By MCN Editor


LOS ANGELES, CA,  September 28, 2011 – Today, Women In Film’s Finishing Fund co-chairs Betsy Pollock and Nancy Rae Stone announced the recipients of the Foundation’s 26th Annual finishing fund grant program. They were chosen from a total of 113 submissions, made up of 71 Documentaries (41 features and 30 shorts) and 41 Narrative Films (19 features and 22 shorts). The submissions included applications from all over the United States and all corners of the globe including Chile, Ireland, Romania, Sweden, Canada and the UK.

“It’s truly an honor to celebrate a 26-year commitment to supporting such remarkable films,” said WIFF’s co-chairs. “We would like to thank Netflix for their continuous support of this program and we hope to continue this annual tradition for independent filmmakers around the globe.”

The Women In Film Foundation’s Film Finishing Fund’s cash grants have been donated by Netflix, Inc. The company has generously supported the program for the past several years with grants of $50,000 in funding, as well as distribution recommendations and brand association at screenings. Netflix will also provide consultation to filmmakers as their projects are completed.

“We continue to be impressed by the roster of talented filmmakers whose work demonstrates unique artistic vision, intelligence and heart,” said Lisa Nishimura, Vice President, Independent Content Acquisition for Netflix.  “WIF is a critical force behind the success of some of Hollywood’s most innovative minds, and we are proud to be a supporter of their Finishing Fund effort.”

The Women In Film Foundation’s Film Finishing Fund (WIFF FFF) provides annual cash grants and in-kind production services to ensure that innovative films for, by, and about women can be completed and seen by audiences worldwide. With 26 years of history and the only one of its kind, the WIFF Film Finishing Fund has proven, time and again, to be an important financing piece for such groundbreaking films as: Kiran Deol’s Woman Rebel, which was short-listed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for 2009 Oscar documentary short subject and premiered on HBO in August; Cynthia Wade’s Freeheld, which won the 2008 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short; and Freida Lee Mock’s 1994 Oscar-winning Documentary Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision; four Emmy winning documentaries; and six Oscar nominees.  Films completed thanks to the Film Finishing Fund have also been consistent favorites at festivals worldwide including Sundance, San Francisco, Chicago, Vancouver, Toronto, Berlin, Montreal, and Avignon, and have aired nationally on PBS (“Frontline” and “POV”), HBO and Showtime, as well as internationally in Europe, Asia, and Australia.

The 2011 WIFF Film Finishing Fund winners are:

Narratives Feature Films: Jenny Deller’s “Future Weather” and Tina Gharavi’s “I Am Nasrine”

Documentary Films: Lisa Denker’s “Ability: The Judy Finelli Project,” Kristi Zea’s “Everybody Knows…Elizabeth Murray,” Debbie Lum’s and Allison Sargent’s “Seeking Asian Female,” Roynn Lisa Simmon’s “Naked” and Heather Lenz and Karen Johnson’s “Kusama: Princess of Polka Dots”

Narrative Short Films: An animated short by Natasha Subramaniam and Alisa Lapidus, “Zergut”

2011 Film Finishing Fund Winners:



One remarkable woman transcends the limitations of living with multiple sclerosis through reconnection to the circus arts and family, recovering the will to live anew.



The Museum of Modern Art has honored only four women with major retrospectives of their work, most recently Elizabeth Murray.  This documentary traces the life and work of this remarkable, dynamic woman whose paintings have broken rules, and established her as a veritable iconoclast of the mainstream art world.

“I AM NASRINE” – Narrative Feature


Nasrine could be, and is, any teenager.  Events throw her world into revolution as circumstances beyond her control change her life forever.  In this subtly observed film we meet a young woman doing her best to understand herself, find a better world, and to deal with the consequences of politics around her.  Her brother, Ali, to look after her is also on his own journey.  When tragedy befalls the pair, Nasrine has to decide whether to take the reins of her life into her own hands.




Two strangers, an elderly American man and a young Chinese woman, pursue a marriage brokered by the Internet, but they get more than they bargained for when she moves across

the Pacific to start a new life with him in America in this intimate and quirky personal documentary about modern love.

“NAKED” – Documentary


Naked is one woman’s grueling struggle with breast cancer.  Thoughtful, funny, and courageous, Meredith reveals all as she visits her oncologist, fights with insurers, has her breasts photographed by an artist, and consults with plastic surgeons.

“FUTURE WEATHER” – Narrative Feature


Abandoned by her single mom, a teenage loner becomes fixated on ecological disaster, forcing her and her grandmother, a functioning alcoholic, to rethink their futures.

“ZERGUT” – Animation Short


Within a refrigerator, a battle ensues as moldy foods forgotten in the depths of the back, rise up against the fresh ingredients that reside in the front.  These confrontations escalate to become a war, as foods morph, disintegrate, dance, explode, and become a textural, abstract display of color and form culminating in a grand finale sequence that results in their obliteration.




Yayoi Kusama’s rise to fame within the art world.  In her youth, Kusama rivaled Andy Warhol.  Now 82, she has spent the last 30 years in a Tokyo mental institution.  This is the story of a misfit who gains acceptance.


Successes in films and television movies, that the WIFF FFF provided finishing funds to  include:

Academy Award Winners:

“FREEHELD – “Best Documentary Short,” 2007

“MAYA LIN: A STRONG CLEAR VISION” – “Best Documentary Feature,” 1994

Academy Award Nominees:

“THE COLLECTOR OF BEDFORD STREET” – “Best Documentary Short,” 2002

“SPEAKING IN STRINGS” – “Best Documentary Feature,” 1999

“THE FRAGILE PROMISE OF CHOICE” – “Best Documentary Feature,” 1995

“REGRET TO INFORM” – “Best Documentary Feature,” 1993

“BEYOND IMAGINING” – “Best Documentary Short,” 1991

“LAS MADRES DE LA PLAZA DE MAYO” – “Best Documentary Feature,” 1986

Emmy Winners:



“GIRLS LIKE US” – 1993


Festival Winners:

“CRIME AFTER CRIME” – Winner San Francisco International Film Festival’s Golden Gate Award and Audience Choice Award for Investigative Documentary Feature 2010

“CIRCUMSTANCE” – Winner Sundance US Dramatic Competition Audience Award 2010, Narrative Feature

“MY SO-CALLED ENEMY” – Winner Newport Beach Film Festival 2011: Jury Award, Best Feature Documentary Film; MacGillivray Freeman Films Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking (Feature); Starz Denver Film Festival: Special Jury Prize in Filmmaking; 2010 Hamptons International Film Festival: Brizzolara Family Conflict & Resolution Film Award

“GRACE PALEY: COLLECTED SHORTS” – Winner 2010 Woodstock Film Festival: Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature; 2010 Denver Starz Film Festival: People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature; 2010 Palm Springs International Film Festival: Finalist – Best in Fest

“A WALK INTO THE SEA: DANNY WILLIAMS AND THE WARHOL FACTORY” – Winner 2007 TriBeCa Film Festival, NY Loves Docs; 2007 Teddy Award at Berlinale for Best Documentary Feature

“AMERICAN BLACKOUT” – Winner 2006 Sundance Special Jury Prize, Documentary Feature

About Netflix:
With more than 15 million members in the United States and Canada, Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq: NFLX] is the world’s leading Internet subscription service for enjoying movies and TV shows.  For XXX a month, Netflix members in the U.S. can instantly watch unlimited movies and TV episodes streaming right to their TVs and computers and can receive unlimited DVDs delivered quickly to their homes. In Canada, streaming unlimited movies and TV shows from Netflix is available for XXX a month.  There are never any due dates or late fees with Netflix. Among the large and expanding base of devices streaming from Netflix are Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PS3 consoles; Blu-ray disc players from Best Buy’s Insignia brand, LG and Samsung; Internet TVs from LG, Samsung, Sony and VIZIO; the Roku digital video player and TiVo digital video recorders; and Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.  All of these devices are available in the U.S. and a growing number are available in Canada.  For more information, visit

About WIF:

Women In Film is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women achieve their highest potential within the global entertainment, communication and media industries and to preserving the legacy of women within those industries. Founded in 1973, Women In Film and its Women In Film Foundation provide for members an extensive network of contacts, educational programs, scholarships, film finishing funds and grants, access to employment opportunities, mentorships and numerous practical services in support of this mission.  For more information about Women In Film and its programs, visit

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon