Focus Features Launches Fellowship For Trans Filmmakers

The Lili Elbe Fellowship will provide $10,000 to one director.

We’re having a trans moment in pop culture, but it’s only just a sliver.

Films like The Danish Girl and Tangerine are bringing the trans experience to the big screen, but through the lens of cisgender directors.


Now Focus Features, which produced Danish Girl—as well as Brokeback Mountain and Far from Heaven—has announced it is endowing a $10,000 grant for a transgender filmmaker.

The Lili Elbe Fellowship, named for the real-life woman at the heart of The Danish Girl, was formed in conjunction with Film Independent’s Project Involve.

Producers Katie Roumel (L), and Christine Vachon (R), with her life partner, Marlene McCarty (center), at the screening of the new film 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' which opens The New Festival presents The 13th annual New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival hosted by The New School in New York City on May 31, 2001. (photo by Gabe Palacio/ImageDirect)

Participants will be mentored by top talents including Nina Yang Bongiovi (Fruitvale Station, Dope), writer/director Derek Cianfrance (The Place Beyond the Pines) and producer Christine Vachon (Boys Don’t Cry, Carol ).

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.