Political society

Austin Film Society Announces 2022 Filmmaker Fellowship Recipients: Projects by PJ Raval, Don Swaynos and Financial Support – Screens

A scene from “Street Flame” by Katherine Propper. The director’s new project, lost soulis one of 11 feature films announced as recipients of the AFS Filmmaker Grants for 2022.

For more than two and a half decades, AFS Filmmaker Fellowships have changed careers and lives by providing critical funding to projects across Texas. Now, the latest list of recipients has been announced by the Austin Film Society.

Founded in 1996 as the Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund, the grants have become a vital stepping stone in the careers of many filmmakers, including David Lowery (The green knight, pete’s dragon) and Kat Candler (13 reasons why, hellion), and played a pivotal role in the development and production of films including Channing Godfrey Peoples’ Miss JuneteenthAnnie Silverstein Bullby Keith Maitland Towerand Iliana Sosa’s SXSW award What we leave behindwhich begins its theatrical run at the AFS cinema this weekend.

This year’s list includes 11 projects from 14 directors, eight of which are feature debuts. However, the program aims not only to fund films and filmmakers, but to provide more opportunities for historically underrepresented groups. This year, 50% of recipients identify as women and 79% identify with a community of color (e.g. fifth annual New Texas Voices Award, $10,000 cash grant and mentorship from the industry, for a first feature-length filmmaker of color, returns to Estefanía Contreras and Silvia Castaños with their feature-length documentary, Hummingbirds).

AFS grants also go to filmmakers across the state: while there are projects from Austin (still at the heart of the Lone Star film industry), there are recipients from as far away as Laredo and Georgetown. , Houston and Celina. This includes the three films receiving support from the North Texas Pioneer Film Fund (presented in partnership with Ley Line Entertainment, David Lowery and the Oak Cliff Film Festival) dedicated to filmmakers in the Metroplex and beyond.

Of course, Austin cuts a fine figure, with some household names: Katherine Propper, who follows her critically acclaimed shorts “Birds” and Street Flame with a rap drama lost soul; the director duo Huay-Bing Law and Sam Mohney skipping shorts and music videos for a rap comedy, Movement; PJ Raval, whose latest untitled documentary takes him back to the Philippines, where he shot his last feature film, Call her Ganda; and Don Swaynos, back for his first feature film since 2013 Pictures of superheroesdocumentary professional texan

Celebrating the recipients, AFS CEO Rebecca Campbell said, “The AFS grant is the only film fund of its kind – it helps Texas-based filmmakers make their own films. For 26 years, this grant has been throwing foundations for a thriving, inclusive film culture in Texas. The funding provides a base of support filmmakers can count on and defines our vision for a Texas film community that is a welcoming and supportive place for independent filmmakers of all backgrounds to to give life to ambitious creative projects.

Here is the complete list of recipients: congratulations to all.



D: Lucy Kerr (Austin)

Experimental narrative in post

The Christmas card Follows a sprawling Texas family one morning when they planned to take a family photo for their annual Christmas card. As the planned photoshoot approaches, the family begins to lose their way.


D: Katherine Propper (Austin)

Narrative functionality in post-production

A young rapper leaves everything behind and embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery, music and friendship in the heart of Texas.


D: Huay-Bing Law (Austin) and Sam Mohney (Austin)

Developing story

A budding parody rapper from the mid-30s performs a set at a music festival with other up-and-coming artists and gets a chance to fulfill his dream of finally being signed to a record label. But in the two hours between the sound check and the performance, he must put out the fire in his personal and professional relationships, while writing a new last-second track that will redefine him as a true artist.


D: Don Swaynos (Austin)

Documentary in development

A possibly fictionalized true-crime documentary about an unemployed billionaire and his 45 ex-wives.


D: Andrew Richey (Georgetown)

Feature documentary in production

With their fiercely unique culture, the Tonkawa tribe that once dominated much of Texas finds its existence hanging by a thread. Those who remain strive to rediscover who they are as a tribe, while preserving their language, culture and way of life.


D: PJ Raval (Austin)

Feature documentary in production

A new feature documentary by PJ Raval (Call her Ganda).


D: Alexis Franco (Houston)

Documentary in production
Where the trees bear meat tells a parallel story of two families of gauchos and talks about the vulnerability of human life in the vastness of nature.

New Texas Voices Award


D: Estefanía Contreras (Laredo) and Silvia Castaños (Laredo)

Documentary feature in post-production

In this late-night summer self-portrait, Silvia Castaños and Estefanía Contreras make magic out of everyday moments that come to fruition on the Texas-Mexico border.

North Texas Pioneer Awards


D: Hammad Rizvi (Richardson)

Narrative functionality in development

After the sudden disappearance of his pregnant wife, an immigrant college student sets out to find the truth but instead uncovers deeper secrets.


D: Adriane McCray (Dallas)

Narrative feature in production

State champions eat free is a cultural coming-of-age story set in the competitive worlds of club football and Texas college football. We follow five girls with a common dream of bringing home a title. Together they become women and work to fight for their victories – both on and off the pitch. Tensions arise when they discover that they may not want the same things in life. Also recipient of the MPS Camera and Lighting Austin Grant.


D: LaTasha Taylor Starr (Dallas) and Ariel Leslie (Celina)

Feature documentary in production

From the first slave passage to the present day, much of African American history has been lost and/or destroyed and reduced to minimal contributions to building this country. Due to the purging of an entire ethnic group’s identity, many African Americans identify and assimilate with Native American history or simply being black in America and nothing more. Fortunately, the history stored in DNA is not so easily destroyed.

*Also Stuck On On DCP grant recipients