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Award for Young Women Directors Looks for Donations and Entries

Three film producers have launched the second year of crowdfunding to raise money to support the Horizon Award, an honor to support two young women filmmakers by sending them to next year’s Sundance Film Festival.

The Indiegogo fundraising campaign seeks to raise $20,000 for the award, which will sponsor the young filmmakers to the acclaimed film fest and award them a $1,000 cash prize.

The award was created last year by three acclaimed independent film producers: Cassian Elwes (“Dallas Buyers Club”), Lynette Howell (“Mississippi Grind”) and Christine Vachon (“Carol.”) They are seeking to address the huge imbalance in the number of male and female directors making movies.

“Our hope is that this initiative will help us identify talent early so that we can support these young female filmmakers as they navigate the hurdles that exist in our business,” said Elwes. Women in Film president Cathy Schulman said in a statement that the award supports the kind of “real life experiences and hands-on mentorship” that are “foundational requirements to help women in media be active in overcoming gender disparity.”

The winners of the award will have all their expenses paid for in Sundance 2016, where they will meet with producers, filmmakers, festival programmers and others in the film industry.

There have been multiple reports about the huge disparity between the number of men and women leading film shoots. A 2012 report published by Women In Film and the Sundance Institute showed that, of the top 250 domestic grossing movies worldwide that year, women comprised only 9% of directors. A 2015 study showed that, of the top 100 domestic grossing movies in 2014, only 1.9% had a female director.

The inaugural Horizon Award last year went to Syracuse University student Verónica Ortiz-Calderón for her film “Y Ya No Te Gustas” (“And You Don’t Like Yourself Anymore”). It was selected from more than 400 submissions and premiered at Sundance. Since the Horizon Award, Ortiz-Calderón has produced a second short film and attended the Cannes Film Festival, among other achievements. She called the award “life changing” and said it “gives voice and meaning to stories and people that might otherwise be silent and forgotten.”

Candidates for the award must submit a self-directed film that is two minutes or less to the Horizon Award’s website. A blue ribbon committee will review the films, with the two winners to be selected by Elwes, Howell and Vachon. Submissions must be received by Dec. 14, 2015. Contributions can be made via the award’s Indiegogo page.

Elwes, Howell and Vachon are partnering with The Black List, Indiegogo, Sundance Institute, Twitter, Vimeo and Women in Film in this effort.

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