New Producers Academy




New Producers Academy was founded in 2021, by Filmmaker and Producer Claudio Montesano Casillas, Filmmaker Loretta van der Horst and Impact Manager Yassin Karmoudi, as a response to the lack of diversity within a crucial area of the film industry: producers. 

Yassin and Claudio met for the first time in 2018 at Doc Society’s Good Pitch event in Amsterdam and stayed in touch over a shared passion for storytelling and representation. As a kid, Yassin – who’s family hails from Morocco – saw namesake characters often portrayed one-dimensionally as either drug dealers and criminals or simply expendable within stories and has made it his mission to break down these kinds of stereotypes.

After looking for ways to collaborate further, Claudio met Loretta through the U.S. initiative Brown Girls Docs Mafia network and they decided to create a similar grassroots initiative in the Netherlands together with Yassin.

Yassin Karmoudi

- Head of Partnerships

In addition to being a co-founder and head of partnerships at the NPA, Yassin also holds the position of Talent Secretary at the NPO-fund, providing him with a unique overview of talent in the Netherlands. At the NPO, Yassin is instrumental in bringing more diverse talent into the film industry. The network he possesses at both the NPO and the NPA is mutually beneficial and has the potential for an exponential impact in favor of promising new talent.

Loretta van der Horst

- Head of Studies

Loretta serves as the Head of Studies at the NPA, steering the substantive program that fellows follow. She leverages her extensive international network of producers and talent for the benefit of the program and its fellows. Drawing from her own experiences as a filmmaker, Loretta actively engages with the fellows throughout the program to reflect and build on their creative development and the collaboration between directors and producers. A filmmaker herself, Loretta focuses on character driven storytelling, often paying attention to pressing human rights issues and conflict worldwide. Her past work draws on her academic background in conflict studies and has been centered on stories in Latin America,  including her birth country Honduras, where her debut feature documentary Behind the Blood was set; a film that won Best International Film at the HUMAN film festival in Oslo in 2020. Loretta’s second feature documentary The Border Crossed Us, about police officers on the US – Mexico Border, premiered at IDFA 2023 and was nominated for Best Dutch Documentary.

Claudio Montesano Casillas

- Head of Productions

Claudio manages the business aspects of the academy and serves as the Head of Production at the NPA, assisting students during the production phase of their films. Beyond the NPA, he concurrently plays an active role in producing and directing films with a more diverse crew and directors. In his capacity as a producer, Claudio has engaged with prominent industry programs such as ACE producers, Eurodoc, EAVE, and IDFA emerging Producers. He meticulously selects stories that illuminate underrepresented communities, offering them the attention they may not otherwise receive. As an independent producer he collaborates with Halal and Scenery in Amsterdam. As a filmmaker, Claudio recently earned the Holland Film Meeting award at the Netherlands Film Festival for his personal narrative that focuses on Bangladesh.

Kanea Blokland

- Project Coordinator

Kanea Indigo is a writer, director and actor of Tanzanian and Dutch descent. Starting their acting journey at the age of twelve, they have worked as an actor both on stage and in film in Europe and the United States. They are currently working more and more behind the camera as a set dresser, art director and director.

As a filmmaker, they aspire to make films that showcase the beauty and softness that is present in trans lives, in stead of focussing on the pain and struggle that is so often visualized.

In their poetry, Kanea Indigo writes about intimate inner conversations people have with themselves when nobody is watching. In their film work, Kanea is curious to continue exploring the nuances that live within an individual and strives to showcase this nuance of people in the LGBTQIA+ community through head-strong, wellrounded threedimensional fictional characters.

Elliot Zepeda Kim

- Branding Coordinator

As a recent graduate from the International Communication and Media bachelor’s programme at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Elliot aims to connect their Latin American and Asian roots through audiovisual leaves and European branches. NPA being a foundational stepping stone in this journey, where he assists on the external communication of the team.

Following the premiere of their documentary ‘Lota Beyond the Coal’ during the 2020 National Heritage Day of Chile, Elliot is now in the process of crafting a documentary that delves into the diasporic identities of Chileans who, 50 years ago, sought refuge in the Netherlands after the 1973 Military Coup.

Yassin Ali

- Content Creation

Born to Sudanese parents in the Netherlands, Yassin grew up navigating the rich tapestry of two distinct cultures. His upbringing instilled in him a profound respect for diversity and a keen interest in sharing cultural narratives. After studying media and communication, Ali found his calling in videography and storytelling. His experiences as a Sudanese-Dutch individual deeply influence his perspective on the world.

He is currently in pre-production for his documentary debut as a director with his film “Drums of Liberation”, a film exploring the nuanced and integral role of protest music during moments of Sudanese civil unrest.

Otredad Foundation

NEW PRODUCERS ACADEMY is a project of the Otredad Foundation – a non-profit organisation supporting non-fiction and fiction producers of colour in The Netherlands. 

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There is a one-time application fee of €15 (incl. BTW)

Before applying for the New Producers Academy Fellowship 2023, please read the requirements and review our Privacy Policy and FAQs. If you still have questions regarding the entry process, please feel free to reach out: hello[@]

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