Film Independent Welcomes 20 International Participants for the 2024 Global Media Makers LA Residency

Press Contact: Seanna Hore, Ginsberg/Libby

Gladys Santos, Ginsberg/Libby


Filmmakers from 12 countries – Bangladesh, India, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine and Zimbabwe – take part in a
six-week residency in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (June 4, 2024) — Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, announced today, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, the names of the 20 filmmakers, selected from 12 different nations, to participate in the 2024 Global Media Makers (GMM) LA Residency.

This unique convening connects international filmmakers with each other and the U.S. entertainment industry for five weeks, ending on June 30th, building a multi-regional network that supports creative economic development and freedom of expression through global storytelling.

This marks the tenth successful GMM residency organized by Film Independent since 2016, coming off its first overseas residency in Colombia in April. With a record number of over 650 filmmakers nominated to apply, the selection process was highly competitive, attracting a diverse pool of creatives, including filmmakers from Mexico, Nigeria, Uganda, Ukraine and Zimbabwe for the first time.

“With this new cohort hailing from South Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Arab World and Ukraine, we have now built a global community that is over 180 filmmakers strong, while forging alliances with a multitude of regional festivals and media arts organizations who are engaged in building sustainable ecosystems for these filmmakers to continue creating their important and urgent films,” said María Raquel Bozzi, Senior Director of Education and International Programs at Film Independent. “In LA our Fellows not only make long-lasting relationships with American Mentors but form strong bonds of collaboration with their peers across borders.”

Fellows participate in filmmaking tracks focused on screenwriting, directing, creative development, and documentary filmmaking, where they develop their current projects. The program also provides master classes, industry sessions, field trips, cultural engagement, and networking opportunities. More than 450 U.S. Mentors from the entertainment industry have supported the program, including acclaimed filmmakers and key industry executives such as Mollye Asher (Nomadland); Effie Brown (CEO, Gamechanger); Shane Boris (Navalny); S. Leo Chiang (Island in Between); Eric d’Arbeloff (Co-President and Co-Founder of Roadside Attractions); Elissa Federoff (President of Distribution, NEON); Rodrigo Garcia (Nine Lives, Albert Nobbs); Diana Ossana (Brokeback Mountain); Alan Poul (Tokyo Vice, The Eddy); Peggy Rajski (Trevor); Datari Turner (They Cloned Tyrone); Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Ron Yerxa (Little Miss Sunshine) and more.

Other filmmakers working with the program this year include Amman Abbasi (Yasmeen’s Element); Ruth Atkinson (Script Consultant); Iram Parveen Bilal (Wakhri); Wendy Calhoun (Justified); Javier Fuentes-León (The Best Families); Ted Hope (The Savages); Lisa Leeman (One Lucky Elephant); Alix Madigan (Winter’s Bone); Avril Speaks (Jinn); Angel Kristi Williams (Really Love) and more.
The Fellows selected to the 2024 GMM LA Residency and their films are:


Director/Producer: ABM Nazmul Huda
Project: First Fairytale Book
Type: Documentary Feature
Logline: Younguang Mro must climb both literal and metaphorical mountains in order to save his tribe’s most precious fairy tales that are in danger of disappearing.


Director: Debalina Majumder
Project: Citizen Nagar
Type: Documentary Feature
Logline: The survivors of the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre die slowly at the edges of a garbage dump, in the outskirts of a shining metropolis, Ahmedabad.

Writer/Producer: Saagar Gupta
Writer/Director/Producer: Sridhar Rangayan
Project: Songs of Eternal Love
Type: Narrative Feature
Logline: After the death of his lover, a grieving Jewish American professor must travel to India to face his partner’s Muslim family, who were unaware of their late son’s sexuality.


Writer/Director/Producer: Iván Löwenberg
Project: Enemy Alien
Type: Narrative Feature
Logline: Filemón, a man trapped by his mundane existence, goes from ironing shirts at his family business to becoming an unexpected hero during World War II in Mexico.


Director: Shanta Nepali Sharki
Project: The Last Survivors of Dhye
Type: Documentary Feature
Logline: Three women on the High Himalayan plateau must navigate the growing challenges of shifting climates, forcing them to relocate and leave behind culture and identity.


Writer/Director: Diepriye Diri
Project: Baby Girl
Type: Narrative Feature
Logline: Baby Girl struggles to understand why her mother hates her. As she goes on a journey of self-discovery, she uncovers the situation surrounding her birth.


Producer: Haris Khan
Writer/Director: Eshah Shakeel
Project: Dancers
Type: Narrative Feature
Logline: Paras and Ramza’s secret passion for dance blooms in a small, conventional town in Punjab, which is grappling with corruption under the garb of modernity.

South Africa

Producer: Babalwa Baartman
Writer: Neo Sibiya
Project: Ukushona Kwelanga
Type: Episodic Series
Logline: When Anathi kills her rapist, a close friend, she must find a way to heal or risk losing herself.

Sri Lanka

Writer/Director/Producer: Bavaneedha Loganathan
Project: 46 Mondays
Type: Narrative Feature
Logline: During the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009, a widow and her autistic daughter travel to a military prison for 46 consecutive Mondays to ensure that her brother remains alive.


Writer/Director: Wajdi Jhimi
Project: Oleander
Type: Narrative Feature
Logline: Driven by greed, a brother plots to seize the farm that his sister inherited. War is inevitable.


Producer: Heddwyn Kyambadde
Writer/Director: Isaac Oboth
Project: Mr. Otim
Type: Narrative Feature
Logline: After finding out his son needs a life-saving surgery, a 36-year-old math teacher takes on a second job as a kickboxer to pay for the surgery.


Writer/Director: Zoya Laktionova
Producer: Nataliya Libet
Project: Ashes Settling in Layers on the Surface
Type: Documentary Feature
Logline: Extracted from under the rubble of war, diaries tell the tragic stories of three generations of Ukrainian families in Mariupol, including the director’s.

Writer/Director: Anastasiya Gruba
Producer: Oleksandra Kostina
Project: Women Suicide Season
Type: Narrative Feature
Logline: Simon escapes from his mother to a hermit’s life in a trailer, but his loneliness is interrupted by suicidal women who are drowning nearby.


Writer/Director: Naishe Nyamubaya
Project: Black Snake
Type: Narrative Feature
Logline: A family is forced to face their true cultural heritage when the appearance of a mysterious tree coincides with their move to a remote village.


Global Media Makers (GMM) is an in-depth, intensive artist development exchange program that produces residencies for international mid-career writers, directors, and producers in film and television. GMM fosters networks between U.S. industry leaders and mid-career film and TV professionals around the world. GMM is a cultural diplomacy initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and implemented by Film Independent.

Since 2016, the program has nurtured the careers of 188 filmmakers from the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Over the last nine years, 27 films supported by GMM have premiered in prestigious film festivals worldwide. Recent films that have been developed through GMM’s Flagship LA Residency include Mira Shaib and Zeina Badran’s Arzé (Beijing and Tribeca 2024), Min Bahadur Bham’s Shambhala (Berlinale 2024), Anirban Dutta and Anupama Srinivasan’s Nocturnes (Sundance 2024), Mohamed Kordofani and Amjad Abu Alala’s Goodbye Julia (Cannes 2023), Ayten Amin’s Souad (Cannes 2020, Berlinale and Tribeca 2021) and Myriam Sassine’s Costa Brava (Venice and TIFF 2021).


The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) leads the United States’ global efforts to engage individuals through academic, cultural, professional, sports, film, music, and youth exchanges, thereby promoting peace and increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other nations. Through these people-to-people exchanges and programs, the Bureau supports broader U.S. foreign policy goals, including access to education, economic opportunity and equity, and societal inclusion.


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 in all its forms, and to foster a culture of inclusion. We support a global community of artists and audiences who embody diversity, innovation, curiosity 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. 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 offers a robust program of unique cinematic experiences, including screenings, conversations, Live Reads and Bring the Noise musical events.

For more information or to become a Member, visit