Film Independent Unveils Sixth Los Angeles-Themed Short Films by Fall Class of 2022 Global Media Makers Fellows

Press Contact: Seanna Hore, Ginsberg/Libby

Gladys Santos, Ginsberg/Libby


LOS ANGELES (February 17, 2023) — Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, shared today five short films directed by Fellows selected to participate in its Global Media Makers (GMM) Fall 2022 LA Residency. GMM is an innovative mentoring initiative and cultural exchange program that fosters relationships between filmmakers and industry professionals in the U.S. and abroad.

The shorts are a result of a workshop where GMM fellows participating in the Residency’s Creative Producing Track were paired with Los Angeles-based Film Independent Fellows to direct a short impressionistic film encompassing their personal views of Los Angeles. This collaborative initiative is an opportunity to establish a creative dialogue between international and local filmmakers while exploring the city.

“Providing our GMM Fellows a space and time to explore our city of Los Angeles, guided by a local Film Independent Fellow, is central to the mission of the program: building bridges and fostering a dialogue amongst creative minds around the world”, said María Raquel Bozzi, Senior Director of Education & International Initiatives, “As we started this initiative, we realized an iPhone, with its high-quality capture and ease of use, is a perfect tool for them to freely explore the visual richness of our dynamic Angeleno community.”

Previous Film Independent Fellows that have participated in this collaborative workshop include Andrew Ahn (Director, Fire Island), Shane Boris (Producer, Fire of Love), Lulu Wang (Director, The Farewell), and Nepali Fellow Anup Poudel, who produced the short film, “LORI (Melancholy of my Mother’s Lullabies)”, which received Special Distinction at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.

The Film Independent Fellows who collaborated as Creative Producers in the shorts published today are Erick Castrillion (Writer/Producer, Blast Beat), Katherine Fairfax Wright (Producer, Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall), Trent Nakamura (Director, It’s a Boy), Stephanie Osuna-Hernandez (Director, Dreamer) and Dyana Winkler (Director, United Skates).

The six Global Media Makers Fellows who participated in this collaborative workshop come from India, Lebanon, Nepal, Tunisia and Turkey.


Directed by Aren Perdeci and Ela Alyamac
Angelenos’ joys, sorrows, desolations, hopes and fears… all in one minute.

The Istanbul-based Armenian writer-director Aren Perdeci’s second feature film Lost Birds’ screenplay was selected to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library’s Core Collection in 2016. Lost Birds is the first film shot in Turkey to depict the great tragedy of 1915. Lost Birds was featured in American Cinematographer Magazine’s September 2015 issue, singing praises for its stunning cinematography. The ten-page article was a first for a Turkish project in the legendary magazine. Perdeci’s debut Wrong Time Travellers was shot on super 16mm with an innovative directing style.

The Istanbul-based Turkish writer-director Ela Alyamac’s co-directed Lost Birds. Alyamac made her debut with Fairy Dust (2008), a romantic drama about growing up, making peace with the past and believing in miracles. The film significantly changed how romantic comedies and coming-of-age stories are told in Turkey. Alyamac has a Master of Fine Arts in Directing and Screenwriting from Chapman University.


Dear John
Directed by Mehdi Hmili
A visual love letter to John Cassavetes by remembering his films shot in Los Angeles.

Mehdi Hmili is a Tunisian director and producer. In 2019 he participated in La Fabrique Cinémas du Monde at Cannes Film Festival with the feature documentary Fouledh. His second feature film Streams premiered at the 74th Locarno Film Festival and won numerous awards, including Best Actress at the 43rd Cairo International Film Festival, the Special Jury Award at the Kolkata International Film Festival, and Best Director Award at the Malmö Arab Film Festival. Mehdi Hmili is part of the new wave of young Tunisian filmmakers, and he is a major figure in the current Tunisian cinematographic landscape.


In the Rearview
Directed by Shyam Bora
An exploration of the city of LA through Uber rides.

Hailing from Assam in the northeast of India, Shyam’s debut feature as producer, Aamis (Ravening), premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2019 in the International Narrative Competition section. His second feature, Emuthi Puthi (A Very Fishy Trip), was shot entirely on an iPhone and released across the regional cinema theaters of Assam in June 2022. Shyam’s latest feature, Second Chance (Film Independent’s 2022 Global Media Maker Program) is currently in the post-production stage. He is a graduate of the Busan Asian Film School’s International Film Business Academy (AFiS) and the Buncheon NAFF Fantastic Genre Film School.


Prince K: Los Angeles
Directed by Wadih Safieddine
Searching for the letter K across the city of Los Angeles is like searching for the Unity of all things to me – I have been searching for at least 30 years…

Born in Beirut, Wadih Safieddine grew up in Paris during the Lebanese civil war before returning to settle in his country as a journalist, copywriter, music manager and art space curator. Saffieddine produced hundreds of hours of TV shows and teaches TV production at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts and ESA Business School. In 2014, he opened the Beirut office of Déjà vu, headquartered in Dubai. Déjà vu has produced some of the most iconic commercials in the region and won awards at every major advertising festival around the world.


Directed by Ram Krishna Pokharel
Follow Jorge as he navigates life unhoused in the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Ram Krishna Pokharel is an Emmy award-winning film producer best known for A Mountain to Climb (2017). His feature and short films have been invited to major international film festivals such as Berlinale, Busan, Palm Springs, APSA and Freibourg. He is the first Nepalese producer to participate in the EAVE Producers Workshop with a scholarship from CNC (France 2017). He has several projects in development, including those that have been invited to platforms such as Locarno Festival’s Open Doors Program, Film Bazaar Goa, and Cannes Film Festival’s Cinefondation l’Atelier program. He is committed to providing opportunities to new and emerging talents from Nepal and the region.

All of the films were shot on the new iPhone 14 Pro Max with color grading provided by Picture Shop. This is the sixth iteration of the workshop. To find more information about this program and see the three short films, visit and watch on Film Independent’s YouTube channel.

Now in its seventh year, the Global Media Makers program is presented by Film Independent and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. From 2016-18, the program operated in the Arab world and Turkey, and expanded to South Asia beginning in 2019. In 2021, GMM began to broaden its scope to filmmakers residing in Sub-Sahara Africa and will continue on with its seventh residency in June, where it will again host another iPhone Collaborative Workshop. GMM is excited for Apple to put its devices in the hands of filmmakers and on future initiatives.

Since the program’s inception, more than 135 Fellows have been served through GMM residencies, leading to 22 produced projects, including Egyptian Fellow Ayten Amin’s Souad (official selection at Cannes 2020, Berlin and Tribeca 2021), Lebanese Fellow Myriam Sassine’s Costa Brava (Orizzonte Venice and TIFF 2021), Jordanian Fellow Darin Salam’s Farha (TIFF 2021) and Syrian Fellow Soudade Kaadan’s Nezouh (Orizzonte Venice 2022).

More than 450 U.S. Mentors have supported the program, including Mollye Asher (Producer, Nomadland), Peggy Rajski (Director, Trevor), Justin Simien (Director, Dear White People) Ron Yerxa (Producer, Little Miss Sunshine), and this year’s Creative Advisors Amman Abbasi (Director, Dayveon), Ruth Atkinson (Script Editor), Shari Page (Program Director, Half Initiative at Ryan Murphy TV), Patrick Shen (Director, In Pursuit of Silence) and Kelly Thomas (Producer, Spa Night).


For over 40 years, Film Independent has helped filmmakers get their projects made and seen. The nonprofit organization’s core mission is to champion creative independence in visual storytelling and support a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision.

In addition to producing the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the organization supports creative professionals with Artist Development programs, grants and labs. Signature mentorship program Project Involve fosters the careers of talented filmmakers from underrepresented communities. Weekly Education events and workshops equip filmmakers of all ages and experience levels with tools and resources. Global Media Makers, a cultural exchange program produced in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, provides career-building opportunities for international film professionals. And year-round screening series Film Independent Presents delivers monthly, unique cinematic experiences to Members in Los Angeles and beyond.

For more information or to become a Member, visit


The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) builds relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, professional and private exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen the national security of the United States, support U.S. international leadership, and provide a broad range of domestic benefits by helping break down barriers that often divide us. Visit