LOS ANGELES (November 4, 2013) — Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, has selected 30 filmmakers for its Project Involve. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry. Producer Cathy Schulman (Crash, The Illusionist), writer/director Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, Breach, The Hunger Games, Captain Phillips) and writer/producer Virgil Williams (Criminal Minds, The Chicago Code, ER) will serve as guest speakers with additional guest speakers and mentors to be announced.

“Project Involve is an extraordinary program and a vital extension of the core values and mission of Film Independent,” said Jennifer Kushner, Director of Artist Development at Film Independent. “Among our key goals are to foster community, cultivate the careers of filmmakers, and increase cultural diversity in the film industry. We are committed to supporting this exceptional group of artists and professionals in their careers, and by doing so, we hope to contribute to a future where diverse voices will thrive in the entertainment industry.”

For the third consecutive year Sony Pictures Entertainment returns with the Diversity Fellowship in Project Involve, which provides year-round support to one talented participating filmmaker. This Fellowship enables Film Independent to provide a cash production grant and free professional development. The recipient will be announced at the Project Involve Showcase in April.

This year’s Project Involve cycle also welcomed the launch of the FOX | HBCU Media Alliance Fox Film Fellowship, an extension of Film Independent’s partnership with FOX Audience Strategy.  FOX | HBCU Media Alliance member Elliott Williams, an Emmy award-winning producer and graduate of Howard University, was announced as the Fellow in October and will receive a $10,000 grant toward his participation in Project Involve.  The Fox Film Fellowship aims to ensure that more films by diverse filmmakers are produced and distributed by supporting participation in creative talent development and advancement programs.

Project Involve runs annually for nine months and selects filmmakers from diverse backgrounds and filmmaking tracks. During the program, participants create short films, receive one-on-one film industry mentors, access to production-based master workshops taught by top film professionals, career development training, industry networking opportunities and more.

The 2014 Project Involve participants were selected based on the quality of their projects, their passion, vision, talent, and commitment to pursuing a career in the film industry. This year’s filmmakers are:

2014 Project Involve Class
Yaa Boaa Aning – Director
Chris Bailey – Writer
Ava Berkofsky – Cinematographer
Nicholas Bouier – Director
Soojin Chung – Producer
Carolina Costa – Cinematographer
Reena Dutt – Producer
Lara R. Gregg – Industry Track: Development
Rosie Haber – Director
Derege Harding – Producer
Dominic Haxton – Director
Kimberly Hwang – Producer
Q.Terah Jackson – Writer
Christina Sun Kim – Director
Yeonchul Lee – Director
Daniel Lee – Writer
Geeta Malik – Director
Lucy Mukerjee – Industry Track: Festival Programmer
Colin Oh – Cinematographer
Richard Parkin – Director
Lissette Rodriguez – Editor
Jeff Roy – Director
Ian Samuels – Director
Iliana Sosa – Director
Alan Torres – Cinematographer
Fernando Viquez – Editor
Lulu Wang – Director
Cole Wiley – Producer
Angel Kristi Williams – Director
Elliott Williams – Producer

Upon completion, participants become Film Independent Fellows, receiving year-round support including access to Film Independent’s annual film education offerings, on-staff Filmmaker Advisor and the Los Angeles Film Festival. Past Film Independent Fellows from Project Involve include Sheldon Candis (LUV), Javier Fuentes-León (Undertow), Effie T. Brown (Rocket Science), Jon Chu (Step Up 3D, Step Up 2: The Streets), Cherien Dabis (Amreeka), Eric Nazarian (The Blue Hour), Nick Oceano (Pedro), Jennifer Phang (Half-Life), and Tze Chun (Children of Invention).  Previous mentors include Gregg Araki (Smiley Face, Mysterious Skin), Nicole Holofcener (Please Give, Friends with Money), Spike Jonze (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich), Kasi Lemmons (Talk to Me, Eve’s Bayou), Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Memento), Alexander Payne (Sideways, Election), John Singleton (Four Brothers, Boyz n the Hood), and Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, American Gun).

Film Independent’s Project Involve is supported by lead funder Time Warner Foundation. Funders include the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, HBO, Sony Pictures and Fox Audience Strategy.

For more information about Film Independent’s Project Involve please visit:

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About Film Independent

Film Independent is a non-profit arts organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff, and constituents, is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional, or a film lover.

Film Independent produces the Spirit Awards, the annual celebration honoring artist-driven films and recognizing the finest achievements of American independent filmmakers.  Film Independent also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry. For more information or to become a member, visit

For more information, contact:

Film Independent
Alia Quart Khan or 310.432.1287