Following the success of the first season, Hillman Grad Productions and Indeed partnered up again to launch Season Two of their Rising Voices filmmaker initiative at Tribeca Film Festival. This past week, Emmy winner Lena Waithe (“The Chi”, “Master of None”, BEAUTY, Founder of Hillman Grad) and partner Rishi Rajani (CEO of Hillman Grad), as well as Chris Hyams (CEO of Indeed) and LaFawn Davis (SVP of ESG at Indeed) were joined by the ten BIPOC filmmakers who were chosen as this season’s cohort. This season’s ten cohorts were: Cara Lawson, Gbenga Komolafe, Georgia Fu, Jalmer Caceres, Justin Floyd, Leon Cheo, Tara Motamedi, Travis Wood, Shanrica Evans, and Urvashi Pathania. At the Tribeca event, each filmmaker’s finished short film about “the power and impact a job can have on someone’s life” was premiered to a full audience.
The Rising Voices initiative was created “to uncover, invest in and share stories created by BIPOC filmmakers. Indeed’s goal with the Rising Voices initiative, is to expand the creation of sustainable job opportunities for talented underrepresented creatives and through their partnership with Lena Waithe and Hillman Grad Productions, they have been able to accomplish that with over 1,000 jobs created through the program since its inception.” Each filmmaker was awarded a $10,000 writing fee, $100,000 production budget, a line crew provided by Hillman Grad and 271 Films, an additional $25,000 COVID safety budget, and mentorship from this season’s mentors Calmatic, Destin Daniel Cretton, Justin Chon, Rayka Zehtabchi, and Melina Matsoukas. Eventually, one filmmaker will be selected by Indeed for showcasing the power and meaning of work in their film, and this filmmaker will receive an additional $100,000 as a non-exclusive filmmaker-in-residence, creating work for Indeed.
On the carpet ahead of the screening, I was able to speak to Lafawn as well as a few of the filmmakers about their journey. You can see clips of what they had to say below.
All ten short films from Rising Voices are available to watch here.