The WarnerMedia talent development program offers a handful of filmmakers the chance to attend major festivals and thus benefit from the networking and professional development opportunities offering by rubbing elbows with industry insiders at high-level festivals. The WarnerMedia Access Festivals initiave launched at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, which unfolded in September as a hybrid virtual and in-person event, and expanded to other festivals in Canada.
Sundance begins today as a virtual event for the second consecutive year amid the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three yet-to-be-announced filmmakers have been chosen to receive broad access to attend Sundance events over the next 10 days. Additional filmmakers will be chosen through open calls for future events. Attendees will receive the Access Festivals How-To-Guide, a directory of resources for professional networking, in addition to attending exclusive group sessions. Amid the surge in COVID-19 infection rates, Sundance film festival organizers made the last-minute call to once again shift to a virtual presentation this year.
“In speaking with filmmakers, we’ve learned that many times there is a lack of access to tools and knowledge that are necessary to have a successful festival experience,” said Karen Horne, senior vice president of equity and inclusion at WarnerMedia. “We are excited to provide an opportunity to talented filmmakers from underrepresented communities to learn how to navigate film festivals in order to maximize the full benefits of their programming.”
Beyond Sundance, WarnerMedia Access Festivals will partner with an array of festivals throughout the year. Applications and submission requirements for each festival program will be shared on WarnerMedia Access’ social platforms.
WarnerMedia Access is a program hosted through WarnerMedia’s equity and inclusion division that connects underrepresented talent to the company’s content and brands. Last year, it hosted the WarnerMedia Access Writers Program, which paired emerging TV writers with mentors and opportunities within the company. Applications for this year’s writers program have yet to be announced.