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Helping Champion Afro Latino and Indigenous Latino Filmmakers

Helping Champion Afro Latino and Indigenous Latino Filmmakers

"Representation in the fictional world signifies social existence; absence means symbolic erasure." - George Gerbner and Larry Gross

We know that in order to showcase more Latinx stories in front of the camera, we need to find fresh Latinx voices behind the scenes to bring these narratives to life. 

That’s why last year we partnered with the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) for their inaugural Inclusion Fellowship. Focused on championing historically underrepresented groups within the Latinx community, the Fellowship supported five filmmakers that identify as Afro Latino through mentorship, Netflix executive panels, networking opportunities, and helping finance the production of their short films.  

We were blown away by the talent of these fellows (pictured above) and the shorts they premiered at LALIFF 2021, several of which have since been accepted into other film festivals. 

We’re excited to announce that we’re teaming up with LALIFF again and doubling the number of fellows for the program’s second year. This year’s Fellowship will be awarded to five directors that identify as Afro Latino and five directors that identify as Indigenous Latino.

Once again, the Fellowship will award each filmmaker a $20,000 grant to produce a short film. The fellows will also receive support from our team at Netflix throughout the development of their films, as well as one-on-one mentorship from industry leaders from production to distribution and various networking opportunities.

The films will then premiere during LALIFF 2022. The fellows will also be invited to the festival’s Industry Days, to further develop their careers and gain important industry access. 

The expansion of the Inclusion Fellowship is part of the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity that we announced earlier this year, an initiative created to help create more behind-the-camera opportunities for underrepresented communities within the TV and film industries.

We’re thrilled to build on our partnership with LALIFF to amplify new voices behind the camera and grow the next generation of Latinx filmmakers. Representation matters. 

To find out more information about the Fellowship and how to apply, visit

Learn more about our first-year fellows and their shorts below:

Lorena Durán (“Loma de Lilí)

When an electrical job goes wrong, an unfriendly electrician must accept help from a caring spirit to bury the evidence of a fatal accident

Lorena Durán is an award-winning filmmaker born in New York and raised in the Dominican Republic. She received an MFA from the NYU Graduate Film Program and was selected for the 2019 Film Independent Project Involve Fellowship for emerging filmmakers. Her latest short film, “The Fisherwoman,” featured at Palm Springs ShortFest and Atlanta Film Festival. Her work as a cinematographer has been screened in many international events and platforms, from Tribeca Film Festival to Vimeo Staff Pick, and has received the 2019 ARRI Volker Bahnemann Award for Outstanding Cinematography.

Justin Floyd (“Quinceañero”) 

A whimsical musical about a Catholic boy's dream of having a Quinceañera.

Justin Floyd is an Afro-Latin writer & director from Compton, CA. The Inner-City Filmmakers’ alumnus landed on stage at the Academy Awards in 2015 as part of “Team Oscar” for his short, “The Center.” Floyd is a 2016 Sundance Ignite Fellow and was named a Warner Bros. 2017 Emerging Film Director. His short, “Resurrect,” was acquired by HBO. Floyd’s most recent short, “Fotos de Blancas,” was filmed in Valle De Chalco, Mexico, and is expected to premiere in 2021.

Kesa Peña (“Period”)

Vergara, a trans Latinx woman, gets a part-time job looking after a shy 12-year-old girl upon being released from jail. In order to make ends meet, Vergara continues doing sex work on the side even though this is what landed her in jail in the first place.

Kase is an award-winning New York City-born filmmaker. She’s a trans woman of color, the offspring of working class parents from the Dominican Republic. Kase is currently developing a project with legendary trans icon Carmen Carrera and Stephanie Beatriz of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and In The Heights fame. Her feature screenplay I Love Hate, the recipient of the Sundance Institute Launch Grant, is being produced by Angel Lopez. HBO has picked up distribution rights for two of Kase’s short films: “Full Beat” and “Trabajo”.

Tamara Shogaolu (“The Braid of Time”)

After the tragic loss of her grandmother, Estela finds the key to her future in her grandmother's past.

Tamara Shogaolu is the founder and creative director of Ado Ato Pictures. Her work has been featured at film festivals, galleries, and museums worldwide, such as the Tribeca Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the National Gallery of Indonesia. She was a 2018 Sundance Institute New Frontier Lab Programs Fellow, a 2019 Gouden Kalf Nominee, a 2020 Creative Capital Award Recipient, and a 2020 Sundance New Frontier John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grantee and much more.

Monica Suriyage (“La Ciguapa”)

When shy Milagro's boyfriend Davis takes her on a camping trip, tensions rise as she realizes he’s been cheating on her. Davis adamantly denies it, but a deep rage builds inside Milagro, transforming her into what she's always been meant to be: a ciguapa.

Monica Suriyage is a biracial, blasian, first generation, afro latina whose directing work features bold color, strong women, and sometimes blood. Her first short film “Black In Red Out” screened at over 20 film festivals across the US, and she was featured in the documentary Horror Noire about the history of black horror alongside Jordan Peele, Tony Todd and Rachel True. She is a founding member of the all-female filmmaking collective Body Checker Productions.