Cinereach announced the four recipients of 2019’s Producer Award, a $50,000 filmmaking prize as part of the Cinereach Producers Initiative, on Friday.
The indie film company has selected Jessica Devaney (“Always in Season”), Alexandra Lazarowich (“Fast Horse”), Kishori Rajan (“Random Acts of Flyness”) and Jamund Washington (“Tramps”) as independent producers that have demonstrated vision and integrity, contributed to the film community as mentors and leaders, and enriched the culture through their films.
“This year’s group of recipients is particularly exciting because Jessica, Alexandra, Kishori and Jamund have each created poignant, culturally thoughtful work that breaks down barriers on a multitude of platforms. Their commitment to this type of work is shifting our industry in meaningful ways,” Merrill Sterritt, head of partnerships and creative initiatives at Cinereach, said in a statement.
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“We are proud to continue to support the work of independent producers and are dedicated to finding continued ways to support this vital role in the industry,” Caroline Kaplan, director of film and creative programs at Cinereach, said in a statement.
Previous recipients of the Producer Award include Anish Savjani, Effie Brown, Scott Macauley, Joslyn Barnes, Karin Chien, Julie Goldman, Heather Rae and Jay Van Hoy.
Jessica Devaney is the founder of Multitude Films and is a producer dedicated to telling stories by and about under-represented communities. Her latest film “Always in Season” premiered in competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Award for Moral Urgency. She recently produced “The Feeling of Being Watched,” which played at Tribeca in 2018, the Cinema Eye-nominated “Roll Red Roll” and the Critic’s Choice-nominated “Speed Sisters,” which is available on Netflix.
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Devaney is particularly devoted to producing films helmed by female directors of color and enabling these voices to bring important stories to the world, thus creating a more inclusive and diverse industry. Jessica co-founded the Queer Producers Collective, she produced Doc Society’s inaugural Queer Impact Producers Lab, and she was a Sundance Edit and Story Lab fellow, Women at Sundance fellow, and Sundance Creative Producing Lab advisor.
Director, producer and screenwriter Alexandra Lazarowich is known for her passionate body of work around indigenous stories. Her most recent documentary “Fast Horse” premiered and won the Special Jury Award for Directing at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Her latest short film “Lake” premiered at the 2019 Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival, as part of the 5 Minute Feminist Film Program. Lazarowich is an outspoken advocate for Native filmmakers, working to dismantle and decolonize racist portrayals of Native people in cinema.
This year, Lazarowich convinced the Flaherty Film Seminar to not only include several Native filmmakers in this year’s festival, but also to remove their logo of “Nanook of the North,” which has been considered an offensive image by some Native people in film. Additionally, Lazarowich was the creative director for the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, Alberta, where she directed 31 audio and video elements for the museum’s new Human History wing, illuminating the cultures and histories of the Blackfoot, Cree, Denesųłįné, Dene Tha’, Métis, Nakota and Stoney Nakoda.
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Kishori Rajan is a creative producer who develops work under her newly formed banner, Reverse Osmosis Films. She’s an executive producer of the HBO series “Random Acts of Flyness,” which was nominated for a Peabody Award and was recently renewed for a second season. Kishori has produced several feature films including the upcoming “The SHort History of the Long Road,” which played 2019’s Tribeca, “The Price” from Samuel Goldwyn Films, and “American Fable” from IFC Films. She’s a 2017 Cannes Producers Fellow, a 2017 Tribeca All Access grantee, and the first ever American producer to be selected for the EAVE European Producers Network.
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Jamund Washington’s producing work includes the 2016 Emmy Award-nominated television film, “Silenced,” the SXSW Grand Jury winner “Gimme the Loot” and the Netflix original, “Tramps,” which he also co-wrote. He is an executive producer, writer and director on HBO’s “Random Acts of Flyness.”
Cinereach is currently producing A24’s “After Yang,” from writer and director Kogonada and starring Colin Farrell.