2023 Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellows Announced

Artist-Development Program Supporting Emerging Filmmakers Ages 18 to 25

LOS ANGELES, CA, June 26, 2023 The nonprofit Sundance Institute announced today the 2023 Sundance Ignite x Adobe fellows cohort. The fellowship is a year-round artist program supporting fiction and documentary emerging filmmakers ages 18 to 25 by providing artistic and professional development throughout the stages of their creative process. The 10 fellows were chosen from a global pool of more than 1,000 entrants to the annual Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellowship Application, in which filmmakers submitted a collection of work that reflected their artistic vision and unique voice. Sundance Institute and Adobe share a mission of identifying and uplifting underrepresented voices and talent from the next generation of filmmakers while contributing to fostering new audiences for independent storytelling.

This year’s Ignite Lab runs for a week through June 30 and is being held for the first time at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA, introducing filmmakers to the many global opportunities that the program offers. During the full year, fellows work with Sundance Institute alumni mentors, develop relationships within the Ignite community through workshops and ongoing events, attend the Sundance Film Festival, are eligible for internships, and are offered additional creative and professional development opportunities. The fellows also receive an artist grant supported by Adobe and Arison Arts Foundation and a one-year complimentary membership to Adobe Creative Cloud to create, share their stories, and further refine their craft. 

“Being able to discover and support emerging filmmakers while offering a space for creative risk-taking, and to do so in particular with a new generation of artists, is truly enriching,” said Toby Brooks, Assistant Director, Sundance Ignite. “The 2023 Sundance Ignite x Adobe fellows reflect the rising voices that are crucial to inspiring independent storytelling. We’re especially honored to be able to do this work with our founding supporters Adobe and thrilled to be at our new location, MASS MoCA.”

Since the Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellowship began in 2015, 100 fellows have participated in the program, and 10 alumni have had short films selected to screen as part of the Sundance Film Festival program, with several projects winning jury awards. Recent Ignite alumni include Charlotte Regan (her debut feature Scrapper premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and will open the upcoming 2023 Sundance Film Festival: London), Sean Wang (2023 Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Labs fellow), Lance Oppenheim, Terrence Daye, Aurora Brachman, and Olivia Peace. Past Sundance Ignite x Adobe fellows have gone on to win prizes at SXSW and Tribeca Festival, as well as the Short Film Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Former participants have also been part of the Sundance Institute artist programs, including Directors, Screenwriters, and Episodic Labs, and received funding from the Documentary Fund.

For advice from Sundance Institute advisors and Ignite resources, check out the various offerings on Sundance Collab, Sundance Institute’s digital space for artists to learn from experts and build a global filmmaking community.

The fellows selected for the 2023 Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellowship are:

Rafaël Beauchamp is a French Canadian filmmaker interested in enhancing modern societal issues through the lens of genre cinema. His films have been screened internationally at festivals such as SXSW, Palm Springs, Leiden Shorts, and Inside Out.

Omi Zola Gupta is a writer and director living and working between the UK and India. His debut short film, Birdsong, which he co-directed and produced, premiered at SXSW 2023 and has been acquired by The Guardian. He is an incoming student at NYU Tisch’s MFA Film program.

Dylan Habil is a Kenyan filmmaker, documentary photographer, cultural historian, and a media strategist. He cuts his teeth on telling authentic and compelling stories. His resume includes his work as a conservation storyteller, a role that sees him document the conservancy’s conservation strides for online awareness and fundraising efforts.

Xiaoxuan Jiang is a filmmaker from Inner Mongolia, China. She graduated with a BFA in Film from NYU. Her latest short, Graveyard of Horses (2022), was selected for SXSW 2023, Pöff Shorts, and won the NETPAC Award at Busan International Short Film Festival.

Alvina Joshi is an Indian filmmaker and editor. She works primarily in nonfiction and is interested in exploring the confluence of lives, spaces, time, and memory in the context of unequal societies.

Milla Lewis is a UK filmmaker whose work focuses on the intersection of history, memory, and myth. An award-winning photography graduate, she attended the Łódź National Film School in 2021 on a Directing Mentorship.

Andrés Lira is a Mexican American filmmaker and artist of Native descent. His work revolves around amplifying the underrepresented stories of Latino and Indigenous communities through bold storytelling.

Dallin Mello is a New York–based cinematographer and film producer. He pursues stories that explore the resilience of communities through their grief and healing. Notably collaborating with the LGBTQ+ community, he graduated from UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism in 2022, honing his passion for nonfiction storytelling.

Leonardo Pirondi is a Brazilian filmmaker based in California. His 16mm films explore the infinite abyss between the multiple derived versions of reality through documentary, experimental, and narrative modes — which have been screened at IFFR, True/False, BFI, and others.

Chloe Xtina is a filmmaker from Oakland, now based in Brooklyn. She tells stories about psychosexual gazes, desire, and California’s climate crisis through a magical realist lens. She completed a BA in playwriting from UCLA.

Adobe believes in the power of creativity and is committed to creating opportunities for emerging artists so they can share their talents and perspectives with the world. In addition to being a founding supporter of Sundance Ignite, Adobe is a founding partner of the Sundance Women to Watch x Adobe Fellowship; a yearlong artist-development fellowship championing underrepresented voices. Adobe is also a Presenting Sponsor of the Sundance Film Festival and supporter of Sundance Collab, a global digital space for learning and community.

Sundance Ignite is supported by Adobe and Arison Arts Foundation.

Sundance Institute

As a champion and curator of independent stories, the nonprofit Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists across storytelling media to create and thrive. Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the Institute’s signature labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. Sundance Collab, a digital community platform, brings a global cohort of working artists together to learn from each other and Sundance advisors and connect in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Through the Sundance Institute artist programs we have supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Big Sick, Bottle Rocket, Boys Don’t Cry, Boys State, Call Me By Your Name, Clemency, CODA, Drunktown’s Finest, The Farewell, Fire of Love, Flee, The Forty-Year-Old Version, Fruitvale Station, Get Out, Half Nelson, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Hereditary, Honeyland, The Infiltrators, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Little Woods, Love & Basketball, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Mudbound, Nanny, Navalny, O.J.: Made in America, One Child Nation, Pariah, Raising Victor Vargas, Requiem for a Dream, Reservoir Dogs, RBG, Sin Nombre, Sorry to Bother You, The Souvenir, Strong Island, Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), Swiss Army Man, Sydney, A Thousand and One, Top of the Lake, Walking and Talking, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, and Zola. Through year-round artist programs, the Institute also nurtured the early careers of artists such as Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Gregg Araki, Darren Aronofsky, Lisa Cholodenko, Ryan Coogler, Nia DaCosta, The Daniels, David Gordon Green, Miranda July, James Mangold, John Cameron Mitchell, Kimberly Peirce, Boots Riley, Ira Sachs, Quentin Tarantino, Taika Waititi, Lulu Wang, and Chloé Zhao. Support Sundance Institute in our commitment to uplifting bold artists and powerful storytelling globally by making a donation at sundance.org/donate. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.


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MEDIA CONTACTS: Tiffany Duersch, tiffany_duersch@sundance.org; Sylvy Fernàndez, sylvy_fernandez@sundance.org 

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