This program will support authentic and inclusive storytelling from up-and-coming Latina directors
Today, The Latinx House, the Sundance Institute’s Women at Sundance program, Netflix, and Shondaland announced three Latina directors who will participate in the inaugural Adelante Directors Fellowship, a groundbreaking program that supports up-and-coming directors’ professional development, creating a pipeline to uplift independent filmmakers as they grow in their careers and learn more about directing on a series.
The Latina directors chosen for this year’s Adelante Directors Fellowship are Cecilia Aldarondo, an award-winning director-producer from the Puerto Rican diaspora who works at the intersection of poetics and politics; Yulene Olaizola, a prolific film director originally from Mexico whose most recent film “Tragic Jungle” premiered in competition at Venice Film Festival 2020; and Nicole Mejia, born in Honduras and a recent graduate from the American Film Institute Directing program who creates stories about the resilience of the human spirit through drama, thriller and magical realism. For more information on the fellows, please click here.
There are more than 62 million Latinx people living in the United States, and yet Latinx community members are underrepresented, stereotyped, or degraded in popular culture and entertainment. This unique coalition will help to create more behind-the-camera opportunities for underrepresented voices in order to create more honest, inclusive, and authentic narratives. The Adelante Directors Fellowship, featuring Latina directors, further bridges communities across borders in an attempt to empower underrepresented creatives to control their own stories and create storylines that touch on the diversity of the Latinx experience.
The program will help guide the three fellowship recipients, who will have the opportunity to shadow an episode of a series, be provided a grant to support the artist for the duration of a six-week period while shadowing, and bespoke support from The Latinx House.
In July, the Adelante Fellowship finalists will convene for a two-day immersive orientation program in Los Angeles guided by various executives, directors, and showrunners in the industry to provide a meaningful and impactful experience. In addition to Shondaland, GloNation Studios will provide shadowing opportunities as part of the program on some of their productions.
“We are incredibly excited to be announcing our three Latina finalists alongside our wonderful partners at Women at Sundance, Netflix, and Shondaland, who all recognize the importance of bringing diverse talent to the forefront,” said Olga Segura, producer, activist, entrepreneur, and co-founder of The Latinx House. “As new research highlights the lack of diversity in media – this program seeks to mend the gap and create a more sustainable pipeline of talented directors and diverse voices. We look forward to working with Cecilia Aldarondo, Yulene Olaizola, and Nicole Mejia for the inaugural year of the Adelante Directors Fellowship.”
“Diverse communities often struggle to break into the industry. At Sundance, we recognize the need to support underrepresented voices,” said Adella Ladjevardi, Associate Director, Women at Sundance. “It is with great pleasure that we can work alongside our partners to help support our three Latina directors as they create pathways for inclusion.”
The Adelante Directors Fellows were selected by a distinguished jury of four noteworthy directors, producers, and showrunners in the entertainment industry: Leopoldo Gout, film director, producer, and author ( AMERICAN JESUS, MOLLY’S GAME); Christine Dávila, Head of Development and Production for Ojalá; Jay Van Hoy, producer (THE WITCH, THE LIGHTHOUSE) and Francesca Gregorini, screenwriter, director, and producer (THE TRUTH ABOUT EMANUEL, KILLING EVE).
“We hope that through innovative mentorship and professional support, The Adelante Fellowship can help amplify these extraordinary directors and their pursuit to bring more Latinx experiences to the screen,” said Bela Bajaria, Head of Global TV, Netflix.
“The fellowship is critical to ensuring that our industry continues to open doors and create opportunities for diverse talent who have been historically underrepresented,” said Tom Verica, Head of Creative Production, Shondaland.
“I am so proud of the work my sisters at The Latinx House have been spearheading,” said Gloria Calderón Kellett, award-winning showrunner, producer, writer, director and actress. “It is in line with the mission of my production company, GloNation Studios, and I’m thrilled that we will have a deserving Latina director on our ‘With Love’ stage this year ready to thrive and grow.”
ABOUT THE LATINX HOUSE
The Latinx House is a gathering place for people who appreciate and support the Latinx community and who celebrate Latinx excellence in film and entertainment. It is also a space to discuss pressing societal issues and the content creation related to these stories. It provides engagement, activation and community-building opportunities. The Latinx House was founded by social entrepreneur and activist Mónica Ramírez, filmmaker and activist Alexandra Martinez Kondracke, and producer and entrepreneur Olga Segura. For more information, please visit www.thelatinxhouse.org.
ABOUT WOMEN AT SUNDANCE
The Sundance Institute has offered unprecedented support to women artists since our earliest labs and Festivals. In 2012, we launched our dedicated Women at Sundance program to foster gender equity in media. In partnership with Women in Film in Los Angeles, we commissioned groundbreaking research with the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to determine the barriers and opportunities for women artists. Guided by these findings, Women at Sundance supports filmmakers from historically underrepresented communities — through yearlong programs including the Momentum and Women at Sundance Adobe Fellowships — to cultivate career sustainability, build community, and strengthen the artist pipeline. We also partner with WIF Los Angeles on the annual Financing and Strategy Intensive, offering workshops on film financing and pitching, and activate systemic change through ReFrame, a nonprofit partnership that mitigates bias during the creative and hiring processes in the film and media industries.
THE SUNDANCE INSTITUTE
As a champion and curator of independent stories, the Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists across storytelling media to create and thrive. Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. Sundance Collab, a digital community platform, brings a global cohort of working artists together to learn from each other and Sundance Advisors and connect in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported and showcased such projects as Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), CODA, Flee, Passing, Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola, On the Record, Boys State, The Farewell, Honeyland, One Child Nation, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Fruitvale Station, City So Real, Top of the Lake, Between the World & Me, Wild Goose Dreams and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Netflix is the world’s leading streaming entertainment service with 222 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries, feature films and mobile games across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.
Shondaland is the global media company founded by award-winning writer and producer Shonda Rhimes. The company fearlessly entertains through storytelling with content for film, streaming, audio, digital and editorial as well as brand partnerships, merchandise and experiences. Shondaland has an exclusive partnership with Netflix where it produces streaming content for the media company, including record-breaking series “Bridgerton,” ”Inventing Anna,” “Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker,” and the highly anticipated upcoming Bridgerton spinoff series “Untitled Shonda Rhimes Queen Charlotte Project”. In 2017, Shondaland launched the editorial website Shondaland.com followed by the creation of Shondaland Audio in 2019. Shondaland was launched in 2005 with the groundbreaking series “Grey’s Anatomy.”
ABOUT GLONATION STUDIOS
GloNation Studios was founded by award-winning showrunner, producer, writer, director and actress, Gloria Calderón Kellett with a mission to create quality programming for underrepresented communities. Its trailblazing programming started with the award winning and critically acclaimed sitcom “One Day At A Time” on Netflix and PopTV. Now housed at Amazon Studios, Glonation has released the critically acclaimed romantic comedy series, “With Love” currently shooting its second season. Additionally, Glonation is producing “The Horror of Dolores Roach” in collaboration with Spotify, Blumhouse and Gimlet Media which is currently shooting. Upcoming projects in development include the half-hour adult animation musical series “Glowing Up”, and the half-hour rom com “Arranged” which is being co-written with SNL alum Taran Killam for FreeVee. In the feature space, Glonation has the teen comedy “We Were there, Too” which Kellett has written with Natasha Rothwell for HBOMax.