Leading job site Indeed announced today that it is extending its partnership with Emmy winner Lena Waithe (Master of None, Twenties) and her company Hillman Grad productions to further invest in BIPOC filmmakers via the Rising Voices initiative. Heading into the second cycle of the program established in February, it will triple its original investment, pouring $3 million into another filmmaker residency program, as part of its commitment to bolstering underrepresented talent and their stories.
As they gear up for Rising Voices Season 2, Indeed and Hillman Grad are once again calling for filmmakers to share stories about the meaning of work and how connecting all people to opportunity leads to better lives. Each of the 10 filmmakers selected will be given a production budget of $100,000 to create a short film of less than 15 minutes in length, which will debut on the festival circuit next year. Their journey with Rising Voices will see them receive access to a crew and a $10,000 writing fee, as well as mentorship from Waithe and other filmmakers.
Indeed and Hillman Grad also announced today the launch of their Production and Development Lab, a 12-month non-exclusive residency program, which will see filmmakers Johnson Cheng, Stacy Pascal Gaspard and Gabriela Ortega (from the first cycle of the Rising Voices initiative) develop ideas and create content for Indeed. Indeed has allocated a $2 million production budget to the Lab, with Hillman Grad looking to provide production support. Cheng, Gaspard and Ortega will each be awarded $100,000 for their role as filmmaker in residence.
“We are thrilled to be bringing back the Rising Voices program with our partners at Indeed. 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,” said Waithe and Hillman Grad President, Rishi Rajani. “Creating these opportunities for underrepresented voices and kickstarting their careers is fundamental to our mission here at Hillman Grad. 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!”
“The incredible work of the filmmakers in Season 1 of Rising Voices demonstrated our belief that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. The proof is in the amazing work the filmmakers have gone on to do after the premiere at the Tribeca Festival,” said Indeed CEO Chris Hyams. “I am ecstatic to expand our partnership with Lena Waithe and Hillman Grad Productions to have a production and development lab for some of the talent we discovered last year and help another class of filmmakers be seen, heard and financed. I am excited to see how the new voices and perspectives will showcase the meaning of work to the millions of people who rely on Indeed to find their next job.”
“Continuing this partnership with Lena Waithe and Hillman Grad will expand the creation of sustainable job opportunities for talented underrepresented creatives,” added Indeed SVP LaFawn Davis. “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.”
The first season of Rising Voices resulted in the creation of more than 650 jobs, with the finalists’ films debuting in June. Those interested in participating in Season 2 can submit their screenplays to the initiative’s website now through January 4, with filmmakers to be selected by early February.