March 3, 2016

How Far Would $5k Get Your Short Film? The Davey Foundation Announces Jurors & Expanded Grants

David Fetzer
You’ve got the story. You’ve got the actors. You’ve got the drive. What don’t you have? Enough money! These short film grants deal with this very dilemma, so don't miss the March 22 deadline.

To help talented young filmmakers grow and create, the David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists has made their 2016 grant rewards bigger than ever, ranging from $5,000 in cash to $10,000 in camera gear. Winners will be selected by two illustrious jurors, Sean Baker (dir. Tangerine) and Amy Seimetz (dir. Sun Don't Shine, actor Upstream Color). Filmmakers and Board members Kenny Riches and Patrick Fugit give No Film School readers a few pointers on applying for this year’s grants, as well as a little insight on why they started the foundation in honor of the late artist David Ross Fetzer.

First, here’s a quick breakdown of the three types of from grants offered by the Davey Foundation:

$5,000 grant each for two short films to be produced and completed before April 2017.

One (non-cash) Gear incentive grant for a short film to be produced and completed before April 2017. Grant includes participation in a camera package and sound equipment loan program in partnership with FILM XCHANGE.

$2500 grant plus participation in a camera package, lighting, and sound equipment loan program in partnership with AVREC ART HOUSE in Salt Lake City

What is the Davey Foundation looking for in an applicant? Here’s how Kenny Riches explains it:

We grew up watching and making movies with David, and he was really the one that introduced us not only to independent and foreign cinema, but he also showed us how to look at performance, character, and story. Really, he made us aware of the possibilities. With the Davey Foundation, we are simply looking for material that is interesting—scripts that excite us. Whether it gets us excited because of its uniqueness or its well crafted story, or by its great characters—it just has to be interesting storytelling. We definitely get so many amazing scripts that it's extremely difficult to decide. We're growing as an organization, so every year we add something to try to either help more people or add to the experience of the current programs. There are a few eligibility requirements too. The applicant must be 35 years of age or under. They must be a US resident or have a student visa. And their script must be 16 pages or less. We also hope they're awesome people because thus far we've had really great grantees and we keep an ongoing relationship with them all. It's a nerdy web of filmmaker love.

If you think you fit the bill, the regular deadline to apply to any of the grants is March 22, and late submission is April 12. They announce the winners on June 30, 2016, and they will fly you out to Salt Lake City in April 2017 to screen your finished film. If you want to find out any more details on the grants, visit the Davey Foundation site, and read a little more below from our conversation with Patrick Fugit about the founding principles of the organization, and the impact David Fetzer had on the creative community in Salt Lake City.

NFS: I hear you have some new special jurors this year — can you tell us who and what you think these cool jurors will add to the granting process?

Kenny Riches: Yes! Well, last year was exciting because we had the Zellner Brothers (Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter) as our jurors, which was awesome, and this year we are really stoked to have Sean Baker (dir. Tangerine) and Amy Seimetz (dir. Sun Don't Shine, actor Upstream Color) as our jurors. I think as we grow and add more jurors from different backgrounds and with different tastes, our grantees and script material will evolve too. I'm excited to see what they choose and what films come out of this year's round of grantees. We're really happy to see two of our previous grantees, Lauren Wolkstein and Benjamin Kegan, taking their Davey Foundation short films to SXSW this year! I'm like a proud parent every time I talk to our grantees—it's really disgusting.

I think as we grow and add more jurors from different backgrounds and with different tastes, our grantees and script material will evolve too. 

NFS: What’s the background of the Davey Foundation?

Patrick Fugit: Davey (David Fetzer) had a huge drive while he was alive to build a compelling creative community that could produce original and exciting material within the film and theatrical, as well as musical, mediums. And after he passed suddenly, a lot of us felt the motivation to carry on the legacy he was building and felt a responsibility, even, to do so. And so the Davey Foundation was created to keep a lot of what we all loved about Davey present in, especially the Salt Lake City community, but also in terms of original and thoughtful creativity in the realms of theater and film. So Betsy (David's mother), as the sort of captain of the ship and point of the spear created the Davey Foundation. Many of his closest friends and people who cared to see this legacy perpetuated take part in creating opportunities and content for that legacy to continue. 

That's our motivation--to highlight people that we find exciting, or that we believe Davey might have found exciting as storytellers and short filmmakers, and try to assist them and provide some sort of financial boost to their existing production plans. 

NFS: What made you decide to offer the film grants as part of the Foundation?

Patrick Fugit: We decided to start the film grant because one of the things we always loved doing as a group was making films and telling stories. One of the biggest roadblocks for us was resources. How do we get the resources to confidently bring these stories to life? You'll have the drive, and the actual story, the characters...you may even have the performers you need. But in order to get equipment, or time, or people who are experts in areas of production that you don't have access to, you need financial resources. So, part of us starting the film grant was to provide that sort of opportunity in whatever way we can. It's not on a huge at this point, yet, but anybody who's tried to make short films (or feature films) knows that any little bit helps. Any little bit that you can put towards a camera, or towards color correction, or anything like that really is immensely helpful. That's our motivation—to highlight people that we find exciting, or that we believe Davey might have found exciting as storytellers and short filmmakers, and try to assist them and provide some sort of financial boost to their existing production plans.

It's also a forum for them to show and share their short films and stories. We all know that once you've made a story, you want to share it! From my point of view, if you can share it with people that are excited about it, that's really the entire reward in storytelling. It's very rewarding having people who are excited to watch and listen to your story, and sharing it with them while you're there in the room. It's nice to be a part of it--to see people's short films go from the draft that they sent us, to realized and scored and edited films at the end of the year on the big screen in Salt Lake City, at the same movie theater David worked in.

***

Thank you, Patrick and Kenny. The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists AKA The Davey Foundation is a great tribute to both friendship and filmmaking. 

If you’re applying for one of this year's grants, best of luck!      

Your Comment