San Francisco (November 10th, 2023) - Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB), a leader in immersive entertainment experiences, and award-winning nonprofit Ghetto Film School (GFS), today announced the winners of the Dolby Institute x Ghetto Film School New Voices. New Visions. 2024 competition.
This year, the competition encouraged applicants to create an original short film concept that exemplified their singular voice and vision, and would benefit from the ultra-vivid color of Dolby Vision and the immersive sound of Dolby Atmos. The 2024 winning filmmakers are Dwayne LeBlanc, Antonello Velez, and directing/writing duo Sarah Jean Williams and Luna Garcia.
Over the course of nine months, the selected creatives will receive ongoing mentorship from leading filmmakers like Carlos López Estrada (Raya and the Last Dragon, Blindspotting) and DANIELS (Everything Everywhere All At Once), production support from Antigravity Academy, and individual $25,000 grants to fund the production costs of their short films. The winners will also be supported by a technical team from Dolby that will help grade the visuals of their films in Dolby Vision and mix the sound in Dolby Atmos.
This will be the third group of filmmakers to go through the Dolby and Ghetto Film School program. For the first time this year, Dolby and GFS staff will assist the winners in submitting the finalized short films to leading film festivals.
Ghetto Film School’s access to top-tier talent and Dolby’s premier audiovisual technologies have led the two organizations to an advantageous partnership, pairing diverse storytellers with industry-leading innovative technologies to develop impactful stories through motion pictures. Since their original collaboration in 2014, GFS and Dolby have helped bolster the careers of over 8,000 emerging filmmakers annually across the United States. Under this initiative, they’ve successfully upheld their mission to support diverse voices, advance the creative industry, and promote an inclusive culture through various programs such as the New Voices. New Visions. competition and the EMERGE! Filmmaking Lab.
“Building on our successful partnership with Ghetto Film School, we are thrilled to continue our support of the next generation of filmmakers in year three of this competition,” said Glenn Kiser, Dolby Institute Director. “We came up with the New Voices. New Visions. theme this year to allow the creative voices of our filmmakers to take center stage, and we are blown away by the incredible talent of our winners. We can’t wait to support them on their journeys to bring their films to life with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.”
“This program was conceived to support and develop early career filmmakers by placing them in positions of creative leadership,” said Ghetto Film School CEO and alumna Montea Robinson. “And this year’s theme, New Voices. New Visions, builds upon this mission, underscoring the importance of providing top-tier talent with the resources to realize their unique visions. We appreciate the team at Dolby Institute for being such dedicated partners and incredible resources for our filmmakers.”
Dwayne LeBlanc is a Los Angeles-based, first-generation, Caribbean American filmmaker. Primarily self-taught, his practice focuses on themes of migration, visibility, and dual identities. His debut narrative short film, Civic, won both the Jury Prize and Audience Award for Best Departures Mid-Length Short at the Indie Memphis Film Festival and a Special Jury Recognition at the New Orleans Film Festival. He was also named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 2023 “25 New Faces of Independent Film.”
Now, Hear Me Good
Logline: After hosting a party in his new home abroad, a musician explores his sense of community and in exile rediscovers his voice.
Antonello Velez is a native New York-based filmmaker, focused on bringing authenticity and heart to storytelling. After graduating from Iona University, he’s directed ads for high-profile brands such as NFL, Cigna, and Red Bull as well as working with premiere agencies 72andSunny, Edelman, and McCann. In 2021, he produced, directed, and edited a short documentary titled Where There’s Smoke, which shed light on the duality of California’s wildfires.
Logline: A retired boxer seeks to mend his relationship with his estranged daughter, who’s following in his footsteps by becoming a fighter. The catch: she’ll only accept him as her trainer if he defeats her in the ring.
Williams was born and raised in Los Angeles. Focused on storytelling, she has a desire to reframe the fantasy genre to represent contemporary culture and make space for voices today. Sarah Jean is in her final year at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and has made films in partnership with Netflix, Neutrogena, and the Huntington Museum.
Garcia is a 23-year-old creative from Los Angeles, CA. At sixteen, she penned her first short film, Charley Horse, which went on to compete at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth, SFFILM, and the Bentonville Film Festival. With a background in stand-up comedy, Luna’s creative work is defined by her biting sense of humor and grounded social observations. She graduated from Yale University in May 2023 with a degree in American Studies.
Logline: You're Dead is a story about our protagonist Talia, who is consumed by grief after her sister's recent passing. She sets out on a journey through the afterlife, determined to reunite with her sibling.
Carlos López Estrada is an Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker from Mexico City. Carlos’s debut film, Blindspotting, premiered opening night at Sundance 2018 and was subsequently released by Lionsgate Entertainment. His second film, Summertime, premiered opening night of Sundance 2020 and was released theatrically the following year. Carlos’s third film, Raya and the last Dragon, was released by Disney in March of 2021 and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. His documentary film Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September ‘23.
On the TV side, Carlos directed an episode of FX and Marvel’s Legion and is currently developing an original comedy show at FX in association with This American Life. He began his career directing music videos and has worked with musicians such as Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Katy Perry, Blink 182, Thundercat and Flying Lotus, Father John Misty, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Clipping. In 2012, he won a Latin Grammy for an animated music video he directed for Mexican artists Jesse & Joy. He is currently writing/set to direct the reimagining of the beloved Japanese anime Your Name for Paramount and Bad Robot.
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as DANIELS, are a directing/writing duo who have been working together in music videos, television, and film for over a decade, most recently with their film Everything Everywhere All At Once. The film won 7 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. It garnered many additional awards including the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement, WGA award for Best Original Screenplay and was anointed ‘the most awarded film ever’.
DANIELS have developed a reputation for combining absurdity with heartfelt personal stories. They previously wrote and directed the feature film Swiss Army Man starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe, which won the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival. They have also directed highly acclaimed music videos and won a VMA for their video for ‘Turn Down For What’, which Scheinert bullied Kwan to star in. Kwan is a really good dancer.
The Dolby Institute was created to educate, inspire, and empower the next generation of content creators. Through educational programs, strategic partnerships, and direct artist support, we help creatives think critically and creatively about sound and image, unlocking the power of technology to help tell their stories. To learn more about the Dolby Institute Fellowships or Sound + Image Lab: The Dolby Institute Podcast, visit https://www.dolby.com/institute/
Ghetto Film School (GFS) is an award-winning nonprofit founded in 2000 to educate, develop, and celebrate the next generation of great storytellers. GFS annually serves 8,000 individuals, 14—34 years of age. With locations in New York City (est. 2000), Los Angeles (est. 2014), and London (est. 2020), GFS equips students for top universities and careers in the creative industries through two tracks: the Fellows Program — an introductory education program for high school students, and the Roster — early-career support for alumni and young professionals. The Fellows Program is a 30-month cinematic storytelling course for high school students. ROSTER provides training, mentorship, and ensures opportunities for GFS alumni and other young professionals to access the workforce. https://www.ghettofilm.org