WIF will work with six Ghetto Film School participants for mentoring and master classes to be held as part of a yearlong development program dubbed Insight. At the end of the program, one participant will get the chance to produce a short film as part of WIF’s fall 2019 production program.
“We’re in a moment when diversity and inclusion are forefront for industry decision makers. But to see accurate representation, the culture has to shift at an essential level,” said Maikiko James, WIF’s director of programs. “Women of color filmmakers require a strong network of advocates with a stake in their success in order to start seeing their numbers increase at the rate they should, and that’s what this partnership is designed to create.”
Mentors and instructors will include Jamila Hunter, ABC’s senior VP and head of comedy; writer/producer Wendy Calhoun; writer/director Nisha Ganatra; actor Jessica Paré; Naketha Mattocks, Netflix’s director of kids and family; Yira Vilaro, creative executive at Charles King’s Macro.
“It was clear from our initial conversation that Ghetto Film School’s ROSTER and Women In Film were natural partners with shared goals,” said Kisha Imani Cameron, chief talent development officer of Ghetto Film School. “The idea that Hollywood lacks qualified and talented women of color is purely myth.”
Here are the initial six participants from Ghetto Film School:
A Native New Yorker from Queens with Colombian roots, Alejandra Araujo is a filmmaker, artist and all-around creative. She graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and has previously partnered with Google, Tribeca Film Institute, MTV, Funny or Die, Mom+Pop Music, the Ghetto Film School and several other companies. She has won numerous awards and grants including the Scholastic Art & Writing National Gold Key and Tribeca Youth Achievement Award. Coming from a visual and fine art background, Alejandra has a keen eye for design, detail and aesthetic.
Alicia Carroll is a writer, producer, and TEDx speaker, from Philadelphia, PA. She holds a BA in Visual & Media Arts Production from Emerson College, with a focus in creative producing for television and film. She is passionate about inclusion and representation in media and entertainment and has experience in theater, television, and film. She is a fierce advocate for content-aware entertainment media practices and the empowered prevention of power-based interpersonal violence, which she was featured in her 2016 TEDx talk at Beaconstreet in Boston.
Brittany “B.Monét” Fennell
Brittany “B.Monét” Fennell is a writer/director from Silver Spring, Maryland. She has a B.A. in English from Spelman College, and an MFA from New York University in Film and Television with a concentration in writing and directing. Her award-winning short film Q.U.E.E.N. has screened at over a dozen festivals including Cannes Short Film Corner, and was a runner-up in the First Time Female Filmmakers Contest with Women and Hollywood.
B.Monet was named the 2017 Horizon Award Winner through Cassian Elwes, Christine Vachon and Lynette Howell – Taylor at the Sundance Film Festival, is recipient of the Adrienne Shelly Foundation grant, and a directing fellow for Film Independent’s residency program Project Involve. She is also is amongst the winners of the #NewView Film Competition with Glamour and Girlgaze, which champions the voices of female filmmakers. She also directed a branded short film on the #MeToo founder, Tarana Burke, for Levi’s and Girlgaze.
Asha Flowers was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, and is an aspiring writer and director of film and television. She graduated with a BA in Women’s Studies from Loyola Marymount University, where she also took classes in their film school. Her studies lead her to dedicate her work to shedding light on the often-neglected stories of those marginalized both on and off-screen to alleviate their struggle for authentic and diverse portrayal.
Asha aspires to create her own vision by writing, directing, and producing her own material with the goal of drastically diversifying and improving the authenticity of the representation of all people in mainstream entertainment. With a fervor for drama, and a strong interest in sci-fi, thriller, and, particularly, crime drama, her body of work includes shorts, features, specs, and pilot scripts. She would like to continue to write and direct, and aims to become a showrunner of game-changing network television.
Alexi Gonzalez is a Writer/Director who is currently an Associate Producer working creatively in the Writer’s Room of “On My Block” Season 2. Alexi started her filmmaking journey in New York City where, at age 15, she had a short film premiere at Lincoln Center. After graduating high school, Alexi moved to Los Angeles to take part of the Ghetto Film School Expansion where her next short film “Abby Normal” premiered at The Bing Theatre at LACMA. Alexi’s thesis film “Demon’s Gate” was shot in Tokyo entirely in Japanese with a predominately female cast and crew. She has since participated in the Warner Bros. Directing in Television Workshop.
A Harlem native, Melissa V. Murray, was destined for a career in filmmaker. Born to a cinematographer mother who introduced her to Hollywood classics at a young age, Melissa enrolled at Ghetto Film School in junior high where she created several original short films, screened her first narrative work at Lincoln Center and wrote the 2007 Thesis Project script, which was produced in Paris, France.
Melissa started her career at Lee Daniels Entertainment where she worked on PRECIOUS and THE PAPERBOY. Under her own production company, The Cynical Owl LLC, she has written and directed several original short films that played at several film festivals and received distribution from companies including Amazon and Gravitas Ventures.