The collaboration with Netflix is part of the recently announced Netflix Fund for Creative Equity, in which Netflix will invest $100 million dollars over the next five years in a combination of external organizations with a strong track record of setting underrepresented communities up for success in the TV and film industries, as well as Netflix programs that will help identify, train and provide job placement for up-and-coming talent globally.
The Outfest Screenwriting Lab, created in 1997 as a screenwriting contest, has since become the cornerstone of Outfest’s education and mentoring program Outfest Forward. Through this year’s program, eight LGBTQIA+ screenwriters will have the opportunity to be mentored by top industry showrunners, executives, and writers who will offer professional development, scriptwriting support, and insight into the latest trends within the industry.
The week-long Lab will take place over Zoom in October, and applications are now open. In an effort to make the program more accessible, Outfest will waive the submission fees for up to 300 applicants, and provide two scholarships to help financially support two of the selected participants.
In addition to Netflix, Outfest is partnering with eMinutes, a law firm with a declared mission “to amplify the voices of disenfranchised storytellers from underrepresented communities.” Participants in Outfest’s Screenwriting Lab are eligible to receive free incorporation services from eMinutes, and all other Outfest members can form corporations at reduced rates.
“As a young Latinx film student who did not have the deep financial pockets some of my peers had, I know firsthand that too often financial challenges keep under-represented voices from even considering opportunities,” said Outfest Executive Director Damien Navarro. “The Outfest Screenwriting Lab is a tremendous incubator of queer talent. This partnership with Netflix opens the doors even wider by providing financial support to help those who otherwise do not have the resources.”
The submissions deadline for 2021 has been extended to Wednesday, June 30.