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Where’s the Next ‘Dear White People’? Vote For IndieWire’s Project of the Year!

There are 12 Project of the Month winners from last year, but only one can take home the top prize.

It’s that time again: We need your vote for Project of the Year.

Our Project of the Year alumni include Justin Simien’s “Dear White People,” which won our inaugural contest in 2012 (and went on to become a hit movie and soon, a Netflix series). The 2014 contest winer, Amy Jo Johnson’s “The Space Between,” is set for a theatrical release later this year. “Almost Adults,” our 2015 winner, played at various festivals including Outfest, and is now available on demand. On many of those platforms, you can also watch 2013 winner, “Know How.”

Now we need to select another winner to join that group, and that’s where you come in.

Below, we’ve gathered information on all 12 Project of the Month winners in 2016. At the bottom of the page, there’s a poll where you can select your favorite.

The 2017 Project of the Year winner will earn a spot at the Tribeca Film Festival’s April filmmakers’ market, the TFI Network.

You can vote once, between now and next Thursday, February 23rd, at 2PM EST.

(The official Project of the Year rules can be found here.)

“Love’s Labour’s Lost”

Love’s Labour’s Lost, directed by Jennifer Sturley and Jake O’Hare

Four boarding school boys, distracted by four enchanting exchange students, struggle to keep a vow of chastity in this new adaptation of Shakespeare’s bawdy comedy.

“The Planters”

The Planters, directed by Alexandra Kotcheff and Hannah Leder

A dark comedy about a reclusive telemarketer who befriends a homeless woman with multiple personalities. Two women, starring in, and making, a film with no crew.

“The New 30”

The New 30, created by Walt Bost and John Sobrack

A web series dramedy about a diverse group of gay friends discovering life in their 40s isn’t quite what they imagined.

“The Reign”

The Reign, directed by Will Goldstein and Al Marenco

A feature-length thriller about a sharp-witted orphan who blackmails his way into a private prep school in a desperate attempt for a better future.


Labeled, created by Jessie Katz and Lindsey Goodman

An online comedy series following the ragtag employees working one of the most “glamorous” jobs in the world for a famous Italian fashion company.


Homebody, directed by Jake Fallon

After losing her job, friends, and apartment, Jessie moves home with her mom, Lisa — the only thing is, Lisa doesn’t know she’s there.

Crystal Swann and Erica Johnson in “Riverment.”

Riverment, directed by Shayla Racquel

A former civil rights activist copes with her traumatic experiences by sharing her stories with her granddaughter by the river. With her granddaughter wanting to continue the fight, will generational differences push them apart?

“Rachel Unraveled”

Avery Bart

Rachel Unraveled, created by Rachel Ravel, Austin Spero, and Garrett David Kim

A self-proclaimed star with a lot of heart and no talent strives to make it big in the Big Apple.


Twentyfiveish, directed by Katie Micay

Rosie travels with her best friend, Tucker, for a weekend getaway, reuniting with former high school friends who face equally uncertain futures.

“What Metal Girls are Into”

What Metal Girls are Into, directed by Laurel Vail

A feminist thriller about three women going to a three-day metal festival in the desert, and who find something disturbing in the freezer of their isolated vacation rental.

“Tightly Wound”

Tightly Wound, directed by Shelby Hadden

A woman recounts her experience living with chronic pelvic pain – how health professionals have failed her, men have rejected her, and shame, anger, and hatred have plagued her body.

Brooklyn/Alaska, directed by Erica Sterne

In this coming-of-age documentary, teenage boys leave behind complicated home lives in Brooklyn, NY for a life changing adventure through the Alaskan wilderness.

Pick your favorite of the 12 projects in the poll below. As a reminder, you can vote once between now and next Thursday, February 23rd, at 2 PM EST.

(The official Project of the Year rules can be found here.)

This Article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit and tagged ,



I can’t wait to see Love’s Labour’s Lost in the theaters!!


    Wow. It just day one of voting and there is already very obvious cheating going on…


      Reign is cheating


        Everyone is cheating. Homebody was cheating on day one. That’s the flaw with this type of voting system.


          Yeah, Homebody is totally cheating. They went from 4th to 1st in an hour.


Love’s Labour’s Lost is the clear winner!! Can’t wait to see the film!

Gayle Hamilton

So excited to see “Love’s Labour’s Lost “

Maria D

The Reign is really something in both, form and content. Can’t wait to see the outcome.

Eric Sanchez

Can’t wait to see it!!! 👍🏽

Arvind Saxena

May the best project win!

Arvind Saxena

May the best project win.


All about Rachel Unraveled! It’s got it all!

Kathy A

The Rein


Brooklyn/Alaska is going to win!

David Zoeller



Can’t wait to see reign!!!


The Reign


Is homebody cheating? Lots of votes, very short time. Seems suspicious. Dishonestly is intolerable, especially in THIS day and age


This seems like cheating






is ne one gonna report this? projects that cheat get disqualified don’t they


    Is there a way to report? Homebody totally has a clickbot.


Homebody is literally cheating!


All I can say is if homebody wins this contests will probably not be seen as such a great opportunity for filmmakers. Instead it will be just like a contest of who can spend the most money for votes.


Or maybe no cheating is going on and this is just an example of the reaches and influence of a strong social media following. Or simply being well and widely connected in other ways. Who knows? To assume that one is cheating because they have a substantial amount of votes(even in a small period of time), is just that, an assumption. They may not be the person that you would like to see win; this does not necessarily illustrate dishonesty.

-Devil’s Advocate


    the homebody guys tallied under 200 votes in the first three days and then raked in 8k in one day, and then 0 votes the next day…. and that is just beyond fishy.


While I can completely understand the argument of Krys, the social media presence of Homebody doesn’t seem to make sense. While the other few projects currently behind it have a larger presence on Facebook and beyond, Homebody, on first glance isn’t even breaking 60 likes on Facebook. This has nothing to do with the artistic integrity of the piece–I’m sure it’s fantastic and deserves to be recognized, but other projects here are actually working their rear ends off to get exposure by coming up with creative campaign ideas and more. The fact that this hard work by more deserving opponents will all be ignored due to the influence of a paid service is despicable–and will not bode well for the future of this extremely valid opportunity for filmmakers. But hey–didn’t this all happen on November 8th? ;)


    I was just adding another view. Not necessarily my own. Prior to my comment I had done no research on anything I had said. After reading your comment, I did a bit of searching. It appears that you are correct, the two closest projects below Homebody(The Reign, Rachel Unraveled) do have some sort of a social media campaign and appear to be pushing their projects. However, I’m struggling to find any sort of evidence that Homebody is pushing their product in the social media atmosphere. Sooooo…. Who knows?…

Ron Swanson

“I’m won’t say that Homebody is cheating… but I will type it.” – Ron Swanson

    Ron Swanson

    “Dear Ron, stop getting so upset about the obvious cheating that you post ‘I’m’ instead of ‘I.’ It muddles your point.” – Ron Swanson




Not cool, Homebody. Take note, Indiewire–for the independent artists who are playing fairly!


Homebody is deserving of its votes


    Homebody is not cheating is an alternative fact.

Sanjib Chowdhury

Love’s Labour’s Lost has a good chance of winning.


What type of bot is homeboy using? 4K votes in 1 hour is suspicious to say the least


Take notes, Homebody……. now this is how you campaign!! Kudos to RachelUnraveled


BTS: “The Reign” – A little more background on “The Reign”


Spencer Hastings

Twentyfiveish has the best cast! Brendan Robinson <3 <3 <3

Margaret Johnson

None of these projects have any social media following except 25ish. What is going on with this contest!


    Rachel Unraveled has a pretty impressive cast with a large and committed following (along with a rigorous social media campaign.)

      Margaret Johnson

      <100 followers on Twitter, <600 FB followers and no Insta for the series. The math just doesn't add up.


        Hi, Margaret! Feel free to follow us on Instagram @rachelunraveledtheseries. Also, be sure to check us out on BroadwayWorld and to read more about our awesome cast and team!


    Love’s Labour’s Lost has nearly 2k Facebook fans


Are you kidding Deb? Have you looked at 25ish’s page? The actors in their project have all been on HUGE tv shows and collectively have nearly 1,000,000 social media followers. The numbers just don’t make sense! All the other projects are full of unknowns both in front and behind the camera.


    ummm, ever heard of a little show called HAMILTON? Jon Rua is in RUnraveled, as is Olivia Caridi from The Bachelor. Hardly unknowns in my book


      ummm, ever heard of a little show called PRETTY LITTLE LIARS?


    amazing that they have 1,000,000 followers but then where are their votes? Perhaps the “smaller” more “unknown” projects have a more dedicated fan base.


    I’m just trying to shed some light on the project that I chose to cast my vote for. These comments have been getting ridiculously ugly and quite frankly, I blame Indiewire for pitting twelve artistically valid independent projects against each other instead of coming up with a better way to support them. Of course, it doesn’t help when commenters get nasty to each other either.


      I feel you, Deb. However it’s the art of competition, trash talk. People get sour and they think they know or have all the answers, why something is or is not winning. There may be dishonest methods being implemented, there may not be. It’s hard for a person who doesn’t really know, to know, ya know? We can just play the game and let the results unfold. Hopefully the people that put the competition together, and moderate everything know what they’re doing. In the end it is in their hands….. Not ultimately in the end, just as this competition is concerned.

      And like you said, all artistically valid projects, so even those who don’t win, hopefully feel passionate enough about their projects to not let that be the end. This is simply another possibility.


Twenty fiveish


Rachel unraveled and the reign have some seriously suspicious numbers going on right now.


    You are all wankers… RACHEL UNRAVELED IS DA BEST!!!!!


      Rachel Get’s caught cheating… calls people names…. Mr. Trump, is that you?


Yeah I noticed Rachel got 500 votes in two minutes.

    Devon C.

    RU posted a promotional video that got a bunch of views and shares on FB so it makes sense that they would have an increase in votes… also I don’t think everyone is cheating lol


      Alternative Fact: Rachel Unravled & The Reign AREN’T cheating…
      Oh, Kellyanne, you slay me!!!


        are we just going to accuse whoever wins of cheating if its not the person we want


    Yeah a couple hundred votes is no where as bad as the 4K votes in an hour that homebody always seems to magical get after a few days of other projects collecting votes to pass them.


Twentyfive ish


PLL fans let’s rally for 25ish!!




    :P I kid I kid


Vote Rachel Unraveled! Just watched and the script is so tight and witty and the cast is beyond hilarious

Spencer W.

Lookin’ good RU. Keep up the good work, good memories.


Looks like Indiewire noticed the cheating homebody dropped down like 4K worth of votes as well as Rachel unraveled.


yes they did. and they are going to continue to vet every project for cheating.

Gary Scheck

twentyfiveish deserves project of the year!! what an amazing web series with such a wonderful hard working crew

Katie Keener

Go Twentyfiveish, GO!!!! ❤️ you Brendan!’


Twentyfiveish had 9k votes last night. Then they went from 10.6 – 13.6 in +\- 3 hours. If it is cheating, they will be found out.


    twentyfiveish has a known cast with a huge social media following and they’ve been posting about it all day, so they’re votes are actually probably legitimate! Gooooo Brendan!!!!

      Paily Lovers

      Never under estimate us crazy #PLL fans!! #PLL forever!! I voted for you, Lindsey Shaw!!!

John McGrath

Rahel Unraveled. Deconstructs the “fame” cliche and ptresents a wry picture of possible liberal arts carers. A long arc of complex chacater development within a lot that is both a coming of age story and a novel of contemporary manners. Quirky, for stranage times and that awkward prolonged adolescence that is now a peculiar and necessary feature of our culture. I studied the Odyssey in Greek and I like that Rachel Unraveled is a female odyssey.


    Thank you for the kind words and positivity on our project! :)

Ron Swanson

25ish Social Media Campaign: 1 post on their page, 16 hours ago with 27 likes and 2 shares = 4K votes in 1 day.

    Ron Swanson

    More like “Pretty Big Liars”

      Concerned Citizen

      As long as you ignore the tweeting of the cast, crew, and the other people in their social circles tweeting and Facebooking about it.


Actually 25ish was posted today by Brendan Robinson: 572K followers, Ryan Guzman: 254K, Roberto Aguire: 12K, Hers&History: 7K, Katelyn Tarver: 422K, Tesh Rajan: 11K, not to mention all the PLL and Stitchers fan retweets… As Paily Lovers said: “Never under estimate us crazy #PLL fans!!”

everything's coming up roses

looks like everyone’s cheating huh!? at least that rachel unraveled group is good at campaigning for real geez louise


    See above… How is having people with big social media followings getting the word out not a real campaign? How is that cheating?

Jacquelyn Ryan

I’m Jacquelyn Ryan, one of the many producers of Twentyfiveish. I’ve been staying quiet and watching all of the drama unfold, but accusing my team of not running a social campaign and doing the work needed to win this competition is one step too far. I’m not sure if you’re looking at all of our social platforms, but we’ve had key art release this week, and indiegogo campaign begin, and numerous posts on all of our social platforms, and by all of our cast and cast that we’ve worked with in the past that can vouch for our abilities. In addition, we’ve been direct email marketing via our Seed&Spark crowfunding contacts, on our producers’ and crew members personal social media pages, and will continue to bomboard everyone we know until 2PM tomorrow. I personally reached out to about 50 PLL fan groups, each over 50K members, to vote for our project, so please, let’s keep this civil and all just keep working to get as much support as we all can over the next 22 hrs. Good luck to everyone, let’s take this competition to the finish line!

Vanessa L

The reign!!!

Reini Urban

There were so much more and better US indie movies 2016:
First Girl I Loved, Hunter Gatherer, I Am Not a Serial Killer, Counter Clockwise e.g.


Some fun facts about Rachel Unraveled for you:

Fact: Their Kickstarter campaign got under 70 donors, and raised a total of 3k.
Fact: Their ‘teaser video’ has been out for two months and has 311 views.
Fact: Their posts on Facebook and Instagram have around a like or two and maybe 1 or two shares. Their last call to action saying one day left got total of 3 likes… Instagram? 251 followers and an average of 30 likes per pic.
Fact: Their vote total was knocked down to under 6k yesterday around 10 AM ET (My guess is for cheating)
Fact: Less than 24 hours later they somehow have 13.4K votes. That’s something like 8k votes in 20 hours.

Wait, how did that last bit happen? 3 likes – 8k votes?… O nvm. They’ve been campaigning really hard in the newest and most exciting social network out there: CLICKFARM!!! That social network that allows you to make thousands of friends in the Third World instantly! lol


    Hey Rob! Rachel here. As in Rachel Unraveled’s Rachel! Thanks so much for fact checking us; I have a few updates. We have some amazing cast members in our show, including numerous Broadway veterans with a wide fan base. It was super helpful when we asked some of our more well known cast to share posts with their thousands of fans. Also, my fellow creators and I are students at a large university in manhattan that has been very generous with the promotion of our show online. We have also been promoted by Broadway World, Playbill, and trended #1 on Stareable for a week! If you have any other questions or concerns about our show, please let me know!
    Shine on!


    Rob, you literally sound like you have all of RU’s newspaper clippings and photographs of the show’s teenaged creators circled in red and thumb tacked onto a dimly lit bedroom wall. Have any other hobbies?


      Yup, I must be some kind of stalker… seeing how I managed to get all that info that took me a whole 3 minutes (clearly a lifetime) after seeing some messed up voting activity that pissed me off. Newspaper clippings? Lol. What a zinger! I do have other hobbies, I draw cartoons, play the piano and like to take pictures (not very good at any of them) but there you have it. And yes, I know, hard to believe I can do all of these things and stalk RU for 3 minutes all in one day. PS. Rachel – I don’t know what kind of dedicated fanbase gets 9000 votes for a show, but can’t be bothered to watch the teaser… that’s some weird dedication. As for University, NYU has about 50k students, so assuming you go there, basically 1 in 5 of every student in campus would have to have voted. In 20 hours. That’s some conversion rate. I hope you do understand mu suspicion. I will say no more on the matter, only you know what you’re doing there… but the math doesn’t add up one bit.


        Get a life, Rob


          Thank you for the suggestion, but I’m sorry to say I don’t know where I’d find one. Could you be so kind to point me to the nearest Life Dispensary? — FML. No need to get personal just because I pointed out the project you like is cheating… best of luck :)


I don’t know why we’re all fighting; La La Land is gonna win and we all know it.


    Yup. LOL


The voting for the top 4 shows at minimum is all bogus. Look at all the totals for the last 6 shows and you see the real interest for those teams that did not have shadow voting. Some teams were generating 20 votes a minute at times and then go hours without a single vote. Indiewire just wants the click traffic. This whole format is the problem, not the fine people who are just trying to promote their projects. Congratulations to all teams and their supporters for the fine work they have all contributed.


    You areright. If Indiewire cared more about this competition’s quality than the click traffic, they’d institute a jury system, or at least a more accurate voting system.


How has RU not been disqualified? They lost almost half their votes yesterday presumably for cheating, and somehow managed to get back up 8k votes in under 24 hrs … 2/3 of their votes in less than a day. Doesn’t add up 🤔


Twentyfiveish is hating on Rachel Unraveled’s view count when their show hasn’t even come out yet??? Oooohkay


The RU hate is baffling to me. They’re not even winning, what’s the point?


Did anyone else just see The New 30 jump from one percent to thirty thousand votes??


    Huh? I’m beginning to lose hope…

Alberto Marenco

Alright Indiewire, I’ve been watching this whole circus from the shadows this whole time, but now it just got preposterous. Almost everybody’s vote count just haphazardly changed, including “The New 30” miraculously gaining THIRTY THOUSAND VOTES in 2 minutes. Is there even a point to all of our hard work? This is beyond insulting. This is a disgrace.

My name is Alberto Marenco and I am one of the directors of The Reign, in case you are wondering.


    This competition is getting much harder to defend.


Somehow the new 30 managed to organize ten thousand people to vote at the same, this must be a new world record. If this is not the case, well they should be disqualified as the cheating bastards that they are.


It’s a total Joke!


To Indiewire: Your contest has absolutely no validity and you should just call it off right now and start over with a more secure voting system. You are negligent in providing a fair contest and the results are meaningless.


I have to say, I’m from a losing team, and it does seem to me that 25ish is playing fair. kudos to them for a great strategy and building a team of popular actors.


    Yeah, right. If you were from a real losing team, you would say which one – obviously you’re just from Twentyfiveish and covering your tracks. Nice try, though!


Aaaaand now The Reign is going up 100 votes per second. Brilliant. Seriously this whole thing should be called off and redone PROPERLY.


Social media followers this and social media followers that, but if the Twentyfiveish wants to pretend that they’re not cheating, that’s a bigger joke than the cast of Pretty Little Liars


    Welp, they’re in 3rd so they must be Pretty Bad Cheaters


    And the PLL is laughing along, Aaron. All the way to the bank.

Andrea H.

After seeing projects get more than 10,000 votes in 10 minutes, it’s time I said goodbye to Indiewire. The complete lack of integrity is astounding — how about picking a project with merit! Enjoy your cheating victory, Reign

Alberto Marenco

I just hope that once the Indiewire folks double-check everything, the rightful winner takes this. Love to everyone who competed without buying votes, and luck to everyone with each of your projects.


Alberto Marenco and The Reign team.


    That’s an ironic sentiment Alberto, because it’s obvious your team cheated their way to the top. Been following the numbers all afternoon, and somehow you guys magically gained 12k + votes in 3 hours.
    Love from everyone who played fairly,

      Alberto Marenco

      Nothing Ironic about my statement Ryan. I mean every word of it. If anyone in my team cheated without me knowing, I hope Indiewire strikes out every single fake vote off. I do not want to win if cheating was somehow involved.


Ohhh! The Reign won!! I’ so happy, thanks AFSers and schools, and everyone for your support!

Roksana Sandra

Tranks everyone for your support and for Voting for the Reign!! Couldn’t be happier right now!!

Kevin Barnes

The Reign will reign as it rains in Spain and on the plains, trains and airplanes in the sky… but seriously: THE REIGN!!!


This entire contest is fraudulent. Why are people required to enter their email to comment on this page, but not to register a vote? There were obvious shenanigans and everything about the voting process is suspect. Indiewire has lost my respect for allowing this to happen. Whoever won this particular mess won nothing of merit. The entire thing is a pathetic joke. But at least IndieWire got some traffic to their website. And apparently that’s all they care about. UNLIKE.

Helmut Besch

Überall auf dieser Welt ist das Schulsystem nicht auf die Bedürfnisse der Menschen sonder auf die Bedürfnisse der Industrie ausgerichtet. Das ist überholt uns sollte geändert werden. Und jede Veränderung beginnt in den Köpfen


I’m not computer incompetent, but I’m confused how to vote. On mobile, I can only see the first two options even when I press the arrows (The New 30 and The Reign). Went on my mac, I can see the options and… what? Do I just click on the one I want? It just stops moving and changes to number of votes/percentage of votes. Is that how I select my vote? I can’t be the only one confused.

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