Rising Voices

Uncovering the next generation of BIPOC filmmakers.

Meet the Advisory Panel

Each filmmaker selected to be in the program will have access to mentorship and advice from the Rising Voices advisory panel.

Lena Waithe

Mentor, Juror

Emmy Award-winning writer, creator and actor, Lena Waithe, has established herself as talent to be reckoned with, Waithe and her production company, Hillman Grad Productions, have become champions of spotlighting unrepresented voices, and in a short time, they have produced groundbreaking pieces of art such as the critically acclaimed debut film from Radha Blank, THE FORTY YEAR OLD VERSION, For her success and massive efforts to elevate marginalized POC and LGBTQIA storytellers, Waithe was presented with Variety’s 2020 “Creative Impact in Producing Award” and The Hollywood Reporter’s 2020 “TV Producer of the Year,” making her the youngest to receive the honor.

Rishi Rajani


Born in London, raised in upstate New York and Portland, Oregon, Rishi Rajani discovered his love for producing while attending NYU. He went on to work for 20th Century Fox, UTA, Paradigm, and Studio 8 where he rose through the ranks to become a Development Executive working in both film and TV. Rishi joined Hllman Grad productions in June 2018 and currently serves as president of production and development. Since then he has been an Executive Producer on the shows Boomerang and Twenties, and continues to manage Hillman Grad’s ever-growing slate of films, TV shows, commercials, and music videos. As a passionate advocate for diversity in storytelling, he could not be more excited to be working for a company that continues to provide opportunities, break down barriers, and push the culture forward.


Mentor, Juror

Raised in South Central, Los Angeles, Calmatic is a self-taught filmmaker, who discovered his passion for telling stories at a young age. As a director, he strives to humanize others’ unique experiences without infusing them with negative stereotypes. He seeks to stretch the limits of his viewers’ reality while highlighting the beauty in the mundane. His creative curiosity has allowed him to solidify a place for himself in a constantly evolving industry.

Paul Hunter

Mentor, Juror

Through collaborations with the world’s most iconic artists, musicians, and global brands, Paul Hunter has established himself as one of the most creative and diversified directors working today. The co-founder of creative studio PRETTYBIRD, his award-winning work transcends mediums and genres as he pursues his passion for never-before-told, yet relatable human stories.

Melina Matsoukas

Mentor, Juror

Matsoukas began her career shaping powerful brand stories with some of the biggest names in entertainment. She has previously directed projects for Jay Z, Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, Solange, Pharrell and Rihanna, for whom she directed the MTV Best Video Award-winning visuals for “We Found Love.” Matsoukas has also become a frequent creative brain trust for Beyoncé, dating back to 2011, when she was asked to come on as the creative director for the singer’s album, 4. Melina reprised her role as visual architect for the pop icon’s 2016 surprise album, Lemonade, directing the groundbreaking “Formation” music video. The video became a powerful rallying message for black people as they faced a divided country in the throes of tumult.

LaFawn Davis

Indeed Sponsor

LaFawn Davis is Group Vice President of Environmental, Social & Governance at Indeed. She leads teams that focus on Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, Product Inclusion and Accessibility, Social Impact, AI Ethics and Environmental Sustainability. Indeed’s long-term ESG commitments are to close the opportunity gap, use technology to break down bias and barriers, reduce and prevent algorithmic bias and conserve the environment. LaFawn has spent more than 15 years serving in leadership roles at innovative global technology companies like Google, Yahoo, PayPal and Twilio. Leveraging this experience, she brings deep expertise for transforming companies through driving results, creating a culture of psychological safety and belonging, and building high-performing teams to her role at Indeed.

Chris Hyams

Indeed Sponsor

Chris Hyams is CEO of Indeed, leading the company’s mission to help people get jobs. He has worked in various tech companies in Austin, TX for 25 years. Chris joined Indeed in 2010 as VP of Product, responsible for technology strategy and innovation, and was appointed CEO in 2019. Before Indeed, Chris was Founder of B-Side Entertainment, a technology platform for the discovery and distribution of independent films. After 10 years of helping people get jobs with Indeed, Chris believes that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. He is committed to building technology to help level the playing field.

How It Works:

Call for Submissions

Starting on 2/16, you’ll be able to submit a short application consisting of a script and a few samples of creative work for consideration. A panel of judges will award 10 filmmakers with a budget of $100K each to bring their stories of work to life.

Review and Invest in Creators

Selected filmmakers will have six weeks to produce and submit their final films. During this time, each filmmaker will have access to mentorship and advice from the Rising Voices advisory panel, comprised of BIPOC creators from the film industry.

Filmmaker in Residence

The top submissions will be considered to run in high-visibility TV ad media placements high-visibility media placements, and Indeed will invite a select few creatives to become Filmmakers In Residence to work with a recurring budget to create additional content with Indeed.