OUR PROJECT: TO INVOLVE & DIVERSIFY THE FILM INDUSTRY
Here at Film Independent, one of our main goals is to increase diversity in the film industry. The main way we work to accomplish this is through our signature program Project Involve, a free nine-month intensive that cultivates new talent from diverse backgrounds.
During those nine months, the PI Fellows are paired one-on-one with a mentor from the film industry, assigned to a team to make a short film incorporating a given theme, and attend monthly filmmaking workshops to bolster their skills.
The end result is much more than a short film. In an industry with no defined “career ladder,” Project Involve provides a vital bridge from film school to career by helping talented but underrepresented filmmakers and emerging executives hone skills and form those professional relationships necessary to “break in” to the industry. Showbiz is largely about connections, after all.
Many Project Involve alums have gone on to not just break into the industry, but break through as well, garnering critical acclaim and racking up awards. Including Aurora Guerrero, a queer-identified Chicana raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. With over 10 years of filmmaking experience, she debuted her first narrative feature this year, Mosquita y Mari.
Since premiering, Mosquita y Mari has received numerous festival awards, including Outfest’s Audience Award for Outstanding First US Dramatic Feature — as well as the Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film for Fenessa Pineda — just this weekend.
Mosquita y Mari: Stories for a Diverse World Need to be Told
Mosquita y Mari is a coming of age story that focuses on a tender friendship between two young Chicanas: Yolanda and Mari, both growing up in the Huntington Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Both girls have only known loyalty to one thing: family. When Mari moves in across the street from Yolanda, they maintain their usual life routine, until an incident at school thrusts them into a strange yet beautiful connection.
Lost in their private world of unspoken affection, lingering gazes, and heart-felt confessions of uncertain futures, Yolanda’s grades begin to slip while Mari’s focus drifts away from her duties at a new job. Mounting pressures at home collide with their new-found connection, forcing them to choose between their obligations to others and staying true to themselves.
With our society rapidly changing and growing more diverse each day, stories like Yolanda’s and Mari’s demand to be told. Giving voice to these stories — and to the filmmakers and audiences behind them — is what we aim to do.
July 24th, 2012 • 2 Comments