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Office of Economic Development
Office of Economic Development


For Immediate Release                  Contact:  Julie Sinai, Chief of Staff to Mayor Bates 981-7102
March 5, 2009                                                




City of Berkeley, Wareham Development, The Saul Zaentz Company
 Berkeley Convention, and the Visitors Bureau
Establish a $100,000 Fund for Local Independent Filmmakers

Berkeley, CA- Berkeley local filmmakers have a new funding source- The Berkeley FILM Foundation.  The application for the first funding cycle totaling $100,000 is available today at

"I'm inspired by local filmmakers - we have critically acclaimed feature and documentary filmmakers and production specialists right here in Berkeley," said Mayor Tom Bates.  "This Foundation is an excellent example of a public/private partnership, working together to create a wonderful opportunity for local filmmakers." 

"As a local filmmaker, I am delighted to participate in this strategic public/private partnership which has funded the first year of the Berkeley FILM program to nurture, sustain and preserve the thriving Berkeley film community," said Abby Ginzberg, an award-winning Berkeley filmmaker and member of the Review Panel and Board of Directors. 

"This is a tremendous opportunity to promote our local filmmakers," said Barbara Hillman, President of the Berkeley Convention & Visitor's Bureau and Film Office, whose non-profit organization will distribute the grant awards.

Awards will be announced in June.  In the fall grant winners will have the opportunity to screen their films for the community in the same Zaentz Media Center screenings rooms often used by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to view Oscar-nominated and other films.  To inspire future generations of filmmakers, winners will also be encouraged to meet with local students who focus in media and film studies. 

"We wanted to promote the rich history and grand success of the past, present and future local filmmakers," said Rich Robbins, President of Wareham Development. "We approached Mayor Bates and he worked with the City Council to secure funds in the budget and then found a great partner in the Berkeley Convention & Visitor's Bureau to administer the fund.  We are also grateful to have The Saul Zaentz Company on board, who has been instrumental in film patronage for many years."  

 Eligibility requirements include filmmakers who live or work in Berkeley and who are in the production, post-production, and distributions stages of feature-length or short-form narratives or documentaries. 

The deadline for grant applications is April 14, 2009.    The complete guidelines and application may be found a   For more information on the grant guidelines contact Barbara Hillman at (510) 549-7040.


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