Oscar-winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher ("Precious") is helping to give filmmakers a rare opportunity to turn his words into a short movie through a contest announced Friday at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Participants must submit their interpretation of a "skeletal" script by Fletcher, which he further describes as having "no character descriptions or locations -- allowing them to create their own take on the material." The festival and sponsor Bombay Sapphire will ultimately give five winners the chance to produce and direct their own films after they've been chosen.
"The idea here is that people from all backgrounds, from all countries can participate," Fletcher said. "There are a lot of people who may not feel that they have the opportunity. And certainly, the industry is as hard as ever to break into. Because of a competition like this, a person can have their work seen in a way that they might not have otherwise."
Fletcher was approached by Bombay Sapphire to participate with the project because, he said, "they had looked into my past and saw that I had made so many short films of my own as I was trying to get into the industry."
For his part, Fletcher -- the first African American to receive the best screenplay Oscar -- also wants diverse voices to be heard.
"I think nobody really knows what audiences want. A lot of people are always trying to find out. Perhaps a submission to the [contest] will inspire all of us to think differently about what we really want to see. The perspective from the budding filmmaker or the everyday person is something that the industry needs to be aware of, and ultimately I think that's what will sustain the industry and keep it healthy and driving," said Fletcher.
Full details of the contest, called the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series Short Filmmakers Competition, will be posted here.
-- Jevon Phillips
Photo: Geoffrey Fletcher. Credit: Bombay Sapphire