September 2016 New York City Film, Video, and Digital Production Grant Program Press Release

On August 2, 2016, a panel of four professionals met in New York City to review applications submitted to the New York City Film, Video and Digital Production Program.  Applications for 97 different projects were submitted in this round of funding.

The panel was composed of:

  • Ruby Lerner, former Executive Director of Creative Capital Foundation and of the Association of Independent Film and Videomaker (AIVF);
  • Aliza Ma, Head of Programming at New York Metrograph;
  • Akosua Adoma Owusu, filmmaker and director
  • Dan Sickles, filmmaker and director.

Panelists narrowed consideration to 17 finalists and ultimately recommended six applicants for grants totaling $150,000.

The six grantees and their projects as described in their own words were as followed:


DAVID GARRETT BYARS was awarded $25,000 in support of the documentary Malheur. Bitter antagonism between right-wing militia and the federal government has boiled over into rebellion and bloodshed. Malheur follows this insurrection, from inception to demise, and the elements that made it possible.

JULIANE DRESSNER was awarded $25,000 in support of the documentary Stepping Up (working title). Enoch, Christine and Karoline dream of being the first in their families to go to college and are determined to bring their peers with them. As peer college counselors in struggling schools, they have taken it upon themselves to close the achievement gap, guiding their friends through the college process, even as they are applying themselves.

JIM FINN was awarded $25,000 in support of the experimental project Red Wuthering Heights, a 60- to 70-minute video that looks like a fictional episode of a Soviet television program made during the slow collapse of the communist system. The program will be made up of three parts: the narrator’s talking head with 80’s video effects, handmade 16mm film scenes created to look like damaged fragments of an early Soviet cinema Wuthering Heights film adaptation and additional video portraits of the British moors and miniatures that were especially made for the program to supplement the missing film footage.

LILY FRANCES HENDERSON was awarded $25,000 in support of the documentary About a Mountain. In the aftermath of a boy's suicide, a writer attempts to help his grieving parents find a reason for his death, while the city of Las Vegas fights to protect itself from nuclear catastrophe.

ASH MAYFAIR (PHUONG ANH NGUYEN) was awarded $25,000 in support of the narrative project Between the Shadow and the Soul. In 19th century rural Vietnam, 14 year-old May is given away in an arranged marriage and becomes the third wife to her older husband, a man brought up to believe that power is about control. In this tale of lost love and hidden desire inspired by a true story, we see through the eyes of a girl forced to grow too quickly into a woman.

KIRSTEN TAN was awarded $25,000 in support of the narrative project Popeye (working title). On a chance encounter, a disenchanted architect bumps into his long-lost elephant on the streets of Bangkok. Excited, he takes his elephant on a redemptive journey across Thailand, in search of the farm where they grew up together–only to discover the truth about himself and the life he callously left behind.

Of the remaining 11 finalists chosen by the panel, the following three 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:



FLAVIO ALVES was selected as a finalist for the project The Garden Left Behind, a narrative film that traces the relationship between Tina, a young transwoman, and Eliana, her grandmother, as they navigate Tina's transition and struggle to build a life for themselves as undocumented immigrants in New York City.

ANDRE FUAD DEGAS was selected as a finalist for the narrative project Crossing the Line. Crossing the Line is the story of Khadijah, a Muslim High School female track runner, who defies gender and cultural expectations when she falls for a non-Muslim all American Football player.

JORDAN LORD was selected as a finalist for the documentary Shared Resources. Shared Resources is a film about the director’s father, who worked as a debt collector for more than 30 years and lost his job just two years before retirement.  The film will follow the family’s attempts to repay debts (including the director’s student loan debts) and to find income to meet current needs.

REZWAN SHAHRIAR SUMIT was selected as an alternate for the narrative project The Salt in Our Waters. Rudro (32), a city sculptor, moves to a remote fishing island for his next inspiration & finds himself facing a strange decree - 'making human forms is a sin'. As a storm builds, he is forced to choose between his sculptures & his subjects

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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