The Next Generation: Project Involve Welcomes 4 Columbia Students as 2019 Fellows

January 25, 2019

Film Independent’s Next Generation: Project Involve welcomes 30 new fellows for 2019, including Columbia film alumni Apoorva Charan ’18, Rammy Park ’11, current film student Johnson Cheng, and poetry alumna Stephanie Adams-Santos ’09.


Apoorva Charan is an LA-based producer who started her career at FremantleMedia Singapore, where she worked on several television series, including Asia’s Got Talent. During her time at Columbia, Charan produced multiple short films. Her credits include Life Coach, licensed to Gaia TV, Distance, which premiered at the Singapore International Film Festival, and Interiors, which premiered at TIFF 2018 and is an official selection for Clermont-Ferrand 2019. Charan’s producing projects include Gulaab, a feature film set in Pakistan, which participated in the Open Doors Hub at Locarno and AKRA, a limited series set in coastal India. Charan currently works at Beachside Films, Big Beach's west coast affiliate.


Rammy Park is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and film director. A first-generation Korean-American New Yorker from Colorado, she is a 2018 Film Independent Episodic Lab Fellow and the recipient of grants from the National Board of Review, IFP, HBO and the Caucus Foundation. Her original pilot, Monitor City, won this year’s Grand Prize at the Rhode Island International Film Festival’s (RIIF) Screenwriting Competition, and she was a finalist for both the FOX Writers Lab and the WB Television Writer’s Workshop. Her short film The Homecoming Queen was voted Best Film by the National Board of Review, Cinequest and the Columbus International Video + Film Festival. Her first short film, At Night, screened in special exhibition at the SCOPE Art Fair. Her short Meet Lenny, Meet Caroline, is available online and on VOD. Her play, American Bodies, skewering the popular Bodies exhibits, won Best Play at the Midtown International Theater Festival, and she is a past member of the Labyrinth Theater Company’s Intensive Ensemble. She is currently at work on her first feature Consideration, a surreal psychodrama about a family facing the end of the world.


Johnson Cheng is an award-winning Chinese American writer/director hailing from the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County. His films have screened at over 100 international film festivals, including Tribeca, TIFF Kids, Reykjavík (Golden Egg Selection), Nashville, Florida, Cinequest, Uppsala, Giffoni, Short Shorts Tokyo, and Palm Springs (Best Student Film Award). His narrative short film, Iron Hands, had its world premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and its Canadian premiere at the 2018 TIFF Kids International Film Festival. Johnson is a recipient of the Princess Grace Award (Cary Grant Film Award) and the AT&T InspirASIAN Student Film Award. He is an alumnus of the New York Film Festival Artist Academy, Telluride Film Festival Student Symposium, Reykjavík Transatlantic Talent Lab, and Visual Communications’ Armed With a Camera Fellowship. Johnson is a member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild. Most recently, Johnson shadowed TV director Adam Bernstein on FX’s upcoming limited series, Fosse/Verdon. He was also a semi-finalist for Viacom/Paramount TV’s ViewFinder Emerging Directors Program.


Stephanie Adams-Santos is a multidisciplinary Guatemalan-American writer whose work spans poetry, prose, screenwriting, and hybrid genres. Her full-length poetry collection, Swarm Queen's Crown (Fathom Books, 2016) was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards, which celebrates excellence in LGBTQ voices. She is also the author of Total Memory (Finishing Line Press, 2016), Little Fugues (Sola Books, 2015) and the award-winning chapbook The Sundering (Poetry Society of America 2009), selected for a New York Chapbook Fellowship. Stephanie has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets, and was a finalist for a Corporeal Voices fellowship for Writers of Color. Her work has appeared in many print and online journals and magazines, including Guernica, The Boston Review, Orion Magazine and others. Stephanie has been awarded fellowships from Oregon Literary Arts and Vermont Studio Center. Stephanie earned a BA in English at Stanford University. She is the founder of Tarot Obscuro and Ojo de la Selva Press. She teaches poetry workshops at the Independent Publishing Resource Center and Literary Arts.


Film Independent’s Project Involve is an intensive nine-month program supporting filmmakers from communities typically underrepresented in film and entertainment. Each year, 30 emerging filmmakers from diverse backgrounds are given the opportunity to hone skills, form creative partnerships, create short films and gain industry access needed to succeed as working artists. It is currently in its 26th year.