ESSENCE wants to know: Are you ready to be the next top filmmaker? The #1 media brand for African-American women has chronicled Black women’s stories for more than 40 years with a strong legacy of showcasing inspiring images reflecting the truths and triumphs of Black women’s lives. Now, ESSENCE continues this rich tradition with the launch of The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Short Film Contest: Spotlight On Our Journeys.
Launched on Nov. 1 on ESSENCE.com, the aim of ESSENCE’s Short Film contest is to create images of Black women that are multidimensional and refreshing – in contrast to the narrow depictions that are commonly presented in media. In fact, respondents in ESSENCE’s recent, ground-breaking study, Understanding Images of African-American Women in Society, shared that the majority of images of Black women in media are not reflective of how they see themselves.
The deadline for submissions is December 5. A field of finalists will be selected by a team of ESSENCE editors. From there one winner will be chosen by the Black Women in Hollywood Academy, which includes top industry tastemakers. Judges include: Shonda Rhimes, creator and executive producer of hit shows Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal; actress Regina King and more. The winner will later be honored in the company of A-listers during the 7th annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon held on February 27, 2014.
“At ESSENCE, we understand how a powerful story, whether in print or in film, can impact lives and even impact an entire generation. This is especially true when there is a diversity of voices sharing their own unique stories about the human journey,” said Vanessa K. Bush, Editor-in-Chief, ESSENCE. “That is why we are excited about the ESSENCE Short Film Contest. Not only will it provide a platform to discover a fresh, new voice and vision, but showcasing the winner during our annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon will allow us to put a spotlight on burgeoning creative talent.”
The contest plays out as follows:
Aspiring filmmakers are challenged to write and direct an original short film, no longer than 20 minutes that presents an image of a Black woman in a unique, refreshing way.
One winner, selected by a panel of ESSENCE editors and The ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Academy of industry tastemakers, will be honored in the company of A-listers at the 7th annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon on February 27, 2014. Past honorees at this Oscar-week event have included Oprah Winfrey, Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, Halle Berry, Shonda Rhimes, Suzanne de Passe, Cicely Tyson, Gabrielle Union and many others.
The winning film will also be featured on ESSENCE.com, with a portion played at the Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon.
For more information and rules, please visit Essence.com/ShortFilmContest.