Blumhouse and K Period Media, the production company founded by Kimberly Steward, announced today their inaugural cohort of Fellows selected to participate in the first annual BLUMHOUSE AND K PERIOD MEDIA’S SCREAMWRITING FELLOWSHIP. The program, created in partnership with the Sundance Institute, was established to provide support and mentorship to underrepresented emerging film and television writers aspiring to work in the horror genre. The nonprofit program is being run through the K Period Media Foundation, a fund of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, and is being led by independent producer Kimberly Parker Zox, who serves as the Fellowship’s Program Director.
The immersive program’s participants were selected from an applicant pool that was by invitation in its first year. The participants were selected to further develop their scripts with the guidance and mentorship of accomplished filmmakers and executives. Sundance Institute’s Michelle Satter (Founding Senior Director, Sundance Institute’s Artist Programs) and Ilyse McKimmie (Deputy Director, Feature Film Program) collaborated with Blumhouse and K Period Media to build an immersive year-round program, including a week-long intensive for participants focused on developing their projects and honing their skills. Further, the Fellows will receive targeted mentorship and continued support throughout the year.
The week-long intensive lab kicks off today in Los Angeles with the generous support of advisors Karen Joseph Adcock, Simon Barrett, Dwight Caines, Jacob Chase, Bridget Savage Cole, Mike Flanagan, Christine D’Souza Gelb, Alayna Glasthal, Josh Godfrey, Disney Hall, Walter Hamada, Cindy Holland, Ted Hope, Danielle Krudy, Chris Landon, Nick Lazo, Keith Levine, Damon Lindelof, Crystal Liu, Grant Moninger, Ryan Murphy, Couper Samuelson, Rob Savage, Ryan Turek and Kevin Williamson.
“This initiative was an idea I dreamed up in the early months of the Covid pandemic. Championing emerging artists and providing equitable opportunities to upcoming talent is a fundamental aspect of the work of K Period Media and the K Period Media Foundation. I have always loved horror and recognized that there was an opportunity to create a new pipeline of support for creatives working within the genre. I couldn’t imagine a more prolific and additive partner for a horror program than Jason and Blumhouse and was honored when he agreed to join us in building this fellowship. I have a deep respect for the Sundance Institute team and am so grateful to have them onboard as partners. It has been a two-year labor of love and it’s thrilling to see the program come together and include some of the best and brightest creative minds working in horror today. Early on in our planning, we committed to make this program a 360-experience for our Fellows, and I’m so proud of the work we have done with Blumhouse, Sundance, and Kimberly Parker Zox to bring the SCREAMWRITING FELLOWSHIP to life,” said K Period Media founder Kimberly Steward.
“Some of the most daring storytelling is being created today in the horror genre.This great collaboration with K Period Media Foundation and Blumhouse is an opportunity for Sundance to continue and expand on our existing work and support their creation of the Screamwriting Fellowship. We are very excited that such a talented and bold group of filmmakers have been included in the inaugural Fellowship and look forward to our continuing collaboration with K Period Media and Blumhouse in their creative and tactical year-round commitment to these writers,” said Michelle Satter, Founding Senior Director, Sundance Institute’s Artist Programs.
“When Kimberly Steward first brought up the idea of the program, I never imagined we would get the incredible support from the Sundance Institute and the partnership of so many talented and experienced creative advisors who have generously agreed to give us their valuable time and attention to help pay it forward to the next generation of horror screenwriters. I’m grateful to the partnership from K Period Media, the great Michelle Satter from Sundance and everyone who has worked tirelessly to help us build out this important program,” said Blumhouse CEO and founder Jason Blum.
The eight projects selected for the 2023 SCREAMWRITERS FELLOWSHIP and the nine artists participating are:
Geo Bradley with Rot: Haunted by the death of his hoarder mother, an antisocial man suffering from obsessive compulsions takes work as a trauma cleaner in hopes of facing his past, but the job soon begins to infest and unravel his mental state.
Geo Bradley is a queer, Canadian screenwriter based in Los Angeles whose work is characterized by claustrophobic, psychological narratives that explore themes of desire, obsession, and violence through unique settings. She holds an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA, where she was named a winner in the 2021 Screenwriters Showcase and was twice awarded the Carl David Memorial Fellowship for her work advancing LGBTQ representation. Her writing has also been recognized by the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, the Austin Film Festival, and the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards.
Chelsea Gonzalez with Women in Jeopardy: Trapped as the nameless victim in an endless ‘Groundhog Day’ murder loop, Girl 1 enlists the help of fellow victims Darleen and Roxy to rewrite their stories. Can they break free from the vicious cycle of victimhood and defeat their killers once and for all, or are they doomed to be repeatedly murdered for all eternity? Everybody loves a dead girl.
Blumhouse murdered Chelsea Gonzalez in their feature OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL—and she’s thrilled to rise from the dead and return to the Blumhouse team by penning a script where the first women to be killed off are the stars. Chelsea’s love of filmmaking began as an actor appearing in THE MINDY PROJECT, CRIMINAL MINDS, CASTLE, THE JINX, and Franka Potente’s HOME, starring Kathy Bates. As a writer/director, her films have been Official Selections at over 75 film festivals around the globe, including Dances with Films (Best Pilot), Sarasota, and the Academy Award-qualifying DeadCenter Film Festival.
Julien Magnat with Familiar: A troubled mom locked in a bitter custody battle brings home a shelter cat for her precocious daughter. When a rash of uncanny occurrences takes over their household, she begins to wonder if the cat is the only guest she has welcomed into their home...
Julien Magnat, a French-born filmmaker based in Los Angeles, first attracted international attention when his short CHASTITY BLADE received an Oscar nomination for best student short back in 2001. His queer-themed subversive horror feature, BLOODY MALLORY, premiered at the London Frightfest in 2002. In 2011, Julien wrote and directed FACES IN THE CROWD, an indie thriller starring Milla Jovovich. As a writer, he has penned for a gamut of genres and celebrated properties from comics to animation. He is currently attached to direct TRACTION, a supernatural thriller written by James R. Johnson and Bennett Yellin and produced by Stephen Israel.
Kaushik Sampath with The Shaman's Daughter: When an American woman adopts the daughter of a deceased shaman healer from India, she soon discovers that the birth mother's spirit has become a haunting presence that will stop at nothing to be reunited with her daughter.
Originally from India, Kaushik Sampath left his Silicon Valley engineering life to pursue filmmaking at USC, where he directed a thesis film that was nominated for a US Student BAFTA. He apprenticed under Oscar nominated DPs Jeff Cronenweth (on "Hitchcock") and Robert Yeoman (on “Bridesmaids”), was part of a writers room for Director Timur Bekmambetov's company Bazelevs where he helped develop “screen-life” movies similar to “Unfriended” and was mentored by acclaimed filmmaker Gurinder Chadha as part of the inaugural South Asian lab “1497”. Kaushik recently co-directed an Amazon Prime Video original series in India, with Showrunner/Director Raja Krishna Menon.
Mai & Kim Spurlock with Good Sisters: Linh Tran is a spiritual medium in Đạo Mẫu, an ancient Vietnamese religion. When she travels upstate to perform what she believes to be a routine blessing, Linh soon realizes a ravenous spirit is stalking her and her teenage daughter.
The Spurlock Sisters are a Vietnamese-Appalachian filmmaking duo whose films include BUỔI CHIỀU, a Vietnamese language ghost story that premiered at Slamdance before winning the Jury Prize at the Vietnamese International Film Festival, and the STUDENT ACADEMY AWARD-winning DOWN IN NUMBER 5, a Southern Gothic set in coal country. Described by critics as “exquisitely filmed and heart-wrenching,” DOWN IN NUMBER 5 won First Prize for Filmmaking at NYU, the Austin Film Festival, and many others. The Spurlocks have drawn support for their projects from The Sundance Institute, The Black List, Venice Biennale Cinema College, IFP, New York State Council on the Arts, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Cine Qua Non, and the Writer’s Lab.
Meg Swertlow with No Overnight Parking: A reformed bad girl and her three best friends set out for a wild weekend of fun… only to get locked inside an underground parking structure with a masked, misogynistic killer.
Meg Swertlow is a Los Angeles-based screenwriter/director whose short films have been official selections at various genre festivals, including Fantastic Fest, FrightFest, and Overlook Film Festival. Her newest short is a proof of concept for NO OVERNIGHT PARKING, starring and produced by Alyssa Milano. Winner of the Emerging Screenwriters’ Shoot Your Short Grand Prize, Meg has been supported by Ryan Murphy’s Half-Initiative, Panavision New Filmmaker Grant Program, Hedgebrook Screenwriters’ Lab, and the WIF Mentorship Program. She is currently writing a wedding romcom for Four Leaf Productions.
Myung Joh Wesner with Lunaria: An engineer living alone on the moon must face her inner demons to defeat the ghost that's haunting her lunar base.
After kicking off her screenwriting career in 2018, Myung Joh Wesner landed on the Black List in 2019 by co-writing APEX, a genre feature now set up at eOne, then sold SAFE HOUSE, a half-hour drama, to ABC Signature. She has since staffed on a soon-to-be-released Lucasfilm series and Hulu’s upcoming CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN MURDER AND MAYHEM. Myung is currently writing an IP feature adaptation and co-writing K-TOWN, an original noir thriller to be produced by Tango and Jon Watts.
Neil Creque Williams with The Plat-Eye: In this modern Southern Gothic folktale, a grieving Black college student finds Confederate Gold on a former plantation—and accidentally awakens the shape-shifting creature who has been charged to protect it.
Neil Creque Williams is a writer/director whose shorts have played at BAM and international and national film festivals including Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival and Marfa Film Festival. Neil is a Sundance Creative Producing Lab fellow and produced MISS JUNETEENTH, which premiered in Dramatic Competition at Sundance. Originally from North Carolina, Neil received his BA from Duke University and MFA in Film Production from USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Blumhouse is a multimedia company regarded as the driving force in horror. The company has produced over 150 movies and television series with theatrical grosses amounting to over $5 billion. In film, the company has produced iconic, genre, film franchises like Halloween, Paranormal Activity, The Purge, and prolific films like the box-office juggernaut M3GAN; Scott Derrickson’s The Black Phone; Glass, The Visit and Split from M. Night Shyamalan; Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman; Get Out from Jordan Peele; among several others. This year, the company has David Gordon Green’s The Exorcist and Chris Weitz’s film They Listen slated for a theatrical release. The television company operates in genre and provocative programming through acclaimed scripted and unscripted series and documentaries, such as the upcoming series The Horror of Dolores Roach, starring Justina Machado, for Amazon; The Thing About Pam, starring two-time Academy Award winner Renée Zellweger, for NBC; the upcoming original series The Sticky, produced by Jamie Lee Curtis for Amazon; The Jinx for HBO; Our Father for Netflix; and the lauded Showtime series The Good Lord Bird, starring Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke, among others. The company also produces streaming anthology series like Welcome to the Blumhouse for Amazon and a slate of horror/thriller films for MGM+.
About K Period Media:
Founded by Kimberly Steward in 2013, K Period Media is a production company committed to developing, financing, and producing quality films and content for a variety of platforms. K Period Media exists to incubate the boldest ideas from emerging, diverse creatives. To date it's films include the award-winning documentary Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers And The Emergence Of A People, Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria, and the acclaimed feature Manchester By The Sea, which was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture. Most recently K Period produced The Accidental Getaway Driver, which won the US Dramatic Directing Award at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival for director Sing J Lee.
The K Period Media Foundation (KPMF) was established in 2022 as the philanthropic arm of K Period Media. KPMF is a fiscally sponsored fund housed at the Entertainment Industry Foundation, focused on harnessing the power of art and storytelling to build a more inclusive world. The Foundation’s mission is to amplify narratives that reflect the truths of our world, to foster equitable representation, access and opportunity in the creative industry, and to mobilize communities around the biggest issues of our time.