Film Independent chooses six fellows for second Amplifier Fellowship

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Film Independent has selected six fellows for its 2023 Amplifier Fellowship. [Courtesy]

Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, has chosen the six Fellows and their projects selected for its Amplifier Fellowship.

The 2023 Film Independent Amplifier Fellowship is supported by Netflix’s Fund for Creative Equity, a dedicated effort to help build new opportunities for underrepresented communities within entertainment, according to a news release.

Four of the six fellows for the 2023 program are women filmmakers.

Over the course of the nine-month program, the Amplifier Fellows receive creative support to propel a selected project forward both creatively and strategically as well as customized mentorship pairings including with a Netflix executive as an industry advisor and a board member from Film Independent.

Each fellow also receives professional coaching in partnership with Renee Freedman & Co, along with financial and business advisement and coaching in partnership with The Jill James. Each fellow will receive a $30,000 unrestricted grant to provide sustainability and/or support their creative endeavors.

“The Amplifier Fellowship supports Black artists on the verge of career breakthrough with a bespoke program that includes impactful granting, mentorship and professional coaching that aims to build confidence both in their craft and in their capacity to build their business and brand,” said Angela C. Lee, Director of Artist Development for Film Independent, in a statement.

“This year’s Amplifier Fellows bring an incredible passion to entertain and create change through their films. We are thrilled to support this incredibly talented group of storytellers and help them build a foundation for longevity and sustainability through their work.”

The 2023 Amplifier Fellows and their projects are: 

Melissa Adeyemo has been selected for the 2023 Film Independent Amplifier Fellowship. [Courtesy photo]

Melissa Adeyemo is a Nigerian American producer and the founder of the U.S. production company, Ominira Studios. Her first feature, “Eyimofe,” premiered at the 2020 Berlinale. The film can be viewed on the Criterion Collection, HBO Max and Amazon International. “Eyimofe” won five African Movie Academy Awards and was nominated for an NAACP Award.

“Dusty & Stones,” her first documentary feature, premiered at Doc NYC 2022. Her career started with Spike Lee’s “Inside Man” and Steven Spielberg’s “Munich.”

Adeyemo is a 2022 BAFTA Breakthrough fellow and 2023 EAVE Fellow. She has an MBA from NYU Stern and a BA from Columbia University.

Adeyemo’s project: “In My Father’s House” – Fiction Feature in Development

Logline: In My Father’s House follows Anna (nee Anike), a disillusioned millennial quietly battling grief after the expected loss of her mother. She arrives in Lagos, Nigeria, from the United States to reconnect with her estranged father and unexpectedly discovers new life and purpose.

Sue-Ellen Chitunya has been selected for the 2023 Film Independent Amplifier Fellowship. [Courtesy photo]

Sue-Ellen Chitunya is a filmmaker from Zimbabwe. She is a 2019 Georgia State University 40 under 40 honoree and a graduate of the UCLA professional producing program. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Chitunya has participated in various artist development programs, including the WIF Emerging Producer Program, Film Independent Producing Lab and Industry Academy. Her shorts have screened at various festivals, including Rotterdam, BFI London and Tribeca.

She recently produced the feature documentary “For Tomorrow,” available on Amazon Prime, and the interactive rom-com “Mr. Right,” available on mobile app stores.

Chitunya’s project: “Accidental Hearts” – Fiction Feature in Development

Logline: A closeted lesbian realizes she’s about to lose her best friend, the love of her life, so she devises a master plan to win her back before the upcoming Christmas wedding.

Philiane Phang has been selected for the 2023 Film Independent Amplifier Fellowship. [Courtesy photo]

Philiane Phang is a writer and director based in New York. She was the recipient of the Ammon Foundation Fellowship and IFP’s Inaugural Phosphate Grant. Phang graduated from Rutgers University with a Juris Doctorate.

Her debut short film, “GUBAGUDE KO,” starring Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali, was developed through AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women. Indigenous Media commissioned her to write and direct “The Row.”

Her feature project “The Space Between” was chosen to participate in Sundance Screenwriters Intensive and Producing Labs, Film Independent Screenwriting and Directing Labs, Berlinale Talents and Co-Production Market and IFP’s – No Borders Co-Production Market.

Phang’s project: “Rosema” – Fiction Feature in Development

Logline: “Rosema” is an undocumented father who returns to America in search of his missing 8-year-old daughter.

Angela Tucker has been selected for the 2023 Film Independent Amplifier Fellowship. [Courtesy photo]

Angela Tucker is an Emmy- and Webby-winning filmmaker working in scripted and unscripted film and television highlighting underrepresented communities in unconventional ways. Recent work includes “Belly of the Beast” (directed by Erika Cohn), a New York Times Critics Pick; “The Trees Remember,” a series for REI; and “A New Orleans Noel,” a Lifetime film starring Patti LaBelle.

Her films in production are “The Inquisitor,” about political icon Barbara Jordan, and “Steam” (working title), about a global alternative health treatment. She is a recipient of the 2023 Chicken and Egg Award and a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Tucker’s project: “The Inquisitor” – Nonfiction Feature in Production

Logline: As the nation was reeling from the potential impeachment of Richard Nixon, a lesser-known figure emerged to repair the country’s broken trust. Barbara Jordan — the first Black woman elected to Congress from the South — was heralded a hero after an impassioned line of questioning and her instrumental role in the Voting Rights Act of 1975. Through the exploration of Jordan’s legacy, my feature length documentary, “The Inquisitor” asks: “What does it mean to be Black and patriotic in a divided America?”

David Fortune has been selected for the 2023 Film Independent Amplifier Fellowship. [Courtesy photo]

David Fortune finds purpose in capturing the themes of intimacy based in inner-city environments. As a result, the writer-director has collaborated with companies such as Netflix, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, Hillman Grad, Indeed and Options For All to develop empowering narratives focused on marginalized communities.

In addition, Fortune, a graduate of Morehouse College and LMU School of Film and Television, was named a winner of Netflix’s Content Creator Program for his film, “Us,” and premiered his narrative short “Shoebox” at Tribeca Film Festival.

Today, Fortune works with non-profit organizations to raise awareness of individuals with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities through documentary films.

Fortune’s project: “Color Book Fiction” – Feature in Development

Logline: Following the passing of his wife, a devoted father learns to raise his son with Down syndrome as a single parent. Through their journey to a professional baseball game, he fights to keep his promise to his child while healing from the loss of his significant other.

Andre Lambertson has been selected for the 2023 Film Independent Amplifier Fellowship. [Courtesy photo]

Andre Lambertson is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and photographer who works as a director and director of photography. Most recently, he was a cinematographer on “Dick Johnson is Dead,” which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Lambertson filmed “Charm City,” which premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and was shortlisted for the 2019 Academy Awards Best Documentary Feature. The film was broadcast on PBS Independent Lens.

He also co-directed and shot “The Whole Gritty City,” which won the Christopher Award and was broadcast on CBS’ primetime show “48 Hours.”

Lambertson’s project: “Team Onyx” – Nonfiction Feature in Pre-Production

Logline: “Team Onyx” is the first all-Black team to change the face of adventure sports. They are men and women in expedition racing — gay and straight — representing the best qualities in diversity.


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