With a desire to help Houston-area filmmakers to develop their craft, Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) inaugurated the Houston Short Film Fund in 2013.
We sincerely appreciate the anonymous donor who provided initial funding for this grant opportunity.
Following is information about the inaugural, 2013 Film Awards and Filmmakers.
SING SONG: a 50’s period film following Jeannette, a little girl consumed with resentment toward her older sister, the seemingly perfect Carol Anne, but she soon learns her sister is the true solace in an unfair world.Genre: NarrativeMentor: Chris Eska. Chris was raised in Ottine, Texas (pop. 98). He studied sociology and art at Rice University before attending UCLA’s MFA film directing program. His short films have screened on PBS, at the Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker’s Competition, the DGA Theater in Los Angeles, the Texas Filmmaker’s Showcase, and at numerous film festivals. His first feature AUGUST EVENING was nominated for two 2008 Independent Spirit Awards, where it won the John Cassavetes Award.
BURLAP INTERIOR: a stop motion animated short that depicts everyday life situations in the interiors of automobiles in a jittery absurd nonlinear narrative.Genre: Experimental/AnimationMentor: Stacey Steers. Stacey Steers makes labor-intensive films composed of thousands of individual, handmade works on paper. Her animations have screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, New Directors New Films in NYC and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., along with numerous other screenings worldwide, winning national and international awards. Steers is a recipient of major grants from Creative Capital and the American Film Institute. She has been an artist fellow at Harvard University , the MacDowell Colony, the Sacatar Foundation, Ucross Foundation, the LiguriaStudyCenter and Yaddo. She lives and works in Boulder, Colorado.
BELLOWS AND BUTTONS: a profile of Gabbanelli Accordions, one of Houston’s musical treasures for over 50 years.Genre: Documentary
Mentor: Bruce Bryant. Bruce Bryant began his professional journey in 1963 working for KTBC TV in Austin. In addition to directing numerous specials for ESPN and Eurosport, Bryant has directed over 50 different opera productions for television and/or live simulcasts for The Houston Grand Opera, Philadelphia Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Washington National Opera, San Francisco Opera, and The Chicago Opera Theater. He has had the honor of working with Placido Domingo at The Kennedy Center several times and of directing the television simulcast of Rene Fleming’s first performance of La Traviata. In addition to opera, Bruce recently directed a live simulcast of Giselle with the Paris Opera Ballet in Chicago. He is currently working under contract with the Philadelphia Orchestra for the 2012/2013 season.
THIS NEIGHBORHOOD: a deeply disturbed man who spends his days spying on people and his nights murdering them, convinced he has to kill everyone to save mankind.
Mentor: Clay Liford. Clay Liford is a graduate of the University of Texas film program. He has written and directed three features to date, including the festival hits, “Wuss” (SxSW 2011, AFI 2011 Audience Award Winner) and “Earthling” (SxSW 2010). His comedy short, “My Mom Smokes Weed”, has played over forty festivals, including the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. As a director of photography, Clay has shot twenty features, including the award winning films “St. Nick” (SxSW 2009) and “Gayby” (SxSW 2012). His horror-comedy script “Cutlet,” was selected for the 2012 IFP Emerging Narratives program.
Application Information and Guidelines
Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP), a 36-year-old nonprofit media arts organization, supports the creation and appreciation of film, video, and new media as art forms of a multicultural community. In support of Houston-area, independent filmmakers, SWAMP is pleased to offer a new funding opportunity, the Houston Short Film Fund, 2013 (or, The Fund). The Fund will provide production funds of up to $5000 to a limited number of individual, independent filmmakers living in the Houston area to produce a short film of up to 10 minutes in length, in any style (fiction, documentary, animation, experimental).
The Fund, which includes mandatory mentorship and peer discussion components, is intended to help filmmakers strengthen their artistic skills as well as encourage new directions and creative ideas. The film’s production must take place over a six-month period, from May to October 2013, when the film will receive a public screening.
Participating mentors are selected on the strength of their professional experience, availability, and willingness to serve in this capacity. A mentor will be assigned to each grant recipient based on film style, interest, and application information.
Application fee: $10 SWAMP Members; $15 General Public
- Persons age 18 or over.
- “Independent Filmmaker” means that individual applicants: 1) own the copyright to their HSFF production; 2) have artistic, budgetary, and editorial control of their project; 3) are not regularly employed as producers/directors by a public or commercial broadcast entity or film company; 4) are not staff or board members of SWAMP.
- Must be a resident of the City of Houston or Houston-area. Proof of residency will be required.
- Persons with some previous film/video production experience in a principal role (director, co-director, producer, co-producer) as demonstrated by submitting a previously completed work sample.
- Persons must be willing to accept mentor oversight and participate in peer discussions.
- Individuals who do not meet the definition of an “independent filmmaker.”
- Persons regularly employed as producers/directors by a public or commercial broadcast entity including public access stations.
- Organizations such as universities, foundations, and nonprofit media arts organizations.
What Grant Recipients Can Expect:
- Will be required to sign the Applicant Certification and a completion agreement.
- Will meet with other recipients at SWAMP at a scheduled date/time to review.
- Will be paired with a mentor.
- Will receive ¾ of their funding; final payment is due on completion and delivery of DVD to SWAMP.
Note: Filmmakers will be responsible for staying in contact with their mentors throughout their project, including a W-I-P (work-in-progress) exchange with mentor. Peer group meeting & discussion is TBD.
- Application Deadline: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
- Announcement of Winners: Friday, May 31, 2013
- Completion Deadline: DVD (format for completed film) due at SWAMP, Monday, October 7, 2013 by 5:00 p.m.
- Public Screening: TBD
HOW TO APPLY
A complete application package must be submitted on the SWAMP website. Other arrangements may be made on request.
A Complete Application Package Includes:
- Complete Application Form (available on SWAMP website) with certification section completed and “signed” electronically.
- A synopsis of the film you intend to make.
- A treatment specifying how you will translate your story from page to screen.
- Detailed project budget (If budget is greater than the $5000 maximum grant, indicate specifically how HSFF-13 funds will be used). See SAMPLE BUDGET for guidance.
- Brief resume of applicant: Summary bio including filmography.
- Personal statement (1 page, max): describe career goals, interest in the field, and why you should be awarded a HSFF grant.
- List of key production personnel only, with 2 sentence bio (e.g., additional directors or producers, writer, editor, videographer, etc.).
- Work sample: Upload to Vimeo (www.vimeo.com) with password protection up to 10 minutes of recent work; provide the link and password and state briefly how this work is relevant to your current project proposal.
- Payment of application fee of $15 ($10, SWAMP members).
- Project must be a new work. Proposals to enhance or complete previously undertaken projects will NOT be considered.
- Project must not exceed 10 minutes in length.
- Must be able to be completed and submitted by October 7 deadline.
- Credits must include the following credit: “Funding provided by Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) through the Houston Short Film Fund, 2013.”
- Grant recipients agree to make their completed project available without charge to SWAMP for publicity, exhibition, and consideration for online and/or broadcast distribution.
Application Evaluation Criteria:
As you develop your application, keep in mind some of the criteria that the selection panel will use to evaluate your application:
- What is the overall quality of the project? Is the idea well conceived? Is the subject matter compelling?
- What is the quality of the treatment? Is it well written? Is the storyline clearly delineated? How does it address the visuals, structure and style?
- Is this project innovative? Does the subject matter present an untold story? Does the filmmaker take creative risks?
- What is the quality of the work sample? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the production values, presentation of characters and visual style?
- How experienced and capable is the filmmaker and production team? Would they be able to produce the program on time and for the amount of funding requested?
- Is the filmmaker willing to comply with and understand the “rules” and paperwork involved with making a film? Such as:
- Registering with the Houston Film Commission, contact Alfred Cervantes.
- Working with union actors FOR FREE! from SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) using the “short film” agreement (if desired).
- Getting Liability and Equipment Insurance. Highly discounted year-long policies through Fractured Atlas – a free membership included with your SWAMP Membership!
- Understanding copyright and licensing a person’s image and/or voice. You must have releases for all your cast and crew and a licensing agreement for all music, artwork, or other copyrighted material in your video in order to show your film at festivals or any other public screening or to gain any distribution agreements. Documentaries have some exceptions to this rule. Please ask us or your mentor for sample agreements, contacts, and any other questions you might have!