Variety and Indeed present a night of cocktails and conversation on June 16 in New York City with this year’s 10 Rising Voices finalists from across the United States.
Participants include Jalmer Caceres, “Empty Bases”; Leon Cheo, “The 25th Filial”; Shanrica Evans, “Amina”; Justin Floyd, “Malleable”; Georgia Fu, “Maps”; Gbenga Komolafe, “Tofu”; Cara Lawson, “Crooked Trees Gon Give Me Wings”; Tara Motamedi, “Before Dawn Kabul Time”; Urvashi Pathania, “Beast” and Travis Wood, “Black Santa.” The conversation will be moderated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis.
Established in February 2021 and now in its second season, Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions and Indeed partnered on Rising Voices to provide resources to the selected BIPOC filmmakers to create the short film that will have premiered earlier in the day at the Tribeca Festival in New York City.
The finalists were selected from 900 applicants based on their submitted screenplays. Upon selection, they were awarded a $10,000 writing and direction fee to create their short film, a $100,000 production budget, a line production crew from Hillman Grad and 271 Films and an additional budget for COVID safety protocols to ensure the safety of their crews.
“Working with Lena Waithe and Hillman Grad Productions for Rising Voices Season 2 has proven to be very impactful,” says LaFawn Davis, SVP of environmental, social and governance at Indeed. “This season we tripled our investment and widened our scope to spotlight 10 BIPOC filmmakers from around the world and amplified their stories on the meaning of work. When we set out on this initiative our goal was to expand the creation of sustainable job opportunities for talented underrepresented creatives and through our partnership with Lena and HGP, we have been able to accomplish that.”
Indeed has tripled its investment in the initiative, pledging $3 million dollars to be split between Rising Voices Season 2 and a new program called The Lab. Developed by Indeed and Hillman Grad, this 12-month non-exclusive residency will feature three filmmakers from the first season of the program: Chinese-American filmmaker Johnson Cheng, Haitian filmmaker Stacy Pascal Gaspard and Dominican-born filmmaker Gabriela Ortega.