🎉 And the 2022 Community Builders Grant Winner is... 🎉
SEMI-FINALIST: The Last Week
Written and Directed by Santana Coleman.
A poetic tale of love and sacrifice, The Last Week details the emotional rollercoaster one couple faces during their last week together as a prison sentence threatens to tear them apart. From the perspective of the woman, the effects that black male incarceration has on everyone involved becomes very clear and hardly bearable.
SEMI-FINALIST: Yummy Cuisine
Written and Directed by Wenhwa Tsao.
Wei, (35) is carjacked. He refuses to report the crime because he is an undocumented worker. As the driver for Yummy Cuisine, a hole in the wall Chinese carry out restaurant, his beat up 2000 Ford sedan is how he earns a living. Tracking down the offenders on his own using the GPS tracker he installed in the car, Wei needs to get back to work to earn money.
Written and Directed by Taylor Dominique Mason.
An otherworldly experience forces an insomnia-ridden musician to choose between healing from their assault and seeking revenge against the man who harmed them. Incorporating an ethereal sonic landscape and lush imagery, this experimental narrative short explores themes of complex trauma, community care, and healing in the absence of state protection.
Written, Produced, and Directed by Juan C. Linares.
Rummaging through a dumpster to find her engagement ring, a heartbroken woman connects with a neighbor who loves tomato juice.
SEMI-FINALIST: Lee & Charlie
Lee, a trans man, and his wife Charlie are smack dab in the middle of creating a family. Insecurities, hormone imbalances, loss of bodily autonomy, and the exhaustion of new parenthood test the limits of this resilient queer couple.
SEMI-FINALIST: The Existence Theorem
Written by Bilgesu Sisman.
In piecing together fragmented memories from a recent night, a burnt-out graduate student’s reality begins to disintegrate as she uncovers unsettling connections between the mathematical proof on which her academic career depends and a mysterious stranger she has never met or seen before—and yet whose face she compulsively draws again and again.
SEMI-FINALIST: Birds of America
Written by Deborah Kent Stein. Directed and Co-Produced by Anthony Pitsilos.
Chicago writer Deborah Kent Stein has been blind since birth. In “Birds of America”, she tells her story of listening to records of bird sounds when she was young, so she and her mother could identify birds on nature walks together. As she grew older and eventually moved away from home, Deborah noticed the songs of many bird species disappearing, year after year, while those around her with sight weren’t noticing at all.
Recovering from the loss of her mother, Jade must navigate her first love on her own. Jade, a shy, out-lesbian high-schooler, falls into rollerskating as she struggles to garner the attention of Parkwood High’s most eligible queer, Glo.
You can follow GLO at their Instagram account.
FINALIST: The Cottage Grove
Written and Directed by George Ellzey Jr.
A young man struggles to communicate with his stroke-afflicted father, and at the same time, stay true to himself.
WINNER: Video Funeral
Lam, a Vietnamese international student, welcomes her younger sister, Phuong, to her Chicago apartment. Phuong brings a DVD of their father’s funeral, which Lam could not attend.
Watch the Live Finalist Pitches here.
Watch the Announcement Video here.
A special thanks to our Semi-Finalists, Finalists, Judges, Sponsors, and Community for a fantastic grant season. We are truly so grateful to everyone for your support! Check out below for our round up on this season!
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY BUILDERS GRANT: The Community Builders Grant is a short-form film fund and production resources grant sponsored by Camera Ambassador. Our mission is to help build bridges between filmmakers and the community while elevating their production by arming them with the necessary tools to create. This grant supports artists with varying levels of experience, both to recognize accomplished individuals, as well as to provide opportunities for young and emerging artists. The 2022 grant is made possible by our wonderful sponsors: Yakkety Yak, On Set Headsets, Motion Source, & Chicago Film Office.