Meet ESSENCE’s Black Women in Hollywood Short Film Contest Winner
Michael Rowe

ESSENCE would like to congratulate Black Women in Hollywood Short Film Contest winner Stefani Saintonge. 

Saintonge, 26, hails from Queens, New York and was chosen from a diverse gathering of submissions.

She will receive the Discovery Award at the 7th Annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon, where a clip of her film will be played before an exclusive industry crowd. 

“It’s great to get validation from your own community, and ESSENCE represents that community very well. I’m really happy to be a part of it,” says Saintonge of her win. “When I was in middle school I remember…the stories that are out there for when men come of age [was] about them being interested in sex. For women, they become the sex objects. So I wanted to explore what that’s like for women to deal with your body becoming a sex object. That’s why it’s really amazing.”

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The Spotlight On Our Journeys short film contest challenged filmmakers to present a unique and refreshing take of what it means to be a Black woman, celebrating multidimensional portrayals that stray from the stereotypical images we are presented with daily on the big screen.

A team of ESSENCE editors chose the finalists and Saintonge was picked as the winner by ESSENCE’s Black Women in Hollywood Academy. The academy featured industry tastemakers such as Shonda Rhimes, Regina King, Mara Brock and Salim Akil, Gina Prince Bythewood, and Black Women in Hollywood honoree Ava DuVernay, among others. 

This year’s Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon will honor Lupita Nyong’o, Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Ava DuVernay, will be held on February 27 in Los Angeles.

Follow the full coverage of the star-studded event here.