Sundance Institute Announces 2024 Momentum Fellows

Park City, UTAH, February 22, 2024 — Today the nonprofit Sundance Institute announced eight storytellers selected for the 2024 Momentum Fellowship. Now in its sixth year, Momentum continues its mission of fostering professional growth for mid-career artists, emphasizing professional development opportunities during a critical juncture in their creative journey. The fellowship specifically targets mid-career artists hailing from historically marginalized backgrounds, offering them tailored support and resources. It is led by the Institute’s Women at Sundance and Artist Accelerator programs.

The fellowship supports creators working in fiction or nonfiction who have recently achieved a noteworthy accomplishment, such as a highly regarded feature film or series. Momentum provides participants with a full-year program of customized support around current goals they identify for themselves to level up in their craft and career, including an unrestricted artist grant; professional coaching offered by Renee Freedman & Company, supported by The Harnisch Foundation; and connection to the Sundance Institute’s ELEVATE professional development track with exclusive workshops and sessions. Application to the Momentum Fellowship is by invitation only. Additionally, as part of an ongoing partnership with Universal, the studio will provide support for select Momentum fellows working on fiction projects. Universal is providing those participants access to the studio’s creative executives and producers to build career momentum and exposure to potential directing opportunities across the company’s portfolio.

“Momentum is one of our most unique fellowship programs for its recognition of a challenging reality within our industry,” said Hajnal Molnar-Szakacs, Director of Artist Accelerator and Women at Sundance. “Even artists with one or two successful projects still require substantial support to advance both creatively and professionally. This program meets that need in a customized manner, catering to talented and diverse storytellers seeking mentorship and community. We are thrilled to see where this year’s cohort will lead.”

Launched in 2018 as a highly successful model for sustaining and leveling up artists in their careers, the Momentum Fellowship merited expansion for impact across a broader cohort of underrepresented communities. Those eligible for this intersectional program include artists identifying as women, nonbinary, and/or transgender; Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color; and artists with disabilities. Previous Momentum fellows have included Minhal Baig, Linda Yvette Chávez, Christina Choe, Cristina Costantini, Yance Ford, Natalie Erika James, Nikyatu Jusu, Shalini Kantayya, Bing Liu, Ekwa Msangi, Edson Oda, Mariem Pérez Riera, Eva Vives, Charlotte Wells, Angel Kristi Williams, and Malika Zouhali-Worrall.

The 2024 Momentum fellows are: 

Aitch Alberto is a writer-director born and raised in Miami, Florida. She is a Sundance Episodic Lab fellow and one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch for 2022. She wrote and directed Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe with Lin-Manuel Miranda producing. She has also written on Duster from J.J. Abrams and Little America.

Raven Jackson is an award-winning filmmaker, poet, and photographer from Tennessee. Her debut feature, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt, made in partnership with Maria Altamirano, PASTEL, and A24, world-premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and was recently nominated for two Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Savanah Leaf has transitioned from 2012 Olympian to award-winning filmmaker. Her directorial feature debut, Earth Mama,premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Her film The Heart Still Hums (2020) won Best Documentary Short at the Palm Springs International ShortFest. Her music video “This Land” for Gary Clark Jr. was nominated for Best Music Video at the 2020 Grammys. 

Sing J. Lee is an award-winning writer-director. Following recognition from BBC’s Best of the North, Cannes Lions, Clios, and MTV VMAs, Lee was selected for Variety’s 2019 10 Storytellers to Watch and received the 2023 Sundance Film Festival U.S. Dramatic Directing Award for his directorial feature debut, The Accidental Getaway Driver.

Laura Moss is a filmmaker from New York City whose work has screened at Sundance, Tribeca, Rotterdam, and SXSW. Their debut feature, birth/rebirth, was distributed in theaters by IFC. Their short film Fry Day is featured on the Criterion Channel. Their award-winning screenplay Gordon, co-written with Brendan J. O’Brien, is currently in development.

A.V. Rockwell is a screenwriter, director, and producer from Queens, New York. Her directorial debut, A Thousand and One, won the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. The film was released theatrically by Focus Features and most recently received the Gotham Award for Breakthrough Director.

D. Smith is a two-time Grammy-nominated producer, singer, and songwriter and made her film debut as the director of the documentary Kokomo City,released by Magnolia Pictures. The film earned awards at several major festivals, including Sundance and Berlin. Smith was recently nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award.

Erica Tremblay is a filmmaker from the Seneca-Cayuga Nation. Her feature film Fancy Dance premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Tremblay has written and directed on the FX series Reservation Dogs as well as AMC’s Dark Winds. Tremblay lives in upstate New York, where she studies her Indigenous language.

Women at Sundance is made possible by leadership support from Adobe, The David and Lura Lovell Foundation, Helen Gurley Brown Foundation, Bill and Ruth Harnisch – The Harnisch Foundation, and NBCUniversal. Additional support is provided by Kimberly Steward, Zions Bank, The Latinx House, Susan Bay Nimoy, Eagle and the Hawk Foundation, Ann Lovell, Paul and Katy Drake Bettner, Abigail Disney and Pierre Hauser – Like a River Fund, Pat Mitchell and Scott Seydel, and two anonymous donors.

Artist Accelerator is made possible by the generous support of The Walt Disney Company, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Gold House, The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), Lyn Lear, and Cindy Horn.

WHO

Sundance Institute

As a champion and curator of independent stories, the nonprofit Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists across storytelling media to create and thrive. Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the Institute’s signature labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. Sundance Collab, a digital community platform, brings a global cohort of working artists together to learn from Sundance advisors and connect with each other in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Through the Sundance Institute artist programs, we have supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Big Sick, Bottle Rocket, Boys Don’t Cry, Boys State, Call Me by Your Name, Clemency, CODA, Drunktown’s Finest, The Farewell, Fire of Love, Flee, The Forty-Year-Old Version, Fruitvale Station, Get Out, Half Nelson, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Hereditary, Honeyland, The Infiltrators, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Little Woods, Love & Basketball, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Mudbound, Nanny, Navalny, O.J.: Made in America, One Child Nation, Pariah, Raising Victor Vargas, Requiem for a Dream, Reservoir Dogs, RBG, Sin Nombre, Sorry to Bother You, The Souvenir, Strong Island, Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), Swiss Army Man, Sydney, A Thousand and One, Top of the Lake, Walking and Talking, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, and Zola. Through year-round artist programs, the Institute also nurtured the early careers of such artists as Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Gregg Araki, Darren Aronofsky, Lisa Cholodenko, Ryan Coogler, Nia DaCosta, The Daniels, David Gordon Green, Miranda July, James Mangold, John Cameron Mitchell, Kimberly Peirce, Boots Riley, Ira Sachs, Quentin Tarantino, Taika Waititi, Lulu Wang, and Chloé Zhao. Support Sundance Institute in our commitment to uplifting bold artists and powerful storytelling globally by making a donation at sundance.org/donate. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), and YouTube.

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