Yi Zhou, Into the Sun Entertainment Launch First -Time Director Fund (Exclusive)

Director and producer Yi Zhou and Into the Sun Entertainment are partnering on the First Time Director’s Fund to support emerging filmmakers, with an official launch event set for next week during Cannes.

The latest venture from the polyglot artist, fashion designer and first-time director aims to support and nurture fellow directors breaking into the industry, and more specifically, looking to make their first feature film.

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The fund particularly strives to aid those from historically underrepresented communities and those who typically do not have access to support or funding from the film industry. This includes people of color and those with disabilities. The decision to focus on new and emerging talent offers more potential to shake up the status quo and bring fresh ideas to the forefront in filmmaking, according to Zhou.

“Making a first feature film is a significant challenge for any new director,” Zhou said in a statement. “The First Time Director Fund is intended to help ease the financial burden so that talented filmmakers can focus on bringing their unique stories and vision to the screen.”

Inspired by her own experiences as a first-time feature filmmaker and familiarity with the immense effort required to get a movie made, the endeavor will focus on augmenting funding for new directors, providing full financial coverage for their films.

To be considered for the fund, filmmakers must not have any feature credits. Applicants are invited to submit treatments and materials for consideration online at Into the Sun Investment’s website. A subsidiary of Into the Sun Entertainment, the firm focuses on investments in the entertainment, fashion and lifestyle industries.

Top treatments will be selected and their respective filmmakers will be asked to submit scripts before one winning project is chosen. That winner will have their entire movie funded, with that funding varying based on the size, scope and needs of the selected project. Into the Sun Entertainment — a female-led company bringing diverse and empowering stories to the industry forefront while celebrating all walks of life and pushing boundaries — will also provide support in all aspects of the filmmaking process, from development to production to distribution.

Filmmakers can apply through July, with a winner to be chosen in the fall. Intended as an annual event, going forward the fund will take place during the spring, with winners announced every July.

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