Creativity doesn’t just open doors. It opens worlds. When aspiring creators see role models like themselves tell their story, they are inspired to do the same, creating an opportunity for more cultures and perspectives to be understood and celebrated.
And we know there are even more great stories out there, just waiting to be told.
Last May, Adobe and Netflix came together to launch "The Great Untold" partnership, which included a short-film competition, inviting TikTok users to create a trailer based on the prompt: “What’s a story only you can tell?” The new partnership gave emerging creators creative support, mentorship, and a greater platform to bring their stories to life.
Participants pitched their story ideas via TikTok and the response from our community was incredible, with over 16,000 creative submissions from young creators across the U.S.
In August, three winners were selected to have their submissions made into short films, each receiving a $10,000 grant, access to Adobe experts and tools, including Adobe Premiere Pro video software, and were paired with a Netflix mentor to guide and inspire them through the entire start-to-finish creative process.
Following the announcement of the winning films, Adobe and Netflix packed up and headed to the faraway corners of the country to help the creators bring their films to life in their hometown settings. In just three weeks, the winners worked closely with their seasoned mentors and learned everything from video production to scriptwriting and storytelling, to editing and everything in between.
Adobe and Netflix along with camera partner Sony, provided equipment and tools as well as the crews needed to bring each short to life. Local communities were also invited to participate in the production, in a variety of roles.
Each creator's short film can be viewed on Netflix's YouTube channel here. In addition, the short films will be featured alongside a behind-the-scenes style documentary that will showcase the creative process and challenges, documented by Nadia Hallgren, director of the Netflix Michelle Obama documentary, Becoming, the intimate look into the life of former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Meet the winners and their stories
Jonathan Morales-Moreno (The Refugee), mentored by Ryan O’Connell, lead actor in the Netflix series, Special
Based on Morales-Moreno's own Mexican-American childhood, The Refugee tells the story of a teenage girl from Colombia who attends a typical small-town American high school. To help adapt to her new life, a Mexican-American student is forced to spend his time showing her around. But, just like her, he struggles with his own conflicting identities. Morales-Moreno wrote, directed, and acted in his short film. Follow Morales-Moreno on social @jonnym0rales.
Keara Anderson (Last to the Wild), mentored by Maisie Richardson-Sellers, actor in the Netflix film The Kissing Booth 2 and 3
Inspired by her hometown friends in rural Alaska struggling with decisions about their future, Anderson developed a short film about isolation and connection. The film features a young man who has lived his entire life surrounded by friends on the beautiful Alaskan landscape. But as his friends decide to leave Alaska behind, he is left to contemplate what home means to him. Follow Anderson on social @k.e.a.r.a.s.
Samba Diop (The Game), mentored by the creators behind Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, David E. Talbert and Lyn Sisson-Talbert. David wrote, directed, and produced the hit film, which was also produced by Lyn.
Inspired by his upbringing with Senegalese immigrant parents, Diop’s character drama with a sci-fi twist explores the inner conflict of the word “immigrant” by showing a world with two distinct parts. Represented by two seemingly identical yet opposite characters, these two young men must play a chess game once a year in an isolated cabin. The winner gets to spend their year living freely, while the loser must stay in the cabin until the next game, unaware of what is happening in the outside world. Follow Diop on social @sambafilms.