Austin Film Society announces recipients of its short film grant program

The grants are awarded to emerging Texas filmmakers.


The Austin Film Society named ten recipients of the AFS Grant for Short Films, the annually renewed production fund for emerging Texas filmmakers.

Grants in this funding cycle are awarded to short films — films 40 minutes or under — in any phase of production. Eight projects by ten director applicants were selected from 125 applicants: seven narrative shorts and one documentary short. Seven of the ten directors are receiving AFS grants for the first time. Grant selections are made by a panel of industry experts.

“With our awards, we champion the short film form and are honored to be able to support these projects each year,” said AFS Director of Programs Erica Deiparine-Sugars. “It is beyond gratifying to know that several of the filmmakers in this funding cycle will be receiving grants from AFS for the very first time. It underscores the very purpose of our grant program — to support and elevate the incredibly diverse voices of our region’s emerging filmmakers and help them share their stories with Texas and the world.”

  • “A Haunting Across the Galaxy”
    Director: Edwin Oliva, Austin
    Harrison McClure Endowed Film Fund Grant
    Arkie, an alien archeologist, is on a quest to retrieve a living souvenir from Earth but has trouble capturing an uncooperative ghost.
  • “The Fear They Left”
    Directors: Paloma Martinez, Humble & Abby Ellis, Park City, Utah
    When 26-year-old Jovany Mercado was shot and killed during a mental health crisis on his own driveway by Ogden, Utah police, his family’s life was forever transformed. Reeling from the pain of his son’s death and fearing for the safety of his remaining family, Juan, Jovany’s father, turns their home into a digital fortress against the police.
  • “In Tow”
    Director: Sharon Arteaga, Austin
    MPS Camera and Lighting Austin Production Services Award
    A self-involved teen and her overworked, single mom come to a head with their differences as their mobile home is repossessed … with them inside of it!
  • “The Last Hawaiian Sugar”
    Director: Dèjá Cresencia Bernhardt, Austin
    Twelve-year-old Nua makes peace with the mixed emotions she has about the land she lives on when she learns the sugar plantation she calls home will be closed forever.
  • “little trumpet”
    Directors: Megan Trufant Tillman, Austin
    A nine-year-old loner wants his brother to teach him how to play the trumpet. In the 7th Ward of New Orleans, that’s not so simple.
  • “Obscura”
    Director: Tay Mansmann, Austin
    After discovering a surreal camera obscura built into an abandoned crop house, two queers at a crossroads in their relationship must overcome projections of their deepest desires and fears made manifest by their perverted scarecrow doppelgangers.
  • “Skatas”
    Directors: Iris Diaz, El Paso & Alejandra Aragón, Juaréz, Mexico
    Two friends search for a place to skate in a city that is not designed for skateboard wheels nor their bodies or dreams.
  • “The Violinist”
    Director: Katy McCarthy, Austin
    A conservative Texas state senator struggles with his anti-abortion stance after being kidnapped and surgically connected to a violinist whom he must keep alive with his own body for nine months.


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