Meet the Winners of the Jerome Foundation's Recent Round of Filmmaking Grants

Minnesota filmmakers have a friend in the Jerome Foundation, who recently awarded $105,000 in grants to seven filmmakers based on the recommendations of the Minnesota Film and Video Program Review Panel. Today we'd like to take a closer look at the relationship between the foundation and the panel, as well as the winning proposals from the filmmakers themselves.

The Jerome Foundation has been supporting filmmakers in Minnesota and New York since 1964 and its $2.8 million grantmaking budget is generally split evenly between organizations and individuals in each state. That said, unlike other foundations who review applications and subsequently award funding based on in-house consultations, the Jerome Foundation outsourced this activity to the Minnesota Film and Video Program Review Panel for this recent round of funding. 

The Panel, which met in August 2013 to review the applications, consisted of local film and video artists, curators, and programmers like Dean Otto, the Assistant Curator at Walker Art Center and Leslie Fields-Cruz, VP Operations & Director of Programming of the National Black Programming Consortium. Of the 71 applications, 61 were from individuals who had not previously been funded by this program and ten were former grant recipients. At the end of the day, the panel recommended that seven grants be awarded, totaling $105,000.

The Jerome Foundation's website has an "Eligibility Quiz" where filmmakers can first see if they qualify for funding. For example, the quiz asks if the work falls into the documentary, narrative, experimental, or animation categories. However, if you're a filmmaker wondering what the foundation and panel are looking for from an aesthetic perspective, well, you're out of luck. They simply want "new works by emerging artists."

Ultimately, the recipients had two things in common: they all hailed from Minnesota and they all proposed compelling stories that span genres. And here they are:

  • Mitchell Arens ($17,500) for Brother Bear, a feature-length Super 16-mm documentary about a recovering alcoholic living in rural Siberia.
  • Kiera Faber ($7,500) for Obscurer, an experimental film about the "fragile microcosm of a children's author and her invented companions."
  • Stephen Gurewitz ($15,000) for You Take Care, a comedic drama about Jane and Matt, a young couple "pulled apart by life's responsibilities as they transition into adulthood."
  • Laska Jimsen ($15,000) for the feature-length documentary essay Deer of North America, which explores the "contradictory and mythologized relationships between human beings and deer."
  • Ann Prim ($10,000) for The Sleepwalker-Notes from There, the third and final story of The Vellum Trilogy, a collection that examines the complex lives of gay women.
  • Brennan Vance ($25,000) for The Missing Sun, a feature-length narrative film about two families forced "reckon with their clashing cosmologies in the midst of a potential solar catastrophe."
  • Deacon Warner ($15,000) for the feature-length documentary Radical Roots: Revolutions of the Twin Cities Food Co-ops.

Check out IP's guide on Jerome Foundation's Film and Video Grants for Filmmakers in Minnesota and New York for more information and insight.