EXCLUSIVE: Topic is partnering with Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Roger Ross Williams and on a new program titled One Story Up, in which he will select one short film from an emerging talent per month for the next 12 months that will stream exclusively on the streaming platform.
The deal forged with Williams’ production company One Story Up, which he co-founded with Geoff Martz. In lieu of an open call for submissions, the company will engage film school professors, shorts festivals, colleagues and organizations that support underrepresented filmmakers.
The chosen project will receive a licensing deal from Topic, with Williams choosing one of the 12 filmmakers to receive up to $25,000 to produce an original new short, mentored and produced by Williams and his company.
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“Roger is not only a phenomenally talented storyteller but he’s also incredibly skilled at identifying and supporting undiscovered talent, especially from underrepresented communities,” said Gena Konstantinakos, VP Originals at Topic. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to support his mission to find and help lift up new filmmakers from around the world, and bring their work to the Topic audience.”
Williams, a member of the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, won the Documentary Short Subject Oscar in 2010 for Music By Prudence and was nominated in 2017 for Feature Documentary with Life, Animated, which won an Emmy. One Story Up’s recent credits include the Netflix docuseries The Innocence Files, HBO’s The Apollo, and the Emmy-nominated Traveling While Black.
“I am thrilled to be partnering with Topic on such an important program that will introduce the industry to great filmmakers and innovative storytelling, and will provide more industry access for diverse and underrepresented communities,” Williams said. “I look forward to getting to work hands on with these filmmakers and help bring their amazing visions to Topic, and the documentary community as a whole.”
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