2018 SDF Production and Research & Development Grant Winners


A Hello Story

Pat Davison – North Carolina

A Hello Story is an intimate story about how a bi-racial, bi-national family moved 7,000 miles and back to uncover a deep well of memories through a disease that erases them. Rather than a burden, Yasuo sparked a journey of discovery in which each member of the family was forced to face intersections of race, family, and love in indelible ways.


April Dobbins – Florida

Jones Farm is a lush, 688-acre farm situated in the heart of western Alabama. Three generations of black women explore their very different ties to this place that shaped them and continues to exert a strange hold on their identities. This is the same plot of land that their ancestors once worked as slaves—a history that is important to their identities and to how they navigate the world.

A Love Supreme: Black, Queer and Christian in The South

Katina Parker – North Carolina

A Love Supreme: Black, Queer and Christian in The South is a long-overdue heart-to-heart between Black LGBTQ people, their families, and The Black Church. Co-directed by Katina Parker and the Rev. Kyndra Frazier, the film follows 8 Black families who are struggling to reconcile the religious bigotry that they learned from the pulpit with the immense love they have for their lesbian, gay, bi, queer, and trans family members. A Love Supreme will be accompanied by a significant impact campaign that networks resources, trainings and healing retreats for Black churches that are committed to creating affirming environments for LGBTQ+ people and their families.

Bipolar Girl Rules the World

Dawn Dreyer – North Carolina

Can stories save lives? Driven by isolation and life-threatening depression, filmmaker and occasional superhero Dawn Dreyer heads out across the rocky terrain of mental illness on a quest for compatriots and storytellers. Her decade-long animated odyssey bears witness to the healing powers of making art and the human desire for connection and community.


Zac Manuel – Louisiana

Bloodthicker is an atmospheric exploration of New Orleans’ contemporary rap community as seen through the eyes of three artists and friends whom share a unique bond through the shared legacies of their fathers. Young Juve, T.Y. and Lil Soulja Slim, whose fathers were Juvenile, B.G., and Soulja Slim respectively, navigate their paths to success which are fraught with the excesses and trappings of street culture, grounded by their responsibilities to family, and immutably influenced by their fathers’ distinct legacies. Delicately crafted, Bloodthicker is a poetic documentary that explores the truth of identity of a community often only seen in caricature.


Erin Bernhardt – Georgia

CLARKSTON aspires to discover the soul of America by examining it through the eyes of “outcasts.” Intimate character-driven stories lead us through a small Southern town known as the most diverse square mile in America, home to thousands of refugees.

Mama Bears

Daresha Kyi – Florida

Did you know there are over 4,000 conservative, Christian mothers who accept their LGBTQ children? Connected through private Facebook groups—a lifeline for those struggling to reconcile their hearts with their faith—they support one another on the journey to acceptance. MAMA BEARS is the story of four such mothers—women whose lives are utterly transformed when they decide to accept, affirm, and advocate on behalf of their LGBTQ offspring.

Outta The Muck

Ira Mckinley & Bhawin Suchak – Florida

Family, football and history come to life in an intimate portrait of the Dean family, longtime residents of the historic town of Pahokee, Florida. As we take a journey back home, with filmmaker Ira McKinley, to the land of sugarcane, he reconnects with the Dean’s and their shared family history. Outta The Muck is a story about the power of community and the resilience and strength of Black families in rural America.


Pilar Timpane and Christine Delp – North Carolina

In Greensboro, NC, a small church community offers sanctuary to Juana Tobar Ortega, a Guatemalan grandmother threatened with deportation after 25 years of living and working in the United States.

Silent Beauty

Jasmin Mara López – Louisiana

Silent Beauty is an experimental autobiographical exploration of one woman’s family history with child sexual abuse and a culture of silence. Silent Beauty is a personal documentary that follows Director Jasmin Mara López as she works to heal from child sexual abuse she endured at the hands of her grandfather, Gilberto, almost thirty years ago. In the process of sharing her own trauma with her large family, Jasmin learns that generations of children in her family were victims of the same abuse

Research & Development

A Slavery Remix – Plantation Tourism

Deborah Riley Draper – Georgia

A Slavery Remix – Plantation Tourism, is the working title. The film will examine the complicated business proposition of plantation tours. What role do these business entities play in illustrating the emotionally-charged, complex history of the American South, the planter life and legacy, and the way slavery is presented or misrepresented in the public mind?

Bulls and Saints

Rodrigo Dorfman – North Carolina

Bulls and Saints is the epic story of an extended family and community divided by the border and bound together by tradition, tragedy and resistance. From Cheran, Mexico to rural North Carolina, USA, bull riding and saint worship brings these two communities together as they resist the Narco-state that wants to destroy them and the government that wants to deport them.

Day Job

Marcus Brown – Louisiana

Follow millennials in New Orleans to see how they live, struggle, and thrive in pursuit of their passions, while transitioning from the traditional work environment to their dream jobs.

Devil Town

Adam Forrester – Georgia

Devil Town examines the sordid history of a now sleepy small town in the American South, Phenix City, Alabama.  It was here that local officials once allowed violent murders and a criminal network of drugs, gambling, prostitution and black-market adoptions to flourish, leading to the town earning the moniker of “Sin City, U.S.A.”


Daneeta Loretta Jackson and Patrick Jackson – Louisiana

Homeland/Wetland is a short experimental documentary that takes a hyper-local look at the nearly extinct South Louisiana lifestyle of living off of the land and in extended familycompounds. Strategies for independent survival are a Louisiana inheritance. But, as large multi-nationals corner traditionally local markets and squeeze out local knowledge workers, what were once well-known strategies for survival in the swamp are lost to future generations.

Miami 1980, A Tale of Three Cities

Maria Bures – Florida

In 1980, two events – the Cuban Mariel exodus and the McDuffie riots, shattered the image of Miami as a tourist paradise, revealing instead, a place torn by racial tensions and ethnic strife, where African-Americans, Cuban immigrants, and white Anglos battled for political power, cultural primacy and economic opportunities. Did this struggle for power, that once seemed unique to Miami, portend what America is currently facing? And more pointedly, do we as a nation have the political will to heal the rift?

Not Your Model Minority! Asian Activists in the South

Ligaiya Romero – North Carolina

Queer, Rad, Asian: three southern activists organize with the intersectional resistance against white supremacy and the cis-hetero-patriarchy. Asian Pacific Americans are the fastest growing ethnic group in the South, with the ability to affect voting blocs in predominantly red states. This is a critical period for the formation of Asian-American identity in the South. We need narratives of resistance to nurture our movements and challenge the myth of the model minority.

Summer Headstones

Hamilton Young Ward – North Carolina

Abandoned and repurposed public pools litter the Southern landscape, silent monuments to a time when white officials abruptly closed pools down, instead of allowing African Americans to swim in them. Summer Headstones explores the urban decay of municipal swimming pools in the Southern United States, due to their closure and abandonment by white officials after desegregation was instituted in America. Forced into allowing African American families in these public pools, Southern officials chose instead to not allow anyone to swim in the hot summer months. Seeing no other alternative, they simply closed the doors and drained the water.

The Floyd Radio Show

Tyler Trumbo – Virginia

Explore how Appalachian music, storytelling, and identity are being preserved and challenged during a single night’s broadcasting of The Floyd Radio Show, an old-timey variety show put on in the Virginia mountain town of Floyd – population 425.

The Land of Fish and Grits

Justin Robinson, Mikel Barton, D.L. Anderson – North Carolina

Reinterpreting the past and imaging the future of Southern food by centering it’s black and indigenous creators.