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Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund gives $215K in development awards

01.26.2017 Annapolis, MD- Laura Wexler, Fellow in Zaentz Fund and creator of "Dinner Party" a Virtual Reality short based on the 1961 Betty and Barney Hill UFO abduction case, seen here working with Matt Giggieri, director of photography and Nick Kovacic (Gray shirt), producer, at Digital Cave Media Production  in Hampden. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

Laura Wexler, a Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund in Film and Media fellow and creator of “Dinner Party,” a virtual reality short based on the 1961 Betty and Barney Hill UFO abduction case, works with Matt Giggieri, director of photography and Nick Kovacic (Gray shirt), producer, at Digital Cave Media Production in Hampden. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

The Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund in Film and Media at Johns Hopkins University announced Tuesday that it has awarded a total of $215,000 to 10 fellows from its second Bold Voices, New Paradigms Incubator program.

The funding will support the fellows as they develop their projects into production. The projects, ranging from documentary and feature films to augmented reality experiences and episodic series, will be produced in Baltimore, a critical requirement of projects supported by the fund.

The Fellows awarded funding are (see below for details about each project and artist):

  • Theo Anthony, Body Builder
  • Kevin Blackistone, Who’s Watching
  • Andrea Conte, Meet the Ungers
  • Jackie McTear, Wayward Girls
  • Lisa Moren, NONUMENT01::The McKeldin Fountain
  • Marissa O’Guinn and Andy Dahl, Mobility
  • Sage Okolo, Alongside the Car
  • Thomas Ventimiglia, When We Fall
  • Darryl Wharton-Rigby, Water Works

“These projects reflect the essential voices and unique stories found in Baltimore,” said Roberto Busó-García, director of the fund and the university’s Master of Arts in Film and Media program. “As we continue to identify and advance the work of aspiring artists, we will also allocate resources to provide them with ongoing consulting and support from industry professionals.”

The incubator included a mentorship program that centered around one-on-one consultancies from award-winning artists, veteran filmmakers, executives and technologists; an intensive Lab where Fellows worked one-on-one with veteran artists to guide their pre-production and development process; and Brain Trust Meetings where special industry guests led brainstorming sessions to solve project-specific challenges.

Fifteen fellows participated in the second incubator and were eligible to apply for development and production funding as part of the fund’s program to help artists write, develop, design and produce groundbreaking media projects. An advisory committee, established by the fund, then selected the projects to receive funding based on creative merit, potential impact and practical production feasibility including budgets, crews, equipment, etc.

The Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund launched in 2016 through a $1 million grant from the Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation. Zaentz was a three-time Academy Award-winning producer whose work included “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Amadeus” and “The English Patient.”

Over the past year the Fund has awarded $410,000 in production and development support to 19 fellows —$195,000 was awarded to Fellows in the inaugural incubator and $215,000 to Fellows in the second Incubator.  Additionally, the Fund provided mentorship and production assistance to 37 artists.

The fund is currently accepting applications for its third incubator program, which begins in late April. Baltimore residents, students from Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Institute College of Art and the Peabody Institute, and Johns Hopkins alumni with film, television, virtual reality or technology-centered projects can fill out and submit an application for free online at www.zaentzfund.com until March 31.

 


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