The nonprofit Sundance Institute has unveiled the roster for the 2023 Sundance Ignite x Adobe fellows cohort, supporting emerging filmmakers aged 18 to 25 in their creative journey. Chosen from a global pool of over 1,000 applicants, these ten fellows will be provided with artistic and professional development opportunities throughout the year. Sundance Institute and Adobe aim to uplift underrepresented voices while fostering new audiences for independent storytelling.
The Ignite Lab, a week-long event, is currently taking place at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA, offering the filmmakers a chance to explore the diverse global opportunities available to them. During the year-long program, the fellows will engage with mentors from Sundance Institute alumni, participate in workshops and ongoing events to build connections within the Ignite community, attend the esteemed Sundance Film Festival, and be eligible for internships and additional creative and professional development opportunities. Furthermore, they will receive a generous artist grant supported by Adobe and Arison Arts Foundation, along with a complimentary one-year membership to Adobe Creative Cloud.
Toby Brooks, Assistant Director of Sundance Ignite, expressed their enthusiasm for supporting emerging filmmakers and nurturing creative risk-taking. Their focus on the new generation of artists ensures the continued vitality of independent storytelling. The collaboration with Adobe as founding supporters has been instrumental in the success of the program, and the new partnership with MASS MoCA offers an exciting new location for the Ignite Lab.
Since its inception in 2015, the Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellowship has provided opportunities to 100 fellows. Notably, ten alumni have had their short films screened as part of the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, with several projects earning jury awards. The list of accomplished Ignite alumni includes Charlotte Regan, whose debut feature “Scrapper” premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and will open the upcoming 2023 Sundance Film Festival: London, as well as Sean Wang, a fellow of the 2023 Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Labs. Other esteemed alumni include Lance Oppenheim, Terrence Daye, Aurora Brachman, and Olivia Peace, who have gone on to win accolades at festivals such as SXSW, Tribeca, and the Cannes Film Festival.
The 2023 Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellowship welcomes a diverse group of talented filmmakers. Among the fellows are Rafaël Beauchamp, a French Canadian filmmaker passionate about addressing modern societal issues through genre cinema. Omi Zola Gupta, a writer and director from the UK and India, gained recognition for his debut short film, “Birdsong,” which premiered at SXSW 2023 and was acquired by The Guardian. Dylan Habil, a Kenyan filmmaker, documentary photographer, and cultural historian, brings his expertise in authentic storytelling to the program. Xiaoxuan Jiang, a filmmaker from Inner Mongolia, China, graduated from NYU and won the NETPAC Award at Beijing International Short Film Festival for her latest short, “Graveyard of Horses” (2022).
Indian filmmaker and editor Alvina Joshi explores the convergence of lives, spaces, time, and memory within unequal societies, primarily in nonfiction works. Milla Lewis, a UK filmmaker with a background in photography, delves into the intersection of history, memory, and myth. Andrés Lira, a Mexican American filmmaker and artist of Indigenous descent, is dedicated to amplifying underrepresented stories of Latino and Indigenous communities. Dallin Mello, a cinematographer and film producer based in New York, focuses on stories of community resilience and collaboration, particularly within the LGBTQ+ community. Leonardo Pirondi, a Brazilian filmmaker based in California, experiments with the concept of reality through documentary, experimental, and narrative films. Chloe Xtina, a filmmaker from Oakland based in Brooklyn, tells tales centered around psychosexual gazes, desire, and the climate crisis in California, employing a magical realist lens.
Adobe, a staunch believer in the power of creativity, is committed to providing visibility and opportunities for emerging artists. In addition to being a founding supporter of Sundance Ignite, Adobe is a partner of the Sundance Women to Watch x Adobe Fellowship, which champions underrepresented voices in a yearlong artist-development program. Adobe’s partnership extends to being a Presenting Sponsor of the Sundance Film Festival, as well as supporting Sundance Collab, a global digital space for artists to learn from experts and connect with a filmmaking community.
The Sundance Institute has been a champion and curator of independent stories since its establishment by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its labs, grants, and mentorship programs held worldwide, the Institute has nurtured countless artists and their projects. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs provide platforms for audiences and artists to engage with new ideas and discover original voices in independent storytelling. Some notable films supported by Sundance Institute initiatives include “Get Out,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “Fruitvale Station,” “RBG,” and “Sorry to Bother You.”
With the announcement of the 2023 Sundance Ignite x Adobe fellows, the Sundance Institute and Adobe continue their shared mission of uplifting emerging filmmakers and fostering diverse and independent storytelling. The selected fellows are now armed with the resources, mentorship, and support to further develop their artistic vision and refine their craft. As these young filmmakers venture forth, they are poised to make an indelible impact on the world of cinema and inspire future generations of storytellers.