Lionsgate's Codeblack Films, USC Unveil Scholarship Program, Screenwriting Contest

Elizabeth Daley

The partnership between the two organizations will award scholarships to USC students and prizes totaling $25,000 to the best feature film and TV scripts targeted to African-Americans.

Lionsgate’s Codeblack Films and the University of Southern California announced the launch of scholarship and screenwriting contest for students enrolled USC’s School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) Writing for Screen and Television Division. 

“We are honored that Codeblack Films and Lionsgate have decided to invest in the next generation of talented SCA writers,” said Elizabeth M. Daley, dean of the School of Cinematic Arts. “These kinds of student support funds assist the school in making a cinematic arts education possible for every young person who has something exciting to say. These are the students who will be creating the characters and stories that will have us talking in the coming years.”

Scholarship consideration will be primarily given to African-American students with a high financial need. A $25,000 scholarship will be given to new students each academic year until 2018-2019, with Codeblack films donating $50,000 to the scholarship fund starting next month.

The Codeblack Screenwriting Contest will qualify students enrolled in the cinematic arts program. Various prizes amounting to $25,000 will be awarded to feature film and television scripts focused on stories relating to African-American audiences.

 “We’re delighted to support diverse new voices and encourage emerging filmmakers to continue painting pictures that offer a richer and more complete portrayal of the world around us,” said Codeblack Films founder and president Jeff Clanagan. “USC’s School of Cinematic Arts has a legacy of encouraging its student body to explore new perspectives, and we’re excited to partner with them to continue that tradition.”

Codeblack films, a division of Lionsgate, was founded by Clanagan in 2012 to create entertainment relating to the African-American community. In 2013, the company released Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, and it recently tapped Dear White People producer Effie Brown to produce the popular Fly Girl book trilogy by Omar Tyree.