23 FEB 2021

NETFLIX AND FILM INDEPENDENT TO FUND SHORT FILMS BY BLACK FILMMAKERS

The companies will develop a program to showcase the work of five independent creatives who received a $10,000 grant after being selected from a pitches submitted to the Netflix Club.

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Netflix Film Club announced a partnership with Film Independent to launch and develop a program that promotes short films created by Black filmmakers and directors. Last year, Netflix Film Club launched as a YouTube channel offering behind-the-scenes videos, celebrity interviews, and more, for cinephiles new and old,” the platform said. As the channel’s community grew, so did its ambition to highlight underrepresented voices.

The idea for the launch derived from the collaborative mentorship, workshop, film creation, and networking event work the two companies did together through an introduction by Independent Film to the project, Project Inlove. In July of 2020, 45 nominated fellows from Film Independent’s Artist Development Labs and Project Involve program were invited to submit pitches for the Netflix Film Club under the banner of “Vision 2020,” out of which five were selected and received a $10,000 grant.

The program will help showcase the work of the five independent Black filmmakers, which include Sheldon Candis (“Queen Bess”), Jarrett Lee Conaway (“My Brother Jesus”), Ellie Foumbi (“Home”), Nijla Mu’min (“Black Prom”), and Frederick Thornton (“Injustice System”). All five will be available to watch on both Netflix Film Club and Strong Black Lead to help mark Black History Month.

After months of writing, directing, and editing, the films begin rolling out today, starting with “Black Prom” by Nijla Mu’min, with a new short premiering every day this week. Among them: a biopic about Black aviatrix Bessie Coleman, a documentary on a mother’s journey with her son getting Covid in prison, a horror story about a family’s move to the suburbs, a drama following a Black teenager’s unconventional prom night, and a documentary hybrid examining the complicated relationship between artist and muse.