EXCLUSIVE: Janelle Monáe and her Wondaland Pictures have partnered with the non-profit SeriesFest on the ninth season of Storytellers, its Script Writing Competition spotlighting female-focused stories within the episodic arena. The winner of the competition, to which submissions are now open via SeriesFest’s website, will earn the opportunity to develop their winning project with Wondaland. SeriesFest also today announced that Season 9 of its Independent Pilot, Digital Shorts, and Pilots in Progress Competitions have opened for submissions, along with its Collegiate Spotlight.
The Wondaland team is looking, by way of the episodic competition, for stories that feel disruptive, sticky, and buzzy; stories that are elevated and fun, left of center and culturally relevant, highlighting compelling characters from marginalized points of view. The organization sees a pressing need to tell stories that center on Black and Queer people, and that explore race, class and gender in fresh ways — stories that shift how people see each other and the whole world around them.
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The official deadline for the competition is November 3, with the late deadline set for January 10. Three finalists will subsequently be selected to participate in a two-day creative workshop with industry experts, which includes sessions on how to pitch, and mini writers rooms for all three scripts in late March. A winner will be announced by April 7, 2023 and will also receive the opportunity for a Live Read at SeriesFest: Season 9, which is taking place from May 5–10, 2023.
“Storytelling is at the center of who I am, and Wondaland Pictures and I are devoted to expanding the database of writers and talent who receive funding so the next generation of storytellers can be representative of the audiences that consume them,” said Wondaland Pictures’ Founder, Monáe. “We are excited to partner with Seriesfest on this script competition that highlights radical and rebellious stories, with the hope to create groundbreaking television together in the future.”
“We are beyond excited to announce this partnership with Janelle Monáe and Wondaland Pictures,” added SeriesFest’s Co-Founder and CEO, Randi Kleiner. “The Storytellers competition creates opportunity for new, diverse talent and speaks to the core of SeriesFest’s mission by connecting emerging artists with industry executives who are also focused on supporting bold and underrepresented voices, and bringing independent projects into fruition.”
SeriesFest is an organization that looks to champion and empower artists at the forefront of episodic storytelling by providing year-round opportunities for creators and industry professionals to connect, collaborate and share stories, which inspire and impact global audiences. SeriesFest culminates each June in a highly-curated, Denver-based festival and marketplace. Dedicated to showcasing innovative episodic content, the festival includes in-competition independent pilot screenings, panels, workshops, live reads and parties, as well as network television premieres.
A renowned musician, actress and activist, Monáe founded the multimedia company Wondaland alongside her longtime creative partners, Nate Wonder and Chuck Lightning, along with the Wondaland managing partner, Mikael Moore. The company’s services include film/TV production, artist development and management, book publishing, music publishing, music production and a music label. Its slate of projects is set up at its home studio UTV, as well as at Amazon, Peacock, A24 and elsewhere.
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