LGBT Student Film Grants

$4,575 of $2,500 goal

Raised by 39 people in 37 months


We're down to the final week of the campaign! Donations end on Wednesday, August 17--please share this page and help us reach our stretch goal of $4,000! 


Because we believe in the power of representation in media, The New Hollywood LGBT is raising funds to support the launch of the Emerging Voices Student Filmmaker Program, which provides small grants of $250- $1,000 to LGBT high school and college filmmakers working on short films with social justice themes. Students will be paired with mentors from The New Hollywood for guidance and support. Applications for the 2016 program will open July 13 and close September 1 at 

With your help, we know we can make an impact in LGBT student filmmakers' lives and help them create some amazing work. The value of mentorship cannot be understated, and by supporting and encouraging a handful of students we hope to create leaders and mentors that will in turn support and encourage their peers. 

What Happens to the Films

Finished projects will be showcased annually at Brooklyn Web Fest and Content Creator Conference , which is held in October at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP and fiscally sponsored by TNH.

TNH will adjudicate an additional award at the festival, recognizing professional work that serves underrepresented communities.

Because we are a volunteer-run organization ,100% of all donations to The New Hollywood go to support our programs and initiatives. Some funds raised will go to cover overhead costs such as meeting space, travel expenses and printed materials. These functional necessities will help us provide an institutional structure for our programs. 


The New Hollywood was founded in 2006 by Devious Maids and General Hospital actress Brianna Brown to create a philanthropic goal group to help women in the industry rise higher, shine brighter and give back.

In 2015 Mad Men actor and EastSiders creator Kit Williamson co-founded the LGBT branch of The New Hollywood with Brianna, and now serves as its Executive Director.

The New Hollywood LGBT is a 501c3 non-profit charity leadership group and think tank comprised of entertainment professionals dedicated to giving back to the community and helping shape the future of the industry. We are committed to supporting our members’ professional and personal goals through quarterly meetings and small groups focused on personal accountability, and will set annual outward facing goals to benefit the LGBT community and expand opportunities for LGBT artists in front of and behind the camera.

2016 TNH LGBT members include OUT100 Honoree actor Ben Bauer, Getting On actor Kasey Mahaffy, Life’s a Drag creator Ian Verdun, actress & producer Minnie Goode, blogger Christine Linnell, filmmaker James Mercel, screenwriter & actor James Francis, entertainment lawyer Steven Shaw, novelist Nancy Healy and actor & producer Devon Jones.

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UPDATE! It's the final day of the campaign! We still have until midnight tonight to spread the word about The Emerging Voices Program--please share on FB, Twitter, whatever the kids are doing these days!

Our final testimonials come from Kit Williamson and James Francis.


Growing up in Mississippi, I know firsthand the power of representation in media. As a kid, I felt completely alone in the world, and it was a profound experience for me to see LGBT people on my television screen and in the indie film section of my local video store. Now, as an adult, I want to give back to the next generation and provide them opportunities to not only see themselves in stories, but to create those stories themselves. That’s why I’m passionate about the Emerging Voices program—I believe that one of the reasons our community has made such great strides towards equality in recent years is because of our ability to tell our stories, and it’s so important that we empower the next generation to continue that tradition. It is much harder to discriminate against a person than it is to discriminate against an idea, and the more voices we support the greater impact we will have on the world. I am excited to encourage young voices, and to offer my experience as a storyteller through our mentorship program.

Kit Williamson is an actor, award-winning filmmaker and LGBT activist best known for playing Ed Gifford on the final two seasons of AMC's Mad Men. He is also the creator and star of the Emmy-nominated LGBT web series EastSiders, which began on YouTube and has since brokered distribution deals with Netflix, Vimeo, Amazon, Hulu, Logo and Fullscreen and is now available on DVD and VOD through Wolfe Video. He is the cofounder and executive director of Brooklyn Web Fest and The New Hollywood LGBT, a non-profit leadership group of out entertainment industry professionals.

I am really passionate about what we are doing with our Emerging Voice Filmmaker Program because we are allowing, not only our voice, but the diverse voices of the youth to be heard and acknowledged. I want to focus on the word "voice" because it is the one gift that we allow to be taken away from us and silenced the most. It means so much to me because, often time, my voice was stifled. So I understand what it means to feel as though you don't have one. Because of that, I felt alone and confused in the experiences I faced growing up. I didn't have a role model, mentor, or champion I could rely on. I didn't receive encouragement or fully understand why I was different in the eyes of others. More importantly, having someone to tell you that your uniqueness is okay, and to inspire and uplift you in those trying times is paramount to whom we become as we age.
I've come to realize, in a grand way, that our lives are a stream of responsibilities. Personally, I wouldn't want to live in a world where that ideal didn't exist. Not only do I feel I am responsible for what I say and do, but it is my duty to look out for the well being of others. To not only empathize, but to stand up and be a voice for those who feel they don't have one.
Fortunately, through all the detriments I encountered in my youth, I made it to where I am today. Despite every setback that provided a big enough space for me to hide in, I prevailed. There was always this voice in the back of my mind that said, "there's got to be more to this life". Looking back I can identify that I had allies all along. They didn't necessarily exist in a human form I could touch, but they reached me. Through music, literature, and film I started to discover and put together the pieces. A bigger picture started to form; one in which I could finally see myself. Which in turn, started the process of me getting to know myself. Moreover, lead to me loving myself. It wasn't until then that I felt I had a voice, let alone one that others deemed important enough to listen to.
That is why I love TNH:LGBT and why I'm so excited about what we'll accomplish with our Emerging Voices initiative. We want to provide an avenue to which our younger peers feel validated and can express their viewpoints, creatively, in the form of a short film with our mentorship. It is my hope that others will see why such a program as this is important. As you know, everything has a basic function or purpose. Like a great tune or symphony a voice is meant to be heard.

James Francis is an actor, producer, and screenwriter. After getting a few Shorts under his belt, he ventured into writing a feature-length screenplay he finished in 2015. This summer he started working on his third. He has plans to start production on his first feature, Where We Meet, later this year. Currently, James is collaborating on a couple short films he will not only write and act in, but try his hand at directing. James Francis resides in Los Angeles, California.
Kit Williamson
James Francis
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LOVE this video from TNH LGBT member Minnie Goode about why she's supporting The Emerging Voices Program! Check it out and ask your friends to donate before midnight on Wednesday!
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A note from James Mercel:

Coming out is hard. It's weird, because you think it'll be done after you do it, once. It's not. You're never done. You can't tell every person in your life, personally, tho it sometimes feels like that's all I do. Many people who know me kinda know I'm gay. I don't hide it, but we've never had "the talk," so they don't really have to consider me as their gay cousin, nephew, friend, whatever. It's something I've struggled with for decades, and to some extent, still do. That's why the Emerging Voices Program matters so much to me. It's about helping others find their voice, their strength, their safe patch of ground on this planet, and hopefully go on to help others find theirs. Bringing our voices together, so that the common reality is that, rather than there are queer people, that we're just some of the people in the world, not a bogeyman, not an amusement, (as Norman Lear's bumper stickers says) "just another version of you."
James Mercel is a chronically single writer/producer/documentarian whose turn-ones include muscle bears who make sizable, charitable donations to queer, tax-deductible, endowments.

James Mercel is a chronically single writer/producer/documentarian whose turn-ones include muscle bears who make sizable, charitable donations to queer, tax-deductible, endowments.
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Hey Friends!

We're down to the FINAL WEEK of the fundraising campaign! Donations close on Wednesday, August 17!

For the final week, we've asked a few of our members what the Emerging Voices Program means to them and will be posting daily updates! To kick things off, here's a statement from novelist and TNH LGBT member Nancy Ann Healy:


It was often a lonely journey growing up and wrestling with my sexuality. Being surrounded by people is not always a cure for loneliness. As a young person, I never considered requiring a label for my feelings or for who I was. I did, however, search to find people that I could identify with. I puzzled over the reality that there didn’t seem to be other girls or women who liked other women—romantically speaking. Why couldn’t the knight in shining armor be a lady in waiting? Those images were nowhere to be found.

Even now, as a forty-seven-year-old woman who has raised a son to adulthood, I am still amazed at the lack of diversity that our media presents us with. Looking at the state of our world today, I am convinced more than ever that the models we put forth in media matter. We live in a twenty-four/seven media culture, a constant barrage of images and messages telling us who we are and who we are supposed to be. As it has always been, art not only reflects the human experience; it also informs life and culture. We take cues about how we are supposed to look, behave, what we are supposed to believe, even who we are meant to love from the images and dialogue we hear. Currently, we are immersed in a culture that relies on media more than ever as a source of information and even identity. That is why The Emerging Voices Student Filmmakers Program means so much to me.

Our country and our world face many challenges. We continue to struggle with basic human rights issues, grapple with cultural change, environmental challenges, and economic oppression. Our society reflects the colorful tapestry that is the human world, yet our media continues to lack healthy diversity, failing to truly represent that rich, textured tapestry as it actually exists. Allowing young voices to speak, to show us the way in which they perceive this world and their place in it can be a powerful tool in beginning to help us challenge our assumptions about who we are and how we perceive others.

I sincerely hope that others will see the value in this incredible program. We learn from everything and everyone that surrounds us. We become enriched and grow as a society when we allow ourselves to interact with the ideas and perceptions of people who are not like us. These, I believe are seeds of growth and change. The more seeds that we plant, water, and nurture, the more we will begin to weave a new and vibrant tapestry that reflects who we truly are in all our glorious diversity. And, perhaps in the process we will all learn something new, not just about others but about ourselves.


Nancy Ann Healy is an author, playwright, and sometimes comedian. She is best known for the best-selling Alex and Cassidy series of political thrillers: Intersection, Betrayal, Commitment, and Conspiracy. She has also written and directed an original play called Spin, which explores the personal fall-out of gun violence for two families—the killer’s and one of his victim’s. In 2015, Nancy began writing short story lesbian romance under the pen name of J.A. Armstrong. As J.A. Armstrong, Nancy has written three series: Off Screen, By Design, and Special Delivery. The stories are written in episodic form and follow the journey of three different couples through the ups and downs of everyday life. Currently, Nancy is writing a stand-alone crime thriller called Untold which features the characters originally depicted in the Alex and Cassidy series. She continues to write all three series under the pen name of J.A. Armstrong with a fourth due to release in the fall of 2016.

Nancy is happily married to her wife, Melissa. Together they have a son, Chris, and three dogs, a mutt named Maggie, Jameson, a husky named after the protagonist in her By Design series, and her Jack Russell, Sydney Bristow. The family currently lives in Connecticut, where Nancy is completing her studies in social justice through Arizona State University.
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$4,575 of $2,500 goal

Raised by 39 people in 37 months
Created May 10, 2016
Funds raised will benefit:
Certified Charity
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Los Angeles, CA
EIN: 271175495
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Alyssa Stine
33 months ago
Michelle Mathias
34 months ago


James Mercel
34 months ago
Justin Young
34 months ago

Excited to help with this project and hope that it allows emerging artists to tell greater stories.

Stacey Fontaine
34 months ago
Rosemaree Zazu
34 months ago
Dan Wingard
34 months ago
34 months ago
Heatherlynn Gonzalez
34 months ago
Mark Heidel
34 months ago
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