Film Alums & Current Student Chosen for Prestigious Artist Academy at Lincoln Center

September 26, 2018

Alumni Barbara Cigarroa '18, Ellie Foumbi '17, Jordana Spiro '15, and current student Johnson Cheng were selected as participants for The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Artist Academy, an immersive four-day program that nurtures up-and-coming filmmakers by providing workshops, talks, screenings, and mentorship with industry professionals.


Cigarroa is a Mexican American filmmaker who hails from South Texas. She has directed the short films, Marta Rosa, which screened at multiple festivals and won Panavision’s Best North American Short and Best Student Film Under 15 Minutes; and Dios Nunca Muere, which was selected for the 2018 New York Film Festival. Cigarroa was invited to participate in the International Filmmaker Project's 2018 No Borders Co-Production Market for her screenplay, The Other Side. Her work centers on social justice activism and Hispanic narratives. Flight of the Fields, a short film she wrote and directed, is currently in-progress.


Foumbi is an actress, writer, director, and producer born in Cameroon. Her short film, Zenith, was selected as a Semifinalist for the 2017 Student Academy Awards and a nominee for an African Movie Award. She workshopped the feature-length version of the screenplay for Zenith while she was a Fellow at the Film Independent Screenwriting Lab.


Spiro is an actress, director, and writer. Her debut feature film, Night Comes On, which she directed, co-wrote, and co-produced, premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and won the Innovator Award. Spiro developed the film at Sundance Institute’s Directors, Screenwriters, and Composers Labs, and it was later released theatrically. Her short film, Skin, received numerous awards including the Sundance’s Women in Film Productions award.


Cheng is a Chinese American writer-director from Los Angeles. His short film, Iron Hands, had its world premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, won the Best Student Live Action Short at Palm Springs International ShortFest, and screened at festivals worldwide. He is also the director of the short documentary, Beast. Cheng has also worked as an editor for films such as KungFu Panda 3, The Book of Life, and short films such as Refuge.


The Artist Academy at The Film Society of Lincoln Center seeks to “continue to emphasize the importance of diversity in the world of film, supporting and nurturing people of color and women, though their purviews remain expansive and all-inclusive.”