Group of young Women

WIF | The Sundance Institute
Financing Intensive

Equipping filmmakers with financing strategies and introducing them to leading financiers.

For the last eight years, The Sundance Institute and WIF have been working together to address the most challenging obstacles facing women filmmakers at structural and project-based levels. Accessing capital remains elusive even for seasoned creators, and our research has shown that women continue to deal with particular gendered biases that make it harder to secure financing.

The annual WIF and The Sundance Institute Financing Intensive is designed to help producers—fiction and documentary—build the skills and relationships necessary to advance a front-burner project to the next stage of financing success. Over two days, producers and their attached directors participate in small group workshops focused on both pitching and financing strategy, professional skills development, and one-on-one meetings with potential financiers and partners.

The goal of this Intensive is for producers who are actively seeking financing to walk away with stronger presentations as well as actionable, strategic steps to advance their projects to the next stage, and a chance to meet with potential supporters and new allies.

Applications for the 2022 Financing Intensive have closed. For questions, please contact the WIF Programs Team at programs@wif.org.

FELLOWS

Documentary

Fiction

Aunty Untitled Film

• Haohao Yan, Director
• Guo Guo, Producer

Aunty Untitled Film

• Haohao Yan, Director
• Guo Guo, Producer

Logline
A coming of golden-age story following a group of amateur dancers, 18 Chinese ladies who immigrated to America in their late 30s, trying to get a shot at the mainstream stage on “America’s Got Talent.”

Haohao Yan, Director
Hailing from Beijing, China, Haohao Yan is an L.A.-based writer/director. Her film THE SPEECH premiered at the 2020 Palm Springs International ShortFest, received the Special Jury Award at the 68th San Sebastian International Film Festival, the “Filmmaker of the Future” Award at the Rhode Island International Film Festival, and was selected for the 2020 CAA Moebius Showcase, L.A. Shorts, AFI Fest, etc. Yan earned her M.F.A. in directing from the American Film Institute Conservatory and graduated with the Schaffner Fellow Award. Growing up in a group setting, Yan’s works aim to explore the emotional needs of the individuals besieged by an ominous collective living situation/experience. She is now working as an Advisor at the Sundance Collab Directing for Actors program.

Guo Guo, Producer
Based in L.A. and holds an M.F.A. in producing at the AFI Conservatory, Guo Guo’s producing credits include BRAINWASHED: SEX-CAMERA-POWER (2022), Sundance and Berlinale official selection feature documentary; AYKA (2018), Palme d’Or nominated and winner of Best Actress at Cannes Film Festival; 12 CITIZENS (2015), best picture at the Rome International Film Festival; MEIDUO (2018), a Shanghai International Film Festival Media Award nominee; Amazon Prime’s SOFT SOUNDS OF PEELING FRUIT that premiered at Tribeca Film Festival; HBO Max’s MASS AVE, winner of DGA Student Film Awards; as well as 44-episode Chinese TV Series BE WITH YOU that has enjoyed over 1 billion views; UN COP26 premiered docu-series FOOD 2050 that shot in 8 different countries. A participant in 2020 BAFTA LA Newcomers program, Women In Film 2020 Mentoring Program and able to communicate fluently in English and Mandarin, Guo Guo currently serves as the Head of Production at Media RED.

Drowned Land

• Colleen Thurston, Director/Producer
• Michelle Lee Svenson, Producer
• Niketa Reed, Impact Producer

Drowned Land

• Colleen Thurston, Director/Producer
• Michelle Lee Svenson, Producer
• Niketa Reed, Impact Producer

Logline
Deep in the Choctaw Nation of rural Oklahoma rages a fight to preserve the Kiamichi River, reckoning with a cycle of land loss for the Indigenous diaspora and the community at large.

Colleen Thurston, Director/Producer
Colleen Thurston is an award-winning media producer and documentary filmmaker from Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is an Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma and teaches documentary studies and film production. As an Indigenous non-fiction storyteller, her films explore the relationships between humans and the natural world and focus on Native stories and perspectives. She holds an M.F.A. from Montana State University’s Science and Natural History Filmmaking program, where she also earned a graduate certificate in American Indian Studies. Her B.A. in Media Arts and Anthropology is from the University of Arizona. Thurston has produced work for the Smithsonian Channel, Vox, illumiNATIVE, and museums, public television stations, and federal and tribal organizations. She produced and directed short documentaries for four seasons of the Cherokee Nation’s series “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People,” earning two Emmy awards for her work on the series. Previous films include CHASING 14,000, SARDIS, and the recently completed ABUNDANCE. Her work has screened at international film festivals, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian’s Native Cinema Showcase, and the the Smithsonian Institution, has been broadcast nationwide, and supported by ITVS, Vision Maker Media, Firelight Media, Nia Tero, the Redford Center, and the Sundance Institute. With a background in film programming, Thurston also curates film and storytelling events independently and in conjunction with partnering organizations, with an emphasis on Indigenous storytelling. Currently a programmer with Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, she previously held positions as the Film Programming Assistant at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and co-Executive Director of the Fayetteville Film Fest, and was the founding Director of Programming of the Tulsa American Film Festival. Thurston is a Firelight Media Documentary Lab alumna, a 2022 Sundance Indigenous Film Fund Fellow, and a citizen of the Choctaw Nation.

Michelle Lee Svenson, Producer
Michelle Lee Svenson is a Korean and Swedish American freelance film programmer, independent producer, and distributor. She studied filmmaking at Boston University’s College of Communications and has since become an advocate for increasing the visibility of minority filmmakers’ voices. She served as festivals producer, programmer, and film consultant for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian from 2000–2010, during which time she produced over fifteen film festivals, consulted on numerous productions such as PBS’ “We Shall Remain” series and productions by filmmakers Albert Maysles, John Sayles, and Donald Ranvaud. She has served on several granting and board committees for Native film initiatives, as well as the Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access program and IFP’s Feature Film project. Since, Svenson has been dedicated to working directly with artists and filmmakers in producing, distributing, and marketing their films such as GOFF, a documentary by Britni Harris, Blackhorse Lowe’s films including his award-winning short SHIMÁSÁNI and recent feature FUKRY (Montreal First Peoples’ Festival Artistic Prize 2020). Svenson also serves as part of the DocLands Film Festival programming team for the California Film Institute and is the Artistic Program Producer at the Tulsa Artist Fellowship.

Niketa Reed, Impact Producer
Niketa Reed is passionate about media representation for diverse audiences. As a journalism and strategic media professor at the University of Arkansas, she specializes in diversity in media. She delivers real-world experiences to her students “to open their eyes to different perspectives to understand how important [DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion)] is, especially in the media landscape.” With that passion, she created Arkansas Soul in 2018, a nonprofit digital media program geared toward Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). She hopes to get BIPOC students interested in media and journalism, provide opportunities for BIPOC journalists, and increase stories in the media about BIPOC culture. Originally from Peoria, Illinois, Reed graduated with an English degree from the University of Memphis in 2005, and earned a master’s degree in journalism and communication from the University of Arkansas in 2010. Her digital marketing clients include the Memphis Area Transit Authority, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the National Wildlife Federation. In 2015 she began Branded By Nikki, a small digital marketing boutique firm. Reed’s goal is to build her own media agency.

Little Sallie Walker

• Marta Effinger-Crichlow, Director/Producer
• Jacqueline Olive, Executive Producer

Little Sallie Walker

• Marta Effinger-Crichlow, Director/Producer
• Jacqueline Olive, Executive Producer

Logline
As Black women from across the generations navigate a less-than-idyllic American landscape, they contemplate how the childhood play that once served as their lifeline might be magical enough to liberate and heal them now.

Marta Effinger-Crichlow, Director/Producer
Marta Effinger-Crichlow is a filmmaker whose interdisciplinary projects in the mediums of film, theater, and literature highlight her mission to fuse social issues, culture, and history. Her first produced collage, THE EVOLUTION OF JAZZ, was commissioned by the late director Vernell Lillie for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Effinger-Crichlow is a past recipient of a Pittsburgh Multicultural Arts Initiative grant for her produced multi-media collage THE KITCHEN IS CLOSED STARTIN’ SUNDAY. For her produced play Whispers Want to Holler, Effinger-Crichlow collaborated with noted jazz saxophonist Billy Harper. She has also worked as a freelance dramaturg for theater productions throughout the U.S. She is the author of Staging Migrations toward an American West: From Ida B. Wells to Rhodessa Jones, published by University Press of Colorado. She has appeared on TEDx at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center and co-curated “400 Years of Inequality” at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. She was an advisor on the feature documentary CHOCOLATE MILK (2019) and is a dramaturg for the bi-coastal film adaptation of BLACK TERROR (written by Richard Wesley and directed by Richard Lawson).

Effinger-Crichlow’s recognition for LITTLE SALLIE WALKER, her first feature documentary, includes: Women Make Movies Production Assistance Program, NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music & Theater, WIF/Sundance Financing Intensive, IFP/JustFilms Fellowship, the NY State Council on the Arts grant, Perspective Fund, Cucalorus Works in Progress Lab, DOC NYC’s OINY Program, Athena Works in Progress Lab, DCTV Works-in-Progress Lab, and Working Films Impact Kickstart and Grant. She lives in New York City.

Jacqueline Olive, Executive Producer
Jacqueline Olive is an independent filmmaker with nearly twenty years of experience in journalism and film. She founded Tell It Media in 2011 to create multimedia projects that tell nuanced stories of the people, places, and cultures that make up our diverse world. Her award-winning debut feature documentary film ALWAYS IN SEASON has received numerous honors including winner of the 2019 Sundance Festival Special Jury Prize for Moral Urgency and the 2020 SIMA Documentary Jury Prize For Ethos, as well as nominations for Best Writing from IDA Documentary Awards 2019 and the Spotlight Award from Cinema Eye Honors 2019. ALWAYS IN SEASON broadcast on PBS on “Independent Lens” in February 2020 and was the highest rated film of the season. Olive directed and produced a virtual reality, role-playing environment called Always in Season Island, which received a 2022 Peabody Award for interactive and digital media. She recently directed and executive produced two episodes of “Lincoln’s Dilemma,” a four-part unscripted series that provides a nuanced look into Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, while exploring the impact of slavery and the times on the man dubbed “The Great Emancipator.” She is currently directing the documentary feature film THE COLOR OF COLA with Academy Award-nominated Stanley Nelson. The project is in collaboration with All Day Every Day, Los Angeles Media Fund, JuVee, and PepsiCo. A 2021 Sundance Momentum Fellow, she remains on the Central Coast of California making films and immersive media projects full-time.

Untitled Marjolaine Grappe Film

• Marjolaine Grappe, Director
• Chelsea Matter, Producer
• Dana Nachman, Producer

Untitled Marjolaine Grappe Film

• Marjolaine Grappe, Director
• Chelsea Matter, Producer
• Dana Nachman, Producer

Marjolaine Grappe, Director
Marjolaine Grappe is an independent documentary filmmaker, investigative journalist, and a current Logan Non-Fiction fellow. Her work on the financing of the documentary on North Korea’s nuclear weapons, ALL THE DICTATOR’S MEN (which had 28 million online viewers) was awarded the 2018 Albert Londres Prize, the highest French journalistic distinction. Her feature documentary debut THE COLOR OF JUSTICE, about justice in the death of New Yorker Eric Garner, premiered at CPH:DOX in 2019. She started her career in Washington, D.C. as a producer covering the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election, and went on to work in Asia as a foreign correspondent reporting from India (2009–2012) and China (2012–2016). She has directed several award-winning feature-length journalism investigations including GUANTANAMO LIMBO and a series of investigative reports about China’s One-Child Policy. Her work has been supported by the Catapult Film Fund, SFFILM, SFFILM Invest, Field of Vision, the Miller/Packan Documentary Fund, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the CNC (Centre National du Cinéma), the PROCIREP, the SCAM Brouillon d’un Rêve Grant, and the Lagardère Foundation.

Chelsea Matter, Producer
Chelsea Matter is a documentary producer whose films have screened at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, Full Frame, and IDFA, and received national distribution through outlets such as IFC, RADiUS-TWC, The History Channel, Gravitas Ventures, and OWN. Her most recent films include DEAR SANTA (Heartland premiere/IFC distribution), BLESSED CHILD (DOC-NYC premiere/Topic distribution), BEING EVEL (Sundance premiere, Gravitas/History Films distribution), A LEGO BRICKUMENTARY (Tribeca premiere/ RADiUS-TWC distribution), and THE HUMAN EXPERIMENT (Mill Valley/IDFA premiere). Prior to producing independent documentary films, Matter was a producer on docu-series for networks including History, Discovery, NatGeo, and The Travel Channel. She started her career in television news, working as a news writer and field producer at WGN Chicago, and a production assistant at KNTV, the NBC affiliate station for the San Francisco Bay Area. Matter graduated from Stanford University and is an alumna of the Impact Partners Documentary Producers Fellowship and Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access program.

Dana Nachman, Producer
Dana Nachman is an award-winning filmmaker of both fiction and documentary films. Her films can currently be watched on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+. Nachman specializes in pulling out the emotion in any story, whether a hard-hitting investigative piece or a family-friendly film. The Los Angeles Times writes, “Nachman adroitly focuses on the human stories… structuring narrative for maximum emotional impact.” Nachman is a former journalist; she turned to full-time filmmaking in 2009. Her first film Witch Hunt premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, was Executive Produced and Narrated by Sean Penn, and was purchased by MSNBC Films. She has produced and directed three short films, two series, and six features that have gone on to win dozens of awards. She has won a number of awards over the course of her journalism career as well, including three regional Emmy Awards, The Edward R. Murrow Award, and an Associated Press Award.

What We Carry / Lo Que Llevamos

• Cady M Voge, Director/Producer/DP
• Laura Pilloni, Producer
• Laura Tatham, Producer

What We Carry / Lo Que Llevamos

• Cady M Voge, Director/Producer/DP
• Laura Pilloni, Producer
• Laura Tatham, Producer

Logline
WHAT WE CARRY / LO QUE LLEVAMOS follows a young Honduran family as they flee persecution—migrating in cargo trains across Mexico, claiming asylum at the U.S. border, and enduring separation in detention before being released in Seattle. There, a local synagogue sponsors the family for two years while they await the decision of their asylum case. As the family tries to settle into their new home, the trauma they experienced emerges and we witness their fight to move forward.

Cady M Voge, Director/Producer/DP
Cady M Voge is a filmmaker and freelance journalist covering immigration from Latin America all the way up to Seattle, USA. She has shot, produced, and directed short documentaries for NBC, The New Humanitarian, and independent production companies across the Americas. Voge met subjects Magdiel, Mirna, and Joshua while covering the migrant caravan in Mexico in 2018. She contributes to outlets including The BBC, The Guardian, Al Jazeera and WIRED, among others. Before becoming a journalist, Voge directed an international education nonprofit in Washington, D.C. called One World Youth Project.

Laura Pilloni, Producer
Laura Pilloni is a filmmaker who works towards the representation of marginalized stories. She was the associate producer for the women and human rights documentary HOME TRUTH, which premiered at the 2017 Human Rights Watch Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS the following year. She went on to associate produce CHAVELA (Berlinale, Hot Docs 2017) and DISPATCHES FROM CLEVELAND (Cleveland International Film Festival 2017 and FSTV broadcast). Keeping in line with her work on these impactful films, she was most recently a producer on Elle Moxley’s short documentary BLACK BEAUTY (Cinema Columbus Film Festival, Inside Out Film Festival 2022) and a co-producer on the feature documentary LIFT (2nd Place Audience Award Winner at Tribeca Film Festival 2022). She is currently producing WHAT WE CARRY, a feature documentary about a Honduran family seeking asylum in the U.S.

Laura Tatham, Producer
Laura Tatham is a creative producer committed to telling stories that highlight urgent social justice issues. She is currently producing WHAT WE CARRY, having recently completed the feature-length documentary MAMA BEARS (2022 SXSW, ITVS) and the short documentary BLACK BEAUTY. In the past six years she’s worked on numerous award-winning films—as associate producer on the feature-length documentaries CHAVELA (2017 Berlinale) and DISPATCHES FROM CLEVELAND (2017 CIFF) and as the NYC production office manager for “America,” a series of silent, narrative shorts (2019 Sundance). She was a 2020 Film Independent Documentary Lab and WIF/ Sundance Institute Financing Intensive fellow as a producer on the upcoming feature documentary LIFT. She is currently a producer for WHAT WE CARRY, a feature documentary about a Honduran family seeking asylum in the U.S.

You Lucky You Got a Mama

• Brittany Ferrell, Director
• Shannon Sun-Higginson, Producer

You Lucky You Got a Mama

• Brittany Ferrell, Director
• Shannon Sun-Higginson, Producer

Logline
Directed by nurse and activist Brittany Ferrell, YOU LUCKY YOU GOT A MAMA is a visual love letter that tells the intimate human stories of Black pregnant people from across the United States who differ in background, socioeconomic status, and gender identity, but all have one thing in common: they intend to not only survive, but thrive.

Brittany Ferrell, Director
Brittany Ferrell began her journey as an organizer after the murder of Michael Brown, which is chronicled in the documentary WHOSE STREETS?. Her passion for fighting for the health, wellness, and dignity of Black people has led her to her current work in maternal-infant health and reproductive justice. Ferrell is an academic and researcher, with a focus on race and gender health disparities in pregnancy and the deleterious effects of chronic stress on physical health.

Shannon Sun-Higginson, Producer
Shannon Sun-Higginson is a New York-based documentary filmmaker whose work has screened at Sundance and SXSW, and on PBS, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, and CNN. Most recently, she directed two episodes of the HBO Max docuseries “Take Out,” and participated in the 2021 Sundance Institute Producers Fellowship.

AGG

• Shaina Ghuraya, Director
• K. Giselle Johnson, Producer
• Jack Walterman, Producer

AGG

• Shaina Ghuraya, Director
• K. Giselle Johnson, Producer
• Jack Walterman, Producer

Logline
A conservative Punjabi family decides to trick a man into an arranged marriage by hiding their daughter’s disability. However the daughter, Agg, realizes the wedding is the perfect time to enact violent (but tasteful) revenge against her abusive family.

Shaina Ghuraya, Director
Shaina Ghuraya jokes that she’s a triple threat—she’s female, South Asian, and a wheelchair user. A 2020 graduate of USC’s M.F.A. Program in Film and TV Production, her style is bold, quirky. and unapologetic, with her films having screened at Slamdance, ReelAbilities, and Hollyshorts. It was at USC that she also made it her mission to embrace diversity and explore intersectionality within her work, putting actors with disabilities at the forefront of her pieces. Most recently, Shaina graduated from Academy Gold and wrote on the upcoming Netflix animated series “Boons and Curses.” She also had the privilege of being a 2021 fellow of the Sundance Institute’s Accessible Futures Initiative for her feature film script AGG. Currently, she is an Inevitable Foundation Fellow. Originally from Elk Grove, near Sacramento in Northern California, Ghuraya has been featured in Forbes and KVIE Arts Showcase.

K. Giselle Johnson, Producer
A native Houstonian and proud Howard alum, K. Giselle Johnson is sort of obsessed with the world of film and TV. She has directed, written, and produced numerous award-winning short films which have screened around the world, as well as web series that have reached almost over 150,000 views collectively. Johnson moved to L.A. right after college where she landed a gig at VICE Studios, which at the time was a freshly-funded umbrella of VICE News dedicated to bringing scripted TV and feature films to life. During her time there, she had the joy of working on the films JUDY AND PUNCH and Amazon’s THE REPORT starring Annette Bening and Adam Driver. After two years, she was recruited by Netflix to join the Original Studio Film team as a Creative Assistant where she had the pleasure of working on films THE MIDNIGHT SKY, JINGLE JANGLE, SPENSER CONFIDENTIAL, and THE IRISHMAN—just to name a few. Most recently, she solely produced a rom-com pilot—just optioned by the Urban Movie Channel—starring reality TV personality and influencer Kendall Kyndall (BET’s “Games People Play”) and La’Myia Good (“The Wood”), with Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Eric Bellinger serving as music supervisor. She loves to find gems in storytelling and is looking forward to taking off the corporate hat and putting on her producer’s hat once more. When she’s not reading, writing, or producing, you can find her at a food festival on a hunt for something fried and boba tea.

Jack Walterman, Producer
A native of Lakeville, Minnesota, Jack Walterman’s innate enthusiasm for collaborative storytelling has always been at the forefront, winning him the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s 2017 Millie Harrison Spirit Award. He recently graduated with an M.F.A. in Film/TV Production from the University of Southern California. While there, he focused his energy on writing, directing, and producing genre films that centered around characters with heart fighting against horrifying odds. His LGBT coming-of-age short film MOVE IN DAY premiered at Midsummer Scream—the World’s largest Halloween and Horror convention—in 2019. That same summer, he interned at the Flynn Picture Company while their film JUNGLE CRUISE was in post-production. Walterman is an advocate for female filmmakers and has produced several short films including: FATHER BY LAW (Austin Film Festival Finalist, Drama) starring William Russ (“Boy Meets World,” AMERICAN HISTORY X) and Annie Clark (“Degrassi”), and directed by Maria De Sanctis; along with BREACH OF TRUST, a 2020 student BAFTA Semi-finalist documentary centered around USC’s George Tyndall sexual assault case—told from the viewpoint of the women demanding change, directed by Mishal Mahmud.

Chaim's Not Dead

• Dylan Silver, Writer/Director/Producer
• Jensine Carr, Producer
• David Viste, Producer

Chaim's Not Dead

• Dylan Silver, Writer/Director/Producer
• Jensine Carr, Producer
• David Viste, Producer

Logline
When a burned-out animator discovers her father has been committed for attempted suicide, she’s forced to confront her estranged family and the Israeli American upbringing she’s long suppressed.

Dylan Silver, Writer/Director/Producer
Dylan Silver is a director, writer, and escape room enthusiast. She was named a WIF 2022 Directing Mentee. Her documentary A MIND LIKE STILL WATER premiered at the AmDoc Film Festival and, after being acquired for distribution, debuted on Amazon’s “Top 5 Must Watch” list. Her short SOUL SURVIVOR debuted at HollyShorts and her short HYPE MAN: A BREAK BEAT FILM premieres this year. Silver’s series “The Donut Man” was a Sundance Lab Finalist. She can also be seen on camera, most recently alongside Greg Finley in DOWNEAST, in the upcoming animated series “We Are Family,” and the musical feature LIGHT YEARS. A first-generation American, Silver was raised in the U.S. and Middle East. She loves telling vulnerable, heartfelt stories that ignite tons of laughter. She also bowls a strong 73.

Jensine Carr, Producer
Jensine Carr is a producer and executive for Divide/Conquer where she has facilitated the production of over 20 films. In 2016, Carr associate produced MONEY, directed by Martín Rosete and starring Jesse Williams, Jess Weixler, and Kellan Lutz, and in 2018, she co-produced MONSOON directed by Miguel Duran, starring Yvette Monreal, Scott Lowell, and Eve Plumb. She produced the documentary A MIND LIKE STILL WATER, directed by Dylan Silver, as well as horror drama AGNES, directed by Mickey Reece and starring Molly C. Quinn, Chris Sullivan, and Sean Gunn, in 2020, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. She is currently producing Adam Keleman’s LONG DAYS, which was invited to Cannes’ 2021 Frontières Platform, as well as her second collaboration with Dylan Silver, CHAIM’S NOT DEAD. Growing up in a multiracial household of six women, Carr’s passion for storytelling has always been driven by the examination of women’s interpersonal dynamics as well as the immigrant experience. She is committed to shifting the paradigm in the film industry to present untold stories from marginalized members of her community. When she’s not buried under delivery deadlines, she can be found trying to replicate her grandmother’s galbijjim or learning how to knit for the thirteenth time.

David Viste, Producer
David Viste is a producer with a penchant for sailing. Growing up in the Middle East to American parents influenced him to appreciate stories that span the globe, and he’ll always be a sucker for a distant location. An alumnus of Vassar College, his opportunities have taken him around the world, but he’s in L.A. more than anywhere else. His latest work includes THE WIND which premiered at TIFF ’18, THE OLD WAYS on Netflix, THE VOYEURS for Amazon Studios, and the upcoming HOW TO BLOW UP A PIPELINE. You’ll probably find him on a sailboat with a phone cradled to his ear prepping the next project.

It's Always Sunni

• Sonia Malfa, Co-Writer/Director
• Nikkia Moulterie, Producer

It's Always Sunni

• Sonia Malfa, Co-Writer/Director
• Nikkia Moulterie, Producer

Logline
After her estranged father dies, a young poet sets out against her mother’s wishes on a magical cross-country journey to claim her inheritance, and uncovers her family’s secret.

Sonia Malfa, Co-Writer/Director
Sonia Malfa is a Puerto Rican-American writer/director whose creative voice centers on the stories of women, LGBTQ+, and people of the global majority. She is a commercial director currently repped by Good Company (U.S.) and Familia (UK).   Sonia has directed for Nike, Facebook, Vogue Italia, L’Oreal, Condé Nast—Them, Comcast, Carol’s Daughter, State Farm, and Citibank. Her work has received accolades from numerous festivals around the world including the Tribeca Film Festival, Clio Awards, Webby Awards, 1.4 Awards, One Show Awards and Kinsale Shark Awards. She has been awarded grants from the Jerome Foundation Grant, NYSCA Individual Artist, and was selected for the DGA/AICP Commercial Director’s Diversity Program. Before becoming a filmmaker, Malfa’s first career was as an outdoor educator. She received her wilderness training from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). She holds a B.A. and M.A. in American Studies (Gender and Race Relations).

Nikkia Moulterie, Producer
Nikkia Moulterie is a creative producer born and raised in New York City. She produced NANNY, the 2022 Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize 2022 winner and is a Gotham/Rotterdam Lab 2022 Producer Fellow. She is a 2019 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellow and Silverman Honoree. She co-produced the premiere season of the Peabody Award-winning “Random Acts of Flyness” for MVMT / HBO. In 2019, she produced SUICIDE BY SUNLIGHT with writer/director Nikyatu Jusu, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and continued a successful run at BAMcinemaFEST, BFI London Film Fest, MoMA’s Black Women Film Conference, AFI and more. Jusu and Moulterie more recently collaborated on the feature film NANNY—a 2020 Sundance Screenwriting / Directors / Catalyst Lab project premiering at Sundance 2022. In addition, her work as a producer also includes projects at ABC News, MTV, T Magazine, Nike, Louis Vuitton, as well as numerous works in the commercial and branded content world. She is currently an executive producer at creative agency The Kitchen Table in New York City.

Løvset's Manouevre

• Elizabeth Chatelain, Writer/Director
• Gabi Madsen, Producer

Løvset's Manouevre

• Elizabeth Chatelain, Writer/Director
• Gabi Madsen, Producer

Logline
On the same day she’s planning an elaborate graduation party for her daughter Laura, Sandy (54) gets word that her eldest daughter Jess has racked up a serious debt to feed her drug addiction. This sends Sandy into a backward spiral of self-destructive codependent behavior that proves to be just as dangerous as her daughter’s addiction.

Elizabeth Chatelain, Writer/Director
A North Dakota native, Elizabeth Chatelain has directed several documentary and narrative shorts including MY SISTER SARAH, about her sister’s lifelong drug abuse and recovery. It won the International Documentary Association’s Award for Best Student Documentary and was a Student Academy Award Finalist. Her films have screened at festivals across the country and the world, including Interfilm Berlin, Uppsala, and SXSW. She has optioned her feature SUNDOGS, which participated in the Berlinale Script Station, was an Academy Nicholl Fellowship Semi-Finalist, and won the Showtime Tony Cox Screenplay Competition. She was selected as a Black List/Women in Film Feature Fellow in 2020. She received an M.F.A. in Film Production from University of Texas-Austin and an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from NYU-Tisch.

Gabi Madesn, Producer
Gabi Madsen is a first generation Mexican American Brooklyn-based producer. She was an Associate Producer/Creative Producer on the critically acclaimed DIANE (Tribeca Film Festival/IFC Films), directed by Kent Jones. She also managed the office for the famed award-winning director Ava DuVernay while filming WHEN THEY SEE US, QUEEN SUGAR, and REDLINE in 2018. Madsen produced, alongside BlackLove Inc Director Codie Elaine Oliver, WHEN WE GATHER, an artist collective short lead by world renowned artist Maria Magdelena Campos Pons. She has also written and directed a short, FORTNIGHT, and produced online content on numerous short films such as GREAT GIRL. In addition to film producing, she also produced large scale events including 10 years of managing operations at Sundance Film Festival, three years of special events at Tribeca Film Festival, and six years managing programming and shorts programming at the New York Film Festival.

Pure

• Natalie Jasmine Harris, Writer/Director
• Avril Z. Speaks, Producer

Pure

• Natalie Jasmine Harris, Writer/Director
• Avril Z. Speaks, Producer

Logline
For 17-year-old queer Celeste, senior year in her affluent Black community means following family tradition and becoming a debutante…but she longs for a different kind of coming out.

Natalie Jasmine Harris, Writer/Director
Natalie Jasmine Harris is a Black queer writer, director, and producer based in New York, NY. She received her B.F.A. in Film and Television from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her NYU short proof-of-concept for PURE received The 2020 Directors Guild of America’s Student Film Award and screened at over 40 film festivals worldwide. In February 2022, the short film was acquired by HBO and is now available to stream on HBOMax. Harris is currently adapting the concept behind PURE into a feature-length film of the same name that is a 2021 recipient of The SFFILM Rainin Grant and was selected to be a part of The 2021 Gotham Project Market, 2021 Outfest Screenwriting Lab, 2022 Inside Out Financing Forum, and 2022 WIF and Sundance Institute Financing Intensive. Harris is currently a Creative Culture Filmmaking Fellow at The Jacob Burns Film Center and is in post-production for a Pride Month commercial that she directed for Hyundai. Harris’ work has been featured in publications that include Teen Vogue, THEM Magazine, The Cut, NBC, and The Baltimore Sun.

Avril Z. Speaks, Producer
Avril Speaks has been carving out her path as a bold, innovative content creator for several years, not only as a producer and director but also during her former days as a professor at Howard University. Avril produced the award-winning film Jinn, which premiered in Narrative Competition at SXSW and won Special Jury Recognition for Writing. Jinn gained distribution through MGM/Orion Classics and continues to be seen throughout the world. Avril has also produced several films including Hosea and the upcoming comedy Dotty & Soul, starring Leslie Uggams, Gary Owen, David Koechner and Margot Bingham. Her latest projects include the NAACP Image Award nominated film African America, which is available on Netflix, and the docu-series Black America Is…, which has received support from The Blackhouse Producer’s Lab, the CNN/Film Independent Docu-Series Intensive, and the Kettering Foundation. Avril was an Associate Producer on the TNT docu-series American Race and has helped produce both scripted and unscripted content for BET, Coca Cola, Essence, and others. She was recently a producing consultant for Wayfarer Studios’ Six Feet Apart Experiment film project, and was producer of the short film Black Prom, which aired on Netflix Film Club. Most recently, Avril was the Director and Showrunner/EP of the docu-series Uprooted: The Untold Keith Warren Story, which is available on Discovery+. Avril has been selected for producing labs with Film Independent, Sundance, IFP, Rotterdam and Cannes, and Sundance. Avril continues to be passionate about film education. She has lead workshops for organizations such as Global Mediamakers and the Black TV & Film Collective. She is also a member of Distribution Advocates and is part of the Executive Committee for the newly formed Producer’s Union.

Work

• April Maxey, Writer/Director
• Skylar Andrews, Producer

Work

• April Maxey, Writer/Director
• Skylar Andrews, Producer

Logline
A young artist sabotages her Park Slope engagement and returns to a gig as a lap dancer in a search for control and self-love.

April Maxey, Writer/Director
April Maxey is a queer mixed Chicana filmmaker born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Her work often centers intimacy and connection within the queer experience and she is most interested in working on unseen stories which challenge cultural norms. April’s short film Work, which she made in the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. She is also an alumna of the prestigious Berlinale Talents Short Film Station and her short films have screened at over 75 festivals, including Academy and BAFTA-Qualifying festivals such as Tribeca, Palm Springs Shortfest, Outfest, and HollyShorts. April’s directing approach is informed by her background working as a cinematographer, editor, and actor. She holds a BFA from Pratt Institute in Film/Video.

Skylar Andrews, Producer
Skylar is a producer fascinated by the nuances of truth. A storyteller with more than 15 years of experience, she’s worked on Emmy award-winning unscripted television shows, independent films, and Cannes Lion award-winning digital campaigns. She produced the narrative short film, Work, which premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and is currently playing at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. Her work centers underrepresented voices and narratives too often excluded from the mainstream.