A Winston-Salem-based LGBTQIA+ film festival is introducing a grant program for rising filmmakers. One of its goals is to build community through sharing diverse cinematic experiences.

OUT at the Movies, an international LGBTQIA+ film festival, started in Winston-Salem in 2004. 

Its new Emerging Artist Film Grant is designed to supplement a filmmaker's budget, with the top winner receiving a $5,000 award.

Each of the top three finalists will be given access to mentorships for a year, made up of producers, directors and writers from around the world. The films will also be screened at the 2023 festival. 

Max Cullen, president of OUT at the Movies' board of directors, says the grant is a natural evolution in the festival's mission.

“Young and emerging artists may be coming out of this pandemic feeling a little bit more disconnected,” says Cullen. “We want to help reverse that. We want to help connect them with support, whether that's monetary support or interpersonal mentorship.“

Cullen says that emerging filmmakers from any background who are dedicated to sharing stories about the queer experience are eligible. The grant does require that the majority of the film's crew identify as LGBTQIA+.

Out at the Movies 2022 takes place September 29 - October 2.

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