Rising VoicesTalent is universal. Opportunity is not.


Indeed’s mission is to help people get jobs. We believe that talent is universal, but opportunity is not.

Rising Voices, in collaboration with Lena Waithe, Hillman Grad Productions, Ventureland and 271 Films aims to discover, invest in and amplify stories created by BIPOC filmmakers & storytellers.

Season 2 of Rising Voices will be premiering at the 2022 Tribeca Festival.

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

Hillman Grad Sponsor

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. Calmatic’s video collaborations span some of music’s most influential artists, including Donald Glover, Kendrick Lamar, Lizzo, Anderson. Paak, and more. Perhaps his most well-known project to date is Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road (Official Video) ft. Billy Ray Cyrus”, which won the Grand Prix Entertainment Lions for Music at the 2020/2021 Cannes Lions as well as a VMA for Best Director. The video currently has over 845 million views. In the Spring of 2020, Ad Age named Calmatic the “Director of the Year.” He is currently in post-production on his feature directorial debut– the remake of the 90s cult classic film “House Party” for New Line.

Destin Daniel Cretton

Mentor, Juror

Originally from Hawaii, Destin Daniel Cretton’s work seeks to empathize with his characters rather than judge them. In college, he wrote the short film Short Term 12 that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Based on its success, he adapted Short Term 12 into a feature-length film of the same name that also garnered critical acclaim. The film has had a second life that’s been unprecedented in its influence, helping launch careers of esteemed actors Brie Larson, LaKeith Stanfield, Rami Malek, and Kaitlyn Dever. In the following years, Destin adapted and directed The Glass Castle and Just Mercy, based on the NY Times best-selling memoir by civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson. Off of the strength of his features, Destin was brought on to direct Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the first Marvel film with a lead of Asian-descent. The film was released in Fall 2021 and has since made history as the first pandemic-era film to pass $200 million at the US box office.

Melina Matsoukas

Mentor, Juror

Melina Matsoukas is a filmmaker whose brand of provocation comes from a unique, inherently multicultural point of view focused on diverse storytelling. Matsoukas made her powerful feature directorial debut with QUEEN & SLIM, which she also produced. Matsoukas began her television career as an executive producer and director of the critically acclaimed HBO series INSECURE. She went on to direct MASTER OF NONE’s Emmy-winning “Thanksgiving” episode. She has also brought her singular vision to music videos for Beyoncé, Jay-Z,Rihanna, Snoop Dogg, Lady Gaga and for global campaigns of major commercial clients such as Nike, Beats, and Calvin Klein.

Justin Chon

Mentor, Juror

Justin Chon is an American writer, director, and actor. As a filmmaker, Chon burst onto the scene with his film Gook, which he wrote, directed, and starred in. The film won the NEXT Audience Award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, and Chon was awarded the Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award at the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards. His 2019 film, Ms. Purple, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition and was released by Oscilloscope Laboratories. As an actor, Chon is known worldwide for playing Eric Yorkie in all five installments of the Twilight franchise. Most recently, Chon wrote, directed, produced Blue Bayou, in which he also stars opposite Alicia Vikander. The film premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim.

Rayka Zehtabchi

Mentor, Juror

Rayka Zehtabchi is an Oscar-winning Iranian-American director based in Los Angeles, whose passion lies in telling human stories that bring awareness and action to little-known social causes. Her Oscar-winning short, Period. End of Sentence. is about a group of village women in Northern India who start a sanitary pad-making business in an effort to improve feminine hygiene and de-stigmatize menstruation. Rayka has also directed multiple branded documentary shorts, including A Woman’s Place, which was an official selection of Tribeca X and most recently won Gold at the 2021 Effie Awards in the Positive Change – Social Good: Brands category. Outside of branded work, Rayka’s films (SHn(y)o͞of), Just Hold On, and Are You Still There? have all received Vimeo Staff Picks and have screened and won Jury awards at prestigious festivals such as SXSW and AFI Fest.

LaFawn Davis

Indeed Sponsor

LaFawn Davis is SVP 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.


The right opportunity can change the trajectory of a career.

Indeed presents Rising Voices, an initiative set out to uncover, invest in and empower the next-generation of BIPOC filmmakers.

Watch the Rising Voices Story