San Francisco Film Society names 2015 doc fund grantees

The San Francisco Film Society has awarded The Island and the Whales, Learning to Forget (pictured) and The Oakland Police Project a total of US$75,000 through its Documentary Film Fund.
May 1, 2015

Three documentary projects have been awarded US$75,000 in completion grants through the San Francisco Film Society’s Documentary Film Fund.

Director Mike Day’s The Island and the Whales received $35,000 in funding. The doc focuses on how changes to the environment are impacting whale hunters on the Nordic Faroe Islands. Day, who founded the company Intrepid Cinema in 2009, previously made the BBC doc The Gugg Hunters of Ness.

Learning to Forget (pictured) from Danish director Kaspar Astrup Schröder and producer Katherine Sahlstrom was awarded $15,000. The film is about an orphanage founded by a former prison guard to house the children of Death Row convicts. Schröder’s past films include The Invention of Dr. Nakamats and Rent a Family Inc.

Lastly, director Peter Nicks received $25,000 for The Oakland Police Project, which centers on the Oakland, California police force. The doc is told from the “rare perspective of beleaguered officers who are often viewed as oppressors in the community they serve, even as they and their young chief struggles to rebuild trust in the face of mass protests, budget cuts and more violent crimes per officer than any city in America.”

Nicks’ credits include the Oscar-nominated The Waiting Room as well as Blame Somebody Else and Out of Control: AIDS in Black America.

The three films were selected from 11 finalists by a panel of judges.

“We were particularly impressed by the great depth these filmmakers have shown, in both their intellectual approaches to their subjects and the visual style they use to present them,” said Michele Turnure-Salleo, director of the Film Society’s Filmmaker360 program, in a statement. “We have seen quite a lot of development in recent years in the visual language of documentaries, and these projects absolutely exemplify that sophistication.”

The SFFS’s Documentary Film Fund supports docs in the post-production. Since launching in 2011, it has awarded more than $450,000 in financing to docs including Zachary Heinzerling’s Cutie and the Boxer, Joe Brewster’s American Promise and Jason Zeldes’ Romeo Is Bleeding.

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