Indie Memphis Black Filmmaker Residency for Screenwriting

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The Indie Memphis Black Filmmaker Residency for Screenwriting is supported by the Remembering George Riley at MLK50 campaign. The program is a two-month residency in Memphis, TN for an emerging or established black filmmaker to work on a feature film screenplay to be produced in Memphis. Located in the heart of Memphis, TN, the program will provide one screenwriter with $7,500 of unrestricted cash, plus housing and round-trip travel accommodations and, most importantly, uninterrupted time for writing their feature film screenplay.

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.

Applicants must describe why they believe their film should be produced in Memphis, TN. The setting of the story may or may not be Memphis and the residency will offer an opportunity for initial location scouting and inspiration from the geography and environment.

The residency is provided during the two month timeframe of September 17th to November 16th 2018. No exceptions will be made to the timeline. The residency will include artist participation in events during the Indie Memphis Film Festival the first week of November.


Alex Huggins

2018 Indie Memphis Black Residency Finalists:  Alex Huggins (winner), Ama Quao, Amanda Layne Miller, Natalie Frazier, Jeri Hilt, and Jon-Carlos Evans

2018 Indie Memphis Black Residency Finalists: Alex Huggins (winner), Ama Quao, Amanda Layne Miller, Natalie Frazier, Jeri Hilt, and Jon-Carlos Evans

Bio: Alex Huggins is a filmmaker and screenwriter from Salt Lake City, Utah. After a stint studying Architecture at Parsons School of Design in New York, and a brief period back home working in production through the Utah Film Commission, he returned to New York to act as an apprentice to Josh and Benny Safdie at their burgeoning studio Elara Pictures. Growing up in an immigrant household –raised by his Haitian mother and the youngest of three – Alex recalls watching films from an early age, utilizing them to bridge the contrasting realities impressed upon him by his Caribbean influenced homelife and the American West. In his work, Alex exercises these contrasting realities via subversive themes in an effort to cast reconfigured historical context on a contemporary landscape. Alex is currently working on his next film – a short entitled “Pennies” following a group of vampires in Harlem – while also writing collaboratively on multiple projects.

Project - Mason Dixon: The film tells the story of Vanessa Pierre, a 20-year-old Haitian American, who becomes entangled in a convoluted historical mystery following the return of her estranged father to her mother’s home.


  • Jon-Carlos Evans, The Lost Gods of Memphis
  • Natalie Frazier, Mr. Interlocutor
  • Jeri Hilt, Five Million Marielles
  • Amanda Layne Miller, Black Cherry
  • Ama Quao, 1999


Click HERE for a list of the 2018 finalists and judges.

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).
  • If selected, screenwriter must provide their own computer and script writing software.
  • Filmmaker must agree to stipulation that the majority of the script 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.