Rising VoicesTalent is universal. Opportunity is not.


Indeed’s mission is simple: to help people get jobs. We know that talent is universal. However, opportunity is not.

That’s why we created Rising Voices. In collaboration with Lena Waithe, Hillman Grad Productions, Ventureland, and 271 Films, this program aims to discover, invest in and amplify stories created by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) filmmakers and storytellers.

Season 2 of Rising Voices is here! After an amazing premiere at this year’s Tribeca Festival, all 10 films are now available for viewing. Watch now!

Meet the Filmmakers


David Fortune

David Fortune

“Born the eighth child of ten siblings, David was only privy to content viewed by his older siblings such as Malcolm X, Menace II Society, and Higher Learning. These stories would later sculpt his creative mind, as he gravitated to directing stories that focused on societal dramas while studying film at Morehouse College and Loyola Marymount University’s graduate program.

In 2019, David was selected as a participant for the Village Roadshow Emerging Talent Program to develop a documentary based on inner-city heroes and later accepted into the Viacom – ViewFinders Emerging Director Program where he shadow directed two episodes of 13 Reasons Why. In addition to these accolades, David finished as a finalist under The Wrap’s Shortlist for his film, Z – MAN, and named the winner of the Urbanworld Film Festival’s Young Creators Showcase, for his dramatic short, Laced.

In collaborating with local writers and producers, David continues to search for narratives that explore themes of love, compassion, and intimacy set in inner cities. It is his mission to shed a glimmer of light to communities hidden in darkness through the art of visual storytelling and filmmaking.

Deondray & Quincy

Deondray & Quincy


Artists, Activists, Deondray and Quincy LeNear Gossfield are the creators of the Emmy® Nominated streaming series, The Chadwick Journals (Amazon Prime), the GLAAD award-winning film anthology series, The DL Chronicles, and The DL Chronicles RETURNS. They are the producers and directors of the multi award-winning short film, Congo Cabaret about the LGBTQ+ presence and influence on the Harlem Renaissance.

As the first gay couple ever to appear on OWN’s, Black Love series, they were noted in 2020 by BET as one of the leading Black gay power couples. The married creative team has also developed and produced TV series such as Legendary (HBO Max), Sunday Best (BET), Kocktails with Khloé (FYI) with Khloé Kardashian, Face Off (Syfy), Randy Jackson’s America’s Best Dance Crew (MTV), The Sing Off (NBC), and Make Your Mark Shake It Up Dance Off (The Disney Channel).

Their upcoming screen adaptation of Richard Bruce Nugent’s, Smoke, Lilies and Jade, featuring Alexandra Grey (Empire) and narrated by Emmy® Award-winner, Billy Porter (POSE) is slated for a 2021 release. They made history when they were married at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards during Macklemore’s performance of Same Love, featuring Madonna and Mary Lambert, officiated by Queen Latifah.

Shelly Yo

Shelly Yo

So Young Shelly Yo is a first-generation Korean-American director, screenwriter, editor and visual creative from Southern California. She holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University of New York and a B.A. from University of California San Diego. Her shorts have screened at renowned film festivals around the world. Her recent short MOONWALK WITH ME was a finalist for HBO’s APA Visionaries competition and was granted AT&T’s InspirASIAN Film Award (CAAM) and Best Student Film (Dead Center Film Festival).

Shelly is a recipient of SFFILM’s Sloan Filmmaker Fellowship, VC Media’s AWC Fellowship, a two-time finalist for Tribeca’s Through Her Lens Filmmaker Program and the Athena Screenwriting Lab. She is also a 2nd rounder for the Sundance Development Lab in 2020 and a finalist for the SFFILM Westridge Grant in 2020.

Shelly started her film career immersed in experimental films and video art under the teachings of Jean-Pierre Gorin and Laida Lertxundi. Since then, Shelly has worked in television and commercials alongside powerhouse female filmmakers such as Showrunners Charlotte Stoudt (Homeland, Fosse/Verdon, House of Cards), Megan Martin (Animal Kingdom) and award-winning Director Kim Gehrig (Apple, Nike, Honda).

Most of Shelly’s work involves surreal and magical elements, rooted in a deeply emotional core. Her drive to tell stories comes from her immigrant background—to ensure that the narratives of both her generation and that of her parents are told truthfully—as well as the injustices she witnesses in her community. Shelly is currently in development for a variety of projects, highlighting the stories of Asian Americans, immigrants, misfits and people living on the fringes of society.

Kantu Lentz

Kantú Lentz

Kantú Lentz is a Peruvian filmmaker who creates films that take place in alternate realities with magical realism elements.

She recently directed the award-winning short film “Jack and Jo Don’t Want to Die” starring Justin Kirk (“Weeds,” “Angels In America”) and Olivia Edward (“Better Things”) which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Lentz is an AFI DWW, Sony Television Diverse Directors Program & Viacom Viewfinder Emerging Directors Program alumni. Her script “Coche Bomba” was one of five projects selected by the Tribeca/Chanel ‘Through Her Lens’ fellowship in 2019.

Over the past 3 years, Lentz directed over 50 political ads for One Vote at a Time, which creates in-kind campaign videos for democratic candidates who believe in gun safety legislation. In branded content and commercials she has worked with such brands & clients as New Balance, TUMI, Ulta Beauty, Aveda, Verizon, LG, Refinery 29, Vice Media, and YouTube Originals.

Her comedic video “Rollercoaster Break-up” starring Moses Storm (“Sunnyside,” “Unfriended”) went viral and currently has eight million views and counting.

Kantu is slated to make her tv directing debut on the Dick Wolf series; Chicago: Fire, as part of this year’s NBC: Female-Forward program. She also has been commissioned to write and direct a comedic short film for Paul Feig’s: Powderkeg Fuse anthology series.

Lentz is currently developing the feature-length version of “Jack and Jo Don’t Want to Die”

Gabriela Ortega

Gabriela Ortega

Gabriela is a writer/director and actor born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She is a USC graduate and is currently based between Los Angeles and Santo Domingo.

She is an Alum of the Sundance Institute playwrights intensive, HBO’s Tomorrow’s Filmmakers Today and a semifinalist for the NBC Nosotros Monologue Slam and the WriteLA pilot competition.

As a writer and performer, Gabriela has toured her one-woman show, Las Garcia, across sold-out venues in Los Angeles, including the LATC, GoogleLA, USC, The Bootleg Theatre, and the Hollywood Fringe.

Her work in film seeks to deconstruct neocolonialism and build bridges through ancestral personal stories and alternative forms of documentation. Her first feature film, MORENITA, currently in post-production, is a finalist for the Sundance Institute 2021 documentary grant. The film deals with themes of displacement, womanhood and modern migration.

She is also developing her first narrative feature, Piratas, under the 2020 Cinema Femme mentorship. The film won funds in the Dominican Republic with the annual FONPROCINE contest and is currently in the works to be shot on the island under her production company: JEVITA FILMS.

Gabriela is writing a feature film for SONY PICTURES INTERNATIONAL and has a half-hour dramedy tv show in development.

Dre Ryan

Dre Ryan

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Dre is half Mexican and half Sicilian-American. Her experience of otherness and fluidity has informed her worldview and shapes the lens through which she tells stories. After earning an MFA in screenwriting from Columbia’s School of the Arts, Dre earned a clinical master’s degree and completed her training as a therapist. Using psychoanalytic theory, and her experiences in the consulting room as both patient and therapist, Dre aims to bring psychological, emotional and relational realism to characters who find themselves at risk of being marginalized, distorted or erased and applies this same approach to explore morally ambivalent characters struggling to be ethical, blocked by blind spots around their privilege and agency but who strive for balance, empathy and grace. Dre’s belief in the healing power of storytelling, and her lifelong devotion to the potent magic of music, inspires her to make work that celebrates people’s capacity to heal, expand and grow.

Dre lives in LA with her family and writes for film and television. She’s written on shows including “The Man in the High Castle,” “The Exorcist,” and “The Bridge,” and has sold and developed numerous projects at Amazon, Hulu, Apple and others and is currently an executive producer and co-creator for Apple’s limited series “Lady In The Lake,” as well as an executive producer and supervisor for HBO Max’s series “Players Table.” Now, at last, two decades after starting film school, Dre couldn’t be more thrilled to be directing her first film!

Boma Iluma

Boma Iluma

University of Southern California graduate with studies in theater, cinema, and International Relations- Boma Iluma is a writer, director, and visual artist from Abuja, Nigeria. He started his career acting in commercials for brands such as Cartoon Network and the NBA, acting in theatre productions in Atlanta before turning over to directing at USC.

He directed the visual art piece, Negus, which premiered in LA art circles in 2019. He followed this with HEiRS for Nike’s Air Jordan, a Generation Z reimagining of the brand-which premiered at 2020’s New York Fashion Week followed by a showcase at Jumpman LA.

Jason Cheng

Johnson Cheng

Johnson Cheng’s films have been official selections at over 100 international film festivals, including Tribeca, AFI FEST (Audience Award), Toronto, Palm Springs (Best Student Film Award), Aspen, and Atlanta. Johnson’s short film, IRON HANDS, premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and was acquired by Topic Studios and Film Movement. His latest short film, LONELY BLUE NIGHT, premiered at the 2020 AFI FEST and is currently streaming on HBO/HBO Max. Johnson is an HBO APA Visionary, recipient of the Princess Grace Award, and an alumnus of Film Independent’s Project Involve, VC’s Armed With a Camera Fellowship, the NYFF Artist Academy, and Columbia University’s M.F.A. Film Directing/Screenwriting program. Johnson is repped by WME.

Elisee Junior St Prueux

Elisee Junior St Prueux

Born and raised in North Miami Beach, FL, Elisee Junior St Preux began his journey in the performing arts industry as a brass instrumentalist and hip-hop dancer. Cultivated in a Haitian household where the arts have dominated all generations, he quickly became a music fanatic and true cinephile. In 2018, he obtained a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in IT and a minor in Theatre at Florida Atlantic University and immediately took the next step in his career by moving to Atlanta, GA. There he created a film blog, “The Movie Butter Playbook”, focusing on film news, movie reviews, analyses, and trivia. Shortly after, he founded “”À La MODE Films””, a screenwriting label that binds innovation and vintage storytelling in a vault of over eighty screenplays and a filmography of seven; all written and directed by him.

In addition to being behind the scenes, Elisee also enjoys being in front of the camera. Theatrically, he has made an appearance on networks such as BET, OWN, and TV One, while commercially on campaigns for U Health and Telemundo. As a creative and natural businessman, Elisee will continue to share stories that push the status quo and display authenticity through his own experiences and dreams.

Stacy Gaspard

Stacy Pascal Gaspard

Stacy Pascal Gaspard is currently a Directing Fellow at the AFI Conservatory. Initially a Pre-Med student at Nova Southeastern University, she went on to double major in Theatre and Media Communications — the first in her family to earn her Bachelor’s in the US.

On the screen, Stacy strives to share her rich vibrant Afro Latin Caribbean Culture and the intersectionality of the Black diaspora.

Stacy is a natural performer, with experience dancing Salsa, Hip Hop, and Modern. She has acted in narrative films and national commercials, and earned diversity scholarships for both Groundlings and UCB.

The oldest of five siblings, raised by her single Haitian mother and grandmother, Stacy Pascal Gaspard doesn’t take her dreams lightly, and doesn’t think you should either.


Cara Lawson

Cara Lawson

Cara Lawson is a writer, film director, and artist from Chicago, Illinois. Her multi-racial background inspires her to carve out new spaces for representation in an innovative, female-centric, multi-ethnic approach to the stories of old. Within this space, she weaves myths that foster compassion and empathy, often building vibrant worlds inspired by her passion for history, politics, social justice, and folklore. After graduating summa cum laude with a B.A. in Cinema Art + Science from Columbia College, Lawson moved to Los Angeles, where she attended the prestigious American Film Institute and received a full-tuition scholarship to study Directing. Lawson devotes most of her time to years of extensive research for each project, believing quality comes from a thoughtful and anthropological approach. No matter the country, world, planet, or time period, she aims to create emotional stories rooted in character.

Justin Floyd

Justin Floyd

Justin is an Afro-Latin writer and director focused on telling indie-commercial driven stories. His short film, THE CENTER, landed him on stage at the Academy Awards in 2015 as part of “Team Oscar”. He is also a 2016 Sundance Ignite Fellow. In 2017, Justin Floyd was named a Warner Bros. Emerging Film Director and his short film, RESURRECT was acquired by HBO. In 2018, he co-founded the SFS Film Festival, which has supported over a hundred emerging filmmakers.

Justin was declared a 2019 STATE SENATE and CONGRESSIONAL RECIPIENT. Recently, he is a 2021 LATINO FILM INSTITUTE / NETFLIX FELLOW through his award winning short QUINCEAÑERO.

Jalmer Caceres

Jalmer Caceres

Writer/Director Jalmer Caceres was born in El Salvador, without a television in his home. After arriving in the U.S. at the age of five and growing up in Los Angeles as a latchkey child, he fell in love with Movies and American Television through countless hours of unsupervised viewing. Jalmer became the first in his family to graduate from college and recently attained his M.F.A. from the American Film Institute. He is dedicated to exploring the Latinx diaspora through themes of family, national identity, belonging, and displacement in his work.

Travis Wood

Travis Wood

Travis Wood is a director from Minneapolis. He experiments with storytelling in its many forms, utilizing the power of truth to guide his process. His short films have been selected for multiple Vimeo Staff Picks, SXSW film festival, Rooftop films, an NY EMMY award, and featured on NoBudge, Booooooom and Directors Notes.

Urvashi Pathania

Urvashi Pathania

Urvashi Pathania is a writer/director based in Brooklyn. She received her B.A. with Honors in Film Studies from Columbia University and her M.F.A. in Film Production from USC. Her films explore gender, sexuality and decolonization. In 2021, Urvashi was selected for the Google Assistant Storytelling Fellowship in partnership with The Black List and wrote a pilot for Lena Waithe’s Writers’ Lab. Her short film, UNMOTHERED, is available on HBO Max. She is repped at Echo Lake.

Shanrica Evans

Shanrica Evans

Writer/director Shanrica Evans was raised in Decatur, GA, by her great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother. She received her MFA in Film/TV production from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts where she received the prestigious James Bridges scholarship for directing. As a writer, Shanrica’s scripts have received recognition from the Bluecat Screenplay Competition, Sundance, and the Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting. As a director Shanrica’s short films have screened on HBO, Starz, and other digital platforms. Shanrica is dedicated to intimately and honestly exploring the lives of people in underrepresented communities, particularly people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQIA community. She hopes to use her art to create complex, nuanced stories about southern black women.

Tara Motamedi

Tara Motamedi

Tara Motamedi is a first generation American. Born in the U.S. and raised in a liberal Kurdish/ Azeri household in Iran, she speaks three languages. Growing up, she was always taking bold strides in fascinating directions, whether in art, sports, or in opposition to the Iranian Moral Police. Wishing to pursue a film career without the constraints of any government, Tara moved to Southern California. Five years later, she graduated with a BA in Film Production and an MFA in Screenwriting from Brooks Institute. Her thesis film “For The Birds” was accepted into forty film festivals worldwide and won a dozen awards including Best Female Director from the DGA, student Emmy from the TV Academy Foundation, and an Oscar qualifying award from the Cleveland International Film Festival. Her feature screenplay “Under an Olive Tree” influenced by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was honored by the WGA’s Inclusion and Equity department in 2018, and became a semi-finalist at the Academy Nicholl Fellowship in 2019. Tara’s most recent recognition is Indeed Hillman Grad Production’s Rising Voices. She was chosen as one of ten filmmakers to participate in the 2022 initiative.

Currently living in Los Angeles, Tara writes, directs and edits her own projects. Having a multicultural background has allowed her to recognize differences, but more importantly, similarities between people around the world. Tara takes pride in her ability to emotionally connect with audiences through character driven work and wishes to make a positive impact through her storytelling.

Georgia Fu

Georgia Fu

Georgia Fu is a Taiwanese American filmmaker, interested in unusual connections and the ephemeral quality of life. She received her BFA from NYU in Cinema Studies and East Asian Studies. After college, she worked at the photo desk of the International Herald Tribune in Paris and Hong Kong. She then completed her MFA in Film at NYU’s Tisch Asia in Singapore. Her shorts include: Gigantic (Slamdance, Chicago International Film Festival) and Miss World (Jury Prize at New Orleans Film Festival, Best Editing at Hollyshorts). With Miss World, she received the Linda Mabalot New Directors/New Vision award at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Georgia participated in AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women, completing another short titled, You Win USA Vacation Resort (Best Short at Los Angeles Pacific Film Festival). She also participated in Universal’s Director Initiative, and TIFF’s Filmmaker Lab, where she went on to win the HFPA/Film Independent Residency award. Up next, she is developing her first feature, Approximate Joy. (georgiafu.com)

Gbenga Komolafe

Gbenga Komolafe

Gbenga Komolafe (they/he) is a Nigerian filmmaker and multimedia artist currently based in Los Angeles. They draw inspiration from the parallels between African art traditions and the innovative craftsmanship of mid-20th-century queer and black American communities. Komolafe’s work stitches together personal memories with greater universal motifs to explore the possibilities of a collectively imagined future where queer, black, and marginalized bodies are not only seen but celebrated. Their work has previously been exhibited at Slamdance, Ghost Gallery LA, and Felix Art Fair, among others.

Leon Cheo

Leon Cheo

Born and raised in Singapore, Leon Cheo is the creator, writer and director of the 2020 International Emmy®-nominated short form series “People Like Us”. His short film “SIN-SFO” premiered in-competition at the Academy-qualifying 25th Austin Film Festival, and won Best Live Action and Best Director at the 2019 National Youth Film Awards in Singapore. Other highlights include “The Three Sisters” which won ‘Best Short Film’ at the 2012 NETPAC-Jogja Asian Film Festival and “Nuts”, which received honourable mention for the YOMYOMF Interpretations 2.0 competition, founded by Justin Lin. Leon graduated from Chapman University with a BFA in Creative Producing, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic with a diploma in Film, Sound & Video. He is also an alumnus of Outfest InFusion (2016), Berlinale Talents (2014), Asian Film Academy (2013) and Talents Tokyo (2012).


Ana Verde headshot.

Ana Verde

Ana Verde is a Puerto Rican and Venezuelan filmmaker. She is currently in post-production for her short film Te Llaman Las Olas, a co-production with Puerto Rican production company Filmes Casa, which she wrote and directed. Ana is a 2022 Orchard Project Episodic Lab fellow (The Orchard Project), a 2022 WAVE Grant Recipient (Wavelength Productions), and her monologue Play the Sun was a finalist for the 2022 Ya Tú Sabes Monologue Slam (Nosotros Org & NBCUniversal). She is incredibly excited to be a part of Season 3 of Indeed Rising Voices with the Hillman Grad Foundation. For the past four years, Ana has worked in artist support at the Sundance Institute disbursing grants to artists working in fiction and nonfiction across various mediums.

James Rogers headshot.

James Rogers III

James Rogers III is an award-winning writer, producer, and director from Compton, California. He tells stories that center otherness in deeply imaginative (often fantastical) worlds, showcasing the magic of inner-city opulence that inspires him to create and audiences to dream. He has written and produced Emmy-nominated content for Disney+, Showtime, Netflix, Amazon, and more. Prior to storytelling, James directed a literary summer school in South LA, worked on Capitol Hill during the Obama years, and nearly became a lawyer alongside his father. James graduated from USC’s Peter Stark Producing MFA Program; his thesis project “Felix” is an award-winning animated short that screened across various festivals. James loves planning murder mystery parties, roller skating, and knows more about Pokémon than anyone should.

Joey Xuetong Zhao headshot.

Joey Zhao

Born and raised in China, Joey Zhao is an award-winning director. She was selected by the Young Director Support Program of Beijing Liangjie Culture Media Co., Ltd.

Inspired by magic realism and animation, Joey has been mentored by renowned director Emir Kusturica. Her AFI Thesis Film, FINDING VEGA, has been selected to premiere at the 26th LA Shorts International Film Festival. Her short film IN THE SILENCE addressed sexual assault from her personal experience, and was selected for dozens of film festivals and exhibitions worldwide.

With a Film & TV BFA at the Central Academy of Drama, Joey was funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council to study at American Film Institute. Joey wants to tell stories that promote awareness for marginalized minorities and explore themes of females, family, and death.

Maria Alvarez headshot.

María Alvarez

María Alvarez is an internationally recognized Cuban-Dutch filmmaker. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a BFA in Film & Television Production. Her films have screened at dozens of festivals such as the Los Angeles Film Festival and Cleveland International Film Festival, won awards from institutions such as Google, and screened in museums like MoMA. She worked as a Director’s Assistant to Benedict Andrews on “Seberg,” starring Kristen Stewart and shot by Rachel Morrison. Her short film, ‘Split Ends,’ was a 2021 Horizon Finalist, premiered at the NALIP Latino Media Fest, and then went on to screen at the Cannes Court Métrage and NewFilmmakers LA hosted by the Academy. She worked as the Creative Editor at FREE THE WORK, a global talent discovery platform for underrepresented creators founded by director, Alma Har’el. She is in the festival circuit with her latest short film, ‘did i look cuban then?,’ which premiered at the 2022 Santa Barbara International Film Festival and was nominated for Best Documentary at NFFTY. She is currently in pre-production of her next short, ‘Last Days of the Lab.’ María is now a freelance director and photographer in the narrative, music video, and commercial space.

Miguel Angel Cabellro headshot.

Miguel Angel Caballero

Miguel Angel Caballero, the son of Mexican immigrant farmworkers, is an award-winning Queer Mexican-American/Chicano writer, producer, and director. He received his bachelor’s degree from the school of Theater, Film & Television at UCLA. His latest short film, Acuitzeramo, premiered at the Morelia International Film Festival and won 21 awards, including ‘Best Short’ at the Imagen Awards and ‘Best LGBTQ Short’ in the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival. His previous film, Broken Sunflower Hearts, was named by Remezcla Magazine as one of the year’s Best Short Films by US Latino Directors. Miguel Angel co-wrote and produced the PSA Know Your Rights for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). He was selected to participate in the 2022 inaugural Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Accelerator Program. He’s an Outfest Screenwriting Lab Fellow, Film Independent Fellow, and recipient of the Warner Bros Discovery 150 Artist Grant. Miguel Angel is co-founder of Cabaldana Alchemy, a company whose mission is to create working-class U.S. Latine stories from an LGBTQ perspective.

Jackie Zhou headshot.

Jackie! Zhou

Jackie! Zhou is non-binary and ageless. They are a Los Angeles-based artist, director, and sound designer who is keen on blurring the lines between formats and disciplines. Embracing maximalism, their style leans towards heightening the absurd while staying grounded in real emotions. This work has led them to: documenting an all-girls’ competitive robotics team, performing John Cage’s Water Walk at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and teaching as an artist-in-residence at UC Davis. Recent work includes the interactive documentary FaceTime, produced by POV Spark and NFB, and “thumbnail”, a work-in-progress experimental play. Their sound work has received a Primetime Emmy nomination, a MPSE Golden Reel, and the 2021 Tribeca X Award. Most recently, they performed in Free Solo: The Musical in the role of Jimmy Chin. Above all, they believe good listeners make great storytellers.

Larry Owens headshot.

Larry Owens

Larry Owens is a multi hyphenate artist whose work has appeared prominently in the arenas of theatre, television, film, comedy, and music. Training: The School at Steppenwolf. Larry is ecstatic to be making his directorial debut with Indeed, 271 Films and Hillman Grad Productions.

Justin Kim Woosok headshot.

Justin Kim WooSŏk

Born in South Korea and raised in LA, Justin has lived and worked across Latin America, Europe, and Asia. He graduated Wesleyan with an honor’s degree in Film and American Studies and currently spends his time between Brooklyn and Seoul. He is interested in the intersection of fiction and nonfiction, of ethnography and speculation, and of diaspora and homeland.

Candace Ho headshot.

Candace Ho

Candace Ho is a Taiwanese-American filmmaker based in Los Angeles. She received her BA with Honors from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television with a concentration in narrative directing. Her work explores mental health, womanhood, coming of age, and feelings of “otherness” and loneliness in an increasingly isolating world. She is a 2021 Armed with a Camera Fellow, a 2021 DB Frieze LA Fellow, and a two-time Wavelength Production WAVE Grant Finalist. Her short films have screened at festivals across the country, including Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, San Diego Asian Film Festival, and Asian American International Film Festival.

Hannah Bang headshot.

Hannah Bang

Hannah Bang is a South Korean writer/director with a love for stories about complex and imperfect people. Hannah’s work covers a wide range of forms including an ensemble theater play Prodigy for the Hollywood Fringe Fest, a sponsored short film Ripple Effect that was shot using StageCraft, and a collaboration feature project Voodoo Macbeth which had a theatrical release. Bang is a Jon Chu scholar and a recipient of the James Bridges and Jack Larson Directing Scholarship at USC and the Entertainment Technology Center Innovative Technology Award. She is also a 2022 Project Involve Fellow. Her latest short film Expectant is scheduled to have its premiere screening this year and she is currently developing her first feature film Husk. Her work has screened at festivals such as SXSW, Palm Springs IFF, Cleveland IFF and has been hosted by online platforms such as Vimeo Staff Pick and DUST.

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

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