News Briefs

Stacy’s Rise Short Film Showcased at the Sundance Film Festival

Annual Stacy's Rise Project winners announced in conjunction with the release of Rise, a short film produced in collaboration with Reese Witherspoon's media company Hello Sunshine and Ventureland Studios.

In addition to Stacy’s Rise Project class, this year, Stacy’s Pita Chips honored the resilience of women entrepreneurs through the release of Rise. The short film was celebrated as part of Stacy’s Pita Chips sponsorship during the Sundance Film Festival.

Rise was produced in collaboration with Hello Sunshine. Also created by PRETTYBIRD filmmaker Nisha Ganatra, it features original poetry by Rupi Kaur. Rise illustrates the resilience of women today and those who came before them. It brings to light the dedication and behind-the-scenes struggles people often don’t see. The film spotlights the stories of the three previous winners of the Stacy’s Rise Project:

“Hello Sunshine’s mission is to amplify women’s stories and experiences. That’s why it was so important for us to team up for the Stacy’s Rise Project,” said Witherspoon, Oscar-winning actress, producer and founder of Hello Sunshine. “I’m so proud of what we created together. And I am excited for everyone to see Rise and be inspired by these incredible women.”

Stacy’s Rise: A Story of Resilience

Rise is artistically accompanied by statistics and news headlines that frame the societal context of the struggles women face today. The film aims to illuminate women’s roots — the histories, voices and fortitude of those who came before. Their resilience, their rise, and their continued fight for progress. The film was led by award-winning filmmaker, Ganatra. Nearly all (92 percent) of the primary roles in the making of the film were women. Viewers can learn more about the making of Stacy’s Rise here.

As an official sponsor of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, Stacy’s Pita Chips screened the short film at Stacy’s Roots to Rise Market in Park City. The Rise short film here and on Prime Video2 for those unable to attend the Sundance Film Festival.

Roots to Rise Market

Stacy’s chose to support the 2023 Sundance Film Festival as an extension of its commitment to supporting women. As the premiere independent film festival, Sundance provides a mission-aligned platform. Through the power of storytelling, the festival further champions women’s voices in all areas of entrepreneurship.

At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Stacy’s Pita Chips hosted Stacy’s Roots to Rise Market. The market showcased products from past and present Stacy’s Rise Project winners. In addition, visitors could view the film at daily screenings and sampled snacks featuring Stacy’s Pita Chips products. Stacy’s Pita Chips also hosted several panels featuring Stacy’s Rise Project winners, the creators of the Rise film, women in film and entertainment, and Stacy’s Pita Chips founder Stacy Madison.

Introducing the Stacy’s Rise Project Class of 2023

Stacy’s Pita Chips has connected thousands of female founders and provided more than $1 million in funding since 2017. To kick off 2023, Stacy’s recognized 14 female founders across the United States and Canada, welcoming them to the community of Stacy’s Rise Project winners.

Stationary products companies

  • Elaine Tan Comeau, Coquitlam, B.C., founded Easy Daysies, an award-winning line of daily visual schedules with the goal to help children, adults and families have happier and easier days.

Drink companies

  • Shelley Elkovich, Portland, Ore., founded For Bitter For Worse, a line of sophisticated non-alcoholic cocktails made with herbs and botanicals from the Pacific Northwest, aimed to create a more inclusive drinking culture.
  • Rhonda Cammon, Nashville, Tenn., founded Perfectly Cordial, a line of versatile cocktail and mocktail mixers, flavorful and simple to use, bringing mixology to homes without the mess, fuss or expense.
  • Monica Sunny, Marietta, Ga., founded The Chai Box, sustainably and ethically sourced Chai concentrates and loose-leaf tea blends rooted in bringing the traditional craft of Chai making to mainstream consumers.

Food companies

  • Dorielle Price, Hallandale Beach, Fla., co-founded EasyPeasie, dried, ground vegetable blends that are “veggie-palate primers” to introduce vegetables to kids and build lasting healthy habits.
  • Michelle Razavi, Los Angeles, Calif., founded ELAVI, a line of gut-friendly, fitness-trainer-approved snacks designed to be enjoyed anywhere and help boost cognitive focus, balanced mood, athletic recovery, and overall vitality.
  • Essilfua Bartels, Englewood, N.J., founded EssieSpice, flavorful, small-batch sauces, dry rubs and condiments made with indigenous spices from Ghana and flavors from around the world.
  • Jane Barden, Durango, Colo., founded Farm to Summit, a dehydrated food company on a mission to reduce food waste and introduce more flavorful and sustainable food options to the backcountry.Shelley Elkovich, Portland, Ore., founded For Bitter For Worse, a line of sophisticated non-alcoholic cocktails made with herbs and botanicals from the Pacific Northwest, aimed to create a more inclusive drinking culture.
  • Diana Rios Jasso, Washington, D.C., founded Jarabe Gourmet Pops, which specializes in serving handcrafted Mexican-style ice pops, inspired by her childhood upbringing of seeing her father sell paletas in the street corners of Los Angeles.
  • Jacqueline Grady Smith, Somerville, Mass., founded Not Just Co., multipurpose sauces and dressings, created by two former cooking instructor moms to help take the struggle out of dinner.
  • Patrice Cunningham, Washington, D.C., founded Tae-Gu-Kimchi, a delicious-handcrafted Napa Cabbage Kimchi that uses her mother’s authentic recipe and captures the beautiful tradition of making this food in every bite.
  • Carolyn Simon, Toronto, Ont., founded Choose Life Foods, plant-based Caribbean goodness with a mission to create nutritious alternatives to the Caribbean’s most beloved dishes so that everyone can enjoy them.
  • Jolene Johnson, Tobique First Nation, N.B., founded Wabanaki Maple, maple syrup created with a twist on the traditional method and 100 percent Indigenous women-owned.
  • Kristyn Carriere, Edmonton, Alta., founded 7 Summits Snacks superfood chocolate products that are designed to ‘fuel your next adventure.’

Prices for winners of the Stacy’s Rise Project Class of 2023

Selected from a pool of more than 9,000 applicants, the winners each received a $15,000 grant. In addition, they gained a partnership with longtime grant partner Hello Alice, as well as mentorship and community-building opportunities. For the first time, the Stacy’s Rise Project opened its applications to women founders based in Canada, with the help of Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC).

“Stacy’s Pita Chips is a brand that believes that when one woman rises, we all rise,” said Rhasheda Boyd, vice president of marketing at Frito-Lay. “Women-owned businesses only receive 2 percent of venture capital funding. However, businesses founded by women have an average return on investment of two times per dollar invested. Stacy’s is investing in the futures of women-led businesses through the Stacy’s Rise Project. We are excited to bring awareness to these remarkable women at a major platform, the Sundance Film Festival. This will give even more people the opportunity to rally around them and be inspired by their resilience.”

People can visit to learn more about this year’s winners and find other resources to help support local woman-owned businesses. To see future announcements from Stacy’s, tune into the brand’s social media channels.

About Stacy’s Snacks

Stacy’s Snacks is one of the many brands that make up Frito-Lay North America. The $19 billion convenient foods division of PepsiCo, Inc. is headquartered in Purchase, NY. Learn more about Frito-Lay at the corporate website, and on Twitter

About Frito-Lay North America

Frito-Lay North America is the $19 billion convenience foods division of PepsiCo, Inc., which is headquartered in Purchase, NY. The company operates 30+ manufacturing facilities across the U.S. and Canada, and more than 200 distribution centers. It services 315,000 retail customers per week through its direct-store-delivery model. Learn more about Frito-Lay at the corporate website,, on Twitter (@fritolay), on Instagram (@fritolay) and on Facebook (Frito-Lay).

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories. PepsiCo generated more than $79 billion in net revenue in 2021, driven by a complementary beverage and convenient foods portfolio. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including many iconic brands. PepsiCo generates more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Beverages and Convenient Foods. Winning with PepsiCo Positive (pep+) is our strategic end-to-end transformation. Putting sustainability and human capital at the center, operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive changes is how we create value and growth. For more information, visit

About Hello Sunshine

Founded by Reese Witherspoon, Hello Sunshine is a media company that puts women at the center of every story. Hello Sunshine tells stories across all platforms. From scripted and unscripted television, to feature films, animated series, podcasts, audio storytelling, and digital series. All shining a light on where women are now and helping them chart a new path forward. Hello Sunshine is also home to Reese’s Book Club and the newly launched RBC App. Fast growing in reach and influence, this community thrives on meaningful connections with stories, authors and fellow members.

Hello Sunshine is part of Candle Media, an independent, creator-friendly home for cutting-edge, high-quality, category-defining brands and franchises. Bringing together talent operating in content, community, and commerce helps to position entertainment businesses in the current market and beyond.

About Ventureland

Ventureland is an independent creative studio that specializes in developing original entertainment properties. It spans traditional and emerging media platforms, including theatrical, streaming, podcasts, and more. Founded by Academy Award-winning producer John Battsek (One Day in September, Searching for Sugar Man) and PRETTYBIRD partners Kerstin Emhoff, Ali Brown and Paul Hunter. Ventureland collaborates with acclaimed filmmakers and the world’s top studios to deliver award-winning films and TV.

About Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author, poet, and performer. A breakout literary phenomenon, Kaur wrote, illustrated, and self-published her No. 1 New York Times bestseller book, ‘milk and honey’ at 21-years-old. Since then, she has published three bestsellers that have sold over 11 million copies in 42+ languages. The New Republic awarded her as ‘Writer of the Decade’ and Forbes featured her in its 30 under 30 list. Beyond the page, Kaur self-produced Rupi Kaur Live, the first poetry special of its kind, on Amazon Prime. She also served as executive producer on the feature film ‘This Place’, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2022.

About Nisha Ganatra

Nisha Ganatra is a Golden Globe winner and an Emmy-nominated director and producer seamlessly working in commercials, television, and film. Nisha’s previous feature film credits include:

  • The High Note for Working Title.
  • Focus Features, starring Tracee Ellis Ross
  • Late Night, starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling.

On the TV side, in addition to her award-winning work as a Director/Producer on Amazon’s ‘Transparent,’ Nisha has also directed episodes of Girls, Dear White People, Mr. Robot, Brooklyn 9-9, Black Monday and Welcome to Chippendales. Nisha’s award-winning campaign, ‘Womb Stories,’ earned her many accolades, including the Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Film Craft: Directing. Nisha also appears in the Cannes Lions’ Creativity Report as the #1 Director globally – a distinguished accomplishment that only one other female director has ever obtained.

We’re all about honoring women and their efforts as well, and so are many entrepreneurs out there. If you want to feel inspired by the stories of creative entrepreneurs, explore the Wise Women Podcast by Alisha Wielfaert.

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