Meet the talented 2023 Sundance x Adobe fellows

When it comes to storytelling in film, diversity in front of the camera is crucial and allows for audiences to feel seen, represented and understood. But it’s not just optics — we also need unique voices and visionaries behind-the-scenes in the role of creators, directors, and industry leaders. These perspectives steer the end result of the art itself, upend the filmmaking process and shift old paradigms about the industry — onscreen and otherwise.

Adobe’s mission has always been to elevate the stories of all creators, and we’re committed to continuing to lift-up voices and bring greater opportunities to all creators, especially the underrepresented. We're proud of our longstanding partnership with Sundance Institute — an organization known for its ability to provide emerging filmmakers in media and film exposure, opportunity, community, and support. Through our shared commitment to help nurture, develop and champion all voices, we’re proud of our continued support and momentum through the Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellowship and the Sundance Women to Watch x Adobe Fellowship, to support these talented storytellers.

“[This fellowship] is the sweetest reminder that my work is being noticed and my name is being spoken in rooms that I don’t know about and am not present in.”

- Jalena Keane-Lee, Sundance Women to Watch x Adobe Fellow

Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellowship

Since its inception in 2015, the Ignite fellowship has offered creatives greater resources and opportunity to tell their stories. It’s a year-round artist-development program inspiring creativity and supporting emerging filmmakers ages 18 to 25. Since its inception in 2015, our collaboration has supported more than 100 fellows with the necessary tools, community, and mentorship to help bring their visions to life — which includes an artist grant, participation in various workshops and webinars, Sundance Institute alumni mentors to help expand both professionally and artistically, and year-long access to the Adobe Creative Cloud.

The ten Fellows were chosen from a global pool of more than 1,000 short-film submissions, ranging from 1 to 15 minutes in length, to the annual Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellowship Application.

This year’s class of talented 2023 Fellows are already in the midst of building impressive resumes: Xiaoxuan Amanda Jiang’s short titled, “Graveyard of Horses” (2022) was presented at SXSW ‘23 and won the NETPAC Award at the Busan International Short Film Festival, while Omi Gupta’s debut short film “Birdsong” has been acquired by The Guardian, and in 2021, Milla Lewis was the recipient of the Directing Mentorship Programme at the Polish National Film School in Łódź.

Alumni of the program have gone on to feature their films at the Sundance Film Festival and win prizes such as the Short Film Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

I create films in hopes that someone is able to feel seen in ways not experienced before. This hope stems from myself, a queer kid in a rural mountain town, feeling represented for the first time by what I saw on screen.

- Dallin Mello, Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellow

“[Filmmaking] helps me make sense of the world around me, and the feelings within me. It makes me question myself, my beliefs and the space I occupy in the world, and therefore, helps me grow as a person. It challenges me and pushes me to develop more empathy.”

- Alvina Joshi, Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellow

Sundance Women to Watch x Adobe Fellowship

Adobe is the first-ever brand to create a women-focused fellowship with Sundance Institute. The year-round program is designed to foster community, as well as provide mentorship and support to women artists offering a fresh perspective in film and media. Created in 2020, this fellowship was formed by the Sundance Institute and Adobe around a shared commitment to help nurture, develop and champion underrepresented voices. The program offers a full year of comprehensive support with custom-tailored mentorship from the Institute, skill-building workshops, ongoing coaching, a grant to financially support these artists’ projects, and a one-year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.

“My grandmother inspires my work. Nothing gets your comedic juices flowing more when your parents can out-joke and out-roast you. She survived Japanese Occupation, the Korean War, multiple pandemics (plus more), and she still gets up and goes for a walk around her village every day.”

- Naomi Ko, Sundance Women to Watch x Adobe Fellow

“I am obsessed with lineage — the things we reject from our lineage and the patterns we ultimately fall into. I am constantly inspired by the Caribbean, my island and its contradictions. I think embracing and exploring the murkiness of our identity and the ways in which we contradict ourselves makes for truly wonderful storytelling.”

- Gabriela Ortega, Sundance Women to Watch x Adobe Fellow

Adobe believes in the power of creativity and is committed to creating opportunities for emerging artists so they can share their talents and perspectives with the world. Learn more about the ways we are empowering storytellers through our support of Sundance here.