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January 19, 2021

Austin Film Society names recipients of 2020 short film grants

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The Austin Film Society announced Wednesday that 11 emerging Texas filmmakers will be getting its annual grant for short films. The society will be handing out $32,500 in cash grants as wells $11,400 of in-kind support.

MPS Camera and Lighting Austin granted a $10,000 in-kind certificate to one project, Spencer Cook’s “Act of God.” AFS also partnered with Vimeo Pro to grant six accounts to filmmakers in the production phase of their projects.

In September, the society awarded grants to feature-length precuts, bringing the total grant cash awards to filmmakers of more than $146,000 for the year.

Here’s a look at the projects that received grants.
  1. “Act of God,” directed by Spencer Cook of Austin. A disabled man chases after a windblown $100 bill that eventually leads to the destruction of his wheelchair.
  2. “Bahaar” (Outside), directed by Prakshi Malik of Austin. Disaster brews when Sheher gets accepted to a boarding school.
  3. “Catharis: A Journey Through Anger,” directed by Deborah Valcin of Austin. A Black woman releases the one emotion that she has been told to suppress.
  4. “Disrupted Borders,” by Ramon Villa-Hernandez and Alejandro Aragon of El Paso. This documentary looks at a young woman who figures out how to make a 3D printed prostheses for a friend.
  5. “Dumplings,” directed by Wren Lee of Dallas. Lee is the recipient of the Harrison McClure Endowed Film Fund Grant for a Texas undergraduate student. The short focuses on Tina Wong, who comes back home to her Chinese immigrant family with surprising news.
  6. “Elephant!” Directed by Chinwe Okorie of Austin. A young Black girl befriends a wealthy but troubled classmate. Problems ensue.
  7. “Postman,” directed by Paul Lovelace of Austin. This documentary looks at a remote postal route in West Texas.
  8. “Give,” directed by Kenya Gillespie of Austin. A composer turns to music to deal with the loss of his ex-boyfriend.
  9. “Testimony of Ana,” directed by Sachin Dheeraj Mudigonda of Pflugerville. This documentary looks at the life of an elderly tribal woman accused of witchcraft in rural India.
  10. “Untitled Mugeni Project,” directed by Amy Bench of Austin. A young woman in the Congo sets out on a solo journey across the globe after a bombing attack.
  11. “What They Found,” by Ryan Darbonne of Austin. An 8-year-old boy drifts into a fantasy world after discovering the body of a man in 1868.

Charles Ealy
Charles Ealy
Charles Ealy is a former movies editor for The Dallas Morning News and Austin American-Statesman.

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