Apply Now: Reel Sisters Microbudget Film Fellowship for Women of Color

Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series is offering women of color a chance to win $5,000 to produce a web series pilot or short film. Applications for the Reel Sisters Microbudget Film Fellowship are now open.

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

The pilot episode of the web series or the short film will air on the Reel Sisters Tea & Cinema virtual series and be showcased in their annual international film festival. The winner will retain full production and copyrights to their pilot or short, but will be required to include Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series in the production credits.

In order to be eligible, scripts must be written or co-written by a woman of color and non-binary filmmakers of color. Reel Sisters will accept submissions by women of African, Latina, Asian, Indian, and Native American Descent. Applicants are asked to include their ethnicity when applying. Writing teams are encouraged to apply.

The deadline to apply is January 31, 2022. There is a $15 application fee.

Check out more details about the Fellowship and application process below. Click here to apply.


• $5,000 to direct and produce the first episode of your microbudget film.
• Announced as the Winner on Reel Sisters & African Voices websites. A feature will also be published in African Voices magazine.
• Your Web Series Pilot or Short Film will premiere on Reel Sisters Tea & Cinema online series and your film will be featured in our annual film festival.
• Under the guidance of a mentor, you will revise your production schedule and begin development.
• Full scholarship to Scriptwriting Essentials: The Art of Creating Strong Female Characters™ (Instruction value: $600). Any script revisions will be done in our workshop series.
• Access to The Microbudget Indie Filmmaker’s Podcast produced by Zanah Thirus.
• One on one consultation with mentors who will guide you in how to produce your first microbudget film.
• Reel Sisters will assist in securing distribution opportunities and marketing support.
• One Year Membership to African Voices/Reel Sisters (Includes free magazine subscription and discount to our programs).


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

Please upload all documents to Submittable as a PDF form or Microsoft Word.
Introduction (700 words max): Briefly tell us about your journey as a storyteller. Share information about what led you to writing and filmmaking as a career. Share your inspiration for creating the web series and the audience you would like to reach. Describe how the Reel Sisters Microbudget Film Fellowship would make a difference in your career.

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

SYNOPSIS (350 words max): brief summary of the plot of the script. Please include all major characters and story points, including the ending.

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

· Length – no longer than ten (15) pages. This does not include the title page.
· Limited to one (1) main location (INT or EXT) – Note: If you choose more than one location, please indicate whether the space is donated or how it would fit into your microbudget.
· Written in English (Translated scripts are welcomed as long as you are the author).
· Writing teams are welcomed but one member must be a woman of color.
· Include a title page displaying only title of screenplay and name of credited writer(s)
· Submit only original screenplays. The rights must be wholly original with and owned by the writer
· Submit as a pdf file and must meet all standard screenplay format guidelines
· Include 1 page draft of your Production Schedule. It will be revised if you are accepted as a Fellow.

Submissions will be evaluated with the following criteria:

PLOT: Create compelling richly textured characters. Films with strong female roles are encouraged.

CHARACTERS: Quirky and original characters that are relatable. Give us three dimensional protagonists and antagonists. PRO TIP: “Every villain has someone who loves him,” Steve Carter, playwright.

ORIGINALITY: Create bold characters that the world has not seen before. Take risks and experiment with visual and written language on the screen and page. Hook the viewer in the first five pages of your script.

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