Panels

Crowdfunding (Saturday Theater 7 11:50-1:05)

Fanny Grande (Former Fanny Veliz) is a Venezuelan-American award-winning filmmaker, actor, and director with more than 20 years of experience in the entertainment business. Grande, who was born in the US, grew up in Venezuela performing from a very young age. A three-time Imagen Award nominee, she has received several recognitions for her work both in front and behind the camera. She was one of 8 fellows selected by Geena Davis for her See it, Be it fellowship. 6 years ago, she co-founded Avenida Productions with her husband Nelson Grande. Avenida is a production firm that specializes in empowering independent media content creators with a focus in diversity. In March of 2022, Avenida launched a crowdfunding platform for creatives called Support Our Story, and it opened a production facility in the heart of Los Angeles. Grande also served as a vice chair of Nosotros the oldest Latino Non-Profit in the entertainment business and it was founded by Ricardo Montalban. She recently completed the Sandford Latino business accelerator. My DACA Life, a documentary she directed premiered in Washington DC late 2022 and was produced under the Avenida umbrella. In early 2023 Avenida is launching Avenida TV an American Latino streamer.


As a native Angeleno, Nelson Grande is no stranger to the gravitational pull of the entertainment industry. Growing up in Highland Park where a typical Saturday included witnessing Tarantino shoot Reservoir Dogs or Gregory Nava shoot Mi Familia, one could argue that Grande’s rise from actor to entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Avenida Productions was written in the stars. At the age of 19, Grande recognized he had a talent for sales that catapulted him to be the brand ambassador for multiple luxury businesses. However, it wasn’t until Grande was 21 that he would take a leap of faith and pursue a career as an actor and never looked back.

 

Years later, Grande has been in national and regional commercials and has done guest spots on several TV shows including the critically acclaimed HBO show Eastbound and Down. Although he continues to thrive as an actor, he felt the familiar strain many actors of color experience in Hollywood. He found that the majority of the roles he was offered were rife with stereotypes and thick accents, a problem that many Latino actors face. He refused to let this deter or distract him from pursuing his career. However, it was the birth of his daughter that served as the spark that ignited his need for a change. He no longer wanted to depend on Casting Directors or Producers to give him opportunities. He wanted to create opportunities both for himself and other actors of color. The opportunity to create this impact on a local, national and global level came when he and Fanny Véliz founded Avenida Productions in 2016.