Film phase:Production


When he was sent to prison at the age of 18, Gerald Hankerson met Henry Grisby, who raised him into the man he is today. Using the lessons he learns from Henry, Gerald makes history by organizing his way out of prison, becoming the first person sentenced to life without parole in Washington State to be granted his freedom. Now, Gerald is on a mission to bring home his 83-year old “Pops”—while there is still time.

Nine is a participant of the 2024 (Egg)celerator Lab.



Rachael DeCruz (she/her) is a filmmaker and racial justice organizer. Her work centers on how familial and community bonds fortify people to push back against racist systems. She directed The Panola Project, a short film chronicling how an often-overlooked rural Black community in Alabama came together in creative ways to survive the pandemic. The film was an official selection of over 35 festivals including Sundance, HotDocs, and BlackStar, and received 12 festival awards. Rachael was the former Chief of Staff at Race Forward, the country’s largest multiracial racial justice nonprofit. Nine is her feature debut. 

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Jeremy S. Levine’s (he/him) work seeks to unearth buried tragedies in a society in active denial of its own past. An Emmy® award-winning filmmaker and two-time Sundance Institute fellow, his work has screened at over a hundred film festivals (including the Berlinale, Tribeca, and Sundance); has streamed on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu; has been broadcast nationally in nine countries; and has received 25 festival awards. In 2006, Levine co-founded the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective, a community of professional filmmakers dedicated to collaboration and mutual support. 

Social Media Handles:

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Headshot of Rajal PitrodaRajal Pitroda (she/her) is a producer of fiction and non-fiction films. She is a Women at Sundance Fellow, an Impact Partners Producers Fellow, a Sundance Creative Producing Fellow, and a Firelight Media Impact Producing Fellow. Rajal most recently produced Down a Dark Stairwell, a feature documentary that premiered at the 2020 True/False Film Festival and was broadcast on Independent Lens. Her work has been supported by Women in Film, Black Public Media, Chicken & Egg Pictures, the Tribeca Film Institute, SFFILM, and others. Prior to producing, Rajal was the Founder of Cinevention, a media company where she designed and executed marketing and distribution strategies for feature films. Rajal started her career in film working in international marketing for Bollywood movies based in Mumbai. She has a degree in Economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA from London Business School.