Aspiring filmmakers have an opportunity to be mentored by actress, producer, and screenwriter Lena Waithe.
The Chi and Boomerang‘s executive producer has partnered with AT&T for their 2019 Filmmaker Mentorship Program.
AT&T’s mentorship “seeks to discover, incubate and empower emerging filmmakers from underrepresented communities to evolve their work, grow their audience and provide national distribution on platforms such as DIRECTV and DIRECTV Now.”
This will mark the third year for the annual program and the third year that the program has united with Fullscreen as its lead agency partner.
Five developing screenwriters, chosen by Waithe herself, will be offered the opportunity to have their short film fully financed and produced by AT&T.
The five screenwriters will be chosen from 10 participants who represent an inclusive mixture of identities including female, LGBTQ+, communities of color, and other marginalized groups.
This year’s theme for the short films will be “growing pains,” and will serve as a unifying motif for the movies while also allowing each individual participant to tell their own unique story.
This year is the first time that the program has incorporated a theme to unite their mentees short films.
AT&T, Waithe and her producing partner Rishi Rajani, and Fullscreen will work with each mentee in the program “from identifying talent to working alongside and advising during production as they create and launch their signature short films.”
The participants will have the opportunity to receive counseling regarding how to pitch, manage budgets, direct, and more, from industry advisors, agents, casting directors, and studio and production company executives.
“What I consider activism, and what I consider my craft, are one and the same. Telling Black stories, telling queer stories, working with up-and-coming talent – that’s my way of dismantling the homogony of Hollywood,” said Waithe in the release. “And mentorship is essential for underrepresented creatives. Their stories are necessary for our culture and our collective growth. I’m proud to have a hand in ushering in a new generation of storytellers through this program. AT&T is walking the walk, and that in itself is special for a global brand with a massive audience.”
“The Mentorship Program embodies AT&T’s companywide mission – to inspire human progress through the power of communication and entertainment,” added AT&T’s Valerie Vargas, SVP, Advertising and Creative Services. “The program creates both an openness to what is traditionally an exclusive industry, as well as a microphone for those creative voices telling beautiful, thoughtful and important stories that need to be amplified.”
Learn more about the mentorship program at AT&T here.