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Universal Pictures Brings Back Emerging Writers Fellowship Screenwriting Program

Universal Pictures will seek out new screenwriters through its Emerging Writers Fellowship for a second year, after the first exceeded the studio’s expectations.

The studio will start accepting submissions on Oct. 21 through the fellowship’s website.

Applicants will need to submit an original feature-length screenplay and other background materials to the studio for evaluation.

Ten finalists will be selected and interviewed in Los Angeles, with up to five fellows chosen to work for the studio over the course of a year.

The program is supported by the studio’s Diversity Council and the NBCUniversal Corporate Diversity team, and endorsed by the Writers Guild of America, West.

Universal sees the fellowship as one of its key initiatives to bolster its diverse workforce in front of and behind the camera.

“Working with the writers allowed us a fresh perspective on some of our own material and we were also able to work with them on developing some of their own ideas,” said Universal Pictures co-president of production Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, who oversee the program with fellow co-president Peter Cramer. “The process was a mutually beneficial one that underscored our belief in this important program.”

The first year fellows, Chandus T. Jackson, Margaret Rose Lester, Steve Martinez, Ivy Pruss and Saila Reyes, began their year-long program in May.

WGA-assigned mentors working with the scribes included Will Packer, Chris Morgan, Jeremy Garelick, Cheo Hodari Coker, Suzanne de Passe, David Goyer, Melisa Wallack, Craig Mazin, Melissa Stack and Andrea Berloff.

“With the Emerging Writers Fellowship, Universal Pictures has created a fully immersive program dedicated to cultivating new voices in film with diverse perspectives,” said executive VP and chief diversity officer for NBCUniversal, Craig Robinson. “It has been a joy to see how this year’s fellows have progressed, and we anticipate even more success as the team begins its search for next year.”

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