Disney, Sundance Institute project launched to support traditionally underrepresented directors

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Saturday, November 11, 2023
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With the goal to foster a more inclusive cinema landscape, The Walt Disney Studios and nonprofit Sundance Institute are proud to launch an initiative that supports fiction directors from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.

The Project Advancement and Completion Fund will provide grants, aiming to empower and uplift filmmakers from diverse backgrounds and genres.

Nine directors have been selected for the initiative. They represent diverse backgrounds including women, AAPI, Black, Indigenous/Native, Latinx, LGBTQIA+, disability-identifying, and religiously marginalized individuals.

"After working with several Sundance filmmakers, we know how important it is for directors to develop their first independent feature films in order to take on larger projects at the studio level and we couldn't be more excited to collaborate with Sundance Institute in an effort to help them do just that," said Mahin Ibrahim, Director, Creative Talent Pathways, Representation & Inclusion Strategies. "At Disney, we believe in the power of diverse voices and storytelling, and this initiative reaffirms our commitment to empowering underrepresented talent in the industry."

The directors selected for the inaugural cohort are:

  • Ramzi Bashour
  • Dania Bdeir
  • Caledonia Curry
  • Rashad Frett
  • Masami Kawai
  • Walter Thompson-Hernandez
  • Sean Wang
  • Keisha Witherspoon
  • Yuan Yuan

Take a look at the full description of the program and background on each filmmaker here.