2016 Minnesota Film, Video, and Digital Production Grants Announced

The Jerome Foundation Board of Directors, at its Board meeting on December 12, 2016, authorized seven grants based on the recommendations of the Minnesota Film, Video, and Digital Production Grant Program Review Panel. The panel met on October 31, 2016, and was composed of:

  • Daniel Bergin, Senior Producer at Twin Cities Public Television
  • Hafed Bouassida, film producer and chair of the Cinema Division at Minneapolis Technical and Community College
  • Kristine Sorenson, Executive Director of In Progress 

Of the 51 applications submitted, seven grants totaling $120,000 were authorized for the productions described below:

JOHN AKRE, $10,000 for Ben and Dopey, an animated feature film about the friendship of a twenty-something downtown Minneapolis street musician and an animated character created by his mother, an underground filmmaker. It will be told in a variety of animation techniques, including animating some parts of it on the streets of downtown Minneapolis with collaboration from the public. 

CECILIA MARIA CORNEJO, $10,000 for Ways Of Being Home, a documentary exploring issues of displacement and belonging as experienced by the transnational community of Mexican immigrants living in Northfield, Minnesota.

RACHEL KNOLL, $10,000 for 60.77° N, 148.68° W, a documentary telling the story of how the community of 222 people living inside a one building city in Alaska interact on a micro scale while disconnected from the rest of the physical world and how they recently have been able to interact globally through digital interfaces during a technological era.

ALBERT MILGROM, $25,000 for Rediscovering John Berryman, a documentary telling the story of a troubled genius who found notoriety as a leading 20th century American poet who is just now being rediscovered by a new generation after his nationally honored mid-century reputation had gone into decline.

KEVIN OBSATZ, $25,000 for Northside Showdown, a John Carpenter-inspired pulp thriller in the era of Black Lives Matter. Jaquan is a mild-mannered sporting goods salesman whose younger brother is abducted by rogue cops. He uncovers a ritualistic cult of human sacrifice and must face off against the sinister deputy police chief. 

BETH PELOFF, $8,500 for Searching for Feminists, an animated documentary exploring the generational differences in the attitudes that women have toward feminism. Through a combination of audio interviews and a variety of animation techniques, the artist will weave together the voices and stories of women under the age of thirty and over the age of sixty-five in an effort to reconcile the feminism of the future with the feminism of the past and explore the commonalities of experiences across the generations.

NORAH SHAPIRO, $30,000 for Time for Ilhan (working title), a documentary telling the story of rising political star Ilhan Omar, a liberal, Hijab-wearing Somali-American immigrant mother of 3. She battles a white female 43–year incumbent as well as a male Somali contender for a hotly contested seat in the Minnesota State Legislature to become the first Muslim African-Immigrant woman elected to state office in the United States.

Of the remaining 8 finalists chosen by the panel, the following agreed to share descriptions of their films by the time of this posting. Other finalists may agree and be added to this list in time. Those finalists were: 

BRIAN ARNOLD for Dark Night of the Soul, the story of a 60 year old recent widow, Mona, who lives in a house which is more like a mausoleum, and what happens when she offends Tara, a pregnant teenage girl who stalks the woods outside and practices witchcraft.

DAVID ASH for Twin Cities, for the pilot of a 10-episode web series that will more deeply explore the characters and themes of the applicant's recently completed feature film of the same name.

BILL KERSEY for White Cactus, a documentary about the daughter of a New Jersey-based Columbian drug cartel kingpin and her quest to uncover the truth about her father's past and her own childhood.

For further information about these grants, please contact Jerome Foundation President Ben Cameron at 651.925.5617.

The Jerome Foundation, created by artist and philanthropist Jerome Hill (1905-1972), seeks to contribute to a dynamic and evolving culture by supporting the creation, development, and production of new works by emerging artists. The Foundation makes grants to not-for-profit arts organizations and artists in Minnesota and New York City.

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