Fall 2017 Filmmaking Grants Announced
NOVEMBER 20, 2017 | COMMUNICATIONS AT THE KENNETH RAININ FOUNDATION
Jules of Light and Dark – Daniel Laabs, writer/director; Jeff Walker, Liz Cardenas Franke, Russell Sheaffe, and Judd Myers, producers – post-production – $25,000
A young woman, Maya, struggles to rebuild her life after surviving a devastating car wreck with her girlfriend. The two are found and rescued by an oil worker, Freddy, who forges an unlikely friendship with Maya in this Texas-set drama.
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“Jules of Light and Dark”
Speaking of Longstreet, the criminally under-appreciated actor gets a welcome showcase in this moody drama, written and directed by Daniel Laabs, the Dallas-based filmmaker who makes his feature debut. He’s Freddy, a lovelorn middle-aged gay Texan whose often wordless articulation of loneliness and regret for false turns gives this quiet character study a soulful resonance. His spiritual counterpart is Maya (played by another versatile indie all-star, Tallie Medel), a college student who, likewise, is adrift in her yearning, in a relationship with the elusive Jules (Betsy Holt) that isn’t as secure as she wants it to be – staged against a backdrop of rave parties and awkward three-ways with a male DJ friend.
The emotional angst and uncertainty grows after the women have a near-fatal car wreck, from which Freddy rescues them amid intersecting character arcs. Maya forms a bond with the kindred stranger, in whose vulnerability and longing she recognizes her own.
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COCOON CENTRAL DANCE TEAM (Sunita Mani, Eleanore Pienta, Tallie Mara Medel)
The exuberance of Cocoon Central Dance Team is undeniable. Sunita Mani, Eleanore Pienta, and Tallie Medel choreograph and perform dance routines that are as fun as they are meticulously detailed in concept, movement, and execution. The pieces tend to be abstract character studies, with the women inhabiting a world free of words. Since the early aughts, CCDT has been performing everywhere from MOMA PS1 to Caroline’s on Broadway, while each of its members have been developing individually as actors, most prominently Mani’s role on Glow). The team’s first film, Snowy Bing Bongs, premiered at BAM CinemaFest this summer.