This year, The New Hollywood launched an initiative to provide financial grants and guidance to LGBT student filmmakers. Over $4,500 was raised through a successful crowdfunding campaign, and six projects were selected to receive financial grants. With this blog, we are proud to showcase the work of our grant recipients, and we are grateful to have been able to support them.
THE YOUTH MEDIA PROJECT
The Mississippi Youth Media Project, based in Jackson, Mississippi, brings young people, age 14 to 19, together to learn how to report on their community and tell their own stories. YMP's mission is to teach young people to understand how media is produced, how to produce powerful stories that reach a larger audience, and how to make equity a component in building their community's media narrative.
The Youth Media Project’s grant went to support the purchasing of a video camera, microphones and lighting equipment for use in their daily operations and also the development of a feature documentary project chronicling what life is really like for LGBT Mississippians in the aftermath of HB 1523, the notorious “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” one of the most extreme anti-gay measures in the country that allows for discrimination against LGBT people on the basis of religious expression. The film will be based on eight-minute short film produced by YMP, "HB1523: Growing Up LGBT in Mississippi.”
From YMP: “Our goals are to tell the stories of local Mississippians and to humanize their struggles, realities and accomplishments so that we can begin to rid our citizens of superficial differences and the negative perceptions that engulf the state of Mississippi. We hope to make a profound and lasting difference in our community or even make one person feel a little less alone in being true to who they are by magnifying young voices through our work.”
INTERLOCHEN ARTS ACADEMY WEB SERIES
The Interlochen Arts Academy’s Creative Writing and Motion Picture Arts departments filmed and released their first-ever collaborative Web Series on YouTube. “BroNapped” is a comedic journey of four “bros” as they plan and execute a kidnapping. Students from both the Creative Writing and Motion Picture Arts departments dove into writing, casting, producing, and editing a six episode cohesive web series under the guidance of faculty member Lesley Alicia Tye.
The class worked thoughtfully to make the series LGBT inclusive, and included several gay characters in the storyline. The grant went to support production costs, and an off campus field trip to search for props and other art department supplies. This allowed the class to elevate the production value of the series
Grants were also awarded to the comedy web series project Untitled LA by UCLA student Sam Icklow, and the short film projects Life After by NYU student Ria Tobaccowala, Thando by NYU student Thati Peele and Laps by NYU student Charlotte Wells, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Grant funds supported these projects at different stages of development, from production to post-production to festival submissions.
*Please note that not all experiences, beliefs and ideas are shared by each member of “The New Hollywood