Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival Selects Filmmakers for Netflix-Sponsored Fellowship

LALIFF's Inclusion Fellowship
Courtesy of LALIFF's Inclusion Fellowship

Justin Floyd, Kase Peña, Lorena Durán, Monica Suriyage and Tamara Shogaolu.

The Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival has selected five Afro Latino directors for its inaugural Latinx Inclusion Fellowship Series, sponsored by Netflix.

The fellows are Lorena Durán, Justin Floyd, Kase Peña, Monica Suriyage and Tamara Shogaolu. Each will be awarded a $20,000 grant to produce a short, along with individualized mentorship, one-on-one meetings with industry leaders, and other networking opportunities. Their completed films will premiere at next year’s LALIFF. Netflix will also offer support to the filmmakers throughout the development of their films.

The mentors are executive producer Alicia Marie Agramonte, director of development of film at Revelations Entertainment; writer, director and producer Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza (Candelaria); writer, director and producer Diana Peralta (De lo Mío); producer Cisely Saldana, co-founder of Cinestar Pictures; and writer-producer Oscar Torres (Innocent Voices).

“The time is now for diverse voices to have their stories told and we are proud to be able to offer our fellows the platform to have their voices heard,” said Edward James Olmos, co-founder of LALIFF and the Latino Film Institute. “We know that our first group of fellows will make a lasting impact on the industry and help to open doors for our future fellows.”

Durán, an award-winning filmmaker born in New York and raised in the Dominican Republic, had a short film, The Fisherwoman, that was featured at Palm Springs ShortFest and the Atlanta Film Festival.

Floyd, who hails from Los Angeles, landed onstage at the 2015 Academy Awards for his short The Center. He is a 2016 Sundance Ignite fellow, was named a Warner Bros. Emerging Film Director, and had his short Resurrect acquired by HBO.

Peña is an award-winning New York City-born filmmaker. She’s a trans woman of color and is currently developing a project with trans icon Carmen Carrera and Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Stephanie Beatriz.

Suriyage's first short film, Black in Red Out, screened at more than 20 film festivals. She was featured in the documentary Horror Noire and is a founding member of the all-female filmmaking collective Body Checker Prods.

Shogaolu is the founder and creative director of Ado Ato Pictures. She was a 2018 Sundance Institute New Frontier Lab Programs Fellow, a 2019 Gouden Kalf Nominee, a 2020 Creative Capital Award Recipient, and a 2020 Sundance New Frontier John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grantee.