Charlotte Wells, Nikyatu Jusu, & Violet du Feng Among Sundance Institute’s 2023 Momentum Fellows

Sundance Institute has announced the participants selected for the 2023 Momentum Fellowship, a program “designed to support and provide coaching to mid-career artists with a focus on career development,” per Deadline. Launched in 2018, the fellowship was “created to support storytellers from historically marginalized communities who have recently achieved a noteworthy accomplishment, such as a regarded feature film or series,” and “provides fellows with a full-year program of deep, customized support around the goals they have identified for themselves to level up in their craft and career.” Eligible artists include those “identifying as women, non-binary and/or transgender, Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color, and artists with disabilities.”

The Momentum Fellowship includes an unrestricted artist grant, professional coaching, year-round support from Sundance Institute staff, and more.

Eight fellows were selected this year, and seven of them are women: Francisca Alegria (“The Cow Who Sang A Song Into the Future”); Rita Baghdadi (“Sirens”); Michelle Garza (“Huesera”); Nikyatu Jusu (“Nanny”); Kate Tsang (” Marvelous and the Black Hole”); Charlotte Wells (“Aftersun”); and Violet du Feng (“Hidden Letters”).

“Over the years, the fellows selected for Momentum have all experienced success with their recently completed projects. This has often been a critical moment for artists to receive creative and tactical support as they focus on a meaningful path forward,” said Michelle Satter, Sundance’s founding Senior Director, Artist Programs. “This is where Momentum is both aptly named and unique in the industry – the fellowship is customized to the needs of individual filmmakers as they move forward with their next steps, making choices that’ll ensure they can sustain a career that gives them exciting and timely creative opportunities.”

Past fellows include Cristina Costantini (“Mucho Mucho Amor”), Ekwa Msangi (“Farewell Amor”), and Christina Choe (“Nancy”).

Read more about the Momentum Fellows below, courtesy of Sundance.

Francisca Alegria is an award-winning filmmaker who’s short film And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow’s Eye received the award for Best International Fiction Short at Sundance Film Festival. Her debut feature The Cow Who Sang A Song Into the Future premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2022 and was supported by the 2017 Sundance Institute Screenwriters and Directors Lab along with the Catalyst Forum.

Rita Baghdadi is an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker known for the intimacy of her bold, character-driven films. Her latest feature, Sirens, premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize at Outfest. Rita’s work has been supported by Sundance, Tribeca, Netflix, HBO, IDA and Film Independent.

Michelle Garza is a director and screenwriter who graduated from CCC in Mexico City and Goldsmiths in London. Her debut feature Huesera premiered at Tribeca 2022 where it won the Best New Narrative Director and the Nora Ephron awards. Michelle also won the Citizen Kane award for the best new director at Sitges 2022.

Nikyatu Jusu is a writer and director and her first feature film, Nanny, was developed at the Sundance Institute’s 2020 Directors and Screenwriters Labs and debuted at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize. Her follow up original feature film screenplay was acquired by Universal Studios and Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions. She works as an Assistant Professor of Directing and Screenwriting, Film and Video Studies, at the College of Visual & Performing Arts at George Mason University.

Bing Liu is a China-born, Midwest-raised filmmaker. His directorial credits include Minding the Gap, America To Me and All These Sons. Bing was supported by the Sundance Institute’s 2020 Directors and Screenwriters Lab on his first fiction feature which is currently in development.

Kate Tsang is an artist/filmmaker creating imaginative, offbeat stories with heart. Her debut feature Marvelous and the Black Hole premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. She wrote on the Emmy-nominated shows Adventure Time: Distant Lands (HBO MAX) and Steven Universe Future (Cartoon Network).

Charlotte Wells is a BAFTA winning Scottish filmmaker whose debut feature, the award-winning Aftersun premiered in Critics’ Week at Cannes. Prior to Aftersun, Wells wrote and directed three short films, Tuesday, Laps, and Blue Christmas. She is a graduate of the MBA/MFA program at NYU where she was supported by BAFTA NY and LA. Charlotte, with her project Aftersun, was supported by the Sundance Institute’s 2020 Directors and Screenwriters Labs.

Violet du Feng is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. She has directed, produced or executive produced 13 films including the most recent Tribeca-premiered and Sundance Documentary Film Program supported Hidden Letters. Her main producing credits include Dear Mother, I Meant to Write about Death, Singing in the Wilderness, Confucian Dream, Maineland and Please Remember Me.

Originally published at

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