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Ava DuVernay, Jay Duplass Join International Film Exchange Program

“Selma” director Ava DuVernay, Jay Duplass, Kirby Dick and Fox Searchlight President Nancy Utley are participating in Global Media Makers, a new international film exchange program.

The mentoring program is organized by the U.S. Department of State and Film Independent, which produces the Spirit Awards and the LA Film Festival.

Global Media Makers will connect visual storytellers from around the world with leading U.S. entertainment professionals through mentorships, workshops and master classes. A dozen participants will be selected from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Turkey for the program’s first year.

Other program mentors include Effie Brown (“Dear White People”); Fox Searchlight exec VP Matthew Greenfield; Kelly Kulchak, head of current programming, DreamWorks Animation TV; Broad Green’s Alix Madigan-Yorkin; TV directors Jeremy Podeswa (“Game of Thrones”) and Alan Poul (“The Newsroom”); Mary Sweeney (“The Straight Story”); and Robin Swicord, writer of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

“Film has the power to transcend traditional barriers and provide an opportunity for dialogue on shared issues,” said State Department Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan. “Through our partnership with Film Independent, we’re investing in the development of international filmmakers and cultivating lasting professional networks.”

Mentors will work closely with Film Independent’s Maria Raquel Bozzi and Jennifer Kushner to build a curriculum.

“We are honored and thrilled to be working with the State Department on this important new initiative,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “We live at a time when the cultivation of strong, independent voices that can communicate across cultural boundaries has never been more important. This cross-cultural program allows us to serve talented filmmakers from around the world.”

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