Spotlighting the stupendous class of Young Guns 20
Nearly 100 renowned industry professionals made up the jury for Young Guns this year. And after revealing the 84 finalists, it is finally time to unveil the 31 winners who make up the class of Young Guns 20.
Every year, we add another class of young talent from all over the globe to the exclusive Young Guns community. The winners of Young Guns 20 are your next project directors, animators, designers, editors, illustrators, artists, photographers, storytellers, coders, and writers. So this is your cue to follow them on Instagram immediately– because they are our industry’s future legends after all.
In two weeks, the winners will fly into NYC from around the world to celebrate their accomplishments, make new friends, have a few cocktails, and take home their official Young Guns Cube. We can’t wait to celebrate with them at Sony Hall on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, at 6:30 PM– and we hope to see you there too!
Before the party begins, we took the time to get to know each of our winners so you can read up on the highly creative individuals who make up Young Guns 20.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA & LONDON, ENGLAND
How did you first learn about Young Guns?
I have two amazingly talented friends who were previous winners — Charlotte Regan (YG16) and Sean Wang (YG19). And I know anything I can do to try and keep up with those two is worthwhile!
Congrats on the win! What motivated you to enter this year?
Ugh, thanks for reminding me that I'm turning 30. JK! I'm actually really excited for this new decade and Young Guns feels like a fun way to bid farewell to my 20s — which were a wild learning period where I tried out a few different careers, identities, and cities before finally giving my dream life as a Writer & Director a shot. The tail end of my twenties has been about putting myself through guerilla film school, learning on the job, or as my commercial rep Anna Hashmi calls it, "baptism by fire." YG20 is such a meaningful way to commemorate this phase of experimentation and finding my footing as a director.
"I'm actually really excited for this new decade and Young Guns feels like a fun way to bid farewell to my 20s — which were a wild learning period where I tried out a few different careers, identities, and cities before finally giving my dream life as a Writer & Director a shot."
Young Guns is as much an exercise in self-curation as it is in sheer creative talent. After all, you are only allowed to submit six projects. How did you decide which pieces were best to enter and truly reflected you and your work?
For each of these projects I was more or less given carte blanche and allowed to try something new. I will always love that kind of work, because it's a gift to be given freedom and trust. Each of these films were made with a certain sincerity that can only come about when you're given permission to figure it out as you go, and not expected to have all the answers. More of this in the world, please!
What went through your mind when you discovered that you won, especially knowing how difficult it is to make it into Young Guns? How did you celebrate?
I went for Ethiopian food because it's the only acceptable way to celebrate anything.
How would you describe your personal brand in one sentence? Now, try defining it in three words.
I'm always trying to figure out what's funny about what hurts. Three words is hard for someone who loves to ramble as much as me, but... saturated, curious, embarrassing. Two more, please! Sincere and absurd.
Who are some of the biggest influences on you and your career? Who may have had a hand in mentoring and supporting you?
I would be *nowhere* without the mentorship I've received from Producer Anna Hashmi and Director Malik Vitthal. The Sundance Institute was the first to bet on me, so I owe them the biggest thanks of all. BBC exec Navi Lamba has always backed me and her constant encouragement means the world to me. Finally, my parents Gul Agha and Jennifer Cole never gave me flack for wanting to be an artist and that is a gift. Honestly, I am my own disapproving parent whereas my actual parents are my number one and day one fans.
Now that you’re in the Young Guns crew, are there any past winners you look up to and admire? What is it about their work that you love?
Saad Moosajee (YG18), Danaé Gosset (YG19), Debora Cheyenne (YG18) — their work is insanely beautiful, colorful, playful and strange. Plus Daniels (YG14), of course– I love those silly boys.
Name a creative dream that you have yet to fulfill — hey, maybe Young Guns can help propel you in that direction! Who would you love to collab with in the future?
I've got a bizarre TV show concept, if someone wants to make it with me. Also, a narrative short that's a little twisted, but very close to my heart. I have no idea how to get into gallery/installation work, but I have a few ideas up my sleeve for that medium. Finally, I welcome a kick in the butt to write my first feature. And if Julianna Barwick could do the score that would be *chef's kiss*.
This is YG20, but what do you imagine you’ll be up to when YG30 rolls around in 2032, both personally and professionally?
Hopefully drinking fresh squeezed orange juice and watching the sunset over the Aegean on the back patio of my (non-existent) Grecian villa with my (non-existent) pet Great Dane Mr. Famous asleep at my feet, the completed manuscript of my (non-existent) first novel on my lap, and a still-life oil painting of moldy raspberries drying on the easel in front of me. Yes, this qualifies as both a professional and personal vision.
Something you do to feel energized? Will we see you at the official YG20 party in NYC in November?
When I feel down, I lay on the floor with a heavy object on my chest, play "Only Time" by Enya, and Google "Small dog big dog friendship." Works every time. See you in New York!
Come party with us and celebrate all the Young Guns 20 winners on Wednesday, November 16 at Sony Hall!