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by Taylor Lindsay
February 3, 2014 4:29 PM
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Seeking Diverse Filmmakers, HBO Launches HBOAccess to Find Candidates to Produce Short-Form Content

HBOAccess is a new four-week program created by HBO to provide project development, master classes and mentoring opportunities to emerging, diverse filmmakers, and it's accepting applications starting today.

The intent of the program to "identify diverse talent, provide development and mentorship, and afford participants opportunity to create short-form content for HBO," per the premium network's announcement. Filmmakers equipped with knowledge of cameras and scripts (and the ability to be in Los Angeles for the production period in June -- housing and travel are not included) are allowed to submit one narrative directing sample (either a full-length feature, short or webisode).

Four filmmakers will be chosen from the submissions, and each will be paired with a mentor (an HBO development executive), provided with creative master classes and given a budget to create short-form content for HBO. At the end of the four-week process, each project will be considered for production as a 10-15 minute film or webisode series to air on various HBO platforms including, but not limited to, HBO Go, HBO, HBO's YouTube channel, HBO.com film festivals, charity screenings and other outlets.

"We are thrilled to present this opportunity to filmmakers who might not otherwise find their way through our doors," said Michael Lombardo, president of HBO Programming. "I believe this undertaking will serve as a valuable experience not only for those who are chosen to participate, but for us at HBO as well.”

The timeline for submissions is as follows: 

Feb. 3, 2014 – Application process opens at withoutabox.com.

March 3, 2014 – Application process closes (or on the date upon which submissions reach the cap of 500 applicants, whichever comes first).

March 2014 – 20 candidates will be chosen to advance to second-round interviews (conducted in person or via Skype). Candidates will be expected to discuss their project in detail. Additionally, candidates must own and assign to HBO all rights necessary to develop and produce their idea.

May 8, 2014 – Four finalists are notified.

June 3, 2014 to June 26, 2014 – HBOAccess™ program is held in Los Angeles. 

HBO's definition of "diverse" includes those who identify as Asian Pacific American, Sub-Continent Asian Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and women.

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  • wael | February 11, 2014 11:47 AMReply

    i hope i can come

  • Phil McCarty | February 10, 2014 10:19 PMReply

    In case anyone wants to know what a submission essay looks like.... here's mine.

    philmccarty dot com /blog/the-hboaccess-diversity-question/

  • Mert | February 10, 2014 5:13 AMReply

    That was quick before I knew it, it has already been close! I was just surfing and here it is and there it went! So how do I find out if they'll have another go at this?

  • BUTTHURT | February 6, 2014 8:24 PMReply

    So much butthurt running through everyone. "Wahhh... I'm white and male, I can't apply" suck it up and smile, you're white. "Wahhh... submissions closed" well, you missed your opportunity, suck it up and move on. There's a reason why Hollywood is so exclusive and lucrative especially a company like HBO. Welcome to the real world. I'm sorry you're not being spoon-fed by your mommy and daddy anymore and their promises of hope and you reaching your dreams aren't as simple. Harden the hell up.

  • HAHA | February 6, 2014 8:28 PM

    I agree. I wish I lived in different times when people didn't cry and moan so much. A time when people KNEW that they weren't entitled to anything and they would have to work hard for it and be at the right place at the right time. A time when they didn't point fingers at everybody else, but themselves. I feel sorry for my kids if our country keeps going down this path.

  • Irritated | February 6, 2014 9:26 AMReply

    I'm so annoyed! Got excited about this, only to see it's already closed. I wonder if they are going to do another round of this. x(

  • Tia | February 5, 2014 9:45 PMReply

    I really wish they hadn't closed because of the submission cap.

  • Michele | February 5, 2014 6:28 PMReply

    Some years back I wrote a story. There were two male characters. Sent it around with my name on it and no one would look at it. I took my full first name off and low and behold, published! The only reason there is need to look for diversity, is it is often over looked. Talent alone should count more than anything but history has shown blacks having to 'pass' for white to work, women who 'bound' their breasts to get education, and still in modern day these and other diverse talents get overlooked. You see, as long as one 'type' is all anyone trusts to have talent, lots of diverse people with mad skills got overlooked. I, for one, am very glad to see efforts made to seek that diverse talent and not just passed over for the 'majority'

  • Alex | February 5, 2014 5:19 PMReply

    Can filmmakers be residing in Canada or is this open just to the residents of the U.S?

  • Sally | February 5, 2014 3:06 PMReply

    I'm just curious. In HBO's definition of 'diverse' does Middle Eastern count as African American? Or are they just excluding that group entirely?

  • alzamkhshary | February 5, 2014 11:16 AMReply

    hello im alzamkhshary from egypt im film maker i have new film and look for fund what i can do ?

  • kevinplanllc | February 5, 2014 12:59 AMReply

    I see I'm not the only one who had uploading issues with the service provider...receiving the news and allowing us time to get our projects to the judges wasn't thought out well by management...How come opportunities for "diversity" has a time limit and not loudly publicize ? Maybe they were just trying to meet their "diverse" quota to impress investors (lol)...oh well...

  • zoe | February 4, 2014 9:52 PMReply

    I tried applying online for this... the form was tedious and maddening. Finally, at the very end, it tells me that they are no longer accepting submissions without a special waiver. They must have already received 5000 applications and they've only been accepting submissions for one day. I'm really glad I didn't rush out and shoot a short film to submit. Huge waste of time.

  • pablo roldan | February 5, 2014 10:37 AM

    500... 500, just 500 not 5000... :(

  • John | February 4, 2014 11:50 PM

    Zoe I think you might be the only one on this feed that actually didn't steer of the beating path. What's with the race debate? Any who. I tried to get into it also and it was a little confusing. The submission, not the race debate. That sucks that submissions capped so fast. I guess I'm a day late and a dollar short. What ever that means.

  • Paula O. | February 4, 2014 10:07 PM

    Zoe - I was going to do the same thing...Agreed.

  • REALLY | February 4, 2014 8:09 PMReply

    Feeling sorry for all the complaining ass White males on this thread. I guess it's pretty tough being in an industry which excludes you all socially based on the way you look and such. Must be tough not being able to get access to any of those coveted above-the-line positions. ::channels Solomon Northrup, playing violin for White tears::

  • CR | February 4, 2014 8:08 PMReply

    HBO had a cool program called HBO Shout for LGBT filmmakers a few years ago - sad to see LGBT crossed off the diversity list for HBO Access, as diverse LGBT voices are still needed in media.

    Please consider LGBT as a qualification next year, HBO.

  • Jordan Ray Allen | February 4, 2014 5:46 PMReply

    People should understand by now why avenues are still being created for minorities and women. History has shown us that by creating a tale and sticking to it, it'll spread for generations.

    Hence this "White Privilege" "The Black Struggle" and "Women Are Lesser Than Men". I don't subscribe to either, even though they all exist. I am a huge supporter of equality. Reason be, we all have an expiration date on our lives. Until someone has figured out a way to cheat death and become an immortal, then we are all in the same boat.

    But until racism ends, which unfortunately I don't ever see happening, avenues will always be created to accommodate minorities and women.

  • Michele Seidman | February 5, 2014 6:44 PM

    And this beautiful understanding is exactly why I and many others in our film community love working with you and your female partner in film/life! Glad we both submitted in time!

  • Antony | February 4, 2014 4:52 PMReply

    I'm not white to be clear. And this isn't against anyone but corporations who cause racial divide. We need to stop slinging animosity towards each other when it should be directed at companies like HBO. Let's stop looking at this at face value and white guys need to stop playing the racism card. (I never thought I'd say that last half.) We humans feed the racism machine with race discussions over crap like this and HBO is definitely instigating the discussion.

    Because I embrace humanity as a whole, I don't acknowledge a racial divide. There isn't one until crap like this pops up causing it. Stuff like this contest isn't opportunity. It's a contest and one that violates a very important core value of America in 2014. Contests like this should be about talent, but this HBO contest is clear it's first about race, then talent.

    If we tell ourselves and teach our children that racism is bad, that solely neglecting a race to benefit others is bad, we need to embrace that 'racism is bad' as a whole and not be a hypocrite when contests like this pop up.
    It's 2014. Are we not modern? Have we not learned our lessons? It disgusts me that this neanderthal mentality hasn't been obliterated. If we are equal, companies need to treat people that way. I know that individuals are still racist, but companies?

  • Antony | February 4, 2014 11:55 PM

    None of what "Get" says makes sense. It's a paragraph of news bites fueled by emotion and no critical thinking where stats greatly overpowers your statements. There are more atrocious forms of racism happening right now than you're weak examples. How about denial of benefits and/or education? Even rights? Like living. And White Supremacy? C'mon, bro. That is rare. It exists - I just have never seen it outside of TV. And Zimmerman is Hispanic, bro.

    I'm talking about equality, a value most humans want, and you want me to leave with this "nonsense". Most the people I know don't discuss race because it NEVER has been an issue. And, yes, I live in America. It only comes up and is discussed when stuff like this happens as if the race issue needs to be brought up in America from time to time so people don't forget about history when we are already developing into enlightened individuals.

    I agree with Jordan Ray Allen (above) where they said they don't believe racism will ever end. I don't. But we've made a lot of progress in the past 20 years. We just need to treat ourselves as equals. If you want equality, treat people equal. C'mon. It's not hard.

    It's a fact genders and races have struggled. We can move on from racism and treat everyone as equals or shine the spotlight on particular groups and exclude others.

  • GET | February 4, 2014 8:11 PM

    The hell out of here and start looking at history, dude. HBO hasn't engineered or encouraged a racial divide, lingering, unchecked White Supremacy has. Trayvon got murdered in 2012. Richard Sherman was called a "thug" 625 times in 2014. Obama has been called the N-word in coded language ever since his ascent to office. Get the hell off of this thread with that nonsense.

  • kyle | February 4, 2014 4:29 PMReply

    That's crazy. closed after one day?

  • annie wood | February 4, 2014 4:21 PMReply

    damn! it CLOSED after just ONE DAY!

  • John E | February 4, 2014 3:56 PMReply


  • Paula O | February 4, 2014 5:01 PM

    It is in fact CLOSED. What I'm hoping happened is that the submissions are from those they don't define as "Diverse" and will open it back up to receive work from Asian Pacific American, Sub-Continent Asian Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and women. Good luck to those who submitted in time, and fingers crossed for those of us who are holding onto the glimmer of hope I mentioned above! Cheers!

  • John E | February 4, 2014 4:47 PM

    Yeah Paula, let us know.

  • Paula O. | February 4, 2014 4:43 PM

    I saw that too - I'm on the phone with them now...to confirm. It is closed as they have received 500 submissions in less than one day. CRAZY!

  • Oh ok... | February 4, 2014 12:42 PMReply

    Yeah ok......."diverse" gtfo, hbo be like' HBO: "Guys Guys, lets pick a minority, who has talent and god ideas, then steal his shit, and own all the rights to his ideas for perpetuity, because we cant seem to really nail any other demographic, except white"

  • Butthurt | February 6, 2014 8:14 PM

    This guy be like: "wahhhhhhhhhh the butthurt is flowing too rapidly through me."

  • so | February 4, 2014 12:36 PMReply

    So let me understand something. If Im a Spaniard living in America I can or can't do it?

  • WTF | February 4, 2014 7:03 AMReply

    Wow! I think this is the worst display of the one % dropping a hornet's nest into an already broke frustrated, & rather tense society. HBO are dicks but we should already know that from years of horribly overpriced programing! Instead of being the sheep that they are pigging us ALL (black, white, brown, yellow, & female) to be, I say why don't we collaboratively produce a series of short films exploiting their open racism & sexism. I'm a black actor, writer, producer and director that will be a success in my own right as most of us here the old fashioned way. Hard work, sleepless night's, blood, sweat, tears, and the honorable pride of collaborative completion of a good project that I shot with my Samsung Galaxy S4! hello.

  • yeah | February 4, 2014 8:05 PM

    good luck

  • Vernon | February 4, 2014 3:18 AMReply

    Mr. Michael Lombardo,
    I would like to know where I can obtain my key to your doors of which you speak. I have yet to receive mine.

  • Benjamin | February 3, 2014 10:40 PMReply

    I'm white and male...and bi. Too bad that doesn't count towards "diverse".

  • Test | February 6, 2014 8:15 PM

    How would HBO prove that you're gay? Your argument is invalid.

  • Rusty | February 3, 2014 8:31 PMReply

    This is racist and sexist against white men.

  • slaves | February 6, 2014 8:18 PM

    Wow... that argument didn't work for slaves... I don't think it'll work for you either.

    This is, however, different circumstances so you may just win since your scenario is much, much worse than theirs.

  • AW | February 4, 2014 8:12 PM

    ::plays violin for jilted White men::

  • Jed Leland | February 3, 2014 8:20 PMReply

    This is simply HBO self-promoting and marketing itself as as some "good will ambassador" to filmmakers to offset their misogynistic, violent, nearly X-rated programming. "Hey, look at us, not only do we produced borderline porn smut and bad docs of transgender hookers in Tailand, but we're also the friend to emerging directors of color, and, wait for it, female directors too. It's actually both sad and laughable that HBO would stoop to this cheap promotional gimmick. I have two words for you, "Project Greenlight". Case closed.

  • DJ | February 3, 2014 6:37 PMReply

    "HBO has rights to all content." Typical of these initiatives. Even though the shorts market is hardly lucrative, let's say your short script gets greenlit for one of their summer productions. It then airs on any number of HBO properties (online, tv, etc.). You don't see a dime. So to get a reel piece, and meet a few industry execs, you relinquish all creative and legal rights to your work -- i.e. adaptation rights/possibilities for long form, etc. The equitable tradeoff would be candidate retains content/production rights, and if he/she so chooses to air on HBO, the network maintains all distribution rights for their channels...

  • E. Gonzalez | February 4, 2014 12:45 PM

    Yes, even as a hispanic, this idea they have is an insult. The tradeoff for production/content for distribution makes sense, and totally agree 100%

  • Brian | February 4, 2014 7:18 AM

    This. A thousand times this.

    And then add in that the applications close whenever they get 500 suckers to apply -- so don't delay and think about it too much!

  • Really? | February 3, 2014 6:25 PMReply

    For all you white males complaining, I am very sorry you can't enter this contest. But generally you win everything else, without having to do anything other than be white and male. You won the gender/race life lottery. It must suck that you have dominated everything everywhere so much that spaces must be carved out for OTHERS to have a change to succeed. I would gladly trade 400 years of my ancestors being enslaved by your ancestors, let alone the current atrocities committed against those of color, for this CHANCE to produce short form content (without pay) for a cable network. Do you even hear yourselves?!

  • reason | February 4, 2014 9:52 PM

    That was ridiculous.
    All of it.

  • Brian | February 4, 2014 7:24 AM

    I'm not disagreeing with your point (I have no problem with this as a diversity program, except that the whole program is abusive). But ... what's up with "Asian Pacific American" and "Sub-Continent Asian American"? Are they excluding, say, Chinese-Americans (who are neither of those?) Seems like a strange extra exclusion they've carved out of Asia there.

  • Neil | February 4, 2014 12:50 AM

    Shut up. Never enslaved anyone. Cool your jets, I just wanna make awesome content and it's really difficult to do that, for anyone just starting out. I thought I had at least a shot to submit for this. Turns out I don't.

  • Colorblind | February 3, 2014 8:25 PM

    My ancestors were too poor to own slaves (most people were).

    It is no longer 196o. Have you heard of these filmmakers -- Spike Lee, Amy Heckerling, M. Night Shyamalan, Robert Rodriguez, Martha Coolidge, Alfonso Cuarron, Dawn Steel, Ang Lee, Nora Ephron, Ismail Merchant, Guilermo del Toro, Susan Bigelow, John Woo, Debra Hill, Lee Tamahori or John Singleton?

  • A White Dude | February 3, 2014 7:11 PM

    No one "wins" without having to do anything other than be white & male. Likewise, no one is stopping you from producing content on your own. Quit feeling sorry for yourself and be a force for positive change rather than try to find someone to blame.

  • Whoops | February 3, 2014 5:58 PMReply

    Oh man! I also made the mistake of choosing to be born male and caucasian.

  • idiot | February 6, 2014 8:20 PM

    I'm sure that's what the slaves said too.

  • William | February 3, 2014 5:55 PMReply

    Very innovative, if initially confusing, use of the words "diverse" and "diversity". The Bard approves.

  • Tim | February 3, 2014 5:34 PMReply

    I'm a white male. This sucks.

  • tj | February 4, 2014 11:26 PM

    yeah, it sucks to be white male. Unless you're poor and white, it is actually good to be a white male. If you look at the breakdown of working filmmakers in Hollywood. The % of white male to other races are very wide. For a Native American, it's less than 1% of working filmmakers. HBO itself is very little diversity. As a white male you do have a better chance than someone of color. It's not your fault, and it's not intentional racism, but there is a racism that is not spoken of, because majority of the people in charge are white, and their peers are usually white, so they are not aware that they have a bias that's in favor of white males. Now, keep in mind, also, minorities act crazy sometimes and if they don't overachieve, they are looked at as the rowdy thug. So, being a white male actually doesn't suck. FYI, a lot of these minority programs don't work out so well for minorities.

  • GoodLuck | February 3, 2014 5:26 PMReply

    Will be great for rich folks who can take a month off without pay...lol...or students I guess...but maybe that's what they're after