The Jewish Film Institute provides support and consultations for filmmakers in its residency program who are in various stages of completion on their projects. Our first annual Filmmaker Residency program launched in 2012 to support independent filmmakers creating work that is relevant to Jewish audiences.

The Filmmaker Residency includes:

  • Private office housed in the Ninth Street Independent Film Center
  • Access to Ninth Street’s intimate 80-seat screening room
  • Publicity through JFI’s social media marketing
  • A Meet & Greet with many of the Bay Area’s film industry professionals

If you’re working on a project that you feel might be of interest to the Jewish Film Institute, we want to know about it. To request more information about JFI’s Filmmaker Residency Program, or to submit your work for consideration, please email

2017 Filmmakers in Residence

Melinda Hess – Letter from Cloudcroft

Melinda Hess is a Jewish artist, film editor and currently director and producer of documentary and hybrid interactive films. Hess comes to the JFI Filmmaker Residency program from the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society and will be working on the project Letters from Cloudcroft while at Ninth Street Independent Film Center. This is Melinda’s second year in the JFI Filmmaker Residency program.

Connect with Melinda: Visit the Website | Facebook

About the Project:

Letters-in-suitcase-WP1Letter From Cloudcroft, a documentary film and it’s associated trans-media and installation project Constructed Memories, explore the intersection between the legacy of Holocaust slave labor and the celebrated American moon landing. The film examines the secret collaboration between the U.S. and captured German Nazis rocket scientists after WWII, resulting in the American space program & NASA. Revealed through two intertwined perspectives, one from a Jewish father writing letters as a 21 year old in 1946 to his parents during his Army assignment in the covert Project Paperclip. Seventy years later, the other from his daughter tracking incidents and leads from the letters, navigating through geographies of place that shape this story, unraveling the complexities of history, collective memory and personal narrative. Challenged by the writings of her father, the filmmaker confronts national & family beliefs, memories and values while questioning moral and ethical decisions of individuals and governments.

Nicole Opper – The F Word

Nicole Opper is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker who directed and produced the feature documentary Off and Running, an Audience Favorite at Tribeca and winner of ten international awards including Best Documentary at Outfest and Best Documentary Screenplay at Silverdocs. She is currently at work on the docu-comedy web series The F Word, which chronicles her and her partner Kristan’s plans to adopt a child. 

Connect with Nicole: The F Word website | Nicole Opper website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

About the Project:

FWord_Ep3_5Nicole and Kristan are a queer Bay Area couple who plan to adopt a child. On weekends they can often be found baby-watching at the local farmer’s market or borrowing a friend’s toddler so they can hang out at playgrounds without looking creepy. This docu-comedy web series will chronicle their journey into the foster care system to become fost-adopt parents, bumbling through a bureaucratic maze in order to learn everything they can about the troubled institution on which they are staking their dreams of parenthood. Determined to dispel the pervasive idea that the kids adopted from foster care are “damaged goods”, they seek out a number of former foster youth – some who were eventually adopted, others who have aged out of the system and are building their own futures, all of whom have an amazing sense of humor and wisdom to share. They also talk to other fost-adopt families, social workers, lawyers, CASA volunteers and others working in the system in order to find out what’s working, what’s not, and how we can all make a difference.