2023 TFMA Alumni Grant Awardees

2023 TFMA Alumni Grant Awardees

Jul 31 2023

Since 2020, the Alumni Association of Temple University's School of Theater, Film, and Media Arts has been awarding grants to help fund alumni projects with the understanding that the body of work coming out of TFMA is made more vibrant by diverse voices.

In support of a more honest, equitable, and inclusive storytelling landscape, the 2023 TFMA Alumni Project Grant is going toward projects that amplify the voices and stories of artists of color and artists in the LGBTQ+ community.

This year, five alumni across multiple disciplines were selected to receive a grant of up to $1000. With projects ranging across film, theater, and community engagement, the applicants selected showcase the diversity of work Temple alums are creating. The projects given grants are expected to have a presentation within the next calendar year, so keep an eye out for these well-deserving projects:

Shinelle Graves-Brinson ('12) - The Shine Arts Alliance ACTOUT Theater program 

Shinelle Graves-Brinson applied on behalf of The Shine Arts Alliance for their program at the KIPP West Preparatory Charter School. The Shine Arts Alliance ACTOUT Theater program at KIPP introduces students in 5-8th grade to theatrical elements including Acting Techniques, Costume Design, Set Design, Scriptwriting, and more. This culminates in a full production at the end of the quarter. The goal this year is to increase project participants and fund projects that include stories that are relevant to their lives. "As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, it brings me joy to be in an environment where I can contribute my expertise and create new experiences with a student body that reflects me," Graves-Brinson stated. "Seeing the KIPP students boldly embracing their truths tore down so many of my walls."


Monique Impagliazzo ('03) - Ready, Set Christmas 

Ready Set Christmas is a holiday rom-com with a twist, written by Monique Impagliazzo and April Doctolero, directed by Impagliazzo. It is a feature film in development with 3 Left Handed Women, a female and BIPOC-owned production company in Philadelphia. Ready Set Christmas features "a female, queer, BIPOC, and neurodivergent producing team and cast that encompasses diversity both in front of and behind the camera," said Impagliazzo. "Sometimes we need a break from the stories of oppression.... In our film we present a wholesome, queer love story and a respite from the fight many of us face as women, queer, and BIPOC people."


Samantha Roberts ('21) and Christian Cantrell - Here I Am 

Here I Am is the second musical from recent alum Samantha Roberts. It is a modern, goofy, dark love story, and a unique opportunity to open a discussion about the pressures of social media without vilifying it. Here I Am features a racial and gender diverse cast and crew, and is a show for the new generation in which people on stage can "just be."

Harold Batista ('23) - Vamos, Gustavo 

Lodged between two cyclones, Gustavo breaks his promise to evacuate- just as coastguards arrive in his south Floriday neighborhood. Ending up on the state deportation registry is just another form of predictable peril for him. Left alone with young Maria after his fiancee Sara flees, he must protect the only home and family he's ever known in America. His second semi-autobiographical film but his first screenwriting collaboration, Batista hopes to ask, "Why does cinematic convention train us to expect access to even the most intimate moments of the characters depicted on screen? This question has increased importance when depicting subjects that are surveilled by the government."


Juli Jackson ('21) - Neither/None 

Neither/None is a multi-media short film combining live action interviews and expressive dance blended with hand-drawn animation to illustrate the lived experiences of the film's subject. It tells the personal discovery of the word agender and the power of rejecting the gender binary as a Xennial growing up in rural Arkansas. Jackson says that their work has has always focused on individuals using artistic expression to save themselves and heal trauma. "Neither/None is a film that cuts deep into my belief that expressing who we are at our core is key to survival especially for trans/nonbinary people struggling to live in a world that would rather we didn't exist."


Congratulations to all recipients! We cannot wait to see how all of these projects come to fruition.

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