The Horizon Award, an annual competitive accolade and cash prize established to create new opportunities for young female directors, has launched its second
annual Indiegogo campaign. Founded by acclaimed independent film producers Cassian Elwes (“Dallas Buyers Club”), Lynette Howell (“Mississippi Grind”), and Christine Vachon (“Carol”), the campaign will make it possible for
two young women to experience an all-expense paid mentorship at Sundance 2016, in addition to a cash prize.
Contribute to the Indiegogo campaign HERE
“Our hope is that this initiative will help us identify talent early so that we can support these young female filmmakers as they navigate the hurdles that
exist in our business,“ said Cassian Elwes.
“Women in Film believe that real life experiences and hands-on mentorship are foundational requirements to help women in media be active in overcoming
gender disparity. We’re thrilled to be a partner in this worthwhile project that Cassian, Christine, and Lynette have established,” said Women in Film
President Cathy Schulman.
The Horizon Award’s mission is to confront the disparity in female to male directors by rewarding female student talent with mentorship, access, and an
opportunity to showcase their work to influential producers, agents, and festival and industry executives at Sundance, the home of American independent
film. Additionally, the Horizon Award seeks to engage, encourage, and heighten the profile of young female filmmakers. Elwes, Howell and Vachon are
partnering with The Black List, Indiegogo, Sundance Institute, Twitter, Vimeo and Women in Film in this effort.
The disparity between the numbers of female to male directors is well established and has been making headlines in entertainment news. Recently, the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) triggered a government investigation into the “systematic failure to hire women directors at all levels of the film
and TV industry in violation of state and federal civil rights laws.” The ACLU’s statistical evidence, including anecdotal accounts of 50 women directors,
shines a glaring light on the disparities endemic to the hiring practices of women directors.
The Horizon Award was launched in 2014 in response to two Women in Film studies: The first showed that only 9% of the 250 top grossing films in 2012 were
directed by women. Earlier this year, Women in Film published a follow up study that revealed that of the top 100 domestic grossing movies in 2014, only
1.9% had a female director.
Last year’s Horizon Award Indiegogo campaign was a tremendous success with the $15,000 goal being surpassed by nearly $4,000 dollars. This year, the goal
has been raised to $20,000, the last $5,000 of which will be donated by Elwes. The money raised by the campaign will help cover travel, lodging, and living
expenses in Park City, as well as the further development and management of the award in years to come.
The inaugural Horizon Award was presented to Syracuse University student Verónica Ortiz-Calderón for her film “Y Ya No Te Gustas” (And You Don’t
Like Yourself Anymore) at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Ortiz-Calderón’s winning short was selected from more than 400 submissions and premiered at the
Since winning the Horizon Award, Ortiz-Calderón has produced her second short film, attended the Cannes Film Festival, won the Louise Schiavoni Award for
Outstanding Junior Woman in Communications at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and has several projects in development. “For me, winning
the Horizon Award was not only an unforgettable experience, it was a life-changing one that gives voice and meaning to stories and people that might
otherwise be silent and forgotten,” said Ortiz-Calderón.
The application process for the award calls for candidates to submit a self-directed film that is two minutes or less to the Horizon Award’s website ( www.horizonaward.org). A blue ribbon panel of notable female directors, producers, and industry leaders (to be
announced) will review the films, with the two winners to be selected by Elwes, Howell, and Vachon. Submissions begin immediately and will close December