Congratulations to Our 2021 Microgrant Winners!

PANO (formerly NYCWF) Microgrant submissions were judged by a panel of esteemed New York film professionals, including Deputy Director at The Gotham Film & Media Institute Kia Brooks, Film Programmer Caryn Coleman, and Filmmaker Ekwa Msangi.

Over 140 filmmakers submitted, out of which 26 semi-finalists were chosen. “It was quite the challenge, they are all really strong projects! Congratulations to all the applicants and to the organization for putting this on,” Msangi said.

The 10 winners will each receive a microgrant in the amount of $500. They’ll be using these grants to cover Production Costs, Post-Production Costs, Film Festival or Competition Submission Fees, Film Education or Training, or Equipment Costs

The Ten Selected Filmmakers for Round 1 (2021) are:

Jeanette Bonner

Production Costs

To turn her feminist podcast #single into an animated web series called “A Single Moment.” The series is based on true dating stories told to her by guests.

Stephanie Choriatis

Production Costs

For her documentary short Bloomers, which follows one woman influenced by Christian Purity Culture. The film documents her suppressed understanding of intimacy, providing a window into generations of people trying to repair themselves and their romantic relationships in light of their indoctrination as children and teens.

Apolla Echino

Festival or Competition Fees

For her short documentary Hard Labor, about a transgender woman working in the oil rigs of Alberta and her struggle, against all odds in a small oil town, to keep her job and her daughter.

Laura Sampson Hemingway

Festival or Competition Fees

To submit her short screenplay Nolo Contendere to screenwriting competitions and host on the Black List. In Nolo Contendere, a kidnapped heiress convicted of violent crimes as a guerrilla soldier is returned home, but the radical organization that plotted her abduction has another plan.

Priya Karki

Film Education or Training

To further her training in Television writing.

DeAngela Napier

Equipment Costs

To purchase camera equipment to further her work highlighting women of color over the age of 50.

Miranda Plant

Post-Production Services

For editing costs on the short film she is producing called Black Opera. Black Opera is a celebration of the first generation of Black opera artists to transcend the classical color line in America, as remembered through the eyes of today’s leading opera stars.

Alanah Rafferty

Production Costs

For the short film FRAUD by Dana Levinson about a trans rocker funding her transition with petty credit card theft finds her life changed when her latest target surprises her with an intriguing proposition that forces her to question who she wants to be.

Shubhangi Shekhar

Post-Production Services

For her short film AmeriGirl. When cool girl Maheen arrives at Camp AmeriGirl, 11-year-old Aaliyah attempts to befriend her to finally fit in.

Imran Siddiquee

Production Costs

For their short film The Difference Between Us. An undocumented immigrant in Philadelphia starts to fall for a roommate she’s never met – forming a connection that will test the limits of her romantic imagination.

Thank You to Our Esteemed Panel of Judges:

Kia Brooks

Deputy Director at The Gotham

Kia Brooks is the Deputy Director at The Gotham Film & Media Institute (formerly IFP). She oversees the organization’s programming, membership, and marketing. She is also the founder of The Gotham’s Owning It program which is dedicated to supporting, connecting, and empowering women and non-binary creators and entrepreneurs who break down boundaries in the media and entertainment industry.

Prior to her role as deputy Director, Kia was the Director, Membership & Strategic Partnerships at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP. She oversaw the Media Center’s general operations, event programming, membership, and strategic partnerships. Before joining IFP, she worked in publicity and special events for over five years at revered companies such as Focus Features, Tribeca Film Festival, and Oscilloscope Laboratories working on theatrical releases, awards campaigns and special events titles include Dallas Buyers ClubAnna KareninaMoonrise KingdomTime is Illmatic, among others. Kia received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Public Communications from American University and is currently enrolled in a Fundraising Certificate Program at New York University. Kia loves connecting people and building community.

Caryn Coleman

Film Programmer

Founder of The Future of Film is Female

Caryn Coleman is a film programmer and the founder of The Future of Film is Female. She curates all programming for The FOFIF including the ongoing series at the Museum of Modern Art, The FOFIF STREAMING platform, and filmmaker conversations. Previously, Coleman was the Director of Programming/Special Projects at Nitehawk Cinema where she was the Director of the annual Nitehawk Shorts Festival and head of department programming (2013 – 2021).

Coleman founded the blog The Girl Who Knew Too Much, which received the 2012 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Art Writers Initiative grant, and was co-editor of the philosophy journal Incognitum Hactenus. She has organized conversations for the Art House Convergence, Athena Film Festival, Connective Conversations for the Ford Foundation at the University of Oregon, The Gotham (IFP), Nightstream, and the CAA. She received her MFA at Goldsmiths College, UK.

Ekwa Msangi


Ekwa Msangi is a Tanzanian and American Filmmaker whose award-winning and critically acclaimed feature film Farewell Amor premiered in competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Distributed by IFC Films and MUBI, the film has received universal rave reviews. She has been awarded the NYWIFT Director’s Award, the 2020 Durban International Film Festival award for Best Screenplay, and was named a 2020 Sundance Momentum Fellow as well as a 2020 BAFTA Breakthrough. Most recently Msangi won the 2021 Indie Spirit “Someone To Watch” Award.

Thank you to all the applicants for sharing your work with us.

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