This week, the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) selected five Afro-Latinx filmmakers to receive a $20,000 grant each to produce a short film through its inaugural Latinx Inclusion Fellowship Series. The series is sponsored by Netflix.
The filmmakers selected were Lorena Durán, Justin Floyd, Kase Peña, Monica Suriyage and Tamara Shogaolu.
“The time is now for diverse voices to have their stories told and we are proud to be able to offer our fellows the platform to have their voices heard,” said Edward James Olmos, Oscar-nominated actor and co-founder of LALIFF and the Latino Film Institute, in a statement. “We know that our first group of fellows will make a lasting impact on the industry and help to open doors for our future fellows.”
Along with the grant, the fellows will receive mentorship and networking opportunities and meet with industry leaders. The short films they will produce will premiere at the 2021 LALIFF.
Suriyage, who is Dominican-Sri Lankan, tweeted out that her short film, La Ciguapa Siempre, will be in the horror genre.
“So excited and grateful for this opportunity,” she wrote. “I’m directing a horror short with @LALIFF and @netflix. GET READY TO BE SCARED.”
— Monica Suriyage (@monicatweetsnow) December 1, 2020
Shogaolu, who is Afro-Panamanian, said the project she is working on is called Anouschka. It’s an animated film about a Black girl who goes on a “journey of self-discovery through time and space.”
We are making a film version of Anouschka set in Washington D.C.! https://t.co/clbChOuDg7
— Tamara Shogaolu (@tutafilm) December 1, 2020