D: Keith Maitland (Austin)

AFS Grant Award: $5,000

August 1st, 1966 - a lone gunman ascended the University of Texas tower and opened fire; it was America's first school shooting.  Tower, an animated documentary, will explore the story of that day and its effects over the past 50 years. Visceral first-hand accounts of those who were there, ask: How did the worst in one man bring out the best in so many others? 

Untitled Higher Education Project
D: Joe Bailey Jr. & Steve Mims (Austin)

AFS Grant Award: $2,500

Filmmakers Steve Mims and Joe Bailey, Jr.'s new project, now in production, focuses on contemporary national issues in public higher education, through the lens of Texas' two flagship schools, the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M.

Shorts:

“Broken Arrow”
D: Dustin Shroff (Austin)

AFS Grant Award: $1,500

Chris is a twelve-year-old loner trapped in the suburban sprawl of 1995 Tulsa, Oklahoma … with a huge crush on Kurt Cobain.

“Bury Me In The Dark”
D: Juan Pablo González (Austin)

Miriam and Rutilio are a Mexican couple who have lived in Austin, TX for half of their lives. Their stable existence is disrupted suddenly when Rutilio suffers a fatal accident and dies inside the house. Miriam and her daughter have to make the body disappear to save themselves from deportation.

“Florence”
D: Caleb Kuntz (Austin)

Kodak Film Award (film stock) : $2,000

Florence is a young teenage girl who has a mild form of Aspergers Syndrome, but is misdiagnosed as having depression, and prescribed psychotropic medication. The short film follows Florence's decision whether or not to take the medication.

“Housekeeping”
D: Catherine Licata (Austin)

AFS Grant Award: $1,000

Melody and Elliott’s domestic idyll is destroyed by an unexpected arrival.

Middle Witch”
D: Amanda Gotera (Austin)

AFS Grant Award: $1,500

“Middle Witch” is a contemporary folktale that follows a restless fifteen-year-old witch on the day she steals a magic egg from the abandoned lot behind her house, unwittingly luring a terrible Beast home with her, and putting her sisters in grave danger.

“Skunk”
D: Annie Silverstein (Austin)

AFS Grant Award: $1,000

When her pit bull is stolen by an aspiring dogfighter, Leila is forced to stand up for herself, at the cost of her own innocence.

“Untitled Megalith Film”
D: Jennifer Lane (Marfa, TX)

AFS Grant Award: $1,000

With a combination of dreamlike, slow motion imagery and stark, mysterious long takes, this film is an experimental documentary of Neolithic megalithic architecture - Dolmens or "passage graves" - across the Iberian peninsula.

2014 AFS Travel Grant Recipients:

Bob Birdnow’s Remarkable Tale of Human Survival and the Transcendence of Self
D: Eric Steele (Hamptons International Film Festival)



Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter
D: David Zellner (Sundance & Berlin Film Festivals)

La Barracuda
D: Julia Halperin & Jason Cortlund (Biennale College Venice)

No No: A Dockumentary
D: Jeffrey Radice (Sundance Film Festival)



Hellion
D: Kat Candler (Sundance Film Festival)



Ping Pong Summer
D: Michael Tully (Rotterdam Film Festival)

Pit Stop
D: Yen Tan (Independent Spirit Awards)

“Rat Pack Rat”
D: Todd Rohal (Sundance Film Festival)

“R/B/G”
D: Alejandro Pena (Slamdance Film Festival)

“The Realist”
D: Scott Stark (Toronto International Film Festival)

Rehearsal
D: Thomas S. Rosenberg (CPH:DOX)

The Retrieval
D: Chris Eska (Woodstock & Thessaloniki Film Festivals)

Slash
D: Clay Liford (IFP No Borders)

Winter in The Blood
D: Alex Smith (Woodstock Film Festival)

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