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Lena Waithe And Indeed Extend Rising Voices Partnership With $3 Million to BIPOC Filmmaker Initiative

Emmy Award-winning actor/producer Lena Waithe has teamed back up with Indeed to expand her Rising Voices initiative to amplify the creative works of BIPOC filmmakers.

Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions continued its partnership with the top job search site Indeed to extend Rising Voices Season 2. The program provides 10 filmmakers from underrepresented communities with $100K each to create a film.

For the second installment of Rising Voices, Indeed has tripled its investment with $3 million allocated toward season 2 and Rising Voices’ new Filmmaker in Residency program that expands on its commitment to highlight diverse stories and provide opportunities for marginalized talent.

“We are thrilled to be bringing back the Rising Voices program with our partners at Indeed,” said Waithe and Hillman Grad President Rishi Rajani.

“This year’s brilliant films and filmmakers proved that there are so many stories out there to tell and so many artists ready to tell them.”

Rising Voices Season 2 kicks off on Tuesday, with 10 lucky filmmakers selected by early February 2022. Each chosen filmmaker will receive a production budget of $100,000 to create a short film that doesn’t go past 15 minutes.

The filmmakers will receive mentorship from Waithe and other filmmakers, and their films will debut at a festival in 2022. In addition, they will be awarded a $10,000 writing fee and will have access to a production line crew.

“Creating these opportunities for underrepresented voices and kickstarting their careers is fundamental to our mission here at Hillman Grad,” Waithe said. “We are grateful to Indeed for their trust in us as we continue to grow this initiative. $100k per film. 10 films. Year 2 applications are open now!”

In the expanding partnership, $2 million from Indeed’s $3 million investment will also go toward the new production residency program. Dubbed the Production and Development Lab (“The Lab”), the 12-month non-exclusive residency program features three Rising Voices Season 1 filmmakers, Chinese American filmmaker Johnson Cheng, Haitian filmmaker Stacy Pascal Gaspard, and Dominican-born filmmaker Gabriela Ortega.

The three residency participants will work with Hillman Grad to develop ideas and create content for Indeed. Each filmmaker is awarded $100,000 for their role as a filmmaker-in-residence.

“Continuing this partnership with Lena Waithe and Hillman Grad will expand the creation of sustainable job opportunities for talented underrepresented creatives,” said Indeed’s LaFawn Davis, SVP at Indeed.

“We are excited to also provide mentorship throughout this process to further enhance the experience for the filmmakers and help prepare them for a career in the film industry.”

Season 1 of Rising Voices proved to be a success, with over 800 filmmakers applying for the opportunity to be a part of the program and more than 650 jobs created throughout the process.

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