Universal has announced the winners of their Emerging Writers Fellowship, with Brian Buccellato, Josephine Green, Leon Hendrix, Rose McAleese and Juel Taylor chosen as the 2016-2017 fellows.
Now in its third year, the fellowship is designed to identify and foster unique, diverse voices in filmmaking.
"We continue to be thrilled with the extraordinary talent and commitment of these writers, and we are proud that the program continues to serve as a vital launching pad for new voices," said Universal's president of production Peter Cramer, who made today's announcement. "We are excited for the 2016-2017 class of fellows to make their mark as contributors here at Universal, and we know the larger creative community will be as impressed with them as we are."
The yearlong paid fellowship will see the participants attending filmmaking workshops and studio seminars, organized by program manager Heather Washington and vp production development Sara Scott, as well as networking events and development meetings.
Many working filmmakers who have first-look deals at Universal have signed on to act as mentors and guest speakers. These include Elizabeth Banks, Max Handelman and Alison Small of Pitch Perfect production company, Brownstone Productions; Skybound Entertainment's Robert Kirkman and David Alpert (responsible for The Walking Dead franchise) and UnbeliEVAble Entertainment's Eva Longoria, along with Will Packer Productions' Will Packer and James Lopez and Secret Hideout's Alex Kurtzman, Jeb Brody and Sarah Schweitzman.
Universal's Emerging Writers Fellowship was an idea supported by the film group's diversity council, which is led by chairman Donna Langley.
Universal's senior vp Arturo Barquet championed the program with the support of the NBCUniversal Corporate Diversity team and the endorsement of Writers Guild of America, West.