Reel Sisters Film Scholarship Provides $ 5,000 Opportunity for Women Filmmakers of Color


Getting into the cinema is never easy. Everyone will need help at some point. If you’re a woman of color in an industry that is still largely male-dominated, it can seem daunting and impossible. The Reel Sisters Film Fellowship is offering women filmmakers of color $ 5,000 to produce the pilot of a web series or their own short film. Maybe this is the game changer someone is desperately hoping for. Key benefits include: professional mentoring throughout the filming and budgeting process, a premiere at the Reel Sisters Film Festival, marketing and distribution assistance, and much more.

Extract from the official press release:

The Reel Sisters Microbudget Film Fellowship gives women of color a chance of $ 5,000 to produce a web series pilot!

New York, NY Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series, the Academy’s premier qualifying festival dedicated to women filmmakers, offers creators the opportunity to pilot a web series or short film !

“The winner will receive $ 5,000 to produce the first episode of a web series, which can be used as a business card to attract a producer and other film opportunities. You will be guided through your journey in learning the art of creating a high quality micro budget movie. History is king, ”says Carolyn Butts, founder of Reel Sisters.

DEADLINE: January 31, 2022

Announcement: March 7, 2022.

Genres of web series or short films: animation, documentary, narration, comedy and science fiction.

The selected winner will retain the entire production and copyright of your film. The only requirement that is requested is that Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series be included in the production credits.

The pilot episode of the webseries or your short film will be broadcast on the Tea & Cinema virtual series and will be presented in our annual international film festival.

Eligibility: Screenplay must be written or co-written by a woman of color and non-binary color filmmakers. Reel Sisters will accept submissions from women of African, Latin, Asian, Indian and Native American descent. Please include your ethnicity in the application to confirm your eligibility. We encourage editorial teams to apply.

Application fee: $ 15 (Reading fee for processing your application). If you are selected as our Fellow, your reading fee of $ 15 will be reimbursed.


• $ 5,000 to direct and produce the first episode of your microbudget film.

• Announced as a winner on the Reel Sisters & African Voices websites. An article will also be published in African Voices magazine.

• Your web series pilot or short film will premiere on the online Reel Sisters Tea & Cinema series and your film will be screened at our annual film festival.

• Under the direction of a mentor, you will revise your production schedule and begin development.

• Full Scholarship for Scriptwriting Essentials: The Art of Creating Strong Female Characters ™ (instruction value: $ 600). All script revisions will be done in our workshop series.

• Access to the Microbudget Indie Filmmaker podcast produced by Zanah Thirus.

• One-on-one consultation with mentors who will guide you on how to produce your first microbudget film.

• Reel Sisters will help secure distribution opportunities and marketing support.

• One year subscription to African Voices / Reel Sisters (includes free magazine subscription and discount on our programs).


Your request must include the following information to be complete. Thank you for submitting your website series project for our Reel Sisters Micro Budget Film Fellowship!

Please upload all documents to be submitted as a PDF or Microsoft Word form.

Introduction (700 words max): Tell us briefly about your journey as a storyteller. Share information about what inspired you to write and film as a career. Share your inspiration to create the web series and the audience you want to reach. Describe how the Reel Sisters Microbudget Film Fellowship would make a difference in your career.

LOGLINE (75 words max): a one or two sentence description of the story.

SYNOPSIS (350 words max): short summary of the plot of the scenario. Please include all main characters and points from the story, including the ending.

PILOT Web Series Short Film Script or Screenplay (no more than 15 pages)

· Length – no more than ten (15) pages. This does not include the title page.

· Limited to one (1) primary location (INT or EXT) – Note: If you choose more than one location, please indicate if the space is given or how it would fit into your microbudget.

· Written in English (translated scripts are welcome as long as you author them).

· Editorial teams are welcome but a member must be a woman of color.

Include a title page displaying only the script title and the name of the credited author (s)

· Submit only original scripts. The rights must be entirely original and owned by the author

Submit as a pdf file and must follow all standard scenario format guidelines

· Include 1 page draft of your production schedule. It will be revised if you are accepted as a Fellow.

Bids will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

· PLOT: Create captivating, richly textured characters. Films with strong female roles are encouraged.

· CHARACTERS: Original and original characters who are relatable. Give us three-dimensional protagonists and antagonists.

PRO TIP: “Every Villain Has Someone Who Loves Them,” Playwright Steve Carter.

ORIGINALITY: Create bold characters the world has never seen before. Take risks and experiment with visual and written language on screen and on the page. Hook the viewer into the first five pages of your script.


African Voices strives to transform the world one story at a time by creating a space for audiences to experience the art, literature and cinema of artists of color. Founded in 1992, the mission of African Voices is carried out through public programs and the publication of a national literary magazine dedicated to presenting writers and artists from the African diaspora. Scriptwriting Essentials & The Art of Creation Strong Female Characters â„¢ is a registered trademark of Reel Sisters, established by African Voices in 1997.

Reel Sisters is the Academy’s premier qualifying film festival for short narrative films dedicated to female filmmakers. Reel Sisters is ranked number 3 on Film Daily’s list of 10 Women-centric Film Festivals. Reel Sisters will celebrate their 24th birthday in 2021.

Each year, African Voices provides artistic services to 5,000 artists of color and youth across New York City and the Tri-State area. For more information visit


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