The future of horror looks more exciting than ever, as Blumhouse and K Period Media have announced today their inaugural cohort of Fellows selected to participate in the first annual Blumhouse and K Period Media's Screamwriting Fellowship.
The program, created in partnership with the Sundance Institute, was established to "provide support and mentorship to underrepresented emerging film and television writers aspiring to work in the horror genre."
K Period Media founder Kimberly Steward had this to say about the 'two-year labor of love' that brought the Screamwriting Fellowship to life:
This initiative was an idea I dreamed up in the early months of the Covid pandemic. Championing emerging artists and providing equitable opportunities to upcoming talent is a fundamental aspect of the work of K Period Media and the K Period Media Foundation. I have always loved horror and recognized that there was an opportunity to create a new pipeline of support for creatives working within the genre. I couldn’t imagine a more prolific and additive partner for a horror program than Jason and Blumhouse and was honored when he agreed to join us in building this fellowship. I have a deep respect for the Sundance Institute team and am so grateful to have them onboard as partners.
Joining the first cohort is a ginormous slate of advisors including Mike Flanagan (Midnight Mass), Kevin Williamson (Scream), Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story), Karen Joseph Adcock (The Bear), Rob Savage (Host), Chris Landon (Happy Death Day), Crystal Liu (Mulan), Damon Lindelof (Lost), and Simon Barrett (You're Next). Dwight Caines, Jacob Chase, Bridget Savage Cole, Christine D’Souza Gelb, Alayna Glasthal, Josh Godfrey, Disney Hall, Walter Hamada, Cindy Holland, Ted Hope, Danielle Krudy, Nick Lazo, Keith Levine, Grant Moninger, Couper Samuelson, and Ryan Turek are also some of the big names who will be advising as part of the week-long intensive lab.
The nine participants were selected from an applicant pool to further develop their scripts with the guidance and mentorship of accomplished filmmakers and executives. The immersive year-round program, including a week-long intensive for participants focused on developing their projects and honing their skills. The cohort will also receive targeted mentorship and continued support throughout the year. Let's dive in to the official press release detailing these exciting new filmmakers and their projects:
Geo Bradley is a queer, Canadian screenwriter based in Los Angeles whose work is characterized by claustrophobic, psychological narratives that explore themes of desire, obsession, and violence through unique settings. She holds an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA, where she was named a winner in the 2021 Screenwriters Showcase and was twice awarded the Carl David Memorial Fellowship for her work advancing LGBTQ representation. Her writing has also been recognized by the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, the Austin Film Festival, and the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. Bradley's Rot reads as follows: Haunted by the death of his hoarder mother, an antisocial man suffering from obsessive compulsions takes work as a trauma cleaner in hopes of facing his past, but the job soon begins to infest and unravel his mental state.
Blumhouse murdered Chelsea Gonzalez in their feature Ouija: Origin of Evil—and she’s thrilled to rise from the dead and return to the Blumhouse team by penning a script where the first women to be killed off are the stars. Chelsea’s love of filmmaking began as an actor appearing in The Mindy Project, Criminal Minds, Castle, The Jinx, and Franka Potente’s Home, starring Kathy Bates. As a writer/director, her films have been Official Selections at over 75 film festivals around the globe, including Dances with Films (Best Pilot), Sarasota, and the Academy Award-qualifying DeadCenter Film Festival. Gonzalez's Women in Jeopardy looks like this: Trapped as the nameless victim in an endless ‘Groundhog Day’ murder loop, Girl 1 enlists the help of fellow victims Darleen and Roxy to rewrite their stories. Can they break free from the vicious cycle of victimhood and defeat their killers once and for all, or are they doomed to be repeatedly murdered for all eternity? Everybody loves a dead girl.
Julien Magnat, a French-born filmmaker based in Los Angeles, first attracted international attention when his short Chastity Blade received an Oscar nomination for best student short back in 2001. His queer-themed subversive horror feature, Bloody Mallory, premiered at the London Frightfest in 2002. In 2011, Julien wrote and directed Faces in the Crowd, an indie thriller starring Milla Jovovich. As a writer, he has penned for a gamut of genres and celebrated properties from comics to animation. He is currently attached to direct Traction, a supernatural thriller written by James R. Johnson and Bennett Yellin and produced by Stephen Israel. Julien Magnat's Familiar follows: A troubled mom locked in a bitter custody battle brings home a shelter cat for her precocious daughter. When a rash of uncanny occurrences takes over their household, she begins to wonder if the cat is the only guest she has welcomed into their home...
Originally from India, Kaushik Sampath left his Silicon Valley engineering life to pursue filmmaking at USC, where he directed a thesis film that was nominated for a US Student BAFTA. He apprenticed under Oscar nominated DPs Jeff Cronenweth (on Hitchcock) and Robert Yeoman (on Bridesmaids), was part of a writers room for Director Timur Bekmambetov's company Bazelevs where he helped develop “screen-life” movies similar to Unfriended and was mentored by acclaimed filmmaker Gurinder Chadha as part of the inaugural South Asian lab 1497. Kaushik recently co-directed an Amazon Prime Video original series in India, with Showrunner/Director Raja Krishna Menon. Kaushik Sampath's The Shaman's Daughter reads as follows: When an American woman adopts the daughter of a deceased shaman healer from India, she soon discovers that the birth mother's spirit has become a haunting presence that will stop at nothing to be reunited with her daughter.
The Spurlock Sisters are a Vietnamese-Appalachian filmmaking duo whose films include BUỔI CHIỀU, a Vietnamese language ghost story that premiered at Slamdance before winning the Jury Prize at the Vietnamese International Film Festival, and the Student Academy Award-winning Down in Number 5, a Southern Gothic set in coal country. Described by critics as “exquisitely filmed and heart-wrenching,” Down in Number 5 won First Prize for Filmmaking at NYU, the Austin Film Festival, and many others. The Spurlocks have drawn support for their projects from The Sundance Institute, The Black List, Venice Biennale Cinema College, IFP, New York State Council on the Arts, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Cine Qua Non, and the Writer’s Lab. Mai & Kim Spurlock's Good Sisters follows: Linh Tran is a spiritual medium in Đạo Mẫu, an ancient Vietnamese religion. When she travels upstate to perform what she believes to be a routine blessing, Linh soon realizes a ravenous spirit is stalking her and her teenage daughter.
Meg Swertlow is a Los Angeles-based screenwriter/director whose short films have been official selections at various genre festivals, including Fantastic Fest, FrightFest, and Overlook Film Festival. Her newest short is a proof of concept for No Overnight Parking, starring and produced by Alyssa Milano. Winner of the Emerging Screenwriters’ Shoot Your Short Grand Prize, Meg has been supported by Ryan Murphy’s Half-Initiative, Panavision New Filmmaker Grant Program, Hedgebrook Screenwriters’ Lab, and the WIF Mentorship Program. She is currently writing a wedding romcom for Four Leaf Productions. Meg Swertlow's No Overnight Parking follows: A reformed bad girl and her three best friends set out for a wild weekend of fun… only to get locked inside an underground parking structure with a masked, misogynistic killer.
After kicking off her screenwriting career in 2018, Myung Joh Wesner landed on the Black List in 2019 by co-writing APEX, a genre feature now set up at eOne, then sold Safe House, a half-hour drama, to ABC Signature. She has since staffed on a soon-to-be-released Lucasfilm series and Hulu’s upcoming Career Opportunities in Mayhem and Murder. Myung is currently writing an IP feature adaptation and co-writing K-TOWN, an original noir thriller to be produced by Tango and Jon Watts. Myung Joh Wesner's Lunaria follows: An engineer living alone on the moon must face her inner demons to defeat the ghost that's haunting her lunar base.
Neil Creque Williams is a writer/director whose shorts have played at BAM and international and national film festivals including Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival and Marfa Film Festival. Neil is a Sundance Creative Producing Lab fellow and produced Miss Juneteenth, which premiered in Dramatic Competition at Sundance. Originally from North Carolina, Neil received his BA from Duke University and MFA in Film Production from USC School of Cinematic Arts. Neil Creque Williams' The Plat-Eye looks like this: In this modern Southern Gothic folktale, a grieving Black college student finds Confederate Gold on a former plantation—and accidentally awakens the shape-shifting creature who has been charged to protect it.
Folks, you're gonna want to make a note of all of those names, because we predict they are going to be EVERYWHERE in just a short while. We here at FANGORIA will definitely be watching them closely, so keep checking for updates on these massively intriguing projects as we get them!