Mar 9, 2021
2021 Dolby Institute Fellowships Awarded to Kobi Libii’s The American Society of Magical Negroes and Beth de Araújo’s Josephine
San Francisco, CA – SFFILM, in partnership with the Dolby Institute, announced today the recipients of the 2021 Dolby Institute Fellowships, which support narrative feature films from development through post-production.
Created in 2018 as part of an innovative partnership between Dolby and SFFILM, these fellowships were designed to provide an opportunity rarely afforded to independent filmmakers to thoughtfully elevate and deepen the role of sound and image in their finished films with advanced technology from Dolby Laboratories. SFFILM Makers—SFFILM’s artist development program—and the Dolby Institute offer the selected fellows artistic and industry guidance, facilitate introductions, and provide a cash grant allowing them to begin work with a sound designer during the screenwriting stage. Fellows also gain post-production support, with comprehensive sound design, a Dolby Atmos mix, and Dolby Vision color correction and mastering support.
“We’re excited to support Beth de Araújo’s and Kobi Libii’s films, which use sound and image in very distinct ways,” said Dolby Institute Director, Glenn Kiser. “The American Society of Magical Negroes will use sound to transport the audience to a fantastical, magical world, while Josephine uses sound design to illuminate the experience and inner life of a troubled young girl. We’re proud to work with both of these amazing filmmakers to bring their visions to the screen.”
“We are honored to partner with the Dolby Institute to support these two daring and wonderful films through a program focused on the thoughtful development of sound and image at every stage of the creative process,” said Lauren McBride, Director of Artist Development at SFFILM. “Kobi and Beth are telling powerful stories from unique perspectives, and sound is a crucial tool in each of their storytelling arsenals. We can’t wait to see these films and hear the soundscapes they build.”
2021 DOLBY INSTITUTE FELLOWS
The American Society of Magical Negroes
Kobi Libii, writer/director
Omar, a young Black man, is recruited by a secret society of Magical Negroes who conjure literal magic to make white people’s lives easier. Initially enamored of his new powers, Omar soon realizes he’s merely using supernatural means to do the very thing he’s felt obligated to do his whole life and decides to buck the system.
Kobi Libii is an actor/writer/director, most recently seen writing and performing on Comedy Central’s The Opposition with Jordan Klepper and Klepper. Past acting credits include Transparent, Girls, Jessica Jones, Madam Secretary, Doubt and Alpha House. Kobi studied theater at Yale University and comedy at Second City Chicago. His feature debut, The American Society of Magical Negroes, has been supported by the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, Sundance Directors Lab, SFFILM’s Westridge Grant and will be produced by Sight Unseen.
Beth de Araújo, writer/director; John Baker, Rodrigo Teixeira, and Lourenço Sant’ Anna, producers
After accidentally witnessing a rape in Golden Gate Park, eight-year-old Josephine is plunged into a maelstrom of fear and paranoia. Surrounded by adults helpless to assuage her and unable to understand her, she acts out with increasing violence, searching for any way to regain control of her own safety.
Beth de Araújo is a writer and director featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Her feature screenplay, Josephine, participated in the 2018 Sundance Directors Lab, Screenwriters Lab and is a recipient of the SFFILM Rainin Filmmaking Grant. Josephine is being produced by RT Features (Call Me By Your Name, The Witch) and will begin shooting in the summer of 2021. Araújo is currently in production directing Soft and Quiet, a narrative feature which she also wrote in 2020. In 2019 Araújo performed in three sold out shows for The Moth Mainstage in theaters across the country. Her AFI Directing Workshop for Women short film, based on her Gawker essay, I Want To Marry A Creative Jewish Girl, won best screenplay at HollyShorts Film Festival. In 2017, Araújo directed 2 episodes of television for Lifetime Movie Network and was a shadowing director within the Ryan Murphy HALF Program. Araújo has a BA in Sociology from The University of California Berkeley and an MFA from the American Film Institute. She is a certified witness advocate for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. Her mother is Chinese-American and her father is from Brazil. She was born and raised in San Francisco.
The Dolby Institute Fellowship awards up to $50,000 each year. Recipients of the Dolby Institute Fellowships in partnership with SFFILM are hand-picked by SFFILM and Dolby staff. This program is not currently accepting applications. For more information about filmmaker opportunities offered by SFFILM, visit sffilm.org/makers.
The inaugural Dolby Institute Fellowship in partnership with SFFILM was awarded in 2018 to The Sound of Silence, directed and co-written by Michael Tyburski and produced and co-written by Ben Nabors. The film premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was distributed theatrically nationwide by IFC Films that fall.
About the Dolby Institute
Launched at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, the Dolby Institute has the mission to educate and inspire emerging filmmakers and content creators to think creatively about sound and image to enhance their stories. Since its inception, the Institute has brought together emerging artists and award-winning veterans and masters of the craft to offer concrete tools and advice on ways to make stories more vibrant with sound and images. Dolby Institute Director Glenn Kiser, the former head of Skywalker Sound, has been working at film festivals, universities, and film schools—wherever filmmakers gather.
About Dolby Laboratories
Dolby Laboratories (NYSE: DLB) is based in San Francisco, California with offices around the globe. From movies and TV shows, to apps, music, sports and gaming, Dolby transforms the science of sight and sound into spectacular experiences for billions of people worldwide. We partner with artists, storytellers, developers, and businesses to revolutionize entertainment and communications with Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, Dolby Cinema, and Dolby.io.
Dolby, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, Dolby Cinema, Dolby.io, and the double-D symbol are among the registered and unregistered trademarks of Dolby Laboratories, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.
SFFILM Makers, the artist development program of SFFILM, provides critical support to filmmakers worldwide. Through grants, residencies and year-round programming, SFFILM Makers supports independent filmmakers in all stages of development. SFFILM’s FilmHouse residency program provides Bay Area-based documentary and narrative filmmakers with artistic guidance, office space, a vibrant creative community, and support from established film industry professionals. SFFILM Makers is also home to the SFFILM Rainin Grant program, the largest granting body for independent narrative feature films in the US. Each year, SFFILM Makers gives nearly $1M in grants to filmmakers and has supported projects including Fernando Frias’ I’m No Longer Here, Channing Godfrey Peoples’ Miss Juneteenth, RaMell Ross’ Hale County This Morning, This Evening, Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, Ljubo Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska’s Honeyland and Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station. For more information, visit sffilm.org/makers.
SFFILM is a nonprofit organization with a mission to champion the world’s finest films and filmmakers through programs anchored in and inspired by the spirit and values of the San Francisco Bay Area. Presenter of the San Francisco International Film Festival, SFFILM is a year-round organization delivering screenings and events to more than 75,000 film lovers and media education programs to more than 15,000 students, teachers, and families annually. In addition to its public programs, SFFILM supports the careers of independent filmmakers from the Bay Area and beyond with grants, residencies, and other creative development services. For more information visit sffilm.org.