By: Amadi Taylor
Four of the eight winners of the 2019 HBOAccess Writing Fellowship are Black. It is an eight-month program that offers master classes and mentorship with a creative executive as writers develop a pilot script for the premium network.
“Selecting our fellows is always an exciting time for us,” Kelly Edwards, HBO’s SVP Talent Development, said in a release Thursday announcing this year’s class, selected from more than 3,000 submissions in the program’s third year. “This process introduces us to so many incredibly talented, emerging writers. We know they all have bright futures ahead of them.”
Four of the selected writers include Darnell Brown, Melody Cooper, Danielle Iman and Jessica Shields. Brown's resume includes winning the 2019 Turner/ABFF Writing Contest for his dramatic script LYZ and creating socially-conscious poetry. Cooper has won the 2018 Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay at the Urbanworld Film Festival for her thriller Northern Cross. Her supernatural feature-length film, The Sound of Darkness, was a 2018 Athena List Finalist and her short documentary Detained won the 2018 IndieFest Award of Recognition.
Iman has been named a 2018 Fox Writers Lab Finalist, a 2018 Austin Film Festival Second Rounder and has been placed on the 2018 Young & Hungry List and Hit List. She has also worked on ABC's Grey's Anatomy as a writer's PA and on the Apple series Swagger as a writer's trainee. Shields' resume includes winning the 2019 Humanitas Prize College Drama Fellowship and was a Film Independent Project Involve Screenwriting Fellow in 2018, resulting in her short film Wednesday. She is a finalist for the HBO Shorts Competition at ABFF 2019.
The HBOAccess writing program runs every other year, alternating with HBO’s Directing Fellowship. The next writer application window opens in February 2021.