Seanna Hore, Ginsberg/Libby
Gladys Santos, Ginsberg/Libby
Awards $180,000 in Grants Netflix Resumes Support as Founding Sponsor
(Black PR Wire) LOS ANGELES — Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, announced today the six Fellows and their projects selected for its Amplifier Fellowship. The 2023 Film Independent Amplifier Fellowship is supported by Founding Sponsor Netflix, the brand behind award-winning projects such as Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, When They See Us, Mudbound and Da 5 Bloods.
Over the course of the nine-month program, the Amplifier Fellows will receive creative support to propel a selected project forward both creatively and strategically, as well as customized mentorship pairings, including a Netflix executive as an Industry Advisor, as well as a board member from Film Independent. Each Fellow will also receive professional coaching in partnership with Renee Freedman & Co., and financial and business advisement and coaching in partnership with The Jill James. Each Fellow will receive a $30,000 unrestricted grant to provide sustainability and/or support their creative endeavors.
“The Amplifier Fellowship supports Black artists on the verge of career breakthrough with a bespoke program that includes impactful granting, mentorship and professional coaching that aim to build confidence both in their craft and in their capacity to build their business and brand,” said Angela C. Lee, Director of Artist Development, Film Independent. “This year’s Amplifier Fellows bring an incredible passion to entertain and create change through their films. We are thrilled to support this incredibly talented group of storytellers and help them build a foundation for longevity and sustainability through their work.”
The 2023 Amplifier Fellows and their projects are:
Melissa Adeyemo, Producer
Melissa is a Nigerian-American producer and the founder of U.S. production company, Ominira Studios. Her first feature, Eyimofe, premiered at the 2020 Berlinale. The film can be viewed on the Criterion Collection, HBO Max, and Amazon International. Eyimofe won five African Movie Academy Awards and was nominated for an NAACP Award. Dusty & Stones, her first documentary feature, premiered at Doc NYC 2022. Melissa’s career started with Spike Lee’s Inside Man and Steven Spielberg’s Munich. Melissa is a 2022 BAFTA Breakthrough fellow and 2023 EAVE Fellow. She has an MBA from NYU Stern and a B.A. from Columbia University.
In My Father’s House
Fiction Feature in Development
Logline: In My Father’s House follows Anna (nee Anike), a disillusioned millennial quietly battling grief after the expected loss of her mother. She arrives in Lagos, Nigeria, from the United States to reconnect with her estranged father and unexpectedly discovers new life and purpose.
Sue-Ellen Chitunya, Producer
Sue-Ellen Chitunya is a filmmaker from Zimbabwe. She is a 2019 Georgia State University 40-under-40 honoree and a graduate of the UCLA professional producing program. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. An Ebert, Chitunya has participated in various artist development programs including: WIF Emerging Producer Program, Film Independent Producing Lab, and Industry Academy. Her shorts have screened at various festivals including Rotterdam, BFI London, and Tribeca. She recently produced the feature documentary, For Tomorrow, available on Amazon Prime, and the interactive rom-com Mr. Right, which is available on mobile app stores.
Fiction Feature in Development
Logline: A closeted lesbian realizes she’s about to lose her best friend, the love of her life, so she devises a master plan to win her back before the upcoming Christmas wedding.
David Fortune, Writer/Director
A graduate of Morehouse College and LMU School of Film and Television, David Fortune finds purpose in capturing the themes of intimacy based in inner-city environments. As a result, he has collaborated with companies such as Netflix, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, Hillman Grad, Indeed, and Options For All to develop empowering narratives focused on marginalized communities. In addition, David was named a winner of Netflix’s Content Creator Program for his film Us, and premiered his narrative short Shoebox at Tribeca Film Festival. Today, he works with nonprofit organizations to raise awareness of individuals with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities through documentary films.
Fiction Feature in Development
Logline: Following the passing of his wife, a devoted father learns to raise his son with Down syndrome as a single parent. Through their journey to a professional baseball game, he fights to keep his promise to his child while healing from the loss of his significant other.
Andre Lambertson, Director
Andre Lambertson is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and photographer who works as a director and director of photography. Most recently he was a cinematographer on Dick Johnson Is Dead, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Andre filmed Charm City, which premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and was shortlisted for the 2019 Academy Awards’ Best Documentary Feature. The film was broadcast on PBS Independent Lens. He also co-directed and shot The Whole Gritty City, which won the Christopher Award and was broadcast on CBS’ 48 Hours in primetime.
Nonfiction Feature in Pre-Production
Logline: Team Onyx is the first all-black team to change the face of adventure sports. They are men and women in expedition racing – gay and straight – representing the best qualities in diversity.
Philiane Phang, Writer/Director
Philiane Phang is a writer and director based in New York. She was the recipient of the Ammon Foundation Fellowship and IFP’s inaugural Phosphate Grant. Her debut short film, Gubagude Ko, starring Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali, was developed through AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women. Indigenous Media commissioned her to write and direct The Row. Her feature project, The Space Between, was chosen to participate in Sundance Screenwriters Intensive and Producing Labs, Film Independent Screenwriting and Directing Labs, Berlinale Talents and Co-Production Market, and IFP’s No Borders Co-Production Market. Philiane graduated from Rutgers University with a Juris Doctorate.
Fiction Feature in Development
Logline: Rosema is an undocumented father who returns to America in search of his missing eight-year-old daughter.
Angela Tucker, Director
Angela Tucker is an Emmy and Webby-winning filmmaker working in scripted and unscripted film and television, highlighting underrepresented communities in unconventional ways. Recent work includes Belly of the Beast (dir. Erika Cohn), a New York Times Critics Pick; The Trees Remember, a series for REI; and A New Orleans Noel, a Lifetime film starring Patti LaBelle. Films in production are The Inquisitor, about political icon Barbara Jordan, and Steam, about a global alternative health treatment. She is a recipient of the 2023 Chicken and Egg Award and a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Nonfiction Feature in Production
Logline: As the nation was reeling from the potential impeachment of Richard Nixon, a lesser-known figure emerged to repair the country’s broken trust. Barbara Jordan – the first Black woman elected to Congress from the South – was heralded a hero after an impassioned line of questioning and her instrumental role in the Voting Rights Act of 1975. Through the exploration of Jordan’s legacy the feature-length documentary The Inquisitor asks: “What does it mean to be Black and patriotic in a divided America?”
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Film Independent Artist Development offers programs that promote unique independent voices by helping filmmakers create and advance new work through Project Involve, Filmmaker Labs (Episodic Directing, Documentary, Episodic, Producing and Screenwriting), Fast Track finance market and Fiscal Sponsorship, as well as through grants and awards that provide over one million dollars each year in cash and services to visual storytellers.
For more information on any of the Labs or the projects that have been developed in them, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information can be found at filmindependent.org.
ABOUT FILM INDEPENDENT
For over 40 years, Film Independent has helped filmmakers get their projects made and seen. The nonprofit organization’s core mission is to champion creative independence in visual storytelling and support a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision.
In addition to producing the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the organization supports creative professionals with Artist Development programs, grants and labs. Signature mentorship program Project Involve fosters the careers of talented filmmakers from underrepresented communities. Weekly Education events and workshops equip filmmakers of all ages and experience levels with tools and resources. Global Media Makers, a cultural exchange program produced in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, provides career-building opportunities for international film professionals. And year-round screening series Film Independent Presents delivers monthly, unique cinematic experiences to Members in Los Angeles and beyond.
For more information or to become a Member, visit filmindependent.org.