Artist Development

Film Independent’s Artist Development initiatives promote unique, independent voices by helping filmmakers create and advance new work. Programs include:

The Film Independent Artist Development programs are offered at no cost to participants (beyond an application fee and requisite purchase of Film Independent Membership) and are open to all filmmakers, regardless of educational background or previous accomplishment. Film Independent Fellows receive year-round support, including access to the Film Independent Forum, Directors Close-Up and the Los Angeles Film Festival.

With each program, we welcome a new cohort of Fellows into the community of Film Independent alumni whose voices and visions will continue to break ground in filmed entertainment. In 2014, 92 Fellows screened their work at the world’s most prestigious festivals and 37 shot television shows or digital series. Continuing our commitment to diversity, 80% of Film Independent’s Fellows were from communities underrepresented in the film industry, and 50% were women.

Among the many celebrated Film Independent Fellows are:

Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night)
Effie Brown (Dear White People, Rocket Science)
Jon Chu (Step Up 2: The Streets, G.I. Joe: Retaliation)
Cherien Dabis (Amreeka, May in the Summer)
Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo (Rich Hill)
Ruben Fleischer (Gangster Squad, Zombieland)
Courtney Hunt (Frozen River)
Robbie Pickering (Natural Selection)
James Ponsoldt (Smashed, The End of the Tour)
Justin Simien (Dear White People)
Jill Soloway (Afternoon Delight)
Marah Strauch (Sunshine Superman)
Malik Vitthal (Imperial Dreams)
Chloé Zhao (Songs My Brothers Taught Me)

A comprehensive list of recent Film Independent Fellows and their projects can be viewed in our online Talent Guide.

As the organization behind the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Film Independent Spirit Awards, our deep and long-standing roots in the film community afford us unparalleled access to mentors, speakers and advisors for our Artist Development programs.

Past Creative Advisors and Mentors include:

Lindsay Doran (Sense and Sensibility, Stranger than Fiction)
Ava DuVernay (Selma)
Laura Gabbert (City of Gold)
Rodrigo Garcia (Albert Nobbs, Nine Lives)
Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, Thirteen)
Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said, Friends with Money)
Karyn Kusama (Girlfight, Jennifer’s Body)
Alix Madigan Yorkin (Winter’s Bone)
Eddie Schmidt (This Film Is Not Yet Rated, Troubadours)
Cathy Schulman (Crash, The Illusionist)
Robin Swicord (Memoirs of a Geisha, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Ron Yerxa (Little Miss Sunshine)