Picturestart and Ghetto Film School (GFS) have announced the winners of their “Discover Your Voice” fellowship contest.
The winning projects come from filmmakers Zenzele Ojore (grand prize), Danni Juhl (first prize) and Jenna Anderson and Mags Chamberlain (second prize), who were rewarded with prize money totaling $21,000.
“Together with Ghetto Film School, we were inspired to establish this fellowship to discover, elevate and celebrate emerging voices that are shaping the future of filmmaking,” stated Picturestart founder and CEO Erik Feig and company president Samie Kim Falvey. “The experience itself was eye-opening to the caliber of storytelling these young filmmakers are creating and we are excited to acknowledge Zenzele, Danni, Jenna and Mags for their incredible work.”
Ojore’s “The South Is My Sister’s Skin” was awarded the $10,000 grand prize. Set in “the belly of the American South,” according to official logline, the film follows “two Black sisters from childhood to adulthood; as one of them struggles to reconcile with the past, the other attempts to forget.”
Juhl accepted the $5,000 first prize for “Daysleeper.” The logline states: “After her rural Wisconsin town is flattened by a tornado, a high schooler enlists her classmates to help find her missing best friend. As each of them is forced to relive the tragedy, they begin to unearth a secret even darker.”
Anderson and Chamberlain collected $3,000 each for second-prize winner “Even Her Name.” The film centers on a young trans woman who “finds herself on the precipice of a pivotal rebirth,” as the logline describes, “after a phone call from her estranged mother brings her back home to unexpected family dynamics.”
Noted GFS CEO Montea Robinson: “We are incredibly proud of our GFS Roster Members Zenzele Ojore, Danni Juhl, Jenna Anderson and Mags Chamberlain for their success in the Discover Your Voice Fellowship contest. The Picturestart team have been incredible partners throughout the course of this fellowship, and diligent mentors to our students.”
Launched in December 2021, the contest focused on finding emerging writers, directors and filmmakers “telling universal stories anchored in discovery of voice,” with Picturestart and Ghetto Film School soliciting submissions for “self-portrait videos” that reflected the filmmakers’ identity and how they found their voice and community.
Ten fellows were selected for the program, which began in May. The budding filmmakers were partnered with a creative at Picturestart, who served as a mentor, helping to develop their submission idea into a pitch presented to a panel of industry professionals, as well as representatives from GFS and Picturestart.
The “Discover Your Voice” program was overseen by Neha Gandhi, Picturestart’s former EVP, digital and strategy and Amy Lapides, on behalf of Ghetto Film School. The contest marked the second collaboration between Picturestart (with recent titles including “Unpregnant,” “Am I OK?,” “Cha Cha Real Smooth” and “Luckiest Girl Alive”) and the nonprofit Ghetto Film School, following their collaboration on “The Binge Collection,” a assortment of cozy merchandise, the proceeds of which were donated to GFS.
[Pictured, clockwise: Zenzele Ojore, Danni Juhl, Jenna Anderson and Mags Chamberlain]