Franklin Leonard Announces The Black List Is Raising A Film Fund

Nikki Ritcher for the Wall Street Journal

Franklin Leonard used the prominent stage of the Wall Street Journal’s Tech D.Live conference to announce he’s raising a film fund to produce some of the exceptional screenplays submitted to The Black List.

The Black List’s annual survey of Hollywood executives’ favorite unproduced screenplays has a proven track record for finding compelling stories. Black List movies have won 53 Academy Awards and garnered 262 nominations, including four of the last 10 Best Picture Oscars.

Leonard said the mid-eight figure fund would enable The Black List to get more of the scripts it champions onto the big screen.

“I’ve always said the North Star of the blacklist is identifying and celebrating great screenwriting. The best way to celebrate great screenwriting is to get it made,” Leonard said in a conversation with Deadline. “We’d love to be in a position to bring financial resources to support the making of these movies.”

The Black List has evolved from its earliest days as a much-anticipated email, arriving in inboxes sometime in late December. In October of 2012, it launched an online community where screenwriters make their work available to readers, buyers and employers. Since inception, it has hosted more than 55,000 screenplays and teleplays and provided more than 85,000 script evaluations.

It began delving into film production this summer, executive producing the film Come As You Are in partnership with Meridian Entertainment. The Black List also is producing, along with Jake Gyllenhaal’s Nine Stories, the dark comedy Breaking News in Yuba County, starring Allison Janney and Laura Dern.

The Black List is looking to capitalize on this momentum with a film fund to finance production of more great material.

“We want to be in a position where we can take some of the scripts we find and provide the financial resource to help get them made,” said Leonard. “In so doing, we should be putting ourselves in the position to make the best movies of all time, because we’ll have some of the scripts of all time.”

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