The winning projects come from filmmakers Zenzele Ojore (grand prize), Danni Juhl (first prize) and Jenna Anderson and Mags Chamberlain (second prize), who were awarded prizes totaling $21,000.
“Together with the Ghetto Film School, we were inspired to create this scholarship to discover, elevate and celebrate the emerging voices shaping the future of filmmaking,” said Erik Feig, Founder and CEO of Picturestart, and Samie Kim Falvey, president of the company. “The experience itself was an eye opener to the caliber of storytelling these young filmmakers are creating and we are thrilled to thank Zenzele, Danni, Jenna and Mags for their incredible work.”
Ojore’s “The South Is My Sister’s Skin” received the grand prize of $10,000. Set in “the underbelly of the American South,” according to the official logline, the film follows “two black sisters from childhood to adulthood; while one of them struggles to come to terms with the past, the other tries to forget.
Juhl accepted the top prize of $5,000 for “Daysleeper”. The Connection Line states, “After her rural Wisconsin town is leveled by a tornado, a high school student enlists her classmates to help her find her missing best friend. As each of them is forced to relive the tragedy, they begin to unearth an even darker secret.”
Anderson and Chamberlain raised $3,000 each for second prize winner “Even Her Name”. The film centers on a young trans woman who “finds herself on the brink of a pivotal rebirth,” as the logline describes, “after a phone call from her estranged mother brings her home to a family dynamic. unexpected”.
Montea Robinson, CEO of GFS, said, “We are extremely proud of our GFS Roster members Zenzele Ojore, Danni Juhl, Jenna Anderson and Mags Chamberlain for their success in the Discover Your Voice Fellowship competition. The Picturestart team have been incredible partners throughout this scholarship and diligent mentors to our students.
Launched in December 2021, the competition aimed to find emerging writers, directors and filmmakers “telling universal stories rooted in the discovery of the voice”, with Picturestart and Ghetto Film School inviting submissions for “self-portrait videos” reflecting the identity of the filmmakers and how they found their voice and their community.
Ten fellows have been selected for the program, which began in May. Aspiring filmmakers were paired with a creative from Picturestart, who served as a mentor, helping to develop their submission idea into a pitch presented to a panel of industry professionals, as well as representatives from GFS and Picturestart .
The “Discover Your Voice” program was overseen by Neha Gandhi, former Picturestart Executive Vice President, Digital and Strategy, and Amy Lapides, on behalf of the Ghetto Film School. The contest marked the second collaboration between Picturestart (with recent titles such as “Unpregnant,” “Am I OK?”, “Cha Cha Real Smooth,” and “Luckiest Girl Alive”) and the nonprofit Ghetto Film School, following to their collaboration on “The Binge Collection”, an assortment of comfortable products, the profits of which were donated to GFS.
[Pictured, clockwise: Zenzele Ojore, Danni Juhl, Jenna Anderson and Mags Chamberlain]