FALL 2017 NEWSLETTER

The BFF is delighted to announce the award of 22 grants totaling $193,000—the largest annual amount to date. A record  120 applications were received from   filmmakers who reside or work in the cities of Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville and Oakland. Since its founding in 2009, BFF has awarded  $1,264,000  in grants to  120 film projects.
READ THE FULL NEWSLETTER

4-WHEEL BOB – OCT 3rd

4 Wheel Bob tells the story of wheelchair hiker Bob Coomber and his attempt to be the first wheelchair hiker to cross the Sierra Nevada.  The film addresses two important themes: the ability to overcome adversity, and environmental conservation. There is a large population of the disabled who are wheelchair-bound yet able to get outside and experience nature. The challenge is to overcome internal struggles and fears. It was Bob’s determination and his motto of “no excuses” that led to an obsession with wheelchair hiking as a way to gain his health back.

ON HER OWN – AUG 1st

On Her Own tells the story of Nancy Prebilich and her family as they struggle to save their 5th generation farm during the Great Recession. Yet On Her Own is about more than just one family’s struggle to keep their land out of foreclosure. It represents what is happening all across the U.S. as houses are foreclosed, families are forced to move apart for purely economic reasons, and small farms face ruthless competition from large factory farms & land developers. On Her Own explores the roles history and ancestry play in our present-day lives, asking: what happens when the cost of preserving family heritage is the family itself?

 

LIFE AFTER LIFE – JUNE 6th

Life After Life follows the stories of Harrison, Noel, and Chris as they return home from San Quentin State Prison. After spending most of their lives incarcerated, they are forced to reconcile their perception of themselves with a reality they are unprepared for.  Each struggles to overcome personal demons and reconstruct their fractured lives. Grappling with day-to-day challenges and striving for success, they work to reconnect with family and provide for themselves for the first time in their adult lives.

Read more about the film.


PANEL DISCUSSION – MAY 17th

Expanding New Opportunities for Independent Filmmakers
Change is afoot in the documentary world! Three significant new hires in the documentary field have recently been announced: Lisa Hasko of Film Independent, Carrie Lozano of the International Documentary Association, and Caroline von Kühn of the San Francisco Film Society have all recently taken on newly created strategic positions that will transform the documentary funding and programs landscape and expand the opportunities for filmmakers. Join us for this unprecedented event that will bring all three together for the first time to discuss the exciting new initiatives coming out of their organizations. 

SPRING 2017 NEWSLETTER

On March 16th, BFF donors, filmmakers, and city partners feted our 2016 grant winners at the Saul Zaentz Center and raised $98,000 toward this year’s grants! Congresswoman Barbara Lee provided certificates to all the awardees. It was a great evening!
Thank you to our 2017 BFF Grant Applicants!  Read More >
READ THE FULL NEWSLETTER

COMPANY TOWN

The once free-spirited city of San Francisco is now a “Company Town,” a playground for tech moguls of the “sharing economy.” Airbnb is the biggest hotel. Uber privatizes transit. And now these companies want political power as well. Meanwhile, middle class and ethnic communities are driven out by skyrocketing rents and evictions–sparking a grassroots backlash that challenges the oligarchy of tech. Is this the future of cities around the world? The feature-length documentary, “Company Town,” is the story of an intense election campaign to determine the fate of the city at the epicenter of the digital revolution. Produced and directed by Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow. Edited by Manuel Tsingaris.

THE SECRET FATWA

Late July 1988, the Islamic Republic of Iran suddenly locked down its prisons, where thousands of political prisoners were serving their sentences, some as long as seven years.

The only permitted visitation was from a 3-member committee: an Islamic judge, a public prosecutor and an intelligence officer. The committee briefly questioned almost every political prisoner about his or her beliefs. Nothing short of a medieval Inquisition, except that the prisoners were not told that their life depended on their answers.

WINTER 2016 NEWSLETTER

In 2017, BFF will receive $10,000 a year for three years as part of a new initiative of the Fleishhacker Foundation to strengthen a small group of selected lynchpin arts service organizations. BFF was one of six Bay Area arts organizations to receive this generous grant.
Thank you to our friends at the Fleishhacker Foundation!  Read More >
READ THE FULL NEWSLETTER

BFF GRANT PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

View the 2016 Highlights HERE

MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE BRAIN:
THE LIFE & SCIENCE OF DR. MARIAN DIAMOND

Tuesday, November 15th.
co-presented by the Berkeley FILM Foundation and featuring a post-film discussion (Doc Night).
Film Information (IMDB)
View the Trailer HERE

A NEW COLOR: THE ART OF EDYTH BOONE

Tuesday, November 1st.
co-presented by the Berkeley FILM Foundation and featuring a post-film discussion (Doc Night).
Film Information (IMDB)
View the Trailer HERE

FALL 2016 NEWSLETTER

We are delighted to announce that $147,000 was awarded to 17 filmmakers, including the winners of the $25,000 Saul Zaentz Award  and our new $20,000 Al Bendich Award.  BFF has distributed more than $1 million in grants to over 100 filmmakers, including 29 students since 2009!  We were amazed at the quality and quantity of films submitted this year.  Thank you to all the filmmakers who applied!
READ THE FULL NEWSLETTER

AL BENDICH TRIBUTE

A tribute to the late Al Bendich, one of the BFF’s beloved founders & a renowned social justice activist. The Berkeley FILM Foundation has established a matching grant in the name of Al Bendich that will be awarded to a filmmaker during our 2016 grant cycle!
CLICK HERE.

MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL 2016

The festival has an impressive track record of launching new films and new filmmakers, and has earned a reputation as a filmmakers’ festival by celebrating the best in American independent and foreign films, along side high-profile and prestigious award contenders.
Featured BFF Films:
“Company Town”
“My Love Affair with the Brain: The Life & Science of Dr. Marian Diamond”

A CONVERSATION WITH BAY AREA FILM FUNDERS

A special presentation by BFF; a conversation with Bay Area film funders. Our panel includes John Lightfoot, senior program officer at California Humanities, Lisa Chanoff, co-founder of Catapult Film Fund and Julie Parker Benello, co-founder of Chicken & Egg Pictures. BFF board president Abby Ginzberg will moderate the conversation. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and find out what these funders are looking for in projects that they fund.  Event took place October 5th.

REAL BOY

The coming-of-age story of Bennett Wallace, a transgender teenager on a journey to find his voice-as a musician, a friend, a son, and a man. As he navigates the ups and downs of young adulthood, Bennett works to gain the love and support of his mother, who has deep misgivings about her child’s transition. Along the way, he forges a powerful friendship with his idol, Joe Stevens, a celebrated transgender musician with his own demons to fight.

A PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNEY

This film charts the unlikely career of a young man who left behind his small town Arizona beginnings, overcame racial discrimination, and found acclaim in the vibrant and heady artistic Mecca of post World War II New York City. At once unique, universal and truly American, Pedro Guerrero’s story will inspire a new generation of artists to pursue their passion and undertake their own journeys of discovery. Guerrero’s story is a remarkable story that needs to be told.

Pedro E.Guerrero (1917-2012) created numerous iconic images of several of America’s greatest 20th century artists.  Yet the story of this Mexican American photographer is largely unknown.

WHEN COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT WORKS

How to Create and Sustain an Audience
for Your Documentary

JOHN BROWN’S BODY

Screening May 31st, 2016 – New Parkway Theater

Members of a racially mixed cast of self-confessed murderers are transformed by acting in a play about slavery and freedom that took three years to mount.

BFF PRESS RELEASE – APRIL 4, 2016

2016 GRANT PROGRAM AND EXPANSION TO OAKLAND

The Berkeley FILM Foundation (BFF) announced that it is accepting applications for its 2016 film and video grant program. Beginning its eighth year, BFF is proud to have awarded nearly $1 million to projects in the production, post-production and distribution stages in support of independent filmmakers whose work combines intellectual clarity with creative use of the medium.

READ THE FULL PRESS RELEASE

SPRING 2016 NEWSLETTER

In our eighth year and after having granted nearly $1 million, the Berkeley FILM Foundation invites East Bay filmmakers* to apply for grants in the areas of production, post-production and distribution.  The grant cycle closes on May 13.  BFF grants average between $10,000 and $12,000 with student grants at $5,000. Students must be 18+ and enrolled in a film program.
READ THE FULL NEWSLETTER

DOGTOWN REDEMPTION

A surprising number of Americans make their living off America’s vast rivers of trash. They are America’s unseen. DOGTOWN REDEMPTION tells the story of one river, and the humanity of its inhabitants in Dogtown, West Oakland, a lively, bustling yet invisible corner of California.  We follow the lives of three recyclers: Jason Witt, the titan of recycling, Landon Goodwin, a former minister, who struggles with his own fall from grace, and Miss Hayok Kay, the ultimate outsider, formerly a punk rocker from a prominent Korean family, now at the mercy of the elements and predators. For more information, CLICK HERE

ANGEL AZUL

Through the hauntingly beautiful lure of Jason deCaire’s Taylor’s underwater, life-like statues we witness the birth of an artificial coral reef, learn how we are inextricably connected to the ocean and everything in it, and are left to consider how our choices will determine what we leave to future generations.

IN THE IMAGE: PALESTINIAN WOMEN CAPTURE THE OCCUPATIOIN

This film focuses on the personal lives of several Palestinian women living in the West Bank. Partnering with the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem the women emerge as citizen journalists, learning to use video as a non-violent means to capture human rights violations and daily life in their communities. Their videos are transmitted over checkpoints and borders and uploaded to YouTube by B’Tselem in Jerusalem. Some footage has gone viral and swayed public opinion and has been admitted as evidence in Israeli courts, resulting in the convictions of abusive soldiers and superiors.

SF INTERNATIONAL ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL

In 1975, a seven-months pregnant Vietnamese refugee, Giap, escapes Saigon in a boat and, within weeks, finds herself working on an assembly line in Seymour, Indiana. 35 years later, her aspiring filmmaker son, Tony, decides to document her final day of work at the last ironing board factory in America.  The documentary follows Tony on a painful, but loving journey. The half hour film explores the refugee experience, the communication gulf between parent and child, and how racism shapes the Asian American experience. It will stimulate insight, discussion and understanding of the hardships of assimilation.  More Info Here

MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL

Each year the festival welcomes more than 200 filmmakers, representing more than 50 countries. Screening sections include World Cinema; US Cinema; Valley of the Docs; Children’s FilmFest; a daily shorts program; and Active Cinema, MVFF’s activist films initiative. Festival guests also enjoy Tributes, Spotlights and Galas throughout.  The relaxed and non- competitive atmosphere surrounding MVFF, gives filmmakers and audiences alike the opportunity to share their work and experiences in a collaborative and convivial setting. More info on this year’s event HERE.

BFF ANNUAL CELEBRATION

November 11, 2015
Berkeley FILM Foundation Annual Event Honoring 2015 Filmmaker Grantees.  And a special tribute to one of our beloved founders, BFF board member, and renowned free speech and social justice advocate Al Bendich.  Held at the David Brower Center, 6-9 pm

BETTER THIS WORLD

November 3, 2015
The timely new documentary Better This World tells a provocative and cautionary story about the shifting fault lines of civil liberties, protest and government vigilance. Two boyhood friends from the heart of Texas, Bradley Crowder and David McKay, find themselves increasingly out of step with their neighbors as they react against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ROSIE THE RIVETER

October 20, 2015
A benefit screening of filmmaker Connie Field’s award-winning documentary The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter to support Rosie the Riveter Trust and the Berkeley FILM Foundation. Join us for a Q&A with Connie Field immediately after the film!

MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL

October 8-18, 2015
Each year the festival welcomes more than 200 filmmakers, representing more than 50 countries. Screening sections include World Cinema; US Cinema; Valley of the Docs; Children’s FilmFest; a daily shorts program; and Active Cinema, MVFF’s activist films initiative. Festival guests also enjoy Tributes, Spotlights and Galas throughout.  Filmmakers and audiences alike share their work and experiences in a collaborative and convivial setting.

SECRETS OF SILICON VALLEY

October 6, 2015
If you think the current tech revolution is intense, get ready for SECRETS OF SILICON VALLEY, a 2001 exposé of the hidden downsides of the first Internet revolution. Told without narration, the film chronicles a tumultuous year in the lives of two young activists.  A prophetic look suggesting how the ‘creative destruction’ of the first tech boom would morph into today’s ‘disruptive’ economy.

IDA Conversation Series – Stanley Nelson

October 1, 2015
Join us for this special Bay Area edition of the IDA Conversation Series featuring the preeminent documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson in conversation with Orlando Bagwell, Director of the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism documentary program. Nelson is one of America’s most acclaimed filmmakers and a singularly original chronicler of the African-American experience.

Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey premiere

September 18, 2015
Filmmakers Raymond Telles and Yvan Iturriaga showcase an in-depth, exclusive interview with Guerrero alongside his photography to explore his collaborations with some of the most iconic American artists of the 20th century. Using his outsider’s eye to produce insightful portraits of important modernist architecture, Guerrero became one of the most sought-after photographers of the “Mad Men” era, yet his story is largely unknown.

MIND/GAME: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw

September 1, 2015
From the rough-edged courts of Astoria, Queens to her recruitment by Coach Pat Summitt for the University of Tennessee’s Lady Vols, Chamique Holdsclaw was hailed as the “female Michael Jordan,” impressing crowds with her artistry, athleticism and drive.  Mind/Game intimately chronicles Holdsclaw’s athletic accomplishments and personal setbacks, and her decision—despite public stigma—to become an outspoken mental health advocate.

NEW GRANT AWARDED TO BFF

BFF is proud to announce that it has received a grant from The East Bay Community Foundation to be awarded in the 2016 cycle. The grant will be given to an Oakland based filmmaker producing a film about a social justice issue in Oakland. Thank you East Bay Community Foundation for being BFF’s partner!
More info to follow soon.

REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG

Berkeley FILM Foundation Screening Series
co-presented by The BFF and featuring a post-film Q&A with director Nancy Kates
Tuesday, June 2 at 6:45 pm

REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG
is an intimate investigation into the life of one of the most influential and provocative thinkers of the 20th century. Passionate and gracefully outspoken throughout her career, she is one of the most important literary, political and feminist icons of her generation.

GHOST BIRD

co-presented by The Berkeley FILM Foundation and featuring a post-film Q&A with director Scott Crocker
Tuesday, May 12th from 7:00pm
The New Parkway Theater – Oakland

Set in a murky swamp full of birders, scientists and reporters, this thrilling, eco-noir explores the limits of certainty, the seductive power of hope, and how one phantom woodpecker changed a Southern town forever. View the preview here. BUY TICKETS HERE.

CONQUERING THE NEW WORLD OF DISTRIBUTION

Berkeley FILM Foundation presents a FREE seminar with Peter Broderick.
Monday, April 27th from 2:00-5:00pm
The David Brower Center
2150 Allston Way, Berkeley 94704
Free Ticket RSVP HERE

View the information flyer HERE

NO ONE BUT LYDIA

Winner of the Golden Gate Award at SFIFF 2014
“No One But Lydia” – by Rob Richert
See how a grant from the Berkeley Film Foundation makes a difference in the life of a filmmaker.

View the video HERE

PREMIER

“Regarding Susan Sontag” : Broadcast Premier
December 8, 2014 on HBO – Check local listings
This beautiful documentary is an intimate and nuanced investigation into the life of one of the most influential and provocative thinkers of the 20th century. Passionate and gracefully outspoken throughout her career, Susan Sontag became one of the most important literary, political and feminist icons of her generation.

View the trailer HERE

MEET THE BFF

Bay Area Documentary Filmmakers, Meet the Berkeley FILM Foundation
Since its inception in 2008, the BFF — which is funded by the City of Berkeley, Wareham Development, and the Saul Zaentz Company — has awarded close to $800,000 to almost 90 film projects. As noted by BFF Executive Director David Bergad, “several films funded by the BFF have found audiences at the Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca, DocuWeeks, Silver Docs, and one has garnered an Oscar nomination.”

Read the full article HERE

NEW GRANT

Please join BFF in honoring Alan Splet by donating to a new grant that we have named for him.
Alan was a well-known and extremely admired sound designer who collaborated with David Lynch, Phil Kaufman, Peter Weir, Carroll Ballard, Frank Oz and numerous other filmmakers. Many Bay Area editors worked with Alan on Blue Velvet, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Henry & June, The Elephant Man, Rising Sun, The Black Stallion, Wind, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Dead Poets Society.

He was a visionary who not only created a unique sound for each film, he also helped to establish the Bay Area as a highly regarded locale for post-production sound for film.

Please contribute today.

GREEN FILM FEST

Saturday May 31st, 2014

“TELOS” SATURDAY, MAY 31
4:45PM
ROXIE THEATER
3117 16th Street, San Francisco, CA
A portrait of eccentric and visionary Bay Area architect Eugene Tssui, who questions traditional building standards and puts nature and the environment at the forefront of his designs. Rejected by the status quo, Tssui finds unexpected allies in the small mountain town in Mount Shasta where he hopes to build his architectural fantasia.  Discussion with director Kyung Lee and architect Eugene Tssui

COME HELL OR HIGH WATER

On PBS World Channel: April 29

When the graves of former slaves are bulldozed in Mississippi, a native son returns to protect the community they settled – a place now threatened by urban sprawl, hurricanes and an unprecedented manmade disaster. More Info Here

IN MEMORIAM

Saul Zaentz
1921-2014

The Board of Directors of the Berkeley FILM Foundation extend our deepest sympathy to the family of one of our founders, the legendary Saul Zaentz.
One of the greatest producers, his incredible achievements in the music and film industries have been well-documented in the press following his passing. What has not been highlighted is his complete generosity to the filmmakers with whom he worked and to the small, independent filmmakers throughout the Bay Area, whom he truly inspired.