Emerging Educational Filmmaker Grant Recipients

Congratulations to all the filmmakers in the Summer 2023 round. We’re excited for what comes next in your work. Thank you to all that submitted projects and thank you to our judges.

Project: ANCESTRAL HEALING

Logline: A family grieves a matriarchs unexpected death while her former community grieves its destruction by eminent domain. Forty-Four years later her family examines what was lost and whether or not it can be reclaimed. While community leaders, politicians, and historians work to reclaim what was lost, the descendants of the matriarch strive to heal and work to preserve the legacy or Rondo.

Cherrelle Swain is a dynamic visionary and filmmaker who is making a powerful impact on the world. Descending from St. Paul Minnesota’s Rondo community, she brings a deep
understanding of the intersection of racial justice, activism, and social impact to her work as the founder of Terra Rossa, a Washington DC-based social impact creative agency and production company.

Cherrelle forges powerful partnerships with leading brands across the business, entertainment, and media industries, driving systemic change and creating authentic connections that resonate with audiences. Her latest project, Ancestral Healing, is a deeply personal exploration of the generational impact of displacement on the descendants of St. Paul’s Historic Rondo community.


Project: DONNA PARTY

Logline: Donna Party will incorporate many styles and techniques. Our project will reflect Donna’s changing understanding of her transness by synthesizing influences from the American theatrical canon, animation, stan culture, and Gen Z meme semiotics to queer the medium of the half-hour sitcom pilot.

Masha Breeze is a trans actor, writer, and comedian. Her work tells queer stories with a uniquely surreal sense of humor. As a playwright and filmmaker, Masha is inspired by fellow terminally online trans women and is motivated by a love for all things campy, cartoonish, and earnest. She currently resides in Queens with her writing partner, Sloan Elliott.

Sloan Elliott is a trans writer, actor, and comedian. Sloan’s work focuses on intersections of celebrity culture, family, and nature. His most recent essay collection, Boundaryland, received acclaim for its blend of cultural criticism and experimental memoir forms and was awarded the Brown University Outstanding Thesis prize. Sloan and his writing partner and collaborator Masha Breeze are currently based in NYC. To see more of his work and collaboration with Masha, please visit sloanelliott.com.


Project: FOGO

Logline: FOGO: Fear of Going Outside is a nature show — by the most reluctant host ever: most nature shows are hosted by reckless white men, but avid indoorswoman Ivy Le is an Asian mom with severe allergies. Will she survive ice-fishing in the Canadian wilderness?

Ivy Le (co-director, EP, creator) is a Vietnamese American comedian, actress, and writer based in Austin, Texas. She is the creator of the critically-acclaimed Spotify Studios podcast FOGO: Fear of Going Outside, a nature show by the most reluctant host ever. FOGO is featured on Delta flights and recommended by The Guardian, CBC, Oprah and, inexplicably, Outside. She hosts the only queer comedy open mic in Austin, and performs at comedy festivals all over the country. She is also mom to two as-yet untraumatized kids.

Minda Wei (co-director) is a Chinese-Texan writer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Since quitting a job building the world’s #1 supercomputer, Minda story edits the critically acclaimed podcast “FOGO: Fear of Going Outside” and co-directs Austin Sketch Fest, the largest sketch comedy festival in the South. Minda has won Austin Chronicle’s “Best of Austin” Comedy Critics’ Pick, performed at festivals across the country, and her writing has been published in Slate and Bon Appetit. Their directorial debut Garfussy premiered at LA’s So F*cked It’s Funny. Minda loves showcasing chaotic yet reasonable protagonists surviving the frenetic surreality of late-capitalism. mindawei.com

Myrriah Gossett (lead producer, EP) is originally from Vancouver, BC and is an audio and media producer based in Austin, TX and Los Angeles, CA. She holds a BFA in Art History from Savannah College of Art and Design, and MS in Media Management from The New School. Beyond their work on FOGO: Fear of Going Outside, Myrriah also produced on Lemonada Media’s Webby Award Winning BEING Trans and BEING Golden audio reality series. She loves working as a development producer and creating unique stories that combine humor, heart, and surprising information. 


Project: IN THE STILLNESS OF THE NIGHT

Logline: At dusk, solitary voyagers glide quietly through the island rainforest on their nightly insect hunt. Hawai’i’s loneliest mammal, the ‘ōpe’ape’a (Hawaiian hoary bat), continues a tradition begun thousands of years before humans arrived, unaware of dangers posed by human hands encroaching steadily, and destructively, into their forest home.

Daniel A. Kelin II (Writer/Director) has been affiliated with theatres and youth organizations in the US, across the Pacific and in India and awarded multiple fellowships, including three Fulbright-Nehru fellowships in India. His recent film ‘After the Endling’ was developed through a Pacific Islanders in Communication grant and nominated for Best Short Film in the 2022 Hawaii International Film Festival. Now on PBS, the film has appeared at several film festivals.  His solo play Shipwreck’d on the Body Beautiful about a cross culture encounter in mid-19th century that led to the first US public presentations of tattoos, premiered in 2019.

Monica Garrett (Puppet/Production Designer) is an artist, educator, and community arts programmer. She approaches each facet of her work with an intrinsic sensitivity. Monica’s artworks take inspiration from the complexities of the colors and textures present in the natural world.  Her prints and sculptures reflect her reverence for natural forms. Her work seeks to reconnect people to simplistic beauty. Monica works at Honolulu Museum of Art, where she helps develop studio programs. She also is a board member for the Honolulu Printmakers where she supports the local printmaking community. 

Gerard Elmore (Cinematographer) is an Emmy® Award winning writer/editor/producer/ DP/director who has a range of experience varying from television production, film and TV commercials. As a commercial director, he has directed a number of award-winning spots and has won multiple local Peles (ADDYs) & a national Gold ADDY award. Elmore is also the Lead Producer at NMG Network (nmgnetwork.com), a former lecturer at the Academy for Creative Media, Manoa and West Oahu. He also serves as the Executive Director for the `Ohina Short Film Showcase, ohina.org, that is designed to help local filmmakers promote and screen their films in Hawaii.


Project: KLESARSKA ŠKOLA

Logline: This is a collaborative feature length documentary about Klesarska Škola, a fascinating and unique high school for stonemasons on Brač Island in Croatia. It is a sound experience about the process of stone from quarry to school to final product and examines what success means in Pučišća, Croatia and how Klesarska Škola aims to achieve it through their unique curriculum and practices.

REBECCA ISRAEL is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker committed to telling small, thoughtful stories that represent big ideas. Throughout her career, she’s focused on exploring what “success” means in different cultures and how these perspectives appear in education. She was Co-Director/Producer/Director of Photography on All American Kids, a non-fiction children’s series about multicultural America. Rebecca lived in Uganda filming for Vocativ, USAID, and several organizations. Her work has been featured on HBO, PBS, Sundance Channel, Comedy Central, MSNBC, and BRIC TV. She is a member/former co-leader of Filmshop and a member of IBEW Local 1212.


Project: PROJECT PERFECT

Logline: Project Perfect follows the progression of inclusive AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) and anti-racist ethnic studies in primary and secondary education in Massachusetts through students, educators, activists, and legislators. Through documenting community efforts and advocacy work, themes of accessibly to education and its impact on mental health are additionally explored.

Rodrigo Mariano (he/him) is a Filipino-American filmmaker and producer from Southeastern Connecticut. He graduated with a Business of Creative Enterprises BA from Emerson College in 2023, and is constantly finding ways to innovate in service of a more inclusive and diverse entertainment industry. The creative most recently interned at Proximity Media, a multimedia production company founded by Ryan Coogler, Zinzi Coogler, and Sev Ohanian. Previously, he has worked for Sony Pictures, Jason Bateman’s Aggregate Films, and the Asian American Film Lab in New York City. He currently lives in Los Angeles, CA. Rodrigo is the producer of Project Perfect. 

Katelyn Grace Reddy (she/they) is a multimedia creative and identifies as a queer Filipino-Mexican adoptee from Long Island, NY. She is a fourth-year Media Arts Production student at Emerson College and has experience as an artist, filmmaker, and curator. Recently, she co-directed a queer romantic-comedy short film called PLUS 1S, which premiered at the 2023 Roxbury International Film Festival. Katelyn is presently employed at the Boston Asian American Film Festival and Emerson Contemporary. Her goal is to create opportunities for underrepresented communities and intercultural experiences through multimedia in community and creative spaces. Katelyn is the director of Project Perfect.


Watch this space. Inquires please reach us at [email protected].