Alumna Camila Zavala '19 Wins 2019 Film Independent Producers Lab Fellowship

BY Felix van Kann, October 30, 2019

Recent alumna Camila Zavala '19 was selected as one of seven 2019 Film Independent Producers Lab Fellows. She was also the sole winner of a $30,000 Sloan Producers Grant to further develop her Producing Lab project, Malpelo.


Commenting on her selection, Zavala said: “As producers, we sometimes feel unseen and unappreciated. Yet, our love and passion for stories is so big that nothing is more important than the project we are working on. The Film Independent Producing Lab celebrates, supports and guides this dedication! As a Peruvian Producer that just moved to LA to keep pursuing her dreams this Lab has been a huge opportunity. I'll always be grateful with Film Independent for supporting my projects and for listening to innovative, original and diverse voices. Their support keeps me inspired and hungry for new challenges.”


Malepo tells the story of Mia, a solitary free diver, who is recruited by someone from her past to take the treacherous journey to Malpelo—a remote Colombian island—in order to investigate the troubling disappearance of hammerhead sharks. To do so, she has to reconcile with her past and navigate the dangerous waters of the Pacific Ocean, trapped on a boat with an all-male crew that seems to be just as slippery as the predators she’s studying.


According to the Film Independent website, “the Producing Lab helps further the careers of its fellows by introducing them to film professionals who can advise them on both the craft and business of independent producing.” 


Founded in 1934, the New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provides grants exploring scientific or technological themes or characters in engaging and innovative ways. The Sloan Film Program “encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and compelling stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination.”


Camila Zavala is a Peruvian writer and producer based in Los Angeles. As a producer, she has won several awards and has been selected to screen at festivals such as the Tribeca Film Festival, Palm Springs International Shortfest and Telluride Film Festival. Her Columbia University thesis film, The Catch, which she wrote and produced, received the Katherina Otto-Bernstein Production Grant and the Bertha Tamayo Grant during the production stage, and was awarded the Richard Brick Fund for special distinction in Producing.