TV One announced it will sponsor the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) screenplay competition for the second year. The annual competition allows up-and-coming writers to submit their screenplays for the chance to see their work come to life in a made-for-TV movie, as well as a debut at the 21st ABFF.
The competition is the ideal way for the net to discover and promote new talent, according to TV One’s SVP, Original Programming and Production D’Angela Proctor. “Our new tagline for the network is to represent. Part of that mantra is we represent fresh new voices—what better way to identify what and who those fresh new voices are than to provide opportunities for people who would not have opportunities but for that competition.”
Last year’s winner, Kiki McKnight, is one of those talents. Her original screenplay “Deadbeat Dad Rehab” (working title) won the 2015 competition and will premiere at the 2016 ABFF on June 18, as well as on air on TV One in July. Her screenplay takes a different angle on the traditional deadbeat dad story and focuses on the various ways a father can be absent from his child’s life, whether financially, physically or emotionally. The idea came from personal experiences McKnight and friends had dealt with—she even conducted research by asking Facebook friends for their own anecdotes of deadbeat dads. Proctor said McKnight’s piece was chosen due to its great writing, strong dialogue and subject matter.
Those are just some of the elements of a winning screenplay. Proctor also said they must be “creative, contemporary, engaging, relatable and appealing” and are judged on a large scope of criteria from writing to theme, as well as the potential for commercial value for the network. Once the applicants are cut down to three, the finalists will have a scene from their piece read by professional actors at TV One’s Celebrity Scene Stealers event.
This year’s winner will be announced at the “Best of ABFF” Awards Ceremony on June 18. Applicants have until April 22 to submit their screenplays for consideration.