Open Television and the Sundance Institute have joined forces for a new initiative aimed at expanding support for intersectional storytellers.
Launching amid the fifth anniversary of the annual #OTVFellows program, Pitch, Please! will serve as a launching pad for fellowship participants — a collection of independent artists marginalized by their race, gender, sexuality, class, disability or nationality — and their creative projects. As part of the program, selected members of the cohort will pitch their series, short films and video art concepts to a panel of creative advisors and a live audience.
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“We are thrilled to expand our partnership with the Sundance Institute to bring Pitch, Please! to life,” Elijah McKinnon, co-founder and executive director of Open Television, said. “Feedback is the ultimate gift when you are crafting your skill as a storyteller and this initiative provides an intentional opportunity for our fellows to share their pitches in an innovative format that reimagines the future of independent development.”
The event is set to be live-streamed on Dec. 1 at 12 p.m. CST via the OTV app, with the winner securing up to $30,000 in resources, acknowledgments and more. Participants for the inaugural event include three fellows: Robert Cunningham, Roni Niu and Danielle Young.
Cunningham is an Atlanta-born, Chicago-based actor and screenwriter who participated in the 2022 Outfest Screenwriting Lab and created the web series How to L0ve. Niu is a Taiwanese, London-based filmmaker, animator and street dancer currently part of the National Film & Television School and Amazon Prime Video’s Craft Academy. Young, who currently resides on Tongva Nation homelands (colonially known as Los Angeles), is a writer, actor and photographer who co-founded the COVID Conscious Creatives network-building group and received the 2021 Outfest Trans and Nonbinary Acting Fellowship.
The inaugural cohort of creative advisors include Boots Riley, the poet, rapper, songwriter, producer, screenwriter, director, community organizer and public speaker behind Sorry to Bother You; Christine Davila, the former head of development and production at Ojalá; Chad Charlie, a Reservation Dogs writer and actor, whose filmmaking spotlights Indigenous and Black representation; Zackary Drucker, a trans woman and co-director of the 2023 documentary The Stroll; and Makiah Green, the Emmy award-winning producer who executive produced Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls and developed films including Judas and the Black Messiah and Sorry to Bother You.
“Hollywood is in crisis, and has been for quite some time,” Green says. “By investing in emerging storytellers who are defying societal norms and pushing boundaries, we are creating a better, more interesting world.”
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