Photos: Reel Sisters
New York, NY – Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series, the Academy’s first qualifying festival dedicated to women filmmakers, recently announced the winners of their Micro Budget Film Fellowship. The grant offers creators the opportunity to produce the pilot of a web series or a short film!
“We received over 110 exceptional short scripts from women of color in Brooklyn, Kenya! With the COVID-19 pandemic making funding more difficult during these times for BIPOC creatives to launch their projects, it was important for us to be able to give back,” says Carolyn Butts, founder of African Voices (parent company of Reel Sisters) and Reel Sisters.
Each scholarship recipient will receive $5,000, access to mentors and scholarships to the Scriptwriting Essentials: The Art of Creating Strong Female Characters™ and Reel Sisters!
Introducing the 2022 Reel Sisters Micro-Budget Scholars:
FILM PROJECT: Group
Ollie, BK and Carmichael are three girls who do NOT return to Juvie. When given the option to stay locked up or “GRO UP”, they decide to spend the summer digging through the dirt and their shit. “GRO UP”, a web series, was written by a writing team of 3 women from BIPOC (African American/Jamaican, Puerto Rican/Italian and South Asian American)
Camille Simone Thomas
Camille Simone Thomas (she/her) is always looking for a concise way to define the identities that matter most to her. She’s a fifth-generation Detroit resident. A fourth-generation black college graduate. A third generation path maker. Second-generation eldest daughter of an eldest daughter and a first-generation Jamaican-American. Maybe one day she’ll have a cleaner way of saying this, but being messy also defines who she is.
Camille is a creative actor, writer and producer who believes it is her duty and her honor to tell the stories of all the different generations contained within her. Her plays have been presented at the National Women’s Theater Festival, the Lime Arts Theater Company, the American Slavery Project, the Blackboard Playwriting Series, the Red Curtain Theater and The Playground Experiment. Currently, she works as a teaching artist for the Manhattan Theater Club on Broadway and Dreamyard in the Bronx as well as online production for the Moxie Theater company and works as an associate artist for the Sanguine Theater Company.
Follow Camille on Instagram @Camille4reel. See Camille’s website.
Nina Lucia Rodriguez
Nina Lucia Rodriguez (sheher) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, New York. She earned a degree in comedy and a minor in comedy (yes, that’s right) from Emerson College in 2019. Her work spans multiple mediums but always focuses on community and authenticity. She strives to tell truthful stories that encapsulate and enhance the communities that surround her art. A proud Latina, she works hard to represent the underrepresented and doesn’t hesitate to fight to do so.
Follow Nina on Instagram @ninaluciarodriguez. Visit Nina’s website.
Jasmine Sharma (sheher) is a South Asian actress/writer/activist based in Los Angeles and a recent graduate of Northwestern University. Jasmine and her writing have recently been supported by AlterTheater Ensemble (First Acts commission), The Road Theater (Under Construction 2), AGE: Ignite the Arts, Ashland New Plays Festival (New Voices) and Lime Arts Productions. Jasmine has also contributed to iWeigh, worked with the 24 Hour Plays both as an actor and writer, and serves as Script PA on several Broadway musicals.
Currently, Jasmine is commissioned by Moxie Arts NYC, Jackalope Theater, North Shore High School, and developing her first world premiere with Shattered Globe Theater. She is thrilled to bring GRO UP: A Web Series to life with this team. jasminesharma.org | @jasminesharmaa
FILM PROJECT: Difficult
Twelve-year-old Javonte Freeman juggles puberty, bully, and heartbreak while learning the rules of survival in her tough neighborhood.
Eboni Price found her passion for film as a teenager in Birmingham, AL. She made her first short film at the age of 17. A director/screenwriter based in Los Angeles, California, Eboni aims to put authentic and profound stories of black women at the forefront of her lens. Currently working in Shondaland, Eboni’s previous work includes projects under Bad Robot, Legendary Pictures and BET Productions.
She was named a 2020 finalist at the Sidewalk Film Festival for her screenplay “Pandemonium,” chronicling the effects of Covid on black families and has had other work featured in Reel Sisters Film Festival, HuffPost, Shadow & Act and Black Enterprise. His 2016 web series, #Adulting was named a semi-finalist at Los Angeles Cinefest and is now streaming nationwide on Tubi. Eboni is an alumnus of Howard University where she earned her BA in Film Production.
FILM PROJECT: Liminability
When her mother dies, Anna, who has an intellectual/developmental disability, must find a way to adapt to the sudden changes in her life. Her sister Molly returns to the overwhelming responsibilities of this transition and disregards Anna’s abilities. Anna must prove that despite her difficulty in communicating, she knows what to do.
Liz Sargent is an adopted Korean American writer and director, whose award-winning work explores themes of adoption, disability, and family. She received a NY Emmy, Best Director at Diversity in Cannes, Best Screenplay at the Brand Film Festival in London. His films have been released in 6 languages, screened at the Venice Dance Biennale, Lincoln Center and broadcast on PBS. The STRANGERS’ REUNION short, about a reunion of adoptees, was one of five films chosen by Ritz-Carlton and Hearst to be made with mentorship by Mike Figgis and production by RSA Hong Kong.
Liz incorporates her extensive background as a North Carolina School of the Arts trained choreographer into her commercial and experimental work. Liz was one of three finalists in the 2022 SeriesFest Shondaland Directing Mentorship and recipient of an Asian Women Giving Circle scholarship. His work has been developed at UnionDocs, UCROSS and Sundance Co/Lab workshops. Liz is a member of NYWIFT, a judge for the IDA Awards and a producer at Cyprian Films New York in New York and Cyprus.
About Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival Founded in 1997 by African Voices magazine and LIU Brooklyn Campus, Reel Sisters is one of the premier film festivals dedicated to supporting filmmakers of color. Known for celebrating veterans and rising stars alike, Reel Sisters has honored everyone from Radio One founder Cathy Hughes to HBO’s Insecure writer and director Issa Rae. Reel Sisters is supported, in part, by Board members Farah Louis (35 CDs) and Laurie Cumbo (45 CDs), Warner Media, Humanities New York, New York State Council on the Arts, and Brooklyn Arts Council.