The Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation Supporting Young Writers and Women Filmmakers

Thursday, Mar 3, 2016

The Undergraduate Film Program in the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts today announced it has received an arts grant from the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, supporting student-developed television pilots, as well as projects by women filmmakers.  The first grant will be presented March 5th at the Fusion Film Festival, a student-run film festival designed to promote the work of women directors, writers, cinematographers, and producers.

“Will and Jada Smith have a strong desire and commitment to the education of tomorrow's storytellers, and we're thrilled that they have decided to support some of out standout students and programs, said Joe Pichirallo, chair of Tisch's undergraduate film and TV department. “Early support like this is crucial in launching the careers of young filmmakers and show runners, and we believe the Smith Foundation will help widen the field of participation in this highly competitive industry.”

The grant will finance two student-created pilots developed through the Tisch Advanced TV Production class.  The three-semester class mandates that students create and write original pilots of 30 minutes or less in the spring semester, of which two will be selected to receive grants.  

The remaining funds were donated to the Fusion Film Festival, supporting up to five women filmmakers whose work has been submitted to the festival.  Awards will go to Fusion Festival winners.

“Throughout her career, Jada has worn multiple hats as an actor, producer and director and through the Fusion Film Festival, she continues her support of female filmmakers.  Through The WJSFF, The Smith Family will continue its tradition of providing broad platforms for storytellers in all areas of media arts.“ Jana Babatunde-Bey, President, WJSFF.

About Tisch School of the Arts

For 50 years, the Tisch School of the Arts has drawn on the vast resources of New York City and New York University to create an extraordinary training ground for artists, scholars of the arts, and creative entrepreneurs. One of the world's leading centers of undergraduate and graduate study in the arts, the Tisch School of the Arts offers acting, dance, design, performance, film, animation, writing for musical theatre, stage, screen & television, preservation, recorded music, photography, interactive media, games, and public policy.

About the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation

Dedicated to the betterment of the world around us, the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation helps individuals and organizations advance in areas where need is great. Education, empowerment and health are the foundation's core platform. The WJSFF is proud to lend its support for education through programs and partnerships to support community development, sustainability and the arts.