Lena Waithe’s Rising Voices initiative for BIPOC filmmakers extended for 2022

Indeed will invest $3 million in the production of 10 short films from 10 BIPOC filmmakers

Earlier this year, Lena Waithe and her Hillman Grad Productions partnered with jobs site Indeed for Rising Voices, an initiative that shared and invested in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) filmmakers and their stories. Today, Indeed announced that Rising Voices is being extended, according to a press release.

Indeed aligned with the Emmy-winning producer, writer, and actress to give filmmakers of color more opportunities to showcase their projects in 2021, debuting the work of 10 shorts from 10 BIPOC filmmaker teams at New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival.

For its second season, Indeed will invest $3 million dollars to the Rising Voices initiative, three times more than its first season. Like last year, Rising Voices will offer a creative call to filmmakers, centering their work around how all people can connect with one another to make life better.

Ultimately, 10 applicants will be selected to create a 15-minute short film, each with a budget of $100,000, for their respective productions, which will,debut once again at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2022.

Lena Waithe attends the 27th Annual ELLE Women in Hollywood Celebration on Oct. 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Application for the creative call started Tuesday and the 10 winners will be selected by February 2022. In season one, over 800 filmmakers applied, while over 650 jobs were created in the process.

“We are thrilled to be bringing back the Rising Voices program with our partners at Indeed,” Waithe and Hillman Grad President, Rishi Rajani, said in a statement.

“This year’s brilliant films and filmmakers proved that there are so many stories out there to tell and so many artists ready to tell them. Creating these opportunities for underrepresented voices and kickstarting their careers is fundamental to our mission here at Hillman Grad. We are grateful to Indeed for their trust in us as we continue to grow this initiative. 100k per film. 10 films. Year 2 applications are open now!” 

In addition, Indeed and Hillman Grad Productions will also feature a residency component for Rising Voices season two. Named the Production and Development Lab, or simply The Lab, three of the winners from season one will take part in a 12-month non-exclusive residency program.

The three filmmakers, Chinese-American filmmaker Johnson Cheng, Haitian filmmaker Stacy Pascal Gaspard and Dominican-born filmmaker Gabriela Ortega, will take part in this residency, designed after Indeed’s incubator program, developing new ideas and creating new content.

Cheng, Pascal Gaspard, and Ortega will each receive $100,000 as artists in residency. Indeed will invest a total of $2 million into The Lab, with Hillman Grad Production aiding them with developing ideas during the process.

“Continuing this partnership with Lena Waithe and Hillman Grad will expand the creation of sustainable job opportunities for talented underrepresented creatives,” LaFawn Davis, senior vice president at Indeed, said in a statement. “We are excited to also provide mentorship throughout this process to further enhance the experience for the filmmakers and help prepare them for a career in the film industry.”

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