Lena Waithe, Hillman Grad, and Indeed presents the Rising Voices Films at Tribeca Film Festival
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 12: <> at Spring Studios on June 12, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for 2023 Tribeca Festival)

Lena Waithe, Hillman Grad, and Indeed presents the Rising Voices Films at Tribeca Film Festival

On Monday, Indeed, the world’s number one job site, Emmy Award-Winning Writer, Creator and Actor Lena Waithe and her Hillman Grad Productions celebrated Season Three of the Rising Voices filmmakers program at Tribeca Festival in New York City. Ten Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) filmmakers premiered their short films to distinguished guests that included Lena Waithe, CEO of Hillman Grad Rishi Rajani, along with program mentors Destin Daniel Cretton, Diego Velasco, Anthony Hemingway, Tiff Johnson, Naima Ramos Chapman and Constanza & Doménica Castro.

Each film surrounded the singular theme of the future of work and every filmmaker was awarded a $10,000 writing fee, received a $100,000 production budget, and a dedicated line production crew through Hillman Grad and 271 Films.  

In addition to the Rising Voices program, this year at the Tribeca Festival Indeed is sponsoring the Juneteenth program “Expressions of Black Freedom”, and a special celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop that is woven throughout the 12-day festival, including the world premiere of “All Up in the Biz”, a documentary about New York hip-hop legend Biz Markie, premiering at the Tribeca Festival. 

Additionally, Rising Voices Season One filmmaker Shelly Yo, a first-generation Korean-American, will be debuting her film, “Smoking Tigers”, at Tribeca Film Festival through the AT&T’s Untold Stories grant that she won last year. This year, Season One filmmaker David Fortune won the AT&T’s Untold Stories grant for his film “Color Book”. These wins show the remarkable success of the Rising Voices program and the opportunities that it provides. 

10 Filmmakers and their films:

Mara Has 3 Jobs in San Juan Puerto Rico

Ana Verde (she/her)

Navigating a tourist economy and cultural representation from a local’s perspective

Ana Verde is a Puerto Rican and Venezuelan filmmaker. She is currently in post-production for her short film Te llaman las olas, a co-production with Puerto Rican production company Filmes Casa, which she wrote and directed. Ana is a 2022 Orchard Project Episodic Lab fellow (The Orchard Project), a 2022 WAVE Grant Recipient (Wavelength Productions), and her monologue Play the Sun was a finalist for the 2022 Ya Tú Sabes Monologue Slam (Nosotros Org & NBCUniversal). 

She is incredibly excited to form part of Season 3 of Indeed Rising Voices with the Hillman Grad Foundation. For the past four years, Ana has worked in artist support at the Sundance Institute disbursing grants to artists working in fiction and nonfiction across various mediums.

Sorry Grandpa Hsaio

Candace Ho (she/her)

Staying true to your identity in the face of workplace and social media pressure to be perfect and trending 

Candace Ho is a Taiwanese American filmmaker based in Los Angeles. She received her BA with Honors from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television with a concentration in narrative directing. Her work explores mental health, womanhood, coming of age, and feelings of “otherness” and loneliness in an increasingly isolating world. She is a 2021 Armed with a Camera fellow, a 2021 DB Frieze LA Fellow, and a two-time Wavelength Production WAVE Grant Finalist. Her short films have screened at festivals across the country, including Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, San Diego Asian Film Festival, and Asian American International Film Festival.

My Nights Glow Yellow

Hannah Bang (she/her)

Isolation and loneliness that technology can create


Hannah Bang is a South Korean writer/director with a love for stories about complex and imperfect people. Hannah’s work covers a wide range of forms including an ensemble theater play Prodigy for the Hollywood Fringe Fest, a sponsored short film Ripple Effect that was shot using StageCraft, and a collaboration feature project Voodoo Macbeth which had a theatrical release. Bang is a Jon Chu scholar and a recipient of the James Bridges and Jack Larson Directing Scholarship at USC and the Entertainment Technology Center Innovative Technology Award. She is also a 2022 Project Involve Fellow. Her latest short film Expectant is scheduled to have its premiere screening this year and she is currently developing her first feature film Husk. Her work has screened at festivals such as SXSW, Palm Springs IFF, Cleveland IFF and has been hosted by online platforms such as Vimeo Staff Pick and DUST.

Order For Pick Up

Jackie! Zhou (she/they)

Isolation and loneliness that technology can create


Jackie! Zhou is non-binary and ageless. They are a Los Angeles-based artist, director, and sound designer who is keen on blurring the lines between formats and disciplines. Embracing maximalism, their style leans towards heightening the absurd while staying grounded in real emotions. This work has led them to: documenting an all-girls’ competitive robotics team, performing John Cage’s Water Walk at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and teaching as an artist-in-residence at UC Davis. Recent work includes the interactive documentary FaceTime, produced by POV Spark and NFB, and “thumbnail”, a work-in-progress experimental play. Their sound work has received a Primetime Emmy nomination, a MPSE Golden Reel, and the 2021 Tribeca X Award. Most recently, they performed in Free Solo: The Musical in the role of Jimmy Chin. Above all, they believe good listeners make great storytellers.

Rocky Road on Channel Three

James Rogers III (he/him)

The pressure of parental/cultural expectations in the job you choose even if that’s not your dream job or passion

James Rogers III is an award-winning writer, producer, and director from Compton, California. He tells stories that center otherness in deeply imaginative (often fantastical) worlds, showcasing the magic of inner-city opulence that inspires him to create and audiences to dream. He has written and produced Emmy-nominated content for Disney+, Showtime, Netflix, Amazon, and more. Prior to storytelling, James directed a literary summer school in South LA, worked on Capitol Hill during the Obama years, and nearly became a lawyer alongside his father. James graduated from USC’s Peter Stark Producing MFA Program; his thesis project “Felix” is an award-winning animated short that screened across various festivals. James loves planning murder mystery parties, roller skating, and knows more about Pokémon than anyone should.

In Your Light, Do We See Light

Joey Xuetong Zhao (she/her)

The importance of true representation when casting anyone with a disability


Born and raised in China, Joey Zhao is an award-winning director. She was selected by the Young director support Program of Beijing Liangjie Culture Media Co., Ltd.

Inspired by magic realism and animation, Joey has been mentored by renowned director Emir Kusturica. Her AFI Thesis Film, FINDING VEGA, has been selected to premiere at the 26th LA Shorts International Film Festival. Her short film IN THE SILENCE addressed sexual assault from her personal experience, was selected for dozens of film festivals and exhibitions worldwide.

With a Film & TV BFA at the Central Academy of Drama, Joey was funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council to study at American Film Institute. Joey wants to tell stories that promote awareness for marginalized minorities and explore themes of females, family, and death.


Justin Kim WooSŏk (he/him)

Climate change and job displacement


Born in South Korea and raised in LA, Justin has lived and worked across Latin America, Europe, and Asia. He graduated Wesleyan with an honor’s degree in Film and American Studies and currently spends his time between Brooklyn and Seoul. He is interested in the intersection of fiction and nonfiction, of ethnography and speculation, and of diaspora and homeland.

The Gag

Larry Owens (he/him)

Better working conditions


Larry Owens is a multi hyphenate artist whose work has appeared prominently in the arenas of theatre, television, film, comedy, and music. Training: The School at Steppenwolf. Larry is ecstatic to be making his directorial debut with Indeed, 271 Films and Hillman Grad Productions.

Last Days at the Lab

María Alvarez (she/her)

Reminiscing about old technologies and the past will change your thoughts about the future


María Alvarez is an internationally recognized Cuban-Dutch filmmaker. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a BFA in Film & Television Production. Her films have screened at dozens of festivals such as the Los Angeles Film Festival and Cleveland International Film Festival, won awards from institutions such as Google, and screened in museums like MoMA. She worked as a Director’s Assistant to Benedict Andrews on “Seberg,” starring Kristen Stewart and shot by Rachel Morrison. Her short film, ‘Split Ends,’ was a 2021 Horizon Finalist, premiered at the NALIP Latino Media Fest, and then went on to screen at the Cannes Court Métrage and NewFilmmakers LA hosted by the Academy. She worked as the Creative Editor at FREE THE WORK, a global talent discovery platform for underrepresented creators founded by director, Alma Har’el. She is in the festival circuit with her latest short film, ‘did i look cuban then?,’ which premiered at the 2022 Santa Barbara International Film Festival and was nominated for Best Documentary at NFFTY. She is currently in pre-production of her next short, ‘Last Days of the Lab.’ María is now a freelance director and photographer in the narrative, music video, and commercial space.

The Ballad of Tita and The Machine

Miguel Angel Caballero (he/him)

Proving that sometimes AI and technology are not better than human labor 


Miguel Angel Caballero, the son of Mexican immigrant farmworkers, is an award-winning Queer Mexican-American/Chicano writer, producer, and director. He received his bachelor’s degree from the school of Theater, Film & Television at UCLA. His latest short film, ‘Acuitzeramo,’ premiered at the Morelia International Film Festival and won 21 awards, including ‘Best Short’ at the Imagen Awards and ‘Best LGBTQ Short’ in the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival. His previous film, ‘Broken Sunflower Hearts,’ was named by Remezcla Magazine as one of the year’s Best Short Films by US Latino Directors. Miguel Angel co-wrote and produced the PSA ‘Know Your Rights’ for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). He was selected to participate in the 2022 inaugural Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Accelerator Program. He’s an Outfest Screenwriting Lab Fellow, Film Independent fellow, and recipient of the Warner Bros Discovery 150 Artist Grant. Miguel Angel is co-founder of Cabaldana Alchemy, a company whose mission is to create working-class U.S. Latine stories from an LGBTQ perspective.



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