Next Stop, HBO? NewFilmmakers LA and WarnerMedias OneFifty Team Talk Ambitious Grant Program

With support from WarnerMedia’s OneFifty division, the nonprofit NewFilmmakers Los Angeles has launched NewNarratives, a program aimed at identifying, funding, and supporting emerging artists and projects from NFMLA’s pool of talent. The recipient will receive a grant to support the development of a new project over the next year, which will also be introduced by OneFifty to WarnerMedia executives for further development consideration.

Organizers are seeking applications centered around an episodic or feature project from people all around the world. (Find more details at the bottom of the page.) They’re aiming to amplify fresh, unique voices with ideas that “transcend borders and dismantle convention.” And they really mean it.

“We’re really keeping it very open. In our programming, you’ll find stuff that feels very mainstream, stuff that fits a commercial model, but you’ll also find content that feels very experimental,” said Larry Laboe, executive director of NFMLA in an interview with IndieWire. “I think it’s a balancing act of trying to support artists who you see something special is there and helping them find a way to monetize that and build a stable and steady career to where they can keep creating content.”

Laboe, who co-founded NFMLA 14 years ago as a booster and programmer of emerging storytellers’ work, said OneFifty is a particularly unique partner for the organization, given its mission to nurture out-of-the-box projects in a range of mediums.

The division started about six year ago as a content incubator before it moved into grant-making. Now OneFifty’s head Axel Caballero describes it as an artistic studio within WarnerMedia, one that funds, develops, and acquires projects that can go overlooked by other channels, including those from underrepresented creators.

“OneFifty relies really strongly on the partnerships that we create to uncover this talent, these stories, and these projects. That model allows us to reach a wider net of projects that we couldn’t necessarily do ourself. We’ve found that NewFilmmakers has been a perfect partner for that,” Caballero told IndieWire.

For example, OneFifty announced its relaunch in April alongside its acquisition of Tomer Shushan’s Oscar-nominated “White Eye,” which is now available on HBO Max. Shushan is a NFMLA alumni and is currently working with OneFifty on another project.

Projects that come through the OneFifty pipeline have the chance to be presented to WarnerMedia executives looking for new content for HBO Max, Warner Bros., CNN, TBS, and the company’s other properties. OneFifty plans to announce 15 more acquisitions in the next three months. Last month it announced the acquisition of Sundance Sloan-prize winner “Son of Monarchs,” which will stream on HBO Max this fall.

“The great thing about working with OneFifty is that they’re actually acquiring content, they’re actually funding artists, they’re helping to get them out to other units of WarnerMedia,” Laboe said. “We also share a lot of the same philosophies. … It’s not necessarily like working with other companies in that Axel’s leading a team of people who really wear a creative eye every day and that translates into the types of projects and artists that they’re looking to nurture.”

With the NFMLA Monthly Film Festival, InFocus Series, awards, and a slate of other events, NFMLA aims to showcase and support the work of emerging filmmakers and connect them with industry members in LA.

Here are more details about NewNarratives:

NFMLA will accept submissions until August 27. Applicants must be or become members of the organization; membership starts at $50.

The amount of the grant will be determined based on need. OneFifty’s past grants range from $10,000 to $100,000.

Applicants must have written, directed, or produced at least one short that has been accepted into a festival.

Submitted projects must be in the development stage and written by the applicant in English.

More information is available on the application portal.

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