Two current students and one alumna from the NYU Tisch Graduate Film program were awarded $155,000 in filmmaking grants from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, in partnership with the San Francisco Film Society. Jonas Carpignano and Chloé Zhao, both of whom are slated to graduate this year, and Elena Greenlee (MFA, ’14) accounted for three of the six filmmakers/filmmaking teams who were granted a total of $300,000 in funding to help with their next stage of their creative process, from screenwriting to post production.

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Elena Greenlee

Two current students and one alumna from the NYU Tisch Graduate Film program were awarded $155,000 in filmmaking grants from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, in partnership with the San Francisco Film Society. Jonas Carpignano and Chloé Zhao, both of whom are slated to graduate this year, and Elena Greenlee (MFA, ’14) accounted for three of the six filmmakers/filmmaking teams who were granted a total of $300,000 in funding to help with their next stage of their creative process, from screenwriting to post-production.

SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grants are awarded twice annually to filmmakers for narrative feature films that will have significant economic or professional impact on the Bay Area filmmaking community. More than $2.8 million has been awarded since the launch of the program in 2009, making this joint venture between KRF & SFFS the largest granting body for independent narrative feature films in the United States.

“At the Graduate Film program, we are extremely fortunate to host a community of students and alumni of extraordinary artistic vision and a collaborative spirit that inspires all of us, students and faculty alike,” said Barbara Schock, chair of the NYU Tisch Graduate Film department. “Elena, Jonas and Chloe are singular artists whose work speaks for itself. We’re especially gratified when such esteemed organizations as the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and the San Francisco Film Society recognize our students’ craft and vision. Their support is deeply meaningful and confirms our department’s commitment to artistic excellence.”

Greenlee received a screenwriting grant of $35,000 for her feature film Dark Forest, a film about a hipster millennial who steps out of her depth and into the complex world of Amazonian shamanism. Carpignano and Zhao each received $60,000 post production grants - his for Mediterranea, a tale of an immigrant’s travel from Burkina Faso across the Sahara and Mediterranean ultimately to Italy; and hers for Songs My Brother Taught Me, about a restless Lakota teen who fights to escape his life on the reservation but soon realizes that leaving the only place he has ever known is far more complicated than he thought.

The panelists who reviewed the finalists’ submissions included Noah Cowan, SFFS Executive Director; Jonathan King, Executive Vice President of Production at Participant Media; Jennifer Rainin, Chief Executive Officer of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation; Sue Turley, Managing Director of ro*co films; and Michele Turnure-Salleo, Director of Filmmaker360. Other filmmakers who were awarded grants included Kris Swanberg, Annie Silverstein, and a four-person filmmaking/production team including Robert Machoian, Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, Robert Thomas, and Laura Heberton.

In addition to being awarded funds, recipients also receive various benefits and in-kind services via Filmmaker360, the San Francisco Film Society’s comprehensive filmmaker services program. For more information visit sffs.org/Filmmaker360/Grants. For more information about the Graduate Film program at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, visit gradfilm.tisch.nyu.edu.

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Chloe

Jonas Carpignano

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