The Sundance Institute has announced its six 2015-2016 Women at Sundance Fellows, a group of directors and producers culled from both the doc and narrative fields who will receive support to fulfill their potential and create sustainable careers in a highly competitive environment.
The Fellows are director Lyric R. Cabral (“(T)ERROR”), producer Jessica Devaney (“Speed Sisters”), director-producer Grace Lee (“American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs), producer Gabrielle Nadig (“King Jack”), director Jennifer Phang (“Advantageous”) and director Pamela Romanowsky (“The Adderall Diaries”).
The fellowship participants, who are at various stages in their career, will each be paired with a professional coach as a resource and support system throughout the year-long, individualized program. They will take part in a day-long group orientation where they’ll establish goals and benchmarks for the coming year. Sundance and Women in Film/LA will offer Women at Sundance Fellows opportunities to network and improve their skill sets, including a Financing Intensive, which will educate approximately 100 female filmmakers about seeking, securing and managing funding for their films.
Cabral, Devaney, Lee, Nadig, Phang and Romanowsky will receive a stipend to attend the Sundance Film Festival, where they’ll participate in one-on-one industry meetings to discuss their projects and attend group seminars with industry experts and screenings and events, including the annual Women at Sundance Brunch.
If you’re looking to follow in their footsteps, consider Phang’s advice for other female directors: “We really do need to support each other. Too many times I’ve been led to believe that my direct competition was other women, as if there can be [only] a handful of successful female filmmakers a year. That conversation, that perception, needs to change. Women are the people who have helped me make films I love, and I want to be that kind of strength to other women.” She also explained why it’s important not to focus on pleasing everyone and how social pressure can influence female filmmakers in her interview with Women and Hollywood.
Check out the bios of the six new Women at Sundance fellows below, courtesy of Sundance Institute.
Lyric R. Cabral is a filmmaker and photojournalist who visualizes stories seldom seen in mainstream media. Her documentary work explores the intersections of race, religious expression, and surveillance in post 9/11 America. In support of her journalism, Cabral has received artist grants from BBC Storyville, the Independent Television Service, Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, Bertha Foundation, New York State Council of the Arts, International Documentary Association, and the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund. (T)ERROR, Cabral’s first documentary feature co-directed with David Felix Sutcliffe, received a Special Jury Prize for Breakout First Feature at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and the Grand Jury prize at the 2015 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Cabral was chosen by Filmmaker Magazine as one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film (2013) and American Photo Magazine named her one of 15 international photographers to watch. Cabral has worked as still photographer for the documentary films Out In The Night (2015), Very Semi Serious (2015), and ADAMA (2011). Her photojournalism has been recently published through Aperture Foundation, Gordon Parks Foundation, National Geographic Channel UK, and the Nation, and her images are held in collection at the Whitney Museum for American Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Studio Museum of Harlem. Currently Cabral is producing a short documentary profiling citizen journalists whose videos, documenting police violence, catalyzed the Black Lives Matter movement. Her photography is currently on exhibition with “Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument.”
Jessica is a Brooklyn-based creative producer and communications strategist. She is currently producing the feature documentary and interactive game, Roll Red Roll, an immersive thriller examining rape culture in small town America. Jessica produced Speed Sisters (2015), an intimate and action-filled story about the first all-women racecar driving team in the Middle East. She co-produced the Peabody Award winning short My Neighbourhood (2012), exploring the human impact of settlements in East Jerusalem, and produced its companion web series Home Front (2011). Jessica associate produced Budrus (2009), which won over a dozen international awards, including the Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize. She was a key driver behind the film’s engagement strategy, which was recognized with the PUMA Impact Award. Jessica was previously the Director of Communications at Just Vision, where she produced films for seven years with director Julia Bacha and led communications strategy in support of Palestinian and Israeli community organizers and human rights defenders. Her work is featured regularly in major media outlets like MSNBC, NPR, The New York Times, BBC, The Washington Post, The Economist and Al Jazeera. Jessica has an M.A. in religion and society from Wake Forest University and also studied at Georgetown’s Graduate School of Foreign Service in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies where she researched gender and nationalism in the Middle East.
Grace Lee is an independent producer/director and writer working in both narrative and non-fiction film. She directed the 2014 Peabody Award-winning documentary American Revolutionary: The Evolution Of Grace Lee Boggs, which The Hollywood Reporter called ”an entertainingly revealing portrait of the power of a single individual to effect change.” The film premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival where it wofn its first of six festival audience awards before its broadcast on the PBS series POV. Her previous documentary The Grace Lee Project won multiple awards, broadcast on Sundance Channel and was called “ridiculously entertaining” by New York Magazine and “ a funny but complex meditation on identity and cultural expectation,” by Variety. Other feature directing credits include Janeane From Des Moines, set during the 2012 presidential campaign, which premiered at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival as well as American Zombie, a personal horror film, which premiered at Slamdance and is distributed by Cinema Libre. Grace received her MFA in Film Directing from UCLA Film School where her short film “Barrier Device”, starring Sandra Oh and Suzy Nakamura, won a Student Academy Award. Grace returns to her alma mater and other universities frequently as a guest speaker and lecturer. She has served on panels including the Independent Spirit Awards, Los Angeles Film Festival, POV’s EdComm, Center for Asian American Media, and the International Documentary Association. Most recently in 2014 and 2015, she produced and directed two documentaries for PBS: Makers: Women In Politics and Off The Menu: Asian America.
Gabrielle Nadig is an award-winning producer and co-founder of the Brooklyn-based production company, Buffalo Picture House. As Head of Production at Buffalo, Gabrielle has helmed award-winning commercial and corporate projects for clients such as Gucci, Stuart Weitzman, IFC, Etsy.com and the New York City Ballet. Most recently, Gabrielle produced the Sundance Institute supported narrative feature film, King Jack. King Jack premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival where it took home the Narrative Audience Award and was called, “A stylish, sensitive coming-of-ager,” by Variety. The film will continue its festival run during 2015, with an international premiere in London in September. The film will have a theatrical release in the spring of 2016. Gabrielle has produced multiple short films that have screened at film festivals around the world including SXSW, The Palms Springs Short Film Festival and the London BFI Film Festival. Prior to her work at Buffalo Picture House, Gabrielle worked for legendary independent producers Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler at Killer Films, on films such as At Any Price starring Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron. During her time at Killer, Gabrielle oversaw the financial and physical management of the production company and the dozens of projects in various stages of development. Gabrielle is from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she received The Student Producer Award in 2009. Gabrielle is a 2013 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow, an alumni of the 2015 Rotterdam Producing Labs and an alumni of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival Producer’s Network.
Jennifer Phang is the 2015 recipient of the inaugural San Francisco Film Society Women’s Filmmaker Fellowship, which provides a grant of $40,000, office, networking and development support toward a genre project. At Sundance 2015, Jennifer Phang’s sophomore feature Advantageous won the U.S. Dramatic Competition Special Jury Prize. The film was supported by the the Sundance Feature Film Program and the San Francisco Film Society Filmmaker Residency. The film was bought by NETFLIX at Sundance. Advantageous was the feature adaptation of Phang’s 2012 short film Advantageous which was commissioned by ITVS. It opened the third season of the Futurestates sci-fi series and screened at Tribeca, Fantastic Fest, Comic-Con and other international festival, winning numerous awards. Phang’s award‐winning debut feature Half-Life premiered in 2008 at the Tokyo International and Sundance film festivals. It went on to screen at SXSW and was distributed by Sundance Channel. Phang has also directed and edited Glass Butterfly, a visual effects heavy music video, and edited and produced Moon Molson’s Sundance short Crazy Beats Strong Every Time, which premiered in Sundance in 2011 and won awards internationally. A Berkeley-born daughter of a Chinese-Malaysian father and Vietnamese mother, Phang graduated from the MFA directing program at the American Film Institute.
Pamela Romanowsky is a Brooklyn based writer and director. Her debut feature film The Adderall Diaries (starring James Franco, Ed Harris, Amber Heard, Christian Slater and Cynthia Nixon) premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and will be released by A24 in 2016. Pamela is a member of The National Board of Review, she is an alumnus of The Sundance Institute’s Screenwriting, Directing, Sound Design labs and Creative Producing Summit, and she holds an MFA in Directing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Pamela’s short films include Tar (starring James Franco and Mila Kunis), which constitutes a portion of the multi-director omnibus film The Color of Time (2014) and Gravity (2012), which won awards on the festival circuit. She is an NYU Purple List honoree, a Film Society of Lincoln Center Artist’s Academy participant, and the recipient of Sundance’s Indian Paintbrush Feature Film Grant. Pamela studied behavioral psychology at Macalester College and verité documentary filmmaking with Barbara Kopple. She is a bit of a pyromaniac, and retains just enough of her pre-med education to talk you down from your WebMD diagnosis. She’s very curious about how things work, especially people.
[via Sundance Institute]