2021 Grants Challenge

Fearless Filmmakers

Shattering gender inequity, our online film program empowers girls and non-binary youth to create festival-ready films under the tutelage of Hollywood professionals in a safe, collaborative space. We teach them storytelling and technological skills, expanding our growing community of fearless filmmakers who create innovative reels that help them gain entrance into top university film programs and careers. Alumni get the opportunity to produce films made by Girls IN Focus, gain a professional credit and join our Youth Advisory Board.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

We created a more inclusive community of filmmakers committed to empowering girls and non-binary youth behind the camera with the goal of eradicating gender disparity in the industry. Annenberg Institute confirms the problem: “Hollywood movies perpetuate a lack of inclusive representation of those from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, girls and women, the LGBTQ community, and individuals with disabilities.” In Variety, Dave McNary wrote, “Men comprised 68% and women 32% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on films in festivals in 2018-19.” He added that on films directed by women 72% of writers and 45% of editors were women as opposed to 11% & 21% on male directed films. To end the gross underrepresentation, youth need support and training early in order to penetrate the odds that are stacked against them. As future content leaders they will inspire more girls, shape the stories told and help define our culture.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

We increase the power of women in the film industry by creating a pipeline connecting, educating and preparing them to win jobs that typically go to men in technical positions and leadership roles such as directing, writing, producing and cinematography. To attain equity, our programs include diverse groups of girls and non-binary youth ages 12-18 and provide financial hardship scholarships. Our 3-week summer film intensive is taught by top professionals, some Emmy-winning, who volunteer in all areas of production providing crucial training. Students form groups in a safe, virtual, collaborative environment creating festival-ready films using smart phones and cutting-edge tools. These films help students gain entry into top film schools and are screened at our virtual global festival providing exposure for this underserved demographic. “The Sound of Justice,” a feature produced in our pilot program premiered at OC’s Multicultural Film Fiesta and was accepted at Denver’s XicanIndie Film Fest. Our monthly workshops allow students to further hone their skills and we are creating an after-school film enrichment program to widen our reach all over LA across all socio-economic backgrounds. All alumni may join our Youth Board and serve as mentors along with our Board of Directors to create networking opportunities at an early age. This unparalleled pipeline is aimed at getting more girls paid jobs behind the camera so they can be better represented in front of the camera.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 25,000

Indirect Impact: 500,000

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

In the short term our scholarship film intensive impacts girls and non-binary youth from all economic strata giving them training early to become fearless filmmakers in a safe space receiving professional mentorship, while creating their own festival-ready films. Training girls as industry leaders prepares them for prestigious universities, allows discovery of their specific niche area of interest and supplies contacts to the kind of jobs they want. Our monthly workshops and potential LA schools curriculum offer exceptional year-round film education and hands-on training. In the long term, we are impacting the film industry by training the next generation of minority filmmakers. By building our own pipeline of professional film projects we advance careers of our participants and alumni helping to close the Hollywood gender gap. The LA community is revitalized annually with our festival films that celebrate new and marginalized voices impacting our culture at large.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

“The Sound of Justice,” a feature produced in our pilot program premiered at OC’s Multicultural Film Fiesta and was accepted at Denver’s XicanIndie Film Fest. That, and a poignant short from our first 3-week intensive screened at our virtual film festival and received critical acclaim from industry professionals and the audience proving their high caliber. Our programs which include racially diverse girls and members of the LGBTQ community help students gain acceptance into top film schools and are accessible to those with disabilities. Festival invites and screenings help measure progress, provide filmmakers with invaluable experiences and show our impact. Alumni may join our Youth Board, train to become producers on our films and pay their knowledge forward as LA community leaders to end gender disparity in the film industry. Surveys and a new program app serve as macro indicators, tracking progress from LA middle schools to jobs and create a unique pipeline and networking database.

Which of the CREATE metrics will you impact?​

Arts establishments, instillations, and exhibitions

Employment in the creative industries

Income inequality

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the best place to LEARN

LA is the best place to CONNECT