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2024 Women to Watch x Adobe Fellows Announced

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Year-round Program Offers Pivotal Support to Women Filmmakers

PARK CITY, UTAH, July 10, 2024 — The nonprofit Sundance Institute announced today the eight women participating in the 2024 Sundance Women to Watch x Adobe Fellowship, a yearlong support program designed to further support and sustain the creative practice of women artists, prioritizing filmmakers from historically underrepresented communities. The program began in 2020 and was informed by the Institute and Adobe’s shared commitment to develop and champion underrepresented voices at pivotal moments in their careers.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with Adobe to provide meaningful support for women artists creating groundbreaking work in film,” said Hajnal Molnar-Szakacs, Director of Artist Accelerator and Women at Sundance. “The Sundance Women to Watch x Adobe Fellowship offers a comprehensive approach, including a sustainability-focused cash grant, professional and tactical skills development, networking and opportunities. By addressing systemic barriers women encounter in the industry, we aim to empower these visionary artists. We deeply appreciate Adobe’s commitment and look forward to guiding these women on their creative journeys.”

The fellows are each supported with a $6,250 cash grant; workshops; referrals for career development opportunities; a yearlong complimentary membership to Adobe Creative Cloud to create, share their stories, and further refine their craft; a virtual connection to the Sundance ELEVATE professional development track; and access to Sundance Collab, Sundance Institute’s digital space for artists to learn from experts and build a global filmmaking community.

The fellows are selected jointly with Adobe from Sundance Institute’s community of supported artists across program disciplines, including the Feature Film Program, Documentary Film Program, Episodic Program, Indigenous Program, and Artist Accelerator Program. In addition to the Women to Watch x Adobe Fellowship, Adobe is a Presenting Sponsor of the Sundance Film Festival and Founding Supporter of Sundance Ignite (a yearlong artist development program for filmmakers ages 18–25). Adobe also supports Sundance Collab.

The fellows selected for the 2024 Sundance Women to Watch x Adobe Fellowship are:

Francesca Canepa is a Peruvian director residing in Mexico City. Her short film The Silence of the River premiered at the Berlinale 2020. Her feature film La Otra Orilla was selected for the 2024 Sundance Screenwriters Lab and is currently in pre-production after winning the French CNC Production Fund.

Artemis Fannin produces films that uniquely amplify marginalized voices. Her career spans across all major platforms. She is currently the Managing Producer with 371 Productions and working on two active projects. She is an alum of the Southern Producers Lab 2023 and the 2023 Sundance Producers Intensive. 

Kristine Gerolaga is a Filipina American filmmaker and actor. She is supported by Sundance Institute’s Artist Accelerator Program as a 2023 TAAF Collab Scholar and the Feature Film Program as a 2024 Screenwriters Lab fellow with her horror feature film Lamok.

Sylvia Khoury is a New York-based filmmaker and playwright. She received her MD from the Icahn School of Medicine in 2021 and is a 2022 Pulitzer Finalist in Drama (Selling Kabul). She is a 2024 Sundance Directors and Screenwriters Lab Fellow, where she developed her featur

Lessons in Bravery

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How do you face your fears? This is a question young Vanja learns to answer in Marita Mayer’s award-winning short film I’m Not Afraid! Dressed in a tiger onesie, the little protagonist steps outside into the dark night during a game of hide and seek. A series of scary, unrecognisable shapes jump out from the shadows. Gradually, however, Vanja realises that not everything is as alarming as it seems. Led by Norway-based animator and director Marita, the project premiered at the Berlinale in 2022 and went on to achieve huge success at festivals around the world, such as winning the award for Best Family Friendly title at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival last year. We caught up with Marita, who shared insights into the process of bringing this marvellous story to life, such as the personal experiences that sparked the initial idea for the film; observations on childhood friendship and alliances; and how this was truly a family project.

ASFF: I’m Not Afraid! is little Vanja’s journey to overcoming their fears. How did you land on the idea for this film?
MM:
I was afraid of the dark when I was little. I remember being especially scared walking down into the dark basement or during the night when I woke up after a bad dream about monsters chasing me. When I started the project, my kids where three and five and we talked a lot about those experiences and what we can do when we are frightened. The story evolved with their help. I think it is a theme most kids (and adults) can relate to. At the same time, it is also important to understand where our fears are coming from. There are many things that only seem scary but, as soon as you know what lies behind, they are not (or not as scary) and you can even have fun and embrace the dark.

ASFF: You’ve worked across both stop motion and 2D animation in the past. What drew you to 2D for this particular project?
MM:
At the beginning, I was considering doing 2D animation in a stop-motion set and did some tests, which were a lot of fun. In the development process for the final styIe, I worked with some great artists: Katharina Rival, Friedrich Schäper and Alba Dragonetti. Together we found the final design. We started in autumn 2020 so everyone was sitting in different towns and countries due to the pandemic. It was a good choice to stay in digital 2D and I am still in love with the design.

ASFF: How did you approach designing the characters and the settings?
MM:
Firstly, I was working with a great team. In terms of the design, I like to find references from existing artwork to better explain what I have in mind. It was a big learning curve for me to precisely describe what I was aiming for – how I envisioned the design in my head. We went through several rounds to find the right balance of lines, shapes and textures. It is important to me that the characters and the backgrounds fit together well and form a cohesive unit.

ASFF: The film begins with Vanja happily playing with her sister, Thea, until Thea’s friend Tarek arrives. This way we get to see their different relationships – from friendships to siblings – unfold. What considerations did you make when it came the dynamic between Vanja, Thea and Tarek?
MM:
Vanja is the main character and we experience the story through their eyes so I wanted the audience to root for Vanja. To achieve that, I needed Thea and Tarek to form an alliance. I thought about my childhood and how my own children interact with each other. It’s interesting

Berlin Film Festival Launches New Talent Competition, Ditches Encounters

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The Berlin Film Festival is to launch a new competition focusing on new talent discovery starting from next year’s edition. At the same time, it will drop the Encounters section. The moves represent the first major programming shifts to be announced by the Berlinale’s new festival director Tricia Tuttle. The new stand-alone competition, Perspectives, will […]

Release Rundown: What to Watch in July, From “Dìdi (弟弟)” to “Skywalkers: A Love Story”

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Daredevils Angela Nikolau and Ivan Beerkus ascend to dizzying heights in Jeff Zimbalist’s documentary “Skywalkers: A Love Story.”

By Lucy Spicer

It’s that time of year again: As summer temperatures hit their peak, we’re ready to balance fun in the sun with some distinctly indoor entertainment. This July, Sundance has you covered with four documentaries you can watch without even having to leave the house, as well as one award-winning new release you can enjoy inside a dark, air-conditioned theater.

Nonfiction offerings include an Institute-supported debut by two young filmmakers documenting a summer in their border town, a 2024 Sundance Film Festival doc about two thrill-seekers reaching jaw-dropping heights, and two 2023 Festival films — one from a woman with a rare disability seeking community, and another following two fishermen in Bombay balancing friendship amid a difficult industry. This month’s in-theater fiction film evokes the recent nostalgia of 2008 with an appropriately summer-set coming-of-age story.

Hummingbirds — In their directorial debut, filmmakers Silvia Del Carmen Castaños and Estefanía “Beba” Contreras chronicle the last sunset-soaked summer of their youth in a Texas-Mexico border town, holding tight to their friendship and blossoming activism even as immigration complications hang over their heads. Supported by Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program, Hummingbirds was awarded the Grand Prix in the Generation 14plus competition at Berlinale in 2023. Making its broadcast premiere on PBS’ “POV” July 1.

Is There Anybody Out There? — Before she put out a call in a disability support group on Facebook, director Ella Glendining had never seen a body that looked like hers before. Born with very short thigh bones and no hip joints, Glendining has a disability so rare that she has been unable to find any statistics about it. In her feature-length documentary debut, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, Glendining shares the realities of her everyday life — including the ableism she experiences regularly — as she searches for other individuals living with a disability like hers. Making its broadcast premiere on PBS’ “POV” July 8.

Skywalkers: A Love Story — Some thrill-seekers climb mountains; Angela Nikolau and Ivan Beerkus climb buildings. Known as rooftoppers, the daredevil couple post photos of their dizzying — and not strictly legal — escapades dangling off the sides of some of the world’s tallest buildings. Director Jeff Zimbalist’s documentary, which screened at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival, follows Nikolau and Beerkus as they seek to strengthen their relationship and tackle their most difficult climb yet: the 2,227-foot Merdeka 118 skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur. Streaming on Netflix July 19.

Dìdi (弟弟) — It’s the summer of 2008, and 13-year-old Taiwanese American Chris (Izaac Wang) is a typical teenager trying to enjoy the last months

Berlinale Director Tricia Tuttle Appoints Jacqueline Lyanga and Michael Stütz as Film Programming Co-Directors

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New Berlin Film Festival director Tricia Tuttle has appointed two in-house programmers as co-directors of film programming as she puts a new executive team in place. Jacqueline Lyanga, a former U.S. delegate to the Berlinale, and Panorama section chief Michael Stütz will take on these duties in July. This amounts to an expanded role for Stütz […]

Sundance Institute Announces 2024 Producers Lab Fellows

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PARK CITY, UT, June 10, 2024 — The nonprofit Sundance Institute today announced the 10 producers selected to participate in its annual Producers Lab, being held June 10–22 for the first time at Ucross Foundation in Wyoming where they host artists throughout the year. The Producers Program reflects the Institute’s long-standing commitment to increasing support for independent producers and champions the current and rising generation of producers year-round. The annual Producers Lab, a focal point of the program, brings emerging fiction and nonfiction independent film producers together for networking and professional development opportunities. Fellows also receive year-round mentorship from experienced advisors. 

The Producers Lab nurtures emerging independent film producers with project-specific support through one-on-one meetings and intimate group sessions with veteran producer advisors. The lab encourages fellows to hone their creative instincts and problem-solving skills and to develop strategies for pitching, financing, production, navigating the marketplace, and sustainability. The 2024 cohort includes five fiction film producers and five nonfiction film producers. Fellows in the Documentary Film Program include Alan Domínguez with Commerce City, Eurie Chung with Finding Má, Brenda Ávila-Hanna with How to Clean a House in Ten Easy Steps, Mars Verrone with Untitled Solidarity Project, and Jillian Schlesinger with We Are Volcanoes. Fellows in the Feature Film Program include Ivan MacDonald with Buffalo Stone, Yona Strauss with The Glob, Tara Sheffer with Rubber Hut, Mireia Vilanova with Silence Sometimes, and Carolyn Mao with Sprout.

The 2024 Documentary Producers Lab advisors are Daniela Alatorre (Igualada), Jess Devaney (Power), Lauren Domino (American Symphony), Andrea Meditch (Fathom), and Tracy Rector (PILI KA MO’O). The 2024 Feature Film Producers Lab advisors are David Hinojosa (Past Lives), Julie Lynn (Mother and Child), Dan Janvey (Nomadland), Laura Kim (Marketing Executive), and Christopher Tricarico (Tricarico Chavez LLP).

“Amid the dynamic shifts within the film and media landscape that demand interrogation and entrepreneurial ingenuity, we’re inspired by the bold imagination in this year’s projects and by the determination and collaborative spirit of the producers behind them,” said Documentary Film Program Interim Director Kristin Feeley and Feature Film Program Producing and Artist Support Director Shira Rockowitz. “We are also grateful for the community of generous producer advisors supporting their work and careers.”

PROJECTS AND FELLOWS SELECTED FOR THE 2024 SUNDANCE INSTITUTE PRODUCERS LAB:

Documentary Film Program

Alan Domínguez with Commerce City (U.S.A.): A visually striking portrait of the daily life and resilience of the Latinx residents of Commerce City, Colorado — one of the most polluted zip codes in the United States.

Alan Domínguez, a Chicanx border crosser since birth, is Denver-based with Nuevo Mexicano roots. His films gravitate toward the unique cultural fabric and social landscapes of the Southwestern United States. He recently co-directed and produced for American MastersIn the Making series.

Eurie Chung with Finding Má (U.S.A.): After 20 yea

The Joy of Animation

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Cardiff Animation Festival (CAF) celebrates the diverse beauty of animation. Established in 2018, the event has grown into a highlight on every animation-lover’s calendar. This year’s edition followed in the footsteps of the hybrid format, which began in 2022. Attendees enjoyed 3 days of in-person events in the welcoming and ever-lively Chapter Arts Centre (and other nearby Cardiff venues), followed by an online programme filled with workshops, filmmaker Q&As and Watch Parties. This year’s films came from established and emerging creatives from around the world and ASFF-fans will recognise directors like Britt Raes and 2023’s ‘Best Family Friendly Film’ winner, Marita Mayer. Standout talks this year included a trip down memory lane celebrating 20 years of Peppa Pig and 2D animator Nina Nawrocki’s deep dive into the making of hit Indie game Cuphead. Today, we bring you a review of amazing shorts from the festival.

After School Snacks is CAF’s selection of sweet, heart-warming films for the whole family. Aesthetica alumnus Britt Raes leads with Luce and the Rock, a story about curiosity and friendship. Our titular protagonist, Luce, lives in a small community with a daily routine of of rock stacking as the adults chatter in the background. One day, a rock falls from the nearby mountain into the centre of her village, triggering a chain of events that will change the lives of Luce and the Rock forever. We move from bold, primary coloured 2D animation to a stop-motion piece called The Sound Collector – Bats. It’s an episode from Chris Tichborne’s award-winning TV series about the little Sound Collector, who, after putting in hearing aids, uncovers a world of nighttime noises – from rustling badgers to screeching bats.

All forms of love and relationships unite the 12 shorts that make up Love at First Bite. In Freshwater Bees (dir. Emma kanouté), Louise returns to the French countryside and reminisces about her first love, Nora – the one who taught her to love bees. We follow Louise on a bittersweet, nostalgic journey from their first meeting until today, where she checks a phone filled with unreturned texts. Maurice’s Bar (dir. Tzor Edery and Tom Prezman) also revisits the past. Here, we meet a drag queen who recounts memories of one of Paris’ first LGBTQ+ bars as well as the rumours about its mysterious owner. The collection ends with The Queen of the Foxes, a short directed by Marina Rosset that premiered at the Berlinale in 2022. We meet the titular monarch, who calls on her subjects to find and present her with love letters. They forage the bins for unsent messages, unfolding, ironing and perfuming these papers for the Queen to admire. However, after a while, she asks: Why are there no love letters addressed to me? It’s a tender tale about having the courage to confess your feelings whilst appreciating those who have loved you all along.

This year’s festival brought together an assortment of films that explored many parts of the human experience, from our senses to matters of the heart. These films are a testament to the creativity and storytelling power of animation!

Watch more animation in the ASFF Film Library and CAF’s At Home Selection!

Stills:

  1. Luce and the Rock (2022), dir. Britt Raes
  2. Fres

2024 Sundance Film Festival Announces Shorts Film Tour

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Park City, Utah, May 29, 2024 — The nonprofit Sundance Institute announced today the 2024 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour, a 110-minute program of seven short films curated from the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.

The short film tour will play in locations across the country and internationally throughout 2024 and into 2025. Filmgoers can enjoy this assortment of short films in over 50 theaters and independent art house venues. This specially curated selection is full of drama and thrills, including eye-opening and heartwarming indie shorts and a few jury prize winners that offer a peek into the Festival program.

 

For four decades, the Sundance Film Festival has supported short filmmaking, showcasing the work of many now-prominent independent feature filmmakers such as Damien Chazelle, Destin Daniel Cretton, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Dee Rees, Joey Soloway, Taika Waititi, Wes Anderson, and many others. 

 

In 2024, the Festival received 12,098 short film submissions, the highest number on record, selecting 53 to screen. Each year The Festival selects a collection of shorts from its most recent program to go on a theatrical tour hitting dozens of cities. The tour and the Festival are programs of Sundance Institute, a leading arts nonprofit dedicated to advancing work by and opportunities for independent creators.

 

“Despite an industry-shifting year in filmmaking, short films continue to strengthen its art form,” says Mike Plante, Senior Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival. “This year’s showcase is a collection of shorts from the 2024 Festival that proves just how fertile the format continues to be for fresh ideas from ambitious and dynamic emerging filmmakers.”

 

Below are the current tour locations and dates; more locations are added on a rolling basis:

 

June 7 

Durham, NC – Carolina Theatre 
Santa Barbara, CA – Riviera


June 14
New York, NY – IFC Center with Post-Screening Q&A with Filmmakers
Akron, OH – Nightlight Cinema
Cincinnati, OH – Cincinnati World Cinema


June 15
Wilmington, DE – Theatre N


June 23
Sacramento, CA – Dreamland Cinema
Albuquerque, NM – Guild Cinema


July 4
Austin, TX – Austin Film Society
Williamstown, MA – Images Cinema


July 6
Riverside, CA – University of California Riverside


July 22
Anchorage, AK – Read more

ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL + CREATIVE CONFERENCE ANNOUNCES 2024 AWARD WINNERS AND EVENT RESULTS

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ATLANTA, GA (May 17, 2024) — The 48th annual Atlanta Film Festival + Creative Conference (ATLFF) is proud to announce the award winners for the 2024 festival, which took place from Thursday, April 25 - Sunday, May 5, 2024.
Today’s announcement recognizes filmmakers in 15 categories for their achievements and cinematic excellence. Winners of the Narrative Short, Animated Short and Documentary Short Jury Awards not only proudly took home their awards, but now also qualify for the 2024 Academy Awards®. Now in its fifth decade, ATLFF is one of only a handful of film festivals worldwide that is Academy Award-qualifying in all three categories (live-action short, animation short, and documentary short subject). 

Most award winners were chosen by distinguished jurors from all backgrounds across the film industry. The Audience Awards were determined by in-person attendees. 

This year, Michael Showalter, director of “The Idea of You” was presented with the Rebel Award. The Rebel Award honors someone who has shunned the typical industry expectations and paved their own path, in defiance of both norms and naysayers. This award is inspired by Atlantans who haven’t been afraid to break the mold, speak out and create change.

Additionally, Bill Duke, Director of “DEEP COVER” was honored with the Ossie Davis Award for Innovation in Filmmaking. Named in honor of one of Georgia’s most beloved and distinctive film talents, this award recognizes creative excellence and dynamic contributions to the art of cinema while also promoting human dignity and social justice.

With 118 countries represented in the selections, more than 24% of films had ties to Georgia filmmakers.  The 142 total creative works from submissions featured diverse filmmakers who continue to uplift voices and stories from around the world. Of the selections, 49% are directed by filmmakers who identify as female or non-binary, and 59% are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC). Eleven Marquee screenings combined Hollywood star power with the best of independent film. 

Continuing with a hybrid model of in-person screenings and digital screenings, the 2024 event drew in over 20,000 total attendees. Over 16,000 people attended 153 screenings, panels, and events held primarily at The Plaza Theatre and Tara Theatre with select events at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Fox Theatre and Fulton County Airport in addition to a variety of restaurants and bars across the city, during the 11-day festival. An additional nearly 4,000 people streamed screenings from ATLFF’s virtual catalog of 142 films and 13 virtual Creative Conference workshops, panels, or Masterclasses. 

With over a dozen of the in-person screenings selling out, the virtual presentation of the film catalog also proved to be a success. More than three months’ worth of content was streamed during the festival, with viewers in 32 U.S. states, and 10 countries across four inhabited continents. 

A full list of jury members with brief biographies is included below, as well as film information for all award winners and honorable mentions.

The 48th annual Atlanta Film Festival + Creative Conference took place from April 25 - May 5, 2024. ATLFF is currently accepting submissions for the 49th annual festival, which is confirmed to take place April 24 - May 4, 2025.

More information can be found at https://www.atlantafilmfestival.com/submit.   

2024 ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL AWARD WINNERS

SPECIAL AWARDS

The Rebel Award:

Presented ToWinner: Michael Showalter, Director of “The Idea of You”


Durban FilmMart Institute Announces the Selection of Projects and Participants for Talents Durban 2024

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Durban FilmMart Institute Announces the Selection of Projects and Participants for Talents Durban 2024

 

The Durban FilmMart Institute (DFMI) announces the lineup of projects and participants for the 17th edition of Talents Durban, taking place during the Durban FilmMart (DFM) in Durban from 19 - 22 July 2024. As the African satellite programme of the Berlin International Film Festival and Berlinale Talents, Talents Durban holds a significant position within the DFMI's programming portfolio.

 

Berlinale Talents is a networking platform organised by the Berlin International Film Festival, offering a space for emerging filmmakers to connect, learn, and collaborate. Talents Durban serves as its African counterpart, providing a similar platform specifically tailored to the continent's unique filmmaking landscape.

 

DFMI Director, Magdalene Reddy, explains, “The Durban FilmMart Institute is dedicated to the growth of African cinema through strategic collaborations that enhance access to markets and professional networks. Talents Durban, a core component of this commitment, aligns with Berlinale Talents to facilitate a rigorous developmental platform for emerging filmmakers. This partnership, now in its 17th iteration, leverages both our shared vision and the bold stories that Africa offers. We are particularly focused on providing filmmakers, animators and film critics with the tools and opportunities to bring their work to both regional audiences and the international stage, thereby ensuring sustained development of the continent's film industry."

 

This edition of Talents Durban is distinguished by its inclusion of participants from 15 African countries, who collectively reflect the continent's diversity of emerging film professionals. The selection process was highly competitive, with a record 499 applications resulting in the choice of 26 distinctive projects and 4 film critics, each bringing a fresh perspective to features, documentaries, shorts, series, animation, and film criticism.

 

Selected Talents will participate in a series of project–oriented, hands–on skills development programmes. These include sessions such as Story Junction, where participants present their projects to producers and financiers, alongside masterclasses and one–on–one mentorship opportunities. Mounia Aram, Jihane Bougrine, Hawa Essuman, Yanis Gaye, Karabo Lediga, Carol Kioko, Beverly Mitchell, Kethiwe Ngcobo and Laza Razanajatovo, will serve as mentors for the 2024 edition. They will provide invaluable guidance and generously share their expertise with the participants.

 

Official 2024 Talents Durban Participants and Projects:

 

FICTION FEATURES

 

A Time to Wander (Le Temps de L'Errance) – Nakhli Rim (Tunisia) – Director & Screenwriter

Baptism of Silence – Kanya Viljoen (South Africa) – Director & Screenwriter

Pepo Kali - Lydia Matata (Kenya) Director & Screenwriter

Revolution (Abyot) – Abigail Megbar Debebe (Ethiopia) – Director & Screenwriter

Rusaro – Jeanpierre NIYIGENA (Rwanda) – Screenwriter

The Space Maasai – Priscilla Marealle (Tanzania) – Screenwriter

 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

 

Akal – Basma Rkioui (Morocco) – Director & Screenwriter

Breaking the Mold – Michae

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