Black up-and-coming writers have been named as part of the 2019 HBOAccess Writing Fellowship.
The eight-month fellowship features eight writers in total, who will attend master classes and receive mentorship as they develop pilot scripts for HBO. Past participants have gone on to work on several HBO shows, including The Deuce, The Nevers and Lovecraft Country, the upcoming series from Misha Green.
Kelly Edwards, HBO’s SVP of Talent Development, said in a statement how the fellowship selection process is “always an exciting time for us,” adding, “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 other four writers chosen for the fellowship include Ivan Tsang, Eddie Mujica, Lucy Luna and Elaine Loh.
The 2019 fellowship class marks the third year of the program’s existence. The fellowship works in conjunction with the WGA to provide its fellows workshops and classes on story structure, genre writing, character development, and industry-specific topics such as securing an agent and more. After the workshop, the fellows are mentored by HBO creative executives as they craft their full-length pilot scripts.
Photo: (Left to Right) Darnell Brown, Melody Cooper, Danielle Iman, Jessica Shields, courtesy of HBO