EXCLUSIVE: Film Independent has selected the 30 filmmakers that will participate in 2020 Project Involve, a nine-month program for writers, directors, producers, editors, cinematographers and entertainment executives from diverse backgrounds.
Now in its 27th year, the program is an opportunity for filmmakers to meet and have one-on-ones with film industry mentors, create short films, attend master-workshops taught by top film professionals and participate in industry networking events.
Project Involve program fosters the careers of talented filmmakers from underrepresented backgrounds and gives them the chance to give a voice to seldom-heard narratives. Previous Project Involve mentors include Janicza Bravo (Lemon, Zola), Ava DuVernay (Selma, When They See Us), Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Alma Har’el (Honey Boy), Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk, Moonlight), Mako Kamitsuna (Pariah, Mudbound), Charles D. King (Fences, Mudbound), Christine Vachon (Carol, Boys Don’t Cry), Forest Whitaker and others.
The roster of past fellows features some of today’s most talented and trailblazing creators including Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Linda Yvette Chávez, Marvin Lemus and Aaliyah Williams (Gentefied) as well as Effie T. Brown (Dear White People), Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, In the Heights) and Justin Simien (Bad Hair, Dear White People).
“Film Independent is thrilled to welcome the 2020 Project Involve Fellows, who join the ranks of such prestigious alumni,” said Francisco Velasquez, Senior Manager of Project Involve. “We look forward to shining a light on their unique stories that are so needed. As always, we are extremely grateful to all of our supporters who are an integral part of making change.”
You can read this year’s Project Involve Fellows by track below:
Becky Baihui Chen
Allen E. Ho
Lauren López de Victoria
Mary Ann Anane
Past shorts produced in the program include Liberty which won the 2019 SXSW Narrative Short Film Jury Award, the 2019 Special Prize of the Generation 14plus International Jury for the Best Short Film at the Berlin International Film Festival as well as the 2019 AFI Special Jury Prize – Live Action. Also produced in the program, was Emergency, which went on to win the 2018 Sundance Special Jury Award and the 2018 SXSW Narrative Short Film Jury Award.
Film Independent also announced continued support of the program through donor-named fellowships. The Easterseals Disability Services Fellowship, which is presented to a Project Involve filmmaker who identifies as a person with a disability, will be given to Andrew Reid. The Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television Fellowship (LMU SFTV) will be presented to alum Tabatha Laanui. The donor-named fellowships for the 2020 Project Involve program to be awarded at a later date are: Amazon Studios Film Fellowship, which will be presented to a visionary filmmaker; the Participant Fellowship; and the ninth annual Sony Pictures Entertainment Fellowship. Each Fellowship provides essential program support to Project Involve and includes a $10,000 unrestricted cash grant for a selected filmmaker participating in the program.
For the second year, the Panavision Fellowship will provide an outstanding cinematographer in the program with a camera rental package valued at $60,000 for use on a future project produced in the US. This year’s Panavision Fellow is Allen E. Ho.