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Entertainment: Sundance Institute Launches New Fellowship for Transgender Storytellers of the Global Majority

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The Sundance Institute has unveiled a new intensive focused on transgender filmmakers of color to add to its suite of development programs for historically excluded artists.

The inaugural Trans Possibilities Intensive will take place virtually over three days. Designed and led by Sundance’s Outreach & Inclusion and Indigenous Programs coordinator Moi Santos, the Intensive kicks off this morning at 10 a.m. PT with “Beyond the Tipping Point,” an online conversation – free and open to the public – between filmmakers Sam Feder (Disclosure) and Tourmaline (Happy Birthday, Marsha!) and moderated by Santos.

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An inaugural cohort of six fellows, nominated by the Institute’s allied organizations and peers in the Sundance Artist Programs, will participate in the Intensive through group exercises and workshops to hone their skills, foster communion, challenge obstacles that face transgender artists of color and advance their specific projects, guided by creative advisors who include Feder, Tourmaline, Yance Ford (Strong Island) and Ro Haber (FX’s Pride).

“This Intensive is the result of ongoing and evolving priorities through Sundance’s Outreach and Inclusion work and a year of thoughtful and intentional planning, heartfelt commitment and a belief in supporting transgender storytellers of color and their stories,” Santos said in a statement. “We are honored that the Fellows have chosen to share their artistic journeys with us and look forward to continuing our relationship and building community together for years to come.”

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Prior to the Intensive, Santos worked with GLAAD to develop transgender awareness training for Sundance in order to advance inclusion for its transgender and non-binary artists, employees, volunteers and audiences (both physical and virtual) and in its programming. The Institute also teamed with GLAAD and Disclosure‘s filmmakers to create a toolkit for entertainment executives and creators. Designed as a companion to the documentary and meant to complement professional DEI training on trans representation, the toolkit will be available on Disclosure‘s website starting next month.

Read more about the 2021 Trans Possibilities Intensive Fellows and their projects below.

Ava Davis

Also known as the Duchess of Grant Park, the Atlanta-based trans actress, producer and filmmaker is an advocate for increasing trans and queer representation, especially that of Black and other minorities.

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The Waltz: Career-driven Claire has fully transitioned into a woman and finds an unlikely partner who can help her realize her lifelong dream of learning to waltz, but both find themselves unsure of the other’s feelings.

StormMiguel Florez

The trans, queer Xicane filmmaker, actor and lifelong musician directed and produced the documentary The Whistle and co-produced and edited the doc MAJOR!. He lives with his partner and their three Chihuahuas in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the Albuquerque native has lived for the past 25 years.

Welcome To Roswell: A middle-aged trans filmmaker returns to his father’s birthplace of Roswell, N.M., to document coming out to his family. His partner’s obsession with the 1947 UFO crash takes him and his film crew in a very different direction.

River Gallo

The GLAAD Award-winning Salvadoran-American filmmaker, actor, writer, model and intersex activist is the creator and star of the short film Ponyboi (Tribeca 2019) which was the first narrative film created by and starring an out intersex person in cinema history. Currently developing Ponyboi into a feature film produced by Ezra Miller, they are represented by CAA and Management 360.

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Ponyboi: When a high-profile john expires coitus interruptus, intersex sex worker Ponyboi suddenly finds himself in a fever dream on the run from the New Jersey mob on Valentine’s Day.

Carol Grant

Between writing screenplays about queer identities and bodies, the screenwriter and Nicholl quarterfinalist, who hails from the San Fernando Valley, writes for publications like Vice, Indiewire, and Little White Lies. Her stories come from both a trans and a neurodivergent perspective, discovering the thin boundaries between flesh and mind.

Eurydice V: In a decaying Earth, a troubled mercenary must smuggle a young, illegal clone that’s escaped from her creator through a dystopian Mexico to a sanctuary on a colonized moon.

Mitchell (MiSha) Owens

Born and raised just outside of the Navajo Nation, Owens has always wanted to tell stories that would resonate with audiences. “Whether it be raw, and gritty, or light-hearted and comical, I want my stories to remain authentically real by staying true to who I am as a TransFeminine individual,” says Owens in a statement.

The Boy from Across Town: After a late-night hookup, a small-town drag performer gets caught up in an old classmate’s involvement with the local drug cartel.

Savannah Ward

The Black trans/non-binary writer is currently an executive story editor on Freeform’s thriller drama Cruel Summer. In their spare time, Ward writes horror features because, as they say, “What is more horrific than being a Black, queer, trans person in America?”

Meta: Insecure about his masculinity, Black transgender teen Jake aims to be a star athlete and transfers schools to run on the boys cross country team. But when he discovers that most of his teammates are a pack of bloodthirsty, toxically masculine werewolves, Jake must define what it means to be a man for himself.

'Thank you for seeing me': For trans patients, inclusive health care is essential – and can bring joy. .
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