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Indigenous Screenwriters

With representation of Indigenous peoples and culture in film and TV at shamefully low levels, and with the inaccurate and harmful portrayals of Native peoples, Hollywood has been perhaps an unwitting accomplice in the institutionalized erasure of Native peoples. For too long, Native people have been erased from history, the present, and popular culture. But it doesn’t have to be this way: the indigenous peoples of North America contribute to every aspect of society and are a living testament to survival, resilience and resistance.

Write & submit a screenplay following the guidelines below:

We invite you to help us tell more stories that put the spotlight on authentic Indigenous characters, that speak of their complexity and humanity, their challenges and triumphs, their joys and sorrows. We want you to write an original 15-minute short film screenplay, in any genre of your choosing.

See below for further information on eligibility, application process and selection criteria.

TypeShort FilmDuration15 min (15 pages)Submission DeadlineOct 15, 2023Submission feeFree


6 Talented screenwriters were selected from hundreds of applicants to work with experienced industry 2 professionals to develop their screenplays. In the end, one winner was selected to receive a cash prize of USD $1,000 and will have their screenplay produced!

Congratulations to our Winner!

Ginew Benton

Ginew Benton

Screenplay Title:
The Lady of the Lake



Key Dates

Applications Open
Application Deadline
2nd Cohort Announcement
Film Lab Starts
Film Lab Ends
Winning Screenplay Announcement

Lab Mentors



The M Film Lab Fall 2023 Program welcomes American and Canadian writers who identify as Indigenous or of Indigenous descent
Applicants must be 18 years of age or older
Application and participation in the film lab is free of charge.
To apply, you must complete the application process outlined below, including submitting a completed short film screenplay based on the guidelines provided below
Applicants must confirm their full availability for the dates of the film lab workshops and events.
Applications must be completed and submitted before the deadline of October 15, 2023 at 11:59 PM EST.
All applications must be completed through the process outlined below.


Applications are to be submitted using the Open Screenplay platform.
Applications are comprised of the 2 parts:
Applicant questionnaire.
15 page first draft short film screenplay based on the guidelines below
Short-listed applicants may be asked to conduct a short video interview prior to confirmation.
Applications must be completed before October 15th , 2023 at 11:59 PM EST.

Screenplay Suggested Themes

We invite you to write a screenplay for a 15-minute short film (Max 15 pages) about any topic, genre, or subject matter of your choosing. While this is an opportunity for Indigenous storytellers, we encourage you not to feel limited to traditional themes. This is a blank canvas for you to showcase your creativity and unique voice. We encourage you to explore new territories, and remix old ones. For example, tell us stories that look to the future of the Indigenous individual in America, or uncover an obscure corner of the Indigenous experience that we’ve never seen on screen.


Judging Criteria

In addition to compliance with the film lab’s eligibility requirements, submitted applications will be evaluated on a variety of factors including but not limited to originality, creativity, and structure. Applications are judged by a select committee of lab partners and mentors.



No previously produced material or adaptations. The screenplays must be a new, original, unproduced work.
No excessive use of CGI / animation
No remote or difficult to reach locations, or federal or private attractions like The Statue Of Liberty, Mt. Rushmore, The Empire St. Building, CN Tower, Eiffel Tower, famous museums, etc.
No using of trademarks that belong to other people or companies
No use of existing characters, songs, logos, brands, etc.

About M Film Lab


M Film Lab is a free-to-join screenwriting workshop and mentorship opportunity for storytellers and creators committed to fair artistic representation of minorities that are underrepresented in film & television. Using an online format and advanced tools, The M Film Lab aims to discover and provide opportunities to aspiring screenwriters, while creating a pipeline of compelling, meaningful content that sheds light on the issues facing various communities of minorities in America and abroad.

The M Film Lab is open to all aspiring screenwriters, and features opportunities to work with and learn from accomplished industry professionals, forge new connections with other artists.