Sundance Institute Announces Fellows for Trans Possibilities Intensive - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Monday, March 27, 2023

Sundance Institute Announces Fellows for Trans Possibilities Intensive


Six Storytellers Selected For Second Edition of Project and Professional Development Program Designed for Trans Storytellers of Color

The Sundance Institute shared the names of the six transgender storytellers of color selected for the second edition of the Trans Possibilities Intensive, a three-part event taking place from March 27-29 under the leadership of Moi Santos, Founder of the Trans Possibilities Intensive, guidance from experienced creative advisors and Sundance Institute's Equity, Impact, and Belonging Program. The Fellows selected for 2023 are Seyi Adebanjo, Rajvi Desai, Malik Ever, Nick Janaye, Jamie John, and Tee Park Jaehyung. This year's Creative Advisors include Sydney Freeland (Drunktown's Finest), Aitch Alberto (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe), Félix Endara (UNSEEN), and Chase Joynt (Framing Agnes). 

While Sundance has a proud history of supporting trans artists across artist programs and Festival programming, the Intensive is an ancillary environment for participating artists to enhance their voice and craft, foster relationships with each other, and challenge the obstacles that continue to exclude transgender artists. Founded in 2021, the one-of-a-kind program directly supports transgender artists of color through project-based granting, supporting the advancement of trans-led projects at all stages of their life cycles, nurturing and identifying emerging trans talent, and year-round custom creative and professional development opportunities. The 2023 Intensive Fellows were selected through a nominations-based application– this year's Intensive received more than double the nominations than the inaugural cycle of the program.

"Meaningfully supporting and advancing trans people, voices, and stories remains a priority for Sundance. The recent incessant and baseless scrutiny is nothing new to trans people. It further reflects the need for opportunities for trans people to have the autonomy to explore their transness on their own terms," said Moi Santos, Manager of Equity, Impact, and Belonging at Sundance Institute. "This year's cohort uplifts an extensive and essential range of artistic approaches, stories, and experiences. We look forward to developing a relationship that will birth creative possibilities, risk-taking, and necessary change in this industry."

As part of the Intensive, Santos will moderate a live conversation on Sundance Collab, Sundance Institute's digital learning space for artists worldwide. This conversation, taking place on March 29, called "Trapped In Transit: Transgender Storytelling with Visionary Filmmakers Aitch Alberto and Sydney Freeland," interrogates the limits, liberties, comforts, and confines of transcultural representation and is open to the general public. More information on how to attend is available here.

Previous Fellows of the Intensive include River Gallo (who has since completed the feature Ponyboi with Intensive support in addition to starring in a short that'll premiere at the BFI Flare London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival and performing in King Lear at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts), Savannah Ward (now repped by W.M.E.), StormMiguel Florez (2022 SFFILM Rainin Grant Winner who recently made proof of concept short for Welcome to Roswell), MiSha Owens (selected as 2022 Sundance Institute Native Lab Artist in Residence) and Ava Davis (now a member of Film Independent, Women in Film, and Film Fatales). Former advisors of the Intensive include Sam Feder, Yance Ford, Tourmaline, and Ro Haber.

The 2023 Sundance Film Festival was a landmark year for trans-led projects, with several films winning awards: Kokomo City (Directed by D. Smith, winner of the NEXT Innovator Award and NEXT Audience Award), The Stroll (Directed by Kristen Lovell and Zackary Drucker, winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Clarity of Vision), Mutt (Directed by Vuk Lungulov-Klotz, winner of the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award: Acting, presented to lead performer Lio Mehiel), and Rest Stop (Produced by Brit Fryer, winner of the U.S. Fiction Short Film Jury Award).

Seyi Adebanjo (director) with Afromystic (U.S.A.): Afromystic is a lyrical documentary guided by four LGBTQ Yorùbá practitioners across the waters of Nigeria, the U.S., and Brazil reclaiming lost mythologies such as deities who change gender and are born from the love of two womxn. Afromystic weaves animated Queer & Trans Òrìṣà mythology, poetry, theater, and ritual.

Rajvi Desai (director, co-producer, co-cinematographer, editor) with Mother Wit (U.S.A.): An ailing Black trans matriarch struggles to inculcate the values of education and survival in her community before she runs out of time.

Malik Ever (director/writer) with GutBucket (U.S.A.): After his estranged mother's sudden death, West, a 54-year-old trans man, returns home for the first time in twenty years to clean out his childhood home, where he starts to uncover his mother's secrets.

Nick Janaye (writer) with Dead Ringer (U.S.A.): After volunteering to prepare his father's destination wedding, a trans man desperate for approval is tasked with killing a shapeshifting entity that ultimately threatens the lives of attendees.

Jamie John (director/writer) with 2Spirit Water Carrier (U.S.A.): 2Spirit Water Carrier is an experimental work reflecting the Anishinaabe responsibility of carrying water and queer and trans-Indigenous bodies. Ideas of gender sovereignty, land, queer body autonomy, and gender variance found throughout nature and history will be communicated through moving images of bodies, gender presentation, landscapes, and text.

Tee Park Jaehyung (writer) with Destiny in Sedona (U.S.A.): The lives of various lovelorn transgenders intertwine as they travel through the Arizona desert.

No comments:

Post a Comment