The Chimaera Project is launching SUPPORT.HER, a new mentorship program offering women filmmakers (cis, trans, and non-binary inclusive) guidance and career assistance. The first cycle of mentorships begins virtually in fall 2021. Plans for future program cycles include an expansion of offerings such as in-person mentoring, scholarships, and job shadowing.
In a joint statement, the project founders Shana Betz, Cheryl Bookout, and America Young said, “This mentorship program is the latest extension and growth of our organization, which has been dedicated to empowering women and non-binary artists and assist their career progress in a real way by being a true guiding force as they navigate their way through the challenges our industry can present.”
The brainchild of actor and producer Casey McKinnon (The Tragedy of JFK (as told by Wm. Shakespeare)), the initiative will launch with an inaugural group of six mentors spanning a number of disciplines in film and television, including writer Maurissa Tancharoen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), composer Bear McCreary (Outlander), director Alexis Ostrander (Supergirl), writer Marc Bernardin (Star Trek: Picard), Passionflix founder and director Tosca Musk (Gabriel’s Inferno), and visual effects lead compositor Joe Censoplano (Eternals).
Mentors will provide from one to three one-hour sessions of career consultation and advice based on their experience in the industry. All candidates submitting applications in the field of directing will receive an invitation to attend an exclusive visual directing workshop with Ostrander.
Candidate submissions will be reviewed and select individuals will be contacted for a virtual interview. To prioritize diversity and equitable inclusion, a diverse group of representatives will be used to review submissions, conduct interviews, and contribute to the final selections.
“I have been lucky to have had the benefit of people taking time out of their busy lives to help advise and guide me on my path to being a working TV writer,” Bernardin commented. “As such, I feel a responsibility to help pay that forward—and as hard as it was for me to break in, I’m positive that it’s even harder for women of color.”
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. co-showrunner Tancharoen, whose mentorship targets filmmakers from AAPI and POC communities, noted, “As an Asian-American writer/producer/performer, I’ve seen progress pertaining to representation over the years, but as always, there is still so much work to do. An organization that supports and amplifies diverse talented women is an invaluable resource for the changes we need to make in film and television.”
According to the Chimaera Project’s McKinnon and Young, “As filmmakers, we deeply understand the value of spending even one-hour consulting with someone you admire in your chosen field – someone who has achieved a level of success you yourself are working toward. Learning from the mistakes of others and getting the support you need to propel you to the next level is priceless. At the end of the day, we want these filmmakers to know that they aren’t an afterthought in the industry, they are the reason we wake up in the morning. Their voices matter and we recognize they have a unique vision that deserves to be seen.”
Applications for SUPPORT.HER are now open – the deadline for submissions is July 31.
Additional program and application information is available here.