Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, has selected 30 filmmakers for Project Involve. Film Independent’s signature mentorship and diversity program, Project Involve is dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry.

“Project Involve is an unparalleled incubator for diverse emerging artists,” said Jennifer Kushner, Director of Artist Development at Film Independent. “Justin Simien’s Dear White People is a testament to the vital community that Project Involve creates. Simien participated in Project Involve in 2010 and drew upon the Project Involve community for key roles on the film including executive producer Stephanie Allain, producers Effie Brown and Ann Le and associate producer Mel Jones. Dear White People  won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Talent at Sundance and also screened at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival. That’s what Project Involve is about, creating community and supporting careers."

For the third consecutive year, Film Independent has awarded the FOX | HBCU Media Alliance Film Fellowship to one filmmaker in Project Involve. This year’s recipient is Morehouse College alumnus Stephen Love, Jr. Love is currently attached to produce The Friendship Nine with Forest Whitaker’s Significant Productions and Nina Yang Bongiovi. Love will receive a $10,000 grant.

Two additional awards will be given out at the Project Involve Showcase in April: the 4th annual Sony Pictures Entertainment Diversity Fellowship in Project Involve, which underwrites one promising filmmaker’s participation in Project Involve and provides a $10,000 grant to the filmmaker; and the Barbara Boyle Scholarship. The recipients will be announced at the Project Involve Showcase in April.

Project Involve is a free nine-month program for writers, directors, producers, editors, cinematographers and entertainment executives from diverse backgrounds. During the program, participants meet one-on-one with film industry mentors, create short films, attend master-workshops taught by top film professionals and industry networking events. Project Involve Fellows receive passes to the Film Independent Forum, Directors Close-Up and Los Angeles Film Festival. The 2015 Project Involve participants were selected based on the quality of their projects, their passion, vision, talent, and commitment to pursuing a career in the film industry. This year’s filmmakers are:

Katherine Borda – Producer

Gloria Bradbury – Industry Track: Acquisition/Distribution

Erick Castrillon – Screenwriter

Mary-Lyn Chambers – Director

Mark Columbus – Director

Melissa Finell – Director

Shatara Michelle Ford – Screenwriter

Jorge Garcia – Producer

Carlos Garza – Producer

Alexander Georgakis – Screenwriter

Maritte Go – Director

Ludovica Isidori – Cinematographer

Peter Wonsuk Jin – Director

Robert Lee – Editor

Janet Lee – Producer

Marvin Lemus – Director

Gabrielle Lim – Screenwriter

Stephen Love Jr. – Producer

Sean Ludan – Editor

Moira Morel – Cinematographer

Jason Park – Screenwriter

Dehanza Rogers – Director

Sultan Sharrief – Director

Michael Solidum – Cinematographer

Frederick Thornton – Producer

Ryan Velasquez – Director

Steven Wang – Editor

Erica Watson – Director

Ed Wu – Cinematographer

David Yoon – Screenwriter

Past Film Independent Fellows from Project Involve include Sheldon Candis (LUV), Javier Fuentes-León (Undertow), Justin Simien (Dear White People), Jon Chu (Step Up 3D, Step Up 2: The Streets), Cherien Dabis (Amreeka), Eric Nazarian (The Blue Hour), Nick Oceano (Pedro), Jennifer Phang (Half-Life), and Tze Chun (Children of Invention). Previous mentors include Gregg Araki (Smiley Face, Mysterious Skin), Nicole Holofcener (Please Give, Friends with Money), Spike Jonze (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich), Kasi Lemmons (Talk to Me, Eve’s Bayou), Melina Matsoukas (We Found Love, Pretty Hurts), Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Memento), Alexander Payne (Sideways, Election), Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, Breach, The Hunger Games, Captain Phillips), Cathy Schulman (Crash, The Illusionist), John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood, Four Brothers), Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, American Gun) and Virgil Williams (Criminal Minds Minds, The Chicago Code, ER) For information on all past Film Independent Fellows and their projects, please visit our online searchable FIND Talent Guide.

Film Independent’s Project Involve is supported by lead funder Time Warner Foundation. Funders include the National Endowment for the Arts, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, HBO, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Fox Audience Strategy.

About Film Independent
Film Independent is a non-profit arts organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff, and constituents, is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional, or a film lover.

Film Independent produces the Spirit Awards, the annual celebration honoring artist-driven films and recognizing the finest achievements of American independent filmmakers. Film Independent also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.  

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry. For more information or to become a member, visit