New York-based film production company Durga Entertainment and IFP have announced that writer-director Olivia Newman is the recipient of the second annual Durga Entertainment Filmmaker Grant at IFP. The $20,000 grant was created to acknowledge the distinctive challenge of balancing parenthood with independent filmmaking and to recognize the importance of career and creative sustainability.
Newman, a mother of two, was selected from a diverse pool of applicants. She intends to use the grant to produce her first narrative feature, “First Match,” which tells the story of a teenage girl from Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood who decides that joining the all-boys high school wrestling team is the only way to win the affection of her estranged father. “First Match” has also been selected for the No Borders International Co-Production Market during IFP Independent Film Week.
“We’re very excited to support Olivia and her debut feature with this grant,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director of IFP and the Made in NY Media Center. “It’s an honor to work with passionate people, like Ritu Singh Pande and Kishori Rajan from Durga Entertainment, to provide this type of funding to emerging artists, helping them take the next step in their careers.”
Newman graduated from Columbia University’s MFA program in 2012, where she received faculty honors for her feature-length script, “216 Garden Street.” Her thesis film, a short drama titled “First Match,” premiered at the 2011 New York Film Festival, won Best Student Short at the Aspen Shortfest, Best Short Film at the NJ International Film Festival and Best Performance by a Female Lead at the Philadelphia FirstGlance Film Festival.