The NAACP/CBS Master Writing Fellowship
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the CBS Television Network fellowship at USC School of Cinematic Arts enters its forth year
The 2013 Fellowship winner is Josef Sawyer. Josef is a 2nd year MFA Student, with a major in Writing for Screen & Television.
As part of on-going efforts to broaden the diversity of talent emerging from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the CBS Television Network have united in 2005 to create the NAACP/CBS Master Writing Fellowship, a partnership that supports, encourages and educates new voices within the industry, it was announced today by Dean Elizabeth Daley.
"There is a dire need for a more inclusive group of creative talent within the entertainment industry," said Dean Daley. "USC is pleased to join forces with the NAACP and CBS, who have made it a priority to identify and encourage individuals from various ethnicities, cultures and financial backgrounds and introduce their ideas and voices to the screen."
The new Fellowship will be awarded to students at the USC School of Cinematic Arts whose work offers a fresh perspective on ways in which minorities are represented in entertainment. In addition to providing students with financial assistance for their studies, CBS executives will mentor the recipients throughout their academic program. Fellows are invited to participate in the CBS Diversity Institute’s Writers Mentoring Program. Students will also intern at the NAACP Hollywood Bureau and have the opportunity to gain production experience on the NAACP Image Awards.
Chinaka Hodge was the 2012 Fellow. Chinaka was an MFA Screenwriting student at USC.
Orethia Smith was the 2011 Fellow. Orethia was an MFA Screenwriting student at USC.
Dante Love was the 2010 Fellow. Dante graduated from the USC Screenwriting program.
Lizette Clarke and Jaffar Mahmood were the 2009 Fellows. Both graduated from USC, under Peter Stark’s producing program. Jaffar sold his first independent feature, “Shades of Ray".
Rupa Magge, a second year writing student is the 2008 Fellow. Ms. Magge’s script for the short film “Second Best” has been chosen for production by the prestigious Peter Stark Program at USC. Her undergraduate work was at Dartmouth College.
Kelli Ward was the 2007 Fellow. Ms. Ward did her undergraduate work at Xavier University of Louisiana where she was the chapter president of the National Association of Black Journalists.
Akela Cooper, a second year MFA student was the first recipient of the Fellowship in 2006. Ms. Cooper's career as a writer led her to pursue film and television because she believed it to be the best way to express her overactive imagination.
Julian Bond, Chairman of the NAACP states: "The NAACP/CBS Master Writing Fellowship is an important initiative that will help increase the number of talented, young, diverse writers seeking a career in the entertainment industry. The NAACP is proud to continue its ongoing partnership with CBS and the USC School of Cinematic Arts in providing greater opportunities for minorities in the television and film."
CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves states: "The diversity of performers and artists on the TV screen needs to reflect the diversity of the audience we serve... and a key component of that process starts with nurturing young creative talent with a wide range of backgrounds and ethnicities. We're thrilled to partner with the NAACP and USC on this program, which will provide means and access for the scholarship recipients, and an opportunity for CBS to be part of developing the next generation of diverse talent to feed new ideas and voices into our industry."
The NAACP/CBS Master Writing Fellowship bolsters existing scholarships at the School, including the Creative Artists Agency Scholarship which has been in place since 1997, and the Courtney and Steven J. Ross Fellowship which has been helping students since 1996. Bill Cosby has also demonstrated tremendous support for the School's diversity initiative. The world renown entertainer and supporter of education is responsible for establishing the Summer Youth Institute for Film and Television, which introduces local high school students to the behind-the-scenes world of film and television, and the Guy Hanks & Marvin Miller Screenwriting Program, a writing workshop for promising young writers from diverse ethnic backgrounds which integrates the study of African-American history.
About the USC School of Cinematic Arts (cinema.usc.edu)
Since 1929, the USC School of Cinematic Arts has fueled and mirrored the growth of entertainment as an industry and an art form. The school offers comprehensive programs in directing, producing, writing, critical studies, animation and digital arts, production, and interactive media, all backed by a broad liberal arts education and taught by leading practitioners in each field. Its more than 10,000 alumni are among the world’s most distinguished animators, scholars, teachers, writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, sound experts and industry executives. Since 1973 not a year has passed without an alumnus or alumna being nominated for an Academy Award.