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Indigenous screenwriters of all levels working in the United States are invited to submit their scripts to a Hollywood an agency that showcases top screenplays for industry professionals to review and possibly develop into shows or movies called The Black List.

The contest is part of the second annual “The Indigenous List,” a program hosted by The Black List, The Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program, and IllumiNative, a non-profit that fosters Indigenous participation in the arts. The idea behind the program is to get more industry eyes on Indigenous work.

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"I should probably just admit that this is all an elaborate ploy to create the conditions where more shows as good as Reservation Dogs are available for me to watch,” founder and CEO of The Black List, Franklin Leonard, said in a press release. “It's incredibly inspiring to see the progress both the screenwriters and the projects on last year's list have already made in such a short time, and we're excited to be conspiring with IllumiNative and Sundance Institute to catalyze a new batch." 

The inaugural Inidgneous List in 2020 selected nine scripts from Native writers. Among them were several writers from the Hulu hit series Reservation Dogs, a show that follows the lives of Native teens living on a reservation in Oklahoma. The show, created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, aired on Hulu this year and quickly became popular for its all-Native cast and production team.

This year’s script submissions are open until Feb. 4. Selected writers will be notified by spring. Any kind of story is eligible and will be considered, according to The Black List guidelines. That includes: feature film scripts, half-hour scripts, and one-hour episodic scripts. No documentaries will be accepted. Submitting writers should be prepared to answer the following question: What is your Tribal Nation/First Nation? Please describe how your Native culture has supported your ideas and process as a screenwriter?

Since its founding in 2005, The Black List has facilitated the production of 440 scripts, grossing over $30 billion in box office worldwide, according to the agency’s information officer, Kate Hagen. Black List movies have won 54 Academy Awards from 267 nominations, including four of the last twelve Best Picture Oscars and eleven of the last 28 Best Screenplay Oscars.

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Jenna Kunze
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Staff Writer
Jenna Kunze is a reporter for Native News Online and Tribal Business News. Her bylines have appeared in The Arctic Sounder, High Country News, Indian Country Today, Smithsonian Magazine and Anchorage Daily News. In 2020, she was one of 16 U.S. journalists selected by the Pulitzer Center to report on the effects of climate change in the Alaskan Arctic region. Prior to that, she served as lead reporter at the Chilkat Valley News in Haines, Alaska. Kunze is based in New York.