Proof Of Concept Accelerator Reveals 11 Selected Projects In Its Inaugural Year

Academy Award-winner Cate Blanchett, Emmy-nominated producer Coco Francini of Dirty Films, and Dr. Stacy L. Smith, founder of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, announced the 11 recipients of their Proof of Concept Accelerator program, supported by the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity.

“We have been astonished by the artistry of all 1,200 filmmakers who applied to Proof of Concept, which proves that there are so many voices out there who deserve to find their audience. Our final selection represents filmmakers who we felt had the experience and vision to take their careers to the next level and make creative and compelling film and television that may transform the landscape of storytelling. We are grateful to the applicants, our incredible selection committee, and the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity for their unwavering support and guidance as we take another step towards creating an ecosystem that supports inclusion of gender marginalized directors at the highest levels of the entertainment business,” said, Blanchett, Francini, and Smith.

The participants in the program will receive $50,000 to support the creation of a short film that will serve as a “proof of concept” for a larger scale project. In addition to the funding, the participants will be mentored by industry experts and their films will be screened at a showcase.

Originally the program was to include 8 filmmakers, but with the support of the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity, it has been expanded to include 3 filmmakers of documentary projects. The addition of this cohort of documentary filmmakers will widen the aperture of the inaugural program to support a total of 11 emerging directors.

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Proof of Concept is designed to address long standing gaps in the inclusion of women, trans, and nonbinary people in film. According to the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s most recent report, 6% of directors across 1,600 top-grossing movies were women and less than one-third of all speaking characters on screen in those movies were girls, women, trans or non-binary people.

The participants were selected from more than 1,200 applicants to the program, which was launched in December 2023. The selection committee included Chloé Zhao, Emma Corrin, Eva Longoria, Greta Gerwig, Jane Campion, Janicza Bravo, Lily Gladstone, Lilly Wachowski, Cate Blanchett, Coco Francini, and Dr. Stacy L. Smith.

The 11 filmmakers selected are featured below, beginning with the 8 narrative Proof of Concept recipients:

Courtney E. Hoffman
Sisters of Scott County
When a foreclosure notice threatens their family farm, Cherry Mary and her redheaded sisters will have to pull off the biggest moonshine heist in history to save it. Inspired by 1970s films like SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT, this action-packed female trucker movie is about family, legacy and destiny.

Ellie Foumbi
Raw Sun
An African nanny’s last day with the Texan family she’s been living with for over a decade is trickier than expected.

Gabriela Garcia Medina
A teen girl with muscular dystrophy must rally a group of frenemies to pull off an impossible heist to save their Miami neighborhood from a predatory real estate tycoon.

Laura Moss
Over and Over
In an age of climate anxiety, a young historian starts to suspect they may be humanity’s savior after experiencing recurring nightmares and sudden hallucinations. A film about the beginnings that come from endings, what things can be built and imagined, even in harrowing times.

Mahnoor Euceph
Brown Girl
In 2007, seventh grader, Sara, desperately wants to be part of the popular trio that rules her affluent Palos Verdes middle school. When her birthday wish goes awry and she wakes up white instead of Pakistani, Sara must decide if her newfound privilege is worth losing her true identity.

Nate Gualtieri
A precocious college student is taken under the wing of an accomplished professor only to realize his mentorship comes with an ulterior sexual motive.

Nicole Taylor-Roberts
During a recording session, Ella Fitzgerald is transported back to her tumultuous adolescence by the haunting notes of a Gershwin song, revealing the life-altering bet that launched her into stardom and her pursuit to be loved.

Rebecca Halfon
When the feuding co-stars of a hit TV show find themselves flung back in time to the Salem Witch Trials, rewriting history is the only way they’ll survive.

The 3 Nonfiction Proof of Concept recipients are:

Barbara Jean Hall
Faithful Defenders
Faithful Defenders reclaims the “good news” about Christianity and reproductive rights.
Gilly Barnes

The Search For Magic
The Search For Magic follows celebrated magician Michael Carbonaro on a quest to recapture his sense of wonder; by exploring the physics and metaphysics of the illusions he performs.

Yoo Lee
A Man Who Takes Pictures Of Flowers
One afternoon, Jung Myung Kim, a photographer who dedicated over 40 years to capturing wildflowers in Korea, shares his story of pursuing his passion for photographing flowers, while discovering true happiness in return, even as he battles cancer.

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