Meet Our 2021 Winners

In 2021, The Ida B. Wells Fund awarded $10,000 each to the following filmmakers. Chromatic Black supports these projects in the long term, offering partners accompaniment, funding, legal support, technical assistance, audience development support, artist retreats and gatherings; and connectivity to a broader collective of creative pioneers. 

2021 Winner

Christine Swanson

“Sunflower: The Fannie Lou Hamer Story,” looks at modern-day voter suppression through the powerful words of the 60’s Civil Rights heroine.

A visionary filmmaker from Detroit, Michigan, Christine Swanson most recently directed the record- breaking, smash-hit film, The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel, which was 2020's Best TV Movie award recipient from the African American Film Critics Association, nominated for a Critics Choice Award for Best Movie Made for Television, and received five NAACP Image Award nominations including Best Director.

Christine Swanson has enjoyed a lifelong love affair with storytelling. Through writing screenplays, directing movies/television and teaching craft, Christine endlessly pursues stories aching to escape her heart and soul. Christine has numerous awarding winning credits that are easily searchable on the internet. When Christine is not telling stories, she is enjoying her primary bliss, her family. Christine is married to producer, Michael Swanson and together, they are raising four beautiful children.

Finalist 2021 - Chuck Gomez
2021 Winner

Chuck Gomez

"Opus Pointis #1: A Symphony for Social Justice,” details the struggles of eight African American classical musicians.

Chuck Gomez has been working in the field of Cinematography, Photography, and Videography for over fifteen years. In 2009, Gomez earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Film and Video Production at CCNY City College of New York.

Gomez's film and television credits include The Apprentice, Project Runway, American Chopper, Teen Mom 2, America's Next Top Model, The Housewives of New York, Making the Band, VH1 News, and Mob Wives. He also served five years as Amtrak's Senior Photographer/Videographer and directed POINCIANA SUNRISE documentary film. POINCIANA SUNRISE reveals the life and spirit of the "Queen of the Road," the only female member of The Highwaymen, a group of African-American Florida artists who created a beautiful and historical record of landscapes now lost to developers and modernization.

Gomez's film screened in over ten film festivals including Slandance Film Festival in 2010. To date, POINCIANA SUNRISE has received numerous awards and accolades.

2021 Finalist - Lamard Cher-Aimé
2021 Winner

Lamard Cher-Aimé

“Captain Zero: The Animated Series,” speaks to the importance of mental health awareness in Black communities.

Lamard Cher-Aimé is a suicide survivor who has dedicated their life to addressing mental health issues in the Black community and bringing authenticity and diversity to animated storytelling. They created Cutting Edge Animation in 2015 to specialize in building narratives that challenge audience expectations and create experiences like never before. Lamard is a Full Sail University graduate with both an MFA and a Bachelors degree in Film.
2021 Finalist - Mylrell Miner
2021 Winner

Mylrell Milner

“Hang,” invites audiences to engage critically into the dynamics of gentrified communities.

Mylrell Miner is a Director and also an award winning writer and producer. Mylrell is The Founder and Executive Director of the BROMONT PROGRAM a non-profit organization that helps formerly incarcerated individuals and marginalized communities gain training and access into the film industry.

Meet Our 2021 Finalists

Lynelle White
2021 Finalist

Lynelle White

Disappointed and crushed as a child once her parents informed her that neither the Death Star nor the Starship Enterprise were real things, Lynelle White eventually left her hometown on Long Island to pursue a career in the U.S. Air Force – the closest match in present day to the technologically advanced worlds of Star Trek and Star Wars that she was so deeply obsessed with. Lynelle earned a B.S. in Engineering Science from the U.S. Air Force Academy and then followed with a challenging career as an Air Force pilot, flying combat missions in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Itching to pursue the types of creative endeavors that beckoned her while daydreaming out of her pilot’s window during long flights over the Atlantic Ocean, Lynelle began writing and directing short films after transitioning from active duty. These films were awful but her passion was unlocked. While attending UCLA, Lynelle was awarded the NAACP/NBC Universal Television Fellowship and the Women in Film (WIF) Eleanor Perry Writing Award. She graduated from UCLA’s MFA in Screenwriting program in June 2017 and was shortly thereafter named a fellow in Film Independent’s Episodic Television Lab. Lynelle’s television writing credits include ARMY WIVES, Z NATION, and the CW series, BLACK LIGHTNING.
Renee Wilson
2021 Finalist

Renee Wilson

Writer, director and performer Renée Wilson has been working in film, television and theatre for over 20 years and in 2004 made her film debut portraying Raelette Pat Lyle in the Academy Awarding - Winning film Ray. Renée directed and produced the documentary Crepe Covered Sidewalks about her home town of New Orleans post hurricane Katrina and won the Best New Filmmaker award at the Peachtree Village International Film Festival. Renee’s film work has been generously supported by The Nation, One Foundation, Aepoch Fund, Panta Rhea Foundation, Quinti Fund/Tides Foundation and many individual donors. Currently Renee is in post-production with her newest film “Ode To Joy” shot during the Covid “lockdown” of 2020, is co-producing a Black woman led sci-if feature and is in development with her short narrative film Again which delves into healing generational trauma, the psyche of cultural and historical memories of slavery and the continuing violence against and oppression of people of color, particularly women. Wilson graduated from Tulane University with a B.A. in Communication and lives in Dallas, Kauai and Mexico having beautiful adventures with her husband Aaron and 7 year old son Adrian.
Elishia K. Constantine
2021 Finalist

Elishia K. Constantine

Elishia K. Constantine is an independent producer who is tired of Hollywood gatekeepers and determined to make everything gay. She's a producer of the LGBTQ series, Out in Love, and entering the world of audio fiction with a brand new series premiering in 2022. Elishia is dedicated to creating content that showcases queer women and nonbinary folx as stars, not sidekicks.
Kristina Pupo
2021 Finalist

Kristina Pupo

Kristina Pupo is a first-generation, Cuban-American screenwriter and director who once sent a letter to DreamWorks pitching her sci-fi thriller, and first official screenplay when she was the ripe old age of nine. Born in Miami, Kristina moved to LA right out of high school to attend Columbia College Hollywood for film and since worked in NYC and Chicago writing copy, a web series and sketch comedy. Kristina returned to LA in 2019 to write and direct the LGBTQ dramedy pilot, Out in Love, which received positive film festival recognition. This summer, Kristina was selected to be a part of Constellation Incubator, a program designed to disrupt the current indie film production and distribution model in hopes to create a more equitable and sustainable indie film ecosystem. Currently she is also playing Ana Elias in the much anticipated season 2 of Rational Creatures, a literary web series that gives a queer and latine twist to Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Fall of 2021 finds KP actively pitching Out in Love as a full tv series with her producing partners, while showrunning a fiction podcast and working on an active slate of shorts, a feature and genre bending pilots.
Javier Molina
2021 Finalist

Javier Molina

Javier Molina was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New Jersey. He received his MFA in directing from Pace University and is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio in NYC. In 2010, Molina was chosen to work as a directing observer in the Playwrights Horizons production of Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park, directed by Tony winner Pam Mackinnon. Molina was also chosen as a member of the 2010 Lincoln Center Theater Director’s Lab. Recent directing credits include: 2016 Best Director, 120 Hour Film Festival, the Actors Studio production of Motherfucker with the Hat, and second unit on Bobby Moresco’s Bent. Recently, Molina was awarded the Emerging Artist Award on behalf of the Theatre Hall of Fame in New York City.
Gabriel Furman
2021 Finalist

Gabriel Furman

Gabriel Furman, born and raised in Far Rockaway, Queens, is an actor, writer, producer and comedian. Gabriel started off his career as a professional B-Boy aka "breakdancer" and DJ in the underground NYC dance scene. In 2015, he wrote, produced and starred opposite Academy Award Winner Melissa Leo in the Award Winning Short, MOTHER'S DAY. The film catapulted Gabriel's acting career to include Orange Is The New Black, CBS's Blue Bloods, and Netflix's Daredevil. For his true love, theatre, he starred as Judas in "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot" at the famed La Mama and Pinky in "Our Lady of 121st" at his artistic home, The Actors Studio. Both were directed by Academy Award Winner Estelle Parsons. In 2018 Gabriel wrote, produced and starred in the short film WONDER, about a young boy who dreams of being Wonder Woman for Halloween. The film went on to win 21 awards, including Urbanworld's Audience Award for "Best Short Film" and Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival's Jury Award for "Best Short Film", which qualified WONDER for Academy Award consideration and having it licensed by HBO and all of HBO's streaming platforms. WONDER is currently being developed into a series with Academy Award winner Bobby Moresco (CRASH / MILLION DOLLAR BABY), Executive Producing along with Award Winning producer Frida Torresblanco (PAN'S LABYRINTH / Braven Films). In the fall of 2019, Gabriel co-wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed play, "Brother's Keeper" at The Actors Studio. He's developing a feature film based on the play with Ellen Burstyn attached to direct. Gabriel is also currently developing a ten-part mini series entitled, So Close to Home, based on the book and true story of a family who is separated in the Gulf of Mexico during World War II and find their way back to each other. A Lifetime Member of the famed Actors Studio, Gabriel lives in New York City with his girlfriend and their new puppy.
Jana Smith
2021 Finalist

Jana Smith

Jana Smith is a Gary, Indiana-bred, NY based screenwriter, documentarian, and programmer. She studied filmmaking and African American Studies at Sarah Lawrence College. She's made it her mission to create consciousness elevating content that centers women, girls, and femmes of color. Jana's passion for storytelling is not something she takes lightly. With every project, she aims to revolutionize the way stories are told!
Asha Boston
2021 Finalist

Asha Boston

Born prematurely, at one pound and two ounces, Asha Boston knows a thing or two about fighting for the things you want in life-- including life itself. Her work resume includes companies like AMC, BET, Lifetime, Bravo, and most recently, Conde Nast. Asha currently serves as the founder of non-profit, The Dinner Table Documentary and President and CEO of a multimedia production company that creates original content, niche branding campaigns, and program development for various non-profit and commercial entities.
Fabayo Watkins
2021 Finalist

Fabayo Watkins

Retired State Correctional Officer with desires in media and Film, Fabayo Watkins created her first documentary after attending New York Film Academy. It is her plan to be a voice to the voiceless in underserved communities.
Ebony Blanding
2021 Finalist

Ebony Blanding

Ebony Blanding is a Writer/Director whose work seeks to amplify Black women and Black people existing in fullness cinematically. Creating imaginative dialogues and character studies around Black girls and women who find themselves between worlds and identities — the artist uses film to radically depict worlds through the female experience.