Memphis Fellowship


Photo of Barry Jenkins: David Bornfriend

Photo of Barry Jenkins: David Bornfriend


The Indie Memphis Black Filmmaker Residency in Screenwriting launched last year with the goal of eventually expanding to more than one screenwriter. We're excited to announce that growth has received a jump start with a generous donation from filmmaker Barry Jenkins, who is sponsoring the launch of a new fellowship for Memphis Metropolitan Area residents: The Indie Memphis Black Filmmaker Fellowship in Screenwriting. This Fellow will work in the same timeframe as our visiting Screenwriting Resident, and have a completed screenplay in November 2019. The Fellow will not receive Memphis housing but will receive a $7,500 cash grant.

Applications must be submitted by 11:59pm CST on March 31, 2019.


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

  • 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.


  • 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 currently residing in the Greater Memphis Metro area. 

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

  • Fellow 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). A treatment is a detailed summary of your entire film.

  • 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 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.

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


Three finalists will be chosen by an Indie Memphis selection committee. These three treatments and work samples will be read by Barry Jenkins. Mr. Jenkins will then select the winner of the 2019 Fellowship.

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