Lena Waithe is looking for the next generation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) filmmakers. The actor, producer and Emmy-winning writer, Hillman Grad Productions is partnering with Indeed to launch the “Rising Voices” initiative which showcases the power of how jobs change our world.
The initiative looks to uncover, invest in and share stories created by BIPOC storytellers around the singular theme of the meaning of work, and the idea that jobs can change us all. The open call kicks off today, with the 10 finalists to be selected by the end of February.
“Our mission at Hillman Grad Productions is to provide opportunities for the filmmakers that Hollywood has ignored, support the talent that hasn’t had access to the business, and advocate for the artists who aren’t on studio lists,” said Waithe who is also CEO of Hillman Grad Productions. “We’re proud to partner with Indeed on the Rising Voices initiative to mentor the next generation of directors and give them real funding to get their films made.”
The selection committee, composed of executives from Hillman Grad Productions, Indeed and directors via creative studio Ventureland, will select 10 screenplays submitted by filmmakers, awarding each a $10,000 writing fee. From there, the 10 finalists will receive a total production budget of $1 million, $100,000 per film, plus a dedicated line production crew through Hillman Grad and 271 Films to produce a short film (under 15 mins). Each film will be allocated an additional $25,000 Covid budget to ensure the safety of the cast and crew.
Waithe will serve as a mentor to the filmmakers throughout this process, with additional guidance provided by an advisory panel featuring Rishi Rajani, president, Hillman Grad Productions; LaFawn Davis, Group VP of ESG, Indeed; and PRETTYBIRD filmmakers Calmatic, Paul Hunter and Melina Matsoukas.
“Lena Waithe is one of the most influential voices in the film industry, a trailblazer for underrepresented filmmakers and entertainers, and we are thrilled to partner with her,” said Indeed CEO Chris Hyams. “Indeed’s mission is to help people get jobs. We know that talent is universal, but opportunity is not equally distributed. Together with Hillman Grad Productions, we know ‘Rising Voices’ will provide an extraordinary opportunity to historically underrepresented talent.”
At least one film will be selected for use in a national TV advertisement for Indeed, while one or more filmmakers will be offered an additional $75,000 budget to create new work for Indeed as a non-exclusive filmmaker in residence. For more details click here.