The Latinx House, the Sundance Institute’s Women at Sundance program, Netflix, and Shondaland have unveiled the three Latina directors who will participate in the inaugural Adelante Directors Fellowship, a groundbreaking program that supports up-and-coming directors’ professional development, creating a pipeline to uplift independent filmmakers as they grow in their careers and learn more about directing on a series.

The Latina directors chosen for this year’s Adelante Directors Fellowship are Cecilia Aldarondo, an award-winning director-producer from the Puerto Rican diaspora who works at the intersection of poetics and politics; Yulene Olaizola, a prolific film director originally from Mexico her most recent film Tragic Jungle premiered in competition at Venice Film Festival 2020; and Nicole Mejia, born in Honduras and a recent graduate from the American Film Institute Directing program who creates stories about the resilience of the human spirit through drama, thriller and magical realism. For more information on the fellows, please click here.

There are more than 62 million Latinx people living in the United States, and yet Latinx community members are underrepresented, stereotyped, or degraded in popular culture and entertainment. This unique coalition will help to create more behind-the-camera opportunities for underrepresented voices in order to create more honest, inclusive, and authentic narratives. The Adelante Directors Fellowship, featuring Latina directors, further bridges communities across borders in an attempt to empower underrepresented creatives to control their own stories and create storylines that touch on the diversity of the Latinx experience.

The program will help guide the three fellowship recipients, who will have the opportunity to shadow an episode of a series, be provided a grant to support the artist for the duration of a six-week period while shadowing, and bespoke support from The Latinx House.

In July, the Adelante Fellowship finalists will convene for a two-day immersive orientation program in Los Angeles guided by various executives, directors, and showrunners in the industry to provide a meaningful and impactful experience. Shondaland and GloNation Studios will be providing shadowing opportunities as part of the program on some of their productions.

“We are incredibly excited to be announcing our three Latina finalists alongside our wonderful partners at Women at Sundance, Netflix, and Shondaland, who all recognize the importance of bringing diverse talent to the forefront,” said Olga Segura, producer, activist, entrepreneur, and co-founder of The Latinx House. “As new research highlights the lack of diversity in media – this program seeks to mend the gap and create a more sustainable pipeline of talented directors and diverse voices. We look forward to working with Cecilia Aldarondo, Yulene Olaizola, and Nicole Mejia for the inaugural year of the Adelante Directors Fellowship.”

“Diverse communities often struggle to break into the industry. At Sundance, we recognize the need to support underrepresented voices,” said Adella Ladjevardi, Associate Director, Women at Sundance. “It is with great pleasure that we can work alongside our partners to help support our three Latina directors as they create pathways for inclusion.”

The Adelante Directors Fellows were selected by a distinguished jury of four noteworthy directors, producers, and showrunners in the entertainment industry: Leopoldo Gout, film director, producer, and author (American Jesus, Molly’s Game); Christine Dávila, Head of Development and Production for Ojalá; Jay Van Hoy, producer (The Witch, The Lighthouse) and Francesca Gregorini, screenwriter, director, and producer (The Truth About Emanuel, Killing Eve).

“We hope that through innovative mentorship and professional support, The Adelante Fellowship can help amplify these extraordinary directors and their pursuit to bring more Latinx experiences to the screen,” said Bela Bajaria, Head of Global TV, Netflix.

“The fellowship is critical to ensuring that our industry continues to open doors and create opportunities for diverse talent who have been historically underrepresented,” said Tom Verica, Head of Creative Production, Shondaland.

“I am so proud of the work my sisters at The Latinx House have been spearheading,” said Gloria Calderón Kellett, award-winning showrunner, producer, writer, director and actress. “It is in line with the mission of my production company, GloNation Studios, and I’m thrilled that we will have a deserving Latina director on our ‘With Love’ stage this year ready to thrive and grow.”