ROBERT GIARD FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES 2015–2016 FELLOWSHIP WINNER Juan Carlos Zaldivar For his short film ALTERATIONS New York, NY (May 20, 2015) – At its annual benefit on May 19, 2015 with special guest and speaker, Alison Bechdel, 2014 MacArthur “Genius Award” winning author of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic and the basis of the current hit Broadway musical Fun Home, The Robert Giard Foundation, in partnership with The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) of the City University of New York, announced its new Fellow. The 2015–16 Robert Giard Fellowship recipient is Juan Carlos Zaldivar for his short film ALTERATIONS. ALTERATIONS, follows J, a young trans person, as she sets out to reconnect with her estranged mother for the first time as a woman. Months prior, when Jesus told his bi-polar mother, Mary Jane, that he was going to transition into a woman, his mother had a heart attack. When Mary Jane came to, she did not remember her identity and now believes that she is someone else. ALTERATIONS, chronicles a magical weekend escapade where the two women meet as their new selves. When they challenge each other to face their worst fears, a new friendship blossoms that is independent from their blood ties. ALTERATIONS will use special technology, which allows for the video to contain ‘hot spots’ when viewed on the Web. Users will be able to mouse-over the video as it plays on the Web to discover and access other elements of the story as well as additional, related experiences. On receiving the fellowship, Juan Carlos Zaldivar stated, “receiving a Robert Giard Fellowship will enable us to finish our short film, ALTERATIONS. In particular, the award will help us to complete the especial effects, the music and the color correction. It will also allow us to begin to enter the film in festivals and to build the principal web interactions in time for a summer premier. More importantly, however, because this first award comes directly from our LGBTI community and supporters, it validates our efforts and we hope that it will open the door to ambassadors and long-term partners. Our project is ambitious and it is an experiment in the —still mostly uncharted—grounds of interactive story-telling; a new space that thus far has not engaged our LGBTI community in general. Thank you for your support.” Carl Sylvestre, President of The Robert Giard Foundation, said “in the polarizing world that we live in, it is a great honor for us to award this year’s fellowship to a work that looks at the personal bridges that connect us. With humor and tenderness, Juan Carlos depicts two individuals working to come to terms with the past while navigating their immediate pains. We are pleased to support its completion with the largest fellowship devoted to art that is centered on sexuality, gender, and issues of LGBTQ experience.” From this year’s application pool of over 100 entries from around the world, The Robert Giard Foundation jury also cited an honorable mention to Fawzia Mirza for her upcoming 10-minute short film Signature Move about a queer South Asian Muslim woman with a wrestling hobby, who is trying to reconcile who she is with where she comes from. Past Robert Giard fellowship recipients are: 2014 – 2015: Ka-Man Tse Portraits of LGBTQ Asians and Asian-Americans in the US and in Hong Kong, as well as Gahp Song, a project about food, memory and intimacy. This project aims to bridge what are often divergent communities: the artistic community, the Asian American community, and the queer community. 2013 – 2014: Carmen Oquendo-Villar The documentary Diana de Santa Fe follows Diana Navarro, a transgender sex worker in Colombia, working in Santa Fe, a barrio close to Bogotá’s financial district. Instead of just fending for herself, Diana has reached out to other sex workers in need, becoming a leader and caregiver in her community. The film shows the process through which Diana transforms her home into a center for battered and injured sex workers. 2012 – 2013: Cary Cronenwett For Flo is a personal film essay centered on Cronenwett’s relationship with his creative partner, Flo McGarrell, who passed away in the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, and Flo’s lifelong exploration of transgender identity. 2011 – 2012: Yoruba Richen The New Black is a documentary about how the African American community is grappling with gay rights issues in light of the fight over marriage equality. It aired on PBS in June 2014. 2010 –2011: Molly Landreth and Amelia Tovey Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America, a photographic and video-based survey of the American LGBTQ community. Featured in The New York Times, OUT, and other media and exhibitions, the project continues online at: http://embodimentusa.com. 2009– 2010: Sonali Gulati I Am, a film portrait that chronicles Gulatias she returns to Delhi eleven years after leaving. During her journey, she confronts the loss of her mother, to whom she never came out, and documents four other South Asian families dealing with having a gay or lesbian child.