This year, Film Independent celebrates the 20th anniversary of Project Involve, our signature diversity program dedicated to cultivating the careers of filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the industry. The program, which runs from October through June, selects filmmakers from diverse backgrounds and filmmaking tracks – a mix of writers, directors, producers, DPs and editors, as well as those seeking work in acquisitions, marketing, distribution and agencies.
During the nine months, the Fellows receive one-on-one mentorship, participate in a series of master workshops on the craft as well as the business of filmmaking, and work together to create a collection of short films. The program concludes in June when their short films premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
When Project Involve began twenty years ago, it was specifically for young women of color, aged 18 to 24. Since then, the program has evolved to embody the broadest notion of inclusiveness. We have over 600 alumni who are now working in virtually every part of the film industry – in independent film, the studio world, television, the web and more.
Over 600 filmmakers and more than 300 film industry mentors have participated in Project Involve. Aurora Guerrero (writer/director, Mosquita y Mari), Jon M. Chu (director, G.I. Joe: Retaliation), Sheldon Candis (writer/director, LUV), Nekisa Cooper (producer, Pariah) and many other talented artists began as Project Involve Fellows. Established filmmakers Rodrigo García (Albert Nobbs), Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Billy Ray (The Hunger Games), Stephanie Allain (Peeples) and others have taken the time to help guide the careers of the emerging artists who pass through this program.