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Shadow & Act $3000 Black Filmmaker Challenge #3 Submissions Closed. Now What?

Shadow & Act $3000 Black Filmmaker Challenge #3 Submissions Closed. Now What?

I haven’t counted all the submissions yet, but I’d estimate that it’s somewhere north of 60 – so just about the same as the last 2 challenges. And just as was the case for the first 2, I received about 90% of all entries on the last day! Some were flying in during the final hour!

But glad to know folks are still interested and continue to participate; That said, give us about a month to go through all the entries (read all the scripts and watch the accompanying films), and I’d say that by mid-November (the 15th), we will be announcing a winner! So, good luck to all.

And if you’re just joining us and have absolutely no idea what this challenge is all about, feel free to read below to catch up!


Guess what’s back? The Shadow And Act Black Filmmaker Challenge! Remember it? Nikyatu Jusu won the first one, with her script for Black Swan Theory. The completed film debuted on the old S&A site earlier this year, and is now traveling the film festival circuit.

The second winner, announced in February, was Rod Gailes OBC, who won for his screenplay titled Soft Focus. The film is currently in post-production, and should make its debut here in the next month or so.

So, obviously, there’s been a long break since the second winner was announced (I initially planned to do this about every 3 to 4 months – or 3 to 4 winners annually, which means 3 to 4 Shadow And Act Films-produced shorts every year); I won’t bother going into reasons for the hiatus, but now it’s returned for #3!

For those who only recently started reading S&A, here’s a brief introduction to the challenge:

Rodney Parnther of Clarendon Entertainment and myself formed a business partnership called Shadow And Act Films LLC, a production/financing film company that will finance and distribute films – in this specific case, shorts of 3 to 10 minutes in length – by and about people of African descent, to the tune of at least $3000 each time.

In essence, we put up the cash, you make the film. But, don’t stop reading here.

So, what do interested filmmakers have to do?

Filmmakers should email the following to me at

1. A completed script for your 3 to 10-minute short film idea. Any genre. Filmmakers can send as many as 2 separate scripts.
2. Some links to samples of any previous films you’ve made – preferably online; whether on YouTube, Vimeo, or some other video sharing portal, or on your own website. You don’t have to be a super pro with 20 years of experience as a director, but I’d like to know that you at least have some idea of what you’re doing.
3. A signed release form which you can find HERE. Just print it, sign it, and send back to me: you can scan and email it to me, or fax to:1-718-228-6958. You don’t have to send with your entry, but do so before the deadline.
4. And the deadline for submissions is 11:59PM, Friday, September 30th, so you’ve got just about a month and a half.

Some IMPORTANT items to note before you submit:

– The winning screenplay will be acquired by Shadow and Act Films, LLC (“S&A”) and the filmmaker hired to produce the film on S&A’s behalf in exchange for a share of any profits earned from the film. This is an important consideration if your goal is to produce a feature or any other project based on the short. In effect, you will need to get clearance from Shadow and Act to create any derivative work based on the script after we acquire it.

Why do you need to acquire the rights to the winning script?

Acquiring the screenplay ensures we get a clean and valid chain of title underlying the short film. This protects our investment and helps the film further down the road when it has to be insured it for errors and omissions as a condition for distribution.

What happens if I want to produce a feature based on the short?

Please note that we will never deny you the opportunity to create any derivative works (i.e., features, television series, etc.) based on your original script after we acquire it. In the event that you want to produce a derivative work, we’ll have to negotiate an arrangement with you to do so. While you’ll find us extremely accommodating in negotiating such an arrangement, we think its fair that, in return for the money invested in the short (as well as any additional funds expended to promote and market it), we have an opportunity to share in any commercial success that may accrue to a derivative project. In fact, that would create a “halo effect” since your success will help us continue doing more Filmmaker Challenges benefiting more filmmakers.

Of course, you have to actually WIN the contest for any of the immediate considerations to matter!

September 30th is the submission deadline; we’ll need about a month to read all the entries, so I expect to announce a winner by the end of October. But I’ll post regular updates between now and then, so that you’re aware of how the contest is progressing.

Any further questions, comments… email me at, or post them in the comments section below.

Let the 3rd installment of the Shadow And Act Black Filmmaker Challenge begin…


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Tambay I really admire you guys for putting your money where your mouth is. Shadow and Act could truly become a major force for fostering community among black filmmakers and galvanizing it to move forward in amazing directions. One day we may look back and marvel at what this blog has accomplished.


Next time. After I’ve got some footage under my belt and not just script. Good luck to the contestants! Can’t wait to see who wins. :)


@ Krandle – all the relevant info you need to know is in the post above.

Krandle Poise

May we know in advance who is sponsoring this challenge, to avoid any possible conflicts of interest?

Star Smith

What if you have an awesome script but, no video? :(


For those asking about a screenwriter’s challenge… I’d advise you to pair up with a director, and you both submit as a unit.

And to ben je’s question… the contest is limited to the USA for now.

ben je

is this limited to the U.S.


Yes–what about us writers? Why is it all about the directors?


Yeah I like that idea. What about Screenwriters challenge?

Questions & Answers?!?!!!

What about Screenwriters challenge?


“… by and about people of African descent



Does the protaganist have to be of African descent?

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