Knight Foundation Commits $200,000 to Sundance Film Workshops in Miami, Philadelphia

In an effort to offer greater accessibility for emerging screenwriters, directors, and multidisciplinary artists in the Philadelphia and Miami areas, the Sundance Institute (see Sundance Institute: Grants for Film), along with a $200,000 commitment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (see Knight Foundation: Grants for Film), recently announced a series of workshops to be held in these select cities across the coming year.

The first workshop will be held on October 26 in Philadelphia and cohosted by the Scribe Video Center. Dubbed the Sundance Institute Screenwriters Intensive, the workshop will be led by screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury, who penned two of Robert Altman's most acclaimed films, Thieves Like Us (1974) and Nashville (1975).

The workshops are open to writers who are working on feature-length narrative screenplays, and Sundance will select 12 screenwriters to participate in the event. (If you're working on a short film, fear not. Sundance will hold its ShortLabs workshops, which are geared toward creators of short films, in both Miami and Philadelphia in the coming year.)

The feature-length film and short film workshops will be complemented by Sundance's New Frontier Flash Lab, which focuses on artists working "at the convergence of film, art, media, live performance, music, and technology." At the conclusion of each of these workshops, Sundance will select four participating artists — called "Knight Fellows" — to attend its 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on January 16-26.

This brings us back to the Knight Foundation. (Take a look at IP's profile on Knight's Vice President of Arts Dennis Scholl, whose $200,000 commitment made these Sundance-curated programs possible.) The foundation's selection of Philadelphia and Miami for the workshops was no accident. Its arts program actively invests in the eight communities where the Knight brothers own newspapers, which include Miami and Philadelphia. It also doesn't hurt that the two cities are hotbeds for compelling and orginal independent film, as evidenced by Miami's Borscht Film Festival and Philadelphia's Black Star Film Festival.