×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Josh Hutcherson Teams Up With Indigenous Media, Condé Nast to Give Voice to New Filmmakers

What’s the best way to nurture the talent of young filmmakers? Host content on platforms used by younger generations? Or experiment in the digital space in some new capacity?

“In the coming years, there’s going to be more and more people whose voices are going to be heard,” Indigenous Media’s co-CEO Jon Avnet says. “The question is, who’s going to hear them and how?”

Indigenous and Condé Nast Entertainment have found one solution: incubators, in which the studios fund the creation of a work and provide mentorship for young filmmakers before, during and after production.

One of Indigenous’s incubators, “The Big Script,” culminated in a February 16 screening at CAA, attended by agents, studio execs, burgeoning screenwriters and the young actors who starred in the resulting films. As the more seasoned creatives chit-chatted during the reception, the younger set filled the lounge with their laughs, decidedly hip clothing choices and an excitement for filmmaking reserved for the not-yet-jaded.

Five short films written and directed by and for this demographic were screened in the agency’s intimate theater. The stories ranged from tales of young love gone wrong to siblings seemingly at odds with one another. One brought the audience into the apocalyptic near future while another took them to a high school student council meeting. The writers-directors were only able to see their visions realized through the help of Indigenous and CNE.

Indigenous’ Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia say thy knew that millennials and generation Z’ers had stories to tell. There was great content on different platforms, stories like their feature film “Sickhouse” being told through Snapchat, and simply not enough opportunities for these creators to make or consume actual premium content.

“Millennials and Gen Z’ers are spending so much time watching digital content,” CNE president Dawn Ostroff says. “To be able to speak to them with projects that are scripted and in which they see themselves reflected is really part of what we’re trying to do.”

They joined with “The Hunger Games” veteran Josh Hutchersonwho, along with his mother, co-produced the films and served as a mentorto see if they could nurture newer filmmakers into creating shorts that could propel their careers forward and offer something powerful to viewers.

“We were trying to see if we could create the kind of frugal loam out of which that talent can rise,” Avnet says. 

To find the final four (Hutcherson would direct one himself), Hutcherson and Indigenous partnered with the Black List. Together they read through over 2,000 scripts, seeking out protagonists between 17 and 30 written into existence by the most talented young screenwriters.

They landed on “Boy in the Backpack” by Bradley Martocello, “Crowbar Smile” by Jamie Mayer, “Honor Council” by Scott Simonsen, and “Lyra” by Djochoua Belovarski. Hutcherson’s original pick backed out at the last minute and he was left scrambling until he remembered a script he had been attached to years prior.

“Ape,” written by Jon Johnstone, tells the story of a schizophrenic early 20-something trying to deal with his hallucinations at the most inopportune moment: on a bed, hooking up with a girl at a party.

Once the scripts and directors were secure, Indigenous, CNE and Hutcherson’s Turkeyfoot Productions funded the production, marketing and distribution. Indigenous folks mentored the budding creatives, forcing them to cut their scripts by tens of pages (to fit the short form format) and giving them advice, support, and “tools to see their dreams realized.”

These youthful narratives turned into premium quality shorts. Avnet and Ostroff were amazed at the outcomes.

“A lot of these projects turned out so much better than I thought they would, honestly. I was so incredibly impressed,” Ostroff adds.

Looking forward, CNE will try to grow the shorts’ reach by expanding distribution and moving them to other platforms. Some of the films will be shopped into feature films, including Hutcherson’s “Ape.” Now the shorts are available on CNÉ’s “The Scene,” a platform which helps both advertisers find the target demographic and companies making digital content house their work.

Indigenous has another incubator coming up. Project HER will pair established female creatives Lesli Linka Glatter, Kasi Lemmons, Sarah Treem, Betty Thomas, and Mimi Leder with young aspiring female showrunners. Together, they’ll create a short pilot with the potential for a full version as well. Avnet hopes the partnership will go beyond the confines of the incubator, with the mentors creating meaningful relationships with their mentees that could help them get somewhere in the field.

“It’s a great time for new filmmakers,” he says. 

More Digital

  • Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA Signs Gaming Influencers Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA has signed two popular live-streaming battle royale gamers — Nicholas Amyoony, better known as Nick Eh 30, and David Steinberg, aka StoneMountain64 — for representation. CAA said it will work to create opportunities for Nick Eh 30 (above left) and StoneMountain64 (above right) in all areas, including TV, motion pictures, touring, digital distribution and [...]

  • Amazon Adds NBA League Pass to

    Amazon Adds NBA League Pass Live-Streaming Games to Prime Video Channels

    Amazon is bringing pro hoops action to Prime Video Channels: The ecommerce giant now offers NBA League Pass as part of its lineup of 150-plus subscription options for Prime members in the U.S. It’s the first U.S. live-sports subscription service on Prime Video Channels. Prime members can subscribe to NBA League Pass via Prime Video [...]

  • Fifty Shades of Grey

    International Piracy Ring Stole Over 25,000 Movie and TV Digital Files, U.S. Feds Say

    A five-member international hacking crime ring stole more than 25,000 files for Hollywood movies and TV shows and illegally offered hundreds of them for sale online, according to U.S. law enforcement officials. A federal grand jury in L.A. on Wednesday (Dec. 12) indicted five men, identified as residing in the U.K., India, Dubai and Malaysia, [...]

  • Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president

    Apple to Update iPhones in China to Avoid Sales Ban

    Apple is pushing out a software update to iPhones in China to address a recent court order obtained by Qualcomm that banned the sale of certain iPhone models in the country. The update will allow the company to continue selling its phones in China, company representatives told Reuters Friday morning. The Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court [...]

  • Kevin Reilly Variety Cover

    Kevin Reilly Named Content Chief for WarnerMedia Streaming Service

    Kevin Reilly — a veteran television exec who has led programming at NBC, FX, Fox, and most recently Turner Broadcasting — has been tapped to head content strategy for the still-nascent streaming service that WarnerMedia plans to launch next year. Reilly, who has led programming at Turner brands TNT and TBS since 2015, will serve [...]

  • Apple Culver City

    Apple Expects to Have Over 1,000 Employees in Culver City by 2022

    Apple announced plans to boost its L.A. presence, saying it expects to have more than 1,000 employees in Culver City, Calif., over the next three years, including its growing entertainment team. The move is part of the tech giant’s broader initiative to create 20,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2023 and includes a new $1 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content