Frida Pérez, left, is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker. Maya Cueva, right, is a filmmaker from Berkeley, California. Cueva and Pérez are both 2019 Sundance Ignite Fellows. (Photos by Isabella Balandran)

Sundance Institute and Adobe support the next generation of filmmakers

Powered by the Sundance Institute and Adobe, 15 filmmakers between the ages of 18 to 24 were selected for the Sundance Ignite Fellowship, a year of mentorship and artist development program opportunities.

The 15 young creatives, hailing from three continents, gathered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah in late January to see their short films screened and begin their journey of jump-starting their careers in film.

“To be able to get into a program like this, to be able to come to Sundance for the first time… this is a dream for any filmmaker to be here,” said Maya Cueva, a Sundance Ignite Fellow. “It’s incredible to be able to position myself as a filmmaker, director, producer, to be able to refine my pitches and films, and also to meet with a mentor who can help me navigate this industry.”

The finalists of the fellowship were chosen based on their “original voice, diverse storytelling, and rigor in filmmaking pursuits,” according to the Sundance Institute. The 15 filmmakers have backgrounds and interests including documentaries, comedies, narrative shorts and commercial content.

“It’s important because it springboards you into realizing your career path as a filmmaker. It’s so hard and unclear how to do it — there’s no one path, which is a bit intimidating when you just graduated college. So this is such a great introduction to how it can be feasible, and how you can achieve your goals and dreams,” said Frida Pérez, a Sundance Ignite Fellow.

In its fourth year, the Sundance Ignite Fellowship works to support the next generation of filmmakers by providing a space for community of young creatives to grow together. Throughout several workshops hosted by Adobe and Sundance Ignite, a common theme was the importance of getting to know each other, as the group of fellows will be building their careers alongside each other.

“Getting to meet so many other young, creative people who are part of this community at Adobe, it’s an amazing thing. I have so many genuine friendships with people that I’ve met here,” Mackie Mallison, a recipient of the Adobe Creativity Scholarship said.

The 15 filmmakers submitted one to eight minute short films in addition to a written application, and were selected out of more than 1,200 applicants, according to the Sundance Institute. The 15 short films were all edited using Adobe Premiere Pro or other Adobe editing software.

“Adobe is just a very intuitive, easy to use, but also advanced editing tool, which gives me a lot of flexibility in what I can do. I always feel like every time I edit a new movie, I learn something new and there’s a new technique, or new effect or transition I can learn,” Pérez said.


This story is the first in a series of content made in partnership with Adobe.