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Deborah S. Esquenazi, Penny Lane among Sundance 2019 Momentum Fellows

Sundance Institute has named the eight writers, directors and producers to earn a spot in its year-long Momentum Fellowship for underrepresented filmmakers. The Momentum Fellowship, now in its second year, offers “customized” ...
October 29, 2019

Sundance Institute has named the eight writers, directors and producers to earn a spot in its year-long Momentum Fellowship for underrepresented filmmakers.

The Momentum Fellowship, now in its second year, offers “customized” creative and professional support to help filmmakers take the next step in their careers.

As part of the fellowship, Sundance Institute has again partnered with Warner Bros. Pictures for the Sundance Institute | Warner Bros. Feature Film Directors Track.

The partnership offers fellows (listed below) access to executives and workshops hosted on the studio’s Burbank lot.

Those eligible for the new program include artists identifying as women, non-binary and/or transgender, artists of color and artists with disabilities.

2019 Momentum Fellows:

  • Film director, screenwriter and investigative journalist Deborah S. Esquenazi (pictured left; Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four)
  • Non-fiction filmmaker Penny Lane (right; Hail Satan?The Pain of OthersNuts! and Our Nixon)
  • New York-based British-Moroccan filmmaker Malika Zouhali-Worrall (Call Me Kuchu and Thank You For Playing)
  • Los Angeles-based queer Korean-American filmmaker Andrew Ahn (Driveways and Spa Night), whose television directing credits include narrative and documentary episodes for Netflix, FX and KCET
  • Xicana screenwriter and producer Linda Yvette Chávez, co-creator of Gentefied (Netflix)
  • Director Christina Chloe (Nancy and the 2017 docuseries Welcome To The DPRK)
  • Documentary and fiction filmmaker Rodney Evans (Vision Portraits)
  • Los Angeles-based creative producer, film educator, and director Avril Z. Speaks, who served as associate producer on the TNT docuseries American Race in 2018

The organization also unveiled the four awardees of its inaugural Launch Grant Fund, which offers support to emerging filmmakers from underrepresented communities launching their first film.

Each year, three to five artists will be selected to receive up to US$10,000 each in funding.

The 2020 Launch Grant Fund Recipients are: New Orleans-based director Marion Hill; Montreal-based Tunisian filmmaker Meryam Joobeur; New York-based Peruvian multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker Anais Blondet Medina; and director Kase Peña, a trans Latinx woman from the Bronx, New York.

“Each of the exceptionally talented artists in these two programs brings a bold creative vision to their work, and we are thrilled to support them at such critical junctures – launching their first feature films and building sustainable careers,” Karim Ahmad, director of outreach and inclusion, said in a statement.

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