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From the 8th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

Hartbeat - Women Write Now

Finalist in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


Women Write Now is a comedic screenwriting fellowship developed by Hartbeat and the Sundance Institute to champion and elevate Black female comedy writers through mentorship, advocacy, production, and exhibition. The immersive script-to-screen fellowship supports three writers per cycle in the development of short comedic scripts. Thai Randolph (CEO, Hartbeat) and Candice Wilson Cherry (Head of Film, Hartbeat) created Women Write Now from a simple insight - the burning notion that there should be more Black women in the writer's room, in the director’s seat, and in control of the green light. What started as the seed of an idea for a writing fellowship has quickly blossomed into a village of artists, allies, executives, mentors, and sponsors coming together to forge bonds as meaningful as the work produced.


Strategy and Execution

Three fellows were selected from a pool of over 650 applicants to develop and produce comedic scripts under the guidance and mentorship of award-winning filmmakers, industry leaders, Hartbeat executives, and partners from Sundance Institute. Each fellow was paired with one of Women Write Now’s guest directors to bring their project to life, working alongside the Hartbeat production team. Following the fellowship, the selected writers also received a twelve-month first look deal to submit original projects for consideration for development with Hartbeat.


The inaugural Women Write Now fellowship in 2021 selected Wilandrea Blair, Danielle Nicolet, and Moni Oyedepo. Each fellow was given the opportunity to develop their submitted scripts with the help of Hartbeat and guest directors Gabrielle Dennis (A Black Lady Sketch Show), Meagan Good (Harlem), and Bresha Webb (Run the World). The three short films from the 2021 class include Black Karen, written by Danielle Nicolet and directed by Meagan Good; Buddy and Bernice, written by Wilandrea Blair and directed by Gabrielle Dennis; and Take the Job, written by Moni Oyedepo and directed by Bresha Webb.

The 2022 cycle saw Mayanna Berrin, Kiana Butler Jabangwe, and Danielle Solomon selected as recipients of the 2022 Women Write Now fellowship. Hartbeat brought the fellows to Sundance 2023 to premiere their shorts in front of the Sundance audience. The three shorts from the 2022 class are Night Off, written by Kiana Butler Jabangwe; Hey Boo, written by Danielle Solomon; and Power Dynamics, written by Mayanna Berrin. 

Hartbeat CEO Thai Randolph brokered a distribution deal with NBCUniversal’s Peacock to broadcast the short films from both WWN sessions. All six short films are available to stream on Peacock. 


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