NewFest’s New Voices Filmmaker Grant, in partnership with Netflix, supports emerging LGBTQ+ directors by providing funding to make new work, assisting in getting their work more widely shared, and propelling their careers forward through mentorship, networking and professional development opportunities 🎬

2022 Grant Recipients


Livia Huang is a film director from Baltimore, currently based in New York. Her short films have screened at Berlinale, IFFR, New Directors/New Films, and more (including NewFest!) and she was a recipient of a Flies Collective Film Grant in 2018. She has a BA from Columbia University and an MFA from Brooklyn College.


Rodney Llaverías is a Dominican-American filmmaker with a graduate degree in Screenwriting & Directing from Columbia University. His shorts have screened in Rotterdam, New Orleans Film Festival, Miami Film Festival, Max Ophüls Preis Film Festival, Outfest, and the Guadalajara International Film Festival.

Rodney is the co-writer of the short film “Darling” which won the Orizzonti Award for Best Short at the Venice International Film Festival in 2019, Special Mention at SXSW, and an official selection at TIFF. In 2021 he also participated in Berlinale Talents. Rodney received the Katharina Otto-Bernstein production grant for his short film Tropicalía. Tropicalía is based on his project La Canícula which will be his feature directorial debut.


Blanche Enaka Akonchong is a queer Cameroonian/American writer, director, actor, and musician from Riverdale, GA. A first generation American, her parents immigrated to the U.S. in the late 80s, from Mamfe, Cameroon.

She studied Music Business at New York University’s Steinhardt, and graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Music. Having a lifelong passion for music and producing, Blanche worked at various music and TV companies including: Showtime, Viacom, Spotify, and Atlantic Records. In undergrad she was a recipient of the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship. She enrolled in NYU Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film Program in 2018, and is currently a thesis student.
In 2019 she wrote, directed, produced, edited, scored and starred in her third short film, Mercury Afrograde. She was awarded NewFest’s Emerging Black LGBTQ+ Director Award in 2020, and received an Honorable Mention for Best Short at Woodstock Film Festival. Blanche’s work has screened at NewFest, Blackstar Film Festival, Outfest, Woodstock Film Festival, Afrikana Film Festival, Inside Out Festival, and Cucalorus Film Festival.

She participated in Gotham’s 2021 TV-Series Lab (formerly the IFP Episodic Lab), and their Project Market with Mercury Afrograde, which is being developed as a series. Her most recent directorial work, and music single, Chasing Amour, was featured in Forbes. In her free time she enjoys playing the electric guitar and biking. Blanche’s long term goal is to create a comedic television show which chronicles the Black and LGBTQ experience in a comedic, post-modern way.


Nyala Moon is a filmmaker, writer, and actress of trans experience. After working in the nonprofit community helping other transgender and queer people of color access affirming health care, Nyala took a leaped faith and pursued her passion for filmmaking. Before going to film school Nyala worked with the indie LGBT film scene as a director, writer, and producer. Nyala was also a contributor for the anthology, Written on the Body: Letters from Trans and Non-Binary Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence by Lexi Bean. Nyala Moon has been touring colleges with her other anthology contributors, speaking to college students about sexuality, gender identity, and sexual assault. In May 2020, Nyala graduated from City College with her MFA in film production. Last year her student thesis film, One Last Deal, was screened at NewFest, Inside Out Toronto, Outfest, and many more. Nyala was also a 2020-2021 QueerArt Film fellow with Tu Me Manques director as Rodrigo Bellot as her mentor. Recently, Nyala just finished writing, directing, and starring in her next short film, How Not to Date While Being Trans. When Nyala isn’t making films. She is watching anime, misplaying her guitar, and catching up on the Real Housewives franchises.
The Grant seeks to support the creation of work from underrepresented voices in the film industry, and awarded a $25,000 grant each to 4 director recipients who have not yet had their work distributed.

In addition to the $25,000 grant and the opportunity to be connected with an industry mentor, fellows will also participate in events and have their work showcased at NewFest’s New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival, one of the largest queer film festivals in the world. Fellows will also have the opportunity to travel as guests of NewFest to other North American film festivals.

Submissions are accepted for documentary, narrative, animated or episodic projects by and about the LGBTQ+ community.

The next round of grant applications will open in January 2023

Eligibility requirements:

• Identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community
• Filmmakers must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid visa/green card, or be a citizen of the United States
• Have directed at least one (1) short film or episodic inclusive of LGBTQ+ content that was completed within the past 5 years (January 2017)
• Eligible filmmakers must not have previously made a feature film or had a film (short, episodic, or feature length) publicly distributed with compensation by anyone other than themselves in North America

For all queries, please reach out to newvoices@newfest.org

The New Voices Filmmaker Grant is presented by

“By empowering the next generation of LGBTQ+ filmmakers, NewFest and Netflix will work to increase queer representation and support authentic stories that showcase the talent of queer storytellers”

– David Hatkoff, NewFest Executive Director