Sundance Institute launched the inaugural Trans Possibilities Intensive and announced the first six artists who will participate in the three-day virtual program supporting transgender storytellers of color.
The selected fellows are Ava Davis, StormMiguel Florez, River Gallo, Carol Grant, Mitchell (MiSha) Owens, and Savannah Ward. Davis, an actor, writer, producer and advocate, will work on her film “The Waltz” during the intensive. Florez, an actor, filmmaker and musician, will work on “Welcome to Roswell.” Gallo, an actor, writer, model and activist repped by CAA and Management 360, will develop their short film “Ponyboi” into a feature. Screenwriter Grant will work on “Eurydice V.” Storyteller Mitchell (MiSha) Owens will work on “The Boy from Across Town.” Ward, a writer serving as executive story editor on “Cruel Summer,” will work on “Meta.”
The fellows were nominated by the Institute’s allied organizations, including organizations working explicitly with emerging transgender artists of color and peers within the Sundance Artist Programs. Sundance Institute outreach and inclusion and Indigenous programs coordinator Moi Santos designed and will lead the program, which aims to provide a supportive environment for the fellows to work on their projects, sharpen their craft, develop community and challenge the obstacles that continue to exclude transgender artists of color. Fellows will also receive guidance from advisors including Sam Feder, Yance Ford, Tourmaline and Ro Haber.
The intensive will entail group exercises and discipline-specific workshops beginning with Beyond the Tipping Point, a free public event online on Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. PT hosted on Sundance Collab. Tourmaline and Feder will discuss their films, “Happy Birthday, Marsha!” and “Disclosure”, respectively, as well as the state of transgender representation and the power of storytelling as an agent of cultural change.
“This intensive is the result of ongoing and evolving priorities through Sundance’s outreach and inclusion work and a year of thoughtful and intentional planning, heartfelt commitment and a belief in supporting transgender storytellers of color and their stories,” said Santos. “We are honored that the fellows have chosen to share their artistic journeys with us and look forward to continuing our relationship and building community together for years to come.”
Before the intensive, Santos created a transgender awareness training with GLAAD designed to further knowledge, learning and understanding about transgender and non-binary people to aid Sundance Institute in advancing inclusion for transgender artists, employees, volunteers and audiences.
The institute also partnered with the filmmakers behind “Disclosure” and GLAAD to build a toolkit for entertainment industry executives and creators who seek to use the documentary as a resource for trans-inclusive storytelling. The toolkit will be available in November on the film's website
This article was written by Selome Hailu for Vogue.