Project Involve

About Project Involve

"Now, more than ever, it’s so important that we support stories told by and about communities that are marginalized."

– Andrew Ahn, Project Involve Fellow

For 30 years and counting, Project Involve has been Film Independent's most vital and impactful program. We're proud to be a leader in the ongoing mission to build a more inclusive and equitable industry by supporting emerging filmmakers from communities underrepresented in film and entertainment.

This robust program provides invaluable hands-on filmmaking experience from project inception to completion.

Participants are paired with mentors at the top of their respective fields, and receive personalized guidance to help move their projects and careers forward.

Each year, 30 filmmakers from diverse backgrounds are given the opportunity to hone skills, form creative partnerships, create short films and gain industry access needed to succeed as working artists.

Scroll down to learn more about Project Involve and join the cause by clicking the button below to make a donation.

The Program

Running February through October, Project Involve offers career-changing opportunities and experiences.

Mentorship — Working industry professionals share knowledge and give guidance on craft and career.
Conversations — 10+ master workshops offer insight on the art and business of filmmaking.
Short Films — Fellows are given resources to produce short films that debut at a special First Look Screening event.
Events — Fellows attend Film Independent's signature education programs, screenings, networking events and more.
Fellowships — Fellows may be selected to receive cash grants from industry sponsors.

Learn more about Project Involve Fellowships.

Short Film Production

Project Involve Fellows develop and produce six original short films, from pitch through First Look Screening.

February–March: Treatment selections, story development
April: Filmmaker teams formed, projects pitched
May: Pre-production
June–July: Principal photography
August–October: Post-production

Real, valuable filmmaking experience is at the heart of our program. Film Independent provides script consultation, individualized mentorship, equipment, casting and post-production services to facilitate the development of Fellows' shorts.

In addition to a cash production grant, filmmakers are provided with resources for raising additional funds that will help bring their projects to fruition.

Past shorts produced in the program include Dear Mama... (2023 NAACP Image Award Winner); Blackout (2022 NAACCP Image Award Nominee); Black Boy Joy (2020 NAACP Image Award Winner, currently airing on HBO); Lonely Blue Night (2020 AFI Fest Short Film Audience Award, currently airing on HBO); Liberty (2019 SXSW Narrative Short Film Jury Award, 2019 Special Prize of the Generation 14plus International Jury for the Best Short Film at the Berlin International Film Festival, 2019 AFI Special Jury Prize – Live Action) and Emergency (2018 Sundance Special Jury Award, 2018 SXSW Narrative Short Film Jury Award).

Watch previously produced Project Involve Shorts.

LAIKA Animation Track

Five Fellows. Two years. One incredible animated short film.

We're excited to announce that the Project Involve + LAIKA partnership has expanded...

We now offer a new, two-year Project Involve LAIKA Animation Track, which supports five Fellows, including a writer/director/animator, creative executive, producer, supporting animator, and an editor.

Ideal candidates are emerging filmmakers who come from diverse backgrounds and/or communities traditionally underrepresented in film and television. Strong consideration will be given to those who have demonstrated talent in animation and collaborative effort.

In year one, Fellows build relationships with their cohort and mentors, develop their short film project together and participate in program activities, while year two of the program will focus on the production, shooting and editing of the filmmakers' short.

LAIKA Animation Fellows participate in Project Involve and are provided with a production grant to create a 3-minute, stop-motion animated film during the two-year program. In addition, each of the five Fellows will receive a cash stipend in recognition of their two year commitment to the program.

Film Independent Membership is required to participate, and Fellows must reside in the Los Angeles area for the duration of the program. If you're a filmmaker who is passionate about animation, this program is for you. Keep an eye out for future opportunities to apply!

Eligibility and Applications

Each year we support a new, inclusive group of filmmakers with unique visions and diverse perspectives.

Project Involve accepts filmmakers into specific tracks that, together, form short film production teams. When applying to Project Involve, you apply to one specific track: writing, directing, writing/directing, producing, cinematography, editing, programming, animation or an executive track.

Strong consideration is given to those whose work samples and statements of interest demonstrate talent, responsibility and collaborative effort. Film Independent Membership is required to participate, and Fellows must reside in Los Angeles for the duration of the program.

To view deadlines and apply, visit our applications page, or check out our FAQ page to learn more. To view sample application material and/or essay criteria for the various Project Involve tracks, click here.

Our Fellows

Project Involve has proudly fostered the careers of more than 800 filmmakers.

Meet the 2024 class of Project Involve Fellows right here.

Fellows include Andrew Ahn (Bridgerton); Linda Yvette Chavez (Flamin' Hot); Jon M. Chu (Wicked); Jomo Fray (All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt); LaToya Morgan (Splinter); Justin Simien (Haunted Mansion); Lulu Wang (Expats) and Kim Yutani (Director of Programming, Sundance).

To see more Fellows from prior years, visit our Talent Guide.

Our extensive list of past industry mentors and guest speakers includes Destin Daniel Cretton (Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings); Ava DuVernay (Origin); Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk, Moonlight); Charles D. King (They Cloned Tyrone, Fences); Reed Morano (The Handmaid's Tale); Christine Vachon (Past Lives, Carol) and Bradford Young, ASC (When They See Us, Arrival).

We're glad you're interested in Project Involve and invite you to apply today or make a donation to support inclusion in film.

”When you see a person accurately and fully realized, it humanizes them and makes it harder for people to treat them inhumanely.”
Effie T. Brown, Project Involve Fellow

Project Involve Sponsors