Sundance launches initiatives for Latinx artists, Indigenous non-fiction filmmakers

The Sundance Institute has launched a two-pronged initiative, the Latine Fellowship and Collab Scholarship, which aims to provide professional development opportunities to 11 emerging Latinx artists. The first component of the ...
August 2, 2022

The Sundance Institute has launched a two-pronged initiative, the Latine Fellowship and Collab Scholarship, which aims to provide professional development opportunities to 11 emerging Latinx artists.

The first component of the new program, the Latine Fellowship, will provide six Latinx artists who have previously received support from the Sundance Institute with a year-long, multidisciplinary fellowship that comprises creative and tactical support for their projects, as well as an unrestricted grant of $10,000.

The second arm of the initiative, the Latine Scholarship, will offer five early-career Latinx artists who have no prior history with the Institute a free membership for the digital community platform Sundance Collab. The membership will allow the recipients to take a live online course, access previous master-class sessions via the platform’s video library, and take advantage of exclusive networking and community-building virtual events. The grantees will also receive detailed feedback on their projects, and have further opportunities to connect with Sundance staff and artists.

“Latinx talent has always been present at the Sundance Institute, but supporting these storytellers across disciplines in a single class of fellows or by providing them with a Sundance Collab scholarship is a way for us to deepen our ties to extraordinary artists telling valuable stories,” said Carrie Lozano, director of the Documentary Film & Artist Programs at the Sundance Institute. “More importantly, this new program is a way for them to build on their craft, move forward with their current projects, and build a community with other up-and-coming, diverse creators.”

Two non-fiction filmmakers and projects are included among the Latine Fellowship recipients. The first, What the Pier Gave Us by Luna X. Moya, offers five vignettes about immigrants who fish at a New York City pier, captured over the course of a year. The project, which began as a short, is now being expanded into a feature with support from the Sundance Institute’s 2021 Accessible Futures Initiative and the Catapult Film Fund.

The second project, Chalate, from 2021 Sundance Ignite x Adobe fellow Marilyn Oliva, focuses on a grandmother and granddaughter attempting to make ends meet by selling odds and ends in a small market in Chalatenango, El Salvador.

One documentary project is included among the Latine Scholarship recipients: Weed Dreams from Mathew Ramirez Warren, about Black-owned businesses in Oakland that are trying to break into the predominantly white-owned legal cannabis industry through the newly launched Cannabis Equity Program.

The 2022 Latine Fellowship & Collab Scholarships were developed with leadership funding support from Lyn Lear and Cindy Horn, and additional support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The new initiative comes on the heels of the Sundance Institute’s inaugural Indigenous Non-Fiction Intensive workshop, which wrapped up last Friday (July 29). This initiative meanwhile, provided four Indigenous filmmakers with a three-day program that featured interactive group sessions, advisor presentations and roundtable discussions. The participants will also receive a small grant and year-round creative support from Sundance’s Indigenous Program, as they work to complete their projects.

The projects and filmmakers selected for the Indigenous Non-Fiction Intensive are listed below, with loglines for the projects provided by the Sundance Institute:

Coming In (Sarah Liese – Diné, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians): Growing up in a colonized world, Sarah always felt unconfident about the intersectionality of her identity. It was not until her journey to meet other two-spirit people and learn more about the history of the concept that she was able to decolonize more of her mind and strive to decolonize other corrupt systems around her.

A Justice-Advancing Architecture Tour (Sean Connelly – Pacific-Islander American): Illuminating the overlooked history of Hawai’i history in the United States, the justice-advancing architecture tour begins in Honolulu with an oral history of two prominent buildings: the Hawai’i State Capitol Building and the ‘Iolani Palace.

If You Look Under There You’ll Find It (Olivia Camfield – Muscogee Creek Nation; Woodrow Hunt – Klamath, Modoc and Cherokee): Explores the traditional and imagined tattooing art forms of the Muscogee Nation, Cherokee Nation and Klamath Tribes. Interviews from other tattooed Indigenous people, landscape footage from research trips, and fictional narrative scenes are used to explore abstract concepts on the experience of being tattooed and tattooing as Indigenous people.

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.