Programs Thu 10.23.2014

Project Involve Welcomes a New Class of Fellows

Film Independent Project Involve Kickoff Party

Wednesday night, the newest class of Project Involve kicked off the program with a celebration in downtown LA. Project Involve, which will run through June, is Film Independent’s diversity program, dedicated to supporting filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the industry. The newest Project Involve Fellows are all at different points with their projects and in their careers, and represent a wide variety of filmmaking disciplines. Fellows meet with accomplished industry mentors, create short films and attend networking events and master classes taught by film professionals. To hear more about what’s in store for the new group of Fellows, we spoke to 2012 Project Involve alumnus Aaron Celious about his Project Involve-produced short film Promesas—watch it below—and his experience with the program. 

Promesas from Aaron Celious website on Vimeo.

When Celious, a writer-director, became a part of Project Involve, he had directed a variety of short films and written feature screenplays. As a Fellow, Celious co-wrote Promesas (formerly titled The Grizzly) with another Fellow, Allison Lee. “I think it was based on an article she read,” Celious recalled, “about domestic workers and their travels from Pico-Union to the more affluent areas of Los Angeles.” While Lee contributed the concept of the short, as its director, Celious connected with the story on a personal level. “The camaraderie and the ability to partner with other filmmakers is one of the best parts of [Project Involve],” said Celious.

“The part of it that really resonated with me was the relationship between the mother and the child, and this mother’s desire to really make good on her promise to her son,” Celious explained. “And that resonated with me because I had a single mother, and sometimes I felt like she was not really always able to do all the things that she wanted to.” When Film Independent screened the short in South Central Los Angeles earlier this month as part of a free community screening series with A Place Called Home, Celious said, “a woman came up to me afterwards and said, ‘Yeah, that experience has happened to me, where my time was not respected by my employer’.”

Celious said that the program helped him understand how to recognize opportunities when he’s presented with them.  Since the program, he’s been writing and rewriting a feature screenplay, a comedy called Imperfect Union, which he hopes to make his feature directorial debut.

“I think the big thing for me from Project Involve is I now feel like there is a place that, when I have material, I can send it there,” Celious said, “whether it’s directly through Film Independent or one of its affiliates, I feel like I could find the right audience.”

Mary Sollosi / Film Independent Blogger