Colin Higgins Foundation partners with film festivals to offer LGBTQ+ youth filmmakers grants to support their professional development.

In 2023, the Colin Higgins Foundation partnered with Frameline, the San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, the longest-running, largest, and most widely recognized LGBTQ+ film exhibition event in the world. Colin Higgins Foundation will award three filmmakers with $15,000 grants to support their professional development in the film industry.

The 2023 Colin Higgins Youth Filmmaker Grantee Winners are as follows:


Director Daisy Friedman (Age 19) for AS YOU ARE

Daisy Friedman is a chronically ill, queer writer and director based out of New York City. Outside of filmmaking, Daisy has interned for companies such as FilmNation, It Doesn’t Suck Productions, and the Representation Project working in both management and creative development. She is also a 2020 National Scholastic Writing Award Recipient. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Daisy currently attends Barnard College of Columbia University as a Film Studies major. AS YOU ARE is her directorial debut. Daisy is interested in exploring the complex relationship between embodiment, disfigurement, and desirability of underrepresented communities through film.


Director Karina Dandashi (age 24) for COUSINS

Karina Dandashi is a queer Arab-American filmmaker born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Her films explore nuances in identity through the intersection of family, religion, and culture in Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) and Muslim communities in America. Her work has been featured in numerous Oscar-Qualifying festivals around the U.S. and her latest short Cousins was recently acquired by The New Yorker. Her feature debut OUT OF WATER was accepted into the Film Independent Producers Lab in 2022. Karina was a 2020 Creative Culture Fellow at The Jacob Burns Film Center and a 2021 Sundance Ignite Fellow. She was featured in Marie Claire’s inaugural Creators Issue as one of the “Top 21 Creators to Watch” in 2022.


Director Emilio Subía (age 24) for ÑAÑOS

Emilio Subía is an Ecuadorian filmmaker based in Brooklyn. His work offers challenging and disruptive perspectives about family, identity, immigration and class, focusing on the Latin American experience. His short film debut, ÑAÑOS (2022), premiered at Tribeca Festival and has screened at various prestigious national and international film festivals. It took home the “Best Film Award” at TIDE, the “International Short Film Award” at Miami Film Festival, and a Jury’s Special Mention at FICQuito. His work in advertising has also received accolades that include the Webby and Telly awards.


Read the full press release announcing 2023 winners here.


2022 Winners – in partnership with the Outfest Film Festival

Eliana Pipes is a queer, Black/white/Puerto Rican artist based in her hometown of Los Angeles.  She is a playwright, filmmaker and performer who wrote and directed the animated short film ¡Nails! which was originally a live action project that she reimagined after COVID halted production. She has been awarded the Academy Gold Fellowship for Women through the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and her play DREAM HOU$E had a world premiere triple co-production with the Alliance Theater, Long Wharf Theater, and Baltimore Center Stage.

Alexis G. Zall is 24 years old, self identifies as queer and resides in Los Angeles. She is a young & cutting-edge creator who wrote and directed the short film the beginning & the middle. Her work explores the central question of: what now? with characters who have experienced life-changing situations, such as coming out or preceding trauma.  She began posting YouTube videos when she was 13 years old and cultivated an audience over a decade that has grown to more than one million subscribers and over 81 million total views on her self-titled channel. She directed and starred in a branded commercial for Google, developed a half-hour comedy for FX and an original pilot with Kay Cannon producing. In front of the camera, Zall had a memorable guest star on RAMY’s first season, heavily recurred on THE GOLDBERGS and was Emmy nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Daytime Digital Series for her work on ZAC & MIA.

Jacob Roberts is 25 years old, self identifies as a bisexual man and lives in Los Angeles. Jacob’s films tell off-beat stories about sex and sexuality. Jacob wrote, directed, and performed in Half because he was upset that pop culture “sucks at showing what it’s like to be bisexual.” He wanted to see a story that went beyond stereotypes of bi people as confused or promiscuous and portrayed the reality of being bisexual. So, he decided to write that story himself.