Sundance Institute Announces 2021 Ignite x Adobe Fellows

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The Sundance Institute on Friday announced this year’s Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellows, a group of 10 emerging artists chosen from a global pool of over 1,600 applicants. The fellows, who range in age from 18-25, will receive a year of mentorship and support from Sundance and Adobe.

Their year kicks off next week with the Sundance Ignite x Adobe Filmmakers Lab, which runs July 26-30 on the online Sundance Collab platform. There, they’ll focus on advancing their projects and deepening their character development skills.

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“These artists are at the forefront of a rising generation of independent creatives, at a time when the world is reimagining ways to tell stories and reach audiences,” said Toby Brooks, senior manager of the program. “Such bold work is the foundation of very promising filmmakers, and I’m so excited to lift them up — and to see what comes next.”

Fellows will also receive a year-long membership to Adobe Creative Cloud and Sundance Collab and will be paired with a mentor. This year’s mentors, all Sundance Film Festival alumni, are Andrew Ahn (“Spa Night”), Carlos Lopez Estrada (“Blindspotting”), Jacqueline Olive (“Always in Season”), Nico Opper (“Try Harder!”), and Hannah Pearl Utt (“Before You Know It”).

“At Adobe, we believe in creativity for all. The world needs more diverse voices, because we all benefit when more perspectives are shared,” said John Travis, VP of brand marketing at Adobe. “Especially for the next generation, it’s critical they see diverse creators like themselves. We are proud to partner with the Sundance Institute to create greater opportunity for emerging filmmakers.”

Eighty fellows have gone through the program since its inception; 10 alumni have had their shorts selected to screen at the Sundance Film Festival.

Below find the complete list of 2021 Sundance Ignite x Adobe fellows, along with bios courtesy of Sundance.

Juanita Umana is a filmmaker from Bogota, Colombia based in Atlanta. Her films and documentaries explore the personal and subtle moments of family life with a focus on social commentary. When she’s not directing or writing her own films, she enjoys working as a camera assistant.

Justice Jamal Jones is a filmmaker and actor from Omaha, Nebraska, graduate of New York University, and founder of Rainbow Farm Productions. As a Black Queer alchemist, they intergrate Black Feminist Queer theory into their art, alongside Black diasporic spirituality. Their debut film “How To Raise A Black Boy” has won numerous awards, and they are developing their first feature, “Crossroads Blues.”

Dylan Gee is a half-Chinese, half-white filmmaker. In 2019, she graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in film and television production. Through film, she’s interested in making sense of the absurdities around us. Dylan currently works at Anonymous Content and formerly worked at Angry Hero Entertainment. She’s working on an upcoming short and writing her first feature length film. She’s also obsessed with chess.

Natalie Murao is a yonsei (fourth-generation Japanese Canadian) filmmaker from Vancouver. She received a BFA in film production from Simon Fraser University. Her work aims to expand the notion of Asian diasporic cinema by creating an “in-betweenness” of styles that embody the diaspora itself. Natalie’s films have played at TIFF Next Wave Film Festival, Palm Springs ShortFest, and more.

Diego Bragà is a non-binary artist which began their studies through dance. Them lock themselves in the office and dances frantically everyday. Diego received a lot of Love from their Ancestors, one of them dressed as a witch and chased them around the house. Diego tries to listen to the Universe, striving for a fluid, magical and beautiful future ahead.

Karina Dandashi is a Syrian-American Muslim writer, director, and actress based in Brooklyn. Her films aim to explore nuances in identity through family, religion, and culture in SWANA and Muslim communities in America. Karina is the 2021 Silver Sun Diverse Voices Filmmaker Fellow at the Jacob Burns Film Center. She is currently writing her first feature film.

Lindiwe Makgalemele is a Botswana-born South African filmmaker. She is a graduate of Harvard University currently completing a master’s degree at the University of Oxford. Her short film, “The Town,” has just begun its festival run. Lindiwe is interested in stories that celebrate the small, intimate, and spectacular moments that make up people’s lives, particularly those of Black and African women.

Maliyamungu Muhande is a New York-based Congolese filmmaker and artist. Her short film “Nine Days A Week,” a portrait of iconic street photographer Louis Mendes, was selected by the National Board 3of Review and screened at DOC NYC in 2020. Maliyamungu is currently creating an intimate and collaborative documentary with a group of students from Monticello, New York titled “Near Broadway.”

Marilyn Oliva is an independent filmmaker and recent Northwestern University graduate whose work explores Latinidad by making experimental and documentary films. Hailing from the Bay Area, she is immersed in and inspired by the art and stories of her diverse indigenous-Latinx culture. Marilyn currently resides in Chicago, helping nonprofits with their storytelling objectives.

Dubheasa Lanipekun is a South London based writer, director and producer working across film and theatre. She is a co-founder of failsafe, an arts collective focusing on the importance of embracing failure in the creative process and also aims to bring opportunities to other budding young creatives.

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