EXCLUSIVE: The second annual NALIP Latino Lens Narrative Short Film Incubator for Women of Color has selected its class of 2022: Holly M. Kaplan, Nicole Otero, Akilah ‘Ak’ Walker, Diana Gonzalez-Morett, Jhanvi Motla, and Frida Perez.
As part of this program, the filmmakers received a $25k grant to produce a new short film. Throughout that process, they were supported by executives at the NALIP and Netflix, who provided creative feedback during development as well as guidance through post-production. The films will showcase at a special screening at NALIP’s Diverse Women in Media Forum on March 30, 2023, in Los Angeles.
“We are grateful to Netflix and the mentorship support provided by individuals that hold a strong place in the industry and constantly elevate the filmmakers’ voices,” Diana Luna, NALIP Executive Director said in a statement. “Writers, Ligiah Villalobos and Stephanie Adams-Santos; Director, Carlos Lopez Estrada: Casting Director, Carla Hool; and fundraising expert, Gerardo Maravilla, were the dream team providing input to the projects. We hope that those relationships between mentor and mentee continue growing.”
“Our teams are excited to be part of these filmmakers’ journeys as they create films that will allow more people to see themselves and their experiences represented on screen, and we hope that programs like these will continue to be launchpads for women of color in the entertainment industry,” added Pete Corona, Director of Original Series at Netflix and Content Creative Lead of the LALIFF Inclusion Fellowship & the NALIP Latino Lens: Narrative Short Film Incubator for Women of Color.
NALIP is a nonprofit organization that addresses the professional needs of Latinx content creators and industry professionals. Its focus for more than two decades has been addressing the most underrepresented and the largest ethnic minority in the country.
Learn more about the winners and their projects below.
Sunflower Girl by Holly M. Kaplan
Logline: When a 13-year-old Chinese-American girl has the opportunity to go skateboarding with her crush, it comes at the cost of neglecting her familial duties.
Kaplan is a second-generation Chinese-American filmmaker, born and raised in New York City. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Film & Media Arts at American University and earned the Ron Sutton Award for Visual Literacy. While studying abroad, she shot her first short, The Lesson (Lekce), on 16mm which led to her becaming an apprentice to the late Ben Barenholtz on his feature film, Alina.
Currently, Kaplan is working as a D.A. on HBO Max’s Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin under directors Lisa Soper and Alex Pillai. Inspired and driven by ties to her Cantonese heritage, Holly is invested in bringing narratives about the Asian diaspora and diversity to the forefront.
Wait for Night by Nicole Otero
Logline: Two siblings return to their late father’s house for the last time, but they encounter an already unfamiliar environment in the place that holds their past. Wait For Night is a triptych of loss in America’s Southwest.
Otero began as a self-taught filmmaker, learning through experience working extensively on set and in post. In 2020, Otero’s directorial narrative debut, Slip, was acquired & distributed by Kino Lorber/Dedza, as part of a collection highlighting emerging directors. Slip is currently streaming on Criterion Channel. Additionally, She edited the narrative feature The African Desperate.
Born in a mixed, Mexican-American family, her work explores memory, loss and identity. With emphasis on cinema’s sonic possibilities, she is interested in haptic, embodied cinema.
Pedacito de Carne by Akilah ‘Ak’ Walker and Diana Gonzalez-Morett
Logline: Sandra finds herself in a new role as a caregiver for her mother living with Frontotemporal dementia. Burnt out by the nonsense that is social service, the relentless pile-on of caregiving demands, and the heartbreak of slowly losing parts of her mother, Sandra risks it all and takes a night off.
Creative collaborators since 2015, acting, devising theater, writing, and recently producing our short film, Ivar Tunnel: Shook Ones, written and directed by Walker and produced by Gonzalez-Morett. For the film, they raised $25k (in 2 weeks), secured fiscal sponsorship from Film Independent, gathered a 90% BIPOC cast and crew, and filmed during Covid. The film has won multiple accolades including “Best US Short Film” by the San Francisco Indie Short Film Festival and “Best First Time Director (Female)” by the Independent Short Awards.
In 2020, the pair co-founded Good Mother Films.
Mirage by Jhanvi Motla
Logline: Recently widowed, Nitya Mehra leaves Mumbai to work at a motel owned by her distant cousin in the California desert. Within days of her arrival however she learns that the motel’s survival depends on sinister outside forces and her willingness to preserve this second chance at life is put to the test.
Motla is a L.A. based filmmaker that was born and raised in Mumbai, India. She has written, directed and produced shorts that have premiered at multiple film festivals. Additionally, Motla has produced music videos for Mateo Arias, Jaden Smith, Theo Crocker and India Shawn.
In Fall 2021, she produced her first feature film All The Colors of The Dark in partnership with Beacon Pictures starring Miranda Otto, Noah Wyle, Vanessa Benavente, and Ezekiel Pacheco.
Detox by Frida Perez
Logline: A 20-year-old girl vows to fast for the day.
Perez is a Dominican-American filmmaker based in L.A. who began her career as an assistant at UTA in the Independent Film Department. She then moved to Seth Rogen’s production company Point Grey Pictures where she worked under senior executives.
In 2019, she became a Sundance Ignite Fellow for her short film White Noise. Her feature film script, Just Kids, was a finalist for the 2020 SFFILM Westridge Grant. Her second short film Bottle Bomb premiered at the Chicago Latino Film Festival and is currently on the festival circuit.
Perez EP’s the podcast Storytime with Seth Rogen which was listed on several year-end “best of” lists. Frida was nominated for Best Scriptwriting for the Ambie Awards for her work.
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