Screenwriting can be difficult, both as an art form and as a competitive business. If you don't have the right mentors or fellow artists in place to help guide you, your "next great American screenplay" may never see the light of day (or the light of a projector aimed at the silver screen). 

Fresh off a Film Independent Spirit Award win for his work on If Beale Street Could Talk, Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) is teaming up with the popular Tennessee film organization, Indie Memphis, to find the next great African-American screenwriter.

Deemed the Indie Memphis Black Filmmaker Residency for Screenwriting, this program might be right for you. If you live outside of the Greater Memphis Metro area (but have a screenplay that could be filmed in the Greater Memphis area), you may be eligible to apply.

As noted in the organization's press release, the purpose of this residency is to "provide opportunity for under-represented artists in filmmaking to develop bold storytelling to ultimately be filmed in the Memphis-area. The residency is looking to support one narrative feature film project and priority will be given to the story deemed most original, daring, intelligent, emotionally resonant, and realistic to produce."

It sounds like a great chance to hone your screenplay with some amazing mentors. For more information on how to apply (the deadline is March 31st) and specific eligibility requirements, please scroll down below.

What is Provided

●     Housing in Midtown Memphis at a residence located near the Indie Memphis office

●     $7,500 of unrestricted cash to assist for time off work, food, or directly towards the project

●     Travel accommodations to and from Memphis, TN.

●     Periodically meeting with advisors and filmmakers experienced with shooting in Memphis.

●     Visits to cultural institutions such as Stax Museum and the National Civil Rights Museum.

●     Location and production advice from the Memphis & Shelby County Film/TV Commission.

Rules & Eligibility

●     Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.

●     Applications are open to any filmmaker/screenwriter that is a United States citizen of African descent.

●     Applicant may be either an emerging or established screenwriter. The applicant must show how this residency will be unique and beneficial to the development of their project and career.

●     Must be a resident from outside the Greater Memphis Metro area; an objective of this program is to bring new film productions to Memphis.

●     Resident is expected to focus on writing their feature film screenplay and developing their project during the two month period.

●     Must submit a treatment of the story in development (20 pages maximum).

●     Must submit the first 5–6 pages of the screenplay

●     If selected, screenwriter must provide their own computer and script writing software.

●     Filmmaker must agree to the stipulation that a majority of the movie will be filmed in the Greater Memphis area, if produced.

●     Only one submission per applicant will be accepted.

●     Only one filmmaker will be accepted into the residency, but projects with multiple writers are eligible.

●     Adaptations are eligible, but the applicant must show legal permission of the right to adapt.

Finalist Selections:

Eight semi-finalists will be chosen by an Indie Memphis selection committee. Each semi-finalist will have a skype interview with Indie Memphis staff, narrowing down the selection to four finalists. The treatments and work sample of the four finalists will be read by Barry Jenkins. Mr. Jenkins will then select the winner of the 2019 Residency.

All eight semi-finalists will be given a VIP pass to attend the 2019 Black Creators Forum and the Indie Memphis Festival.

How to Apply

●     Fill out the form here

●     Must submit a full treatment of the script and screenplay sample to with the subject line of your name and project title.

●     Treatment must be submitted as a PDF, no more than 20 pages.

●     Screenplay sample must be submitted as a PDF, no more than six pages.

●     Lookbooks will be accepted in addition to treatment and screenplay sample but will not be part of final review process.