At the Annecy Film Festival Sony Pictures Animation and Sony Pictures Imageworks will present the short film The Spider Within , set in the world of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse .


In the short, Miles Morales struggles to balance his responsibilities as a teenager, friend, and student while fulfilling the role of a friendly Brooklyn neighborhood superhero. After a particularly busy day, Miles suffers a panic attack that forces him to confront manifestations of his anxiety and to learn that asking for help can be as brave as protecting his city from evil.

The Spider Within is part of Sony Pictures Animation and Sony Pictures Imageworks ‘ new LENS (Leading and Empowering New Storytellers)mentorship program.

The LENS program

Launched internally last year, the new program aims to provide high-potential candidates from underrepresented groups the opportunity to gain valuable leadership experience.

As part of the LENS program , four candidates will be chosen both from within and outside of their studios and receive creative leadership assignments such as director, writer, VFX supervisor and animation supervisor. Under the guidance of the creators and producers of the program, Michelle Raimo Kouyate (“Puss in Boots”, “Silver Linings Playbook”) and David Schulenburg (“Spider-Ham: Caught in a Ham”), will work together to produce a short film of animation.

Kouyate and Schulenburg stated:

“We feel honored and privileged to have had the opportunity to shape the inaugural launch of the LENS program. We are incredibly proud of how the hard work of the four directors – Jarelle Dampier, Khaila Amazan, Clara Chan and Joe Darko – has paid off.
They have far exceeded all expectations, stepping into their leadership roles and creating an amazing short film.
We are very grateful to be part of a studio that is doing meaningful work to give a voice to diverse groups and the studio leadership – Kristine Belson, Michelle Grady, Pam Marsden and Paul Martin – who brought this program to life and supported us. every step of the way.”

LENS directors Jarelle Dampier, Khaila Amazan, Clara Chan and Joe Darko said:

“The LENS program has changed the lives of all of us: it has allowed us to reach a goal that we felt was very far away. Seeing diverse representation in leadership roles makes a real difference, as it shows the next generation of filmmakers that barriers are being broken down.
Animation is the most collaborative art form there is, and it takes a special place to open doors and nurture creatives who have the potential to tell great stories, but haven’t had the chance to break through. We are so grateful for this experience and the opportunity to create something meaningful, and we can’t wait to share it with the world.”

The second phase of the program involves the creation of a short film set in the world of K-Pop: Demon Hunters , a musical action-adventure that follows the story of a group of world-famous K-Pop girls, as they balance their lives in the spotlight with their secret identities as demon hunters.