sffilm grant

“Salt” (“Sabras”), a feature film project written and to be directed by Indian American filmmaker Sushma Khadepaun, has won a SFFILM’s Spring 2020 Westridge Grant. (Sush Khadepaun/Facebook photo)

SFFILM, in partnership with the Westridge Foundation, has announced the projects that will receive a total of $100,000 in funding in the latest round of SFFILM Westridge Grants. Five filmmaking teams, one of which includes Indian American director Sushma Khadepaun, have been granted funding to help support the screenwriting stage of their narrative feature films.

“Salt” (“Sabras”), a feature project written and to be directed by Khadepaun, and produced by Monique Walton (U.S.) and Andrea Kuehnel (Germany), has been selected as one of the five winners and will receive a $20,000 screenwriting grant.

In “Salt,” Anita, an enthusiast of American sitcoms in small-town India, orchestrates her own “arranged marriage” and moves to America in the hope of a more exciting and independent life. But Anita’s escape begins to feel like a trap when she finds herself completely dependent on her husband in suburban Texas. Anita must find a way to reconcile her expectations with her reality.

Born and raised in India, Khadepaun is currently studying at Columbia University School of the Arts.

The writer/director, who is based in New York City, ran her own production company for several years, making commissioned documentaries and commercials before switching to narrative fiction, according to the university.

In 2017, Khadepaun was a participant of “Pitch NY,” organized by NBCUniversal and the Governor’s Office of Motional Picture and Television. The same year her short film, “Foren,” premiered at the Palm Springs International ShortFest.

SFFILM Westridge Grants, which are awarded twice annually, are designed for U.S.-based filmmakers whose stories take place primarily in the U.S. and focus on the significant social issues and questions of our time.

In addition to cash grants, recipients benefit from SFFILM’s comprehensive and dynamic artist development program, SFFILM Makers, as well as support and counsel from SFFILM, the Westridge Foundation, and a dedicated mentor.

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