toronto badgeEXCLUSIVE: The Black List, the Toronto Film Festival and producer Martin Katz have set York University MFA student Kyle Francis as their inaugural Independent Screenwriting Fellow. Francis, an Alberta native who was chosen for his script Blood Creek, was brought to Toronto as part of the honor. His Blood Creek is the story of a master thief who retreats to rural Canada to launder his illicit fortune and befriends a teenage survivalist who he must protect from the maniac who pursues him.

Said Katz, who runs Prospero Pictures and has mentored Francis during the fest: “We created this fellowship to help discover new talent, and Kyle Francis is a terrific new talent we’re thrilled to have discovered. I’m excited to bring Kyle’s uniquely twisted comic voice to TIFF through the fellowship we have created with the Black List.” Francis describes himself a lifelong movie nerd and it sounds like the Toronto visit ticks off a Bucket List item.

Katz chose Francis from four scripts that were hosted on the Franklin Leonard-run Black List site from unrepresented writers currently living in Canada whose lifetime screenwriting earnings do not exceed $25,000. The Black List has been getting more into these kind of discovery efforts, while its main business — identifying the most makeable unproduced scripts — made early discoveries of 12 of the films playing the festival whose scripts first appeared on the site. Those films are: Cake, Cut Bank, The Equalizer, Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, The Judge, The Keeping Room, Nightcrawler, Pawn Sacrifice, The Voices, St. Vincent and Whiplash.