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HBO Launches HBOAccess to Seek Diverse Emerging Filmmakers (Apply Now)

by Tambay A. Obenson
February 3, 2014 3:32 PM
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HBOAccess, a new four-week program created by HBO to provide project development, master classes and mentoring opportunities to emerging filmmakers, will begin accepting applications today. 

Open to diverse filmmakers who can demonstrate knowledge of camera and scripts, the competition will culminate with the selection of up to four filmmakers, each of whom will be given a budget to create short-form content for HBO.

“In the great tradition of HBO, we have created HBOAccess to find the next generation of new and powerful voices,” says Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. “We are thrilled to present this opportunity to filmmakers who might not otherwise find their way through our doors. I believe this undertaking will serve as a valuable experience not only for those who are chosen to participate, but for us at HBO as well.”

All submissions must be entered through Without A Box and require a resumé or bio and one narrative directing sample (full-length feature, short or webisode, no reel). For more information on eligibility, please visit

Timeline and Important Dates:

Feb. 3, 2014 – Application process opens at

March 3, 2014 – Application process closes (or on the date upon which submissions reach the cap of 500 applicants, whichever comes first).

March 2014 – 20 candidates will be chosen to advance to second-round interviews (conducted in person or via Skype). Candidates will be expected to discuss their project in detail. Additionally, candidates must own and assign to HBO all rights necessary to develop and produce their idea.

May 8, 2014 – Four finalists are notified.

June 3, 2014 to June 26, 2014 – HBOAccess program is held in Los Angeles. Participants must live in area during the entire program and production period, and travel and accommodations are their responsibility.

Upon acceptance into the program and agreement to the rules, the selected candidates will be paired with an HBO development executive who will serve as his/her mentor throughout the process. Together, the filmmaker and executive will develop the project submitted during the application process. HBO will provide a series of master classes taught by HBO executives and creative talent.

At the completion of the four-week development process, each project will be considered for production as a 10-15 minute film or a series of webisodes to air on various HBO platforms including, but not limited to, HBO GO, HBO, HBO’s YouTube channel,, film festivals, charity screenings and other outlets.

And finally, as always, make sure you read all the fineprint. 

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  • Phil McCarty | February 10, 2014 10:20 PMReply

    I submitted the 2nd day and made it in. Here's my essay, in case you're curious. It has racial slurs in it, so that's fun for everyone.

    (URL obfuscated for spam reasons)


  • Matt | February 5, 2014 3:32 PMReply

    I call BS

  • Solaam | February 4, 2014 7:59 PMReply

    Some people are saying its already closed. They allegedly received 500 submissions in less than one day.
    I don't see an alert on the site though.

  • Africa | February 4, 2014 7:36 PMReply

    Does anyone know if we are aloud to Pitch, Send Scripts or do we actually have to send already directed material?

  • HBOness | February 4, 2014 5:19 PMReply

    Hey HBO - Without A Box does NOT have your HBO Access program listed at all - so there is currently NO way for ANYONE to apply, since Without A Box is supposed to be the only way to apply.

    Care to address that?

  • truth | February 4, 2014 5:32 PM

    Will you shut the hell up? Bossy ass.

  • HBOness | February 4, 2014 5:28 PM

    Found it - using SEARCH (but NOT via the deadlines browser on the home page - zero there.)

    Also - HBO Access's text says submissions are now closed - someone going to update that?


  • Black Canseco | February 3, 2014 11:52 PMReply

    Heath--there's no shortage of White LGBTers working in Hollywood at even the highest levels. I'm intrigued by the phrase "women" tho. When it comes to "Women", Hollywood often sees Blondes, Brunettes and Redheads, unless they're challenged to do otherwise. Meanwhile, someone lemme know when White Women are shut out of roles for "women" in front of or behind the camera... I'll wait.

    All that said, I truly hope this HBO Access program bares fruit. the talent's already there if they're willing to nurture it and give it a shot.

  • Pepper | February 4, 2014 4:54 PM

    Dear BC,

    Women of all colors, including white, were systematically excluded for all unions workign in entertainment until very recently. In fact, I myself met the first woman (a white one) who was allowed to join the cinematographers guild. She said their membership liaison told her to her face that she'd get in "over my dead body." " What happened?" I asked. "How'd you get in?" She replied , "He died."

    I'm not in camera, but all the females I know in the department routinely tell me they're often shut out of camera access and hours needed to progress. So, don't let your own racism cloud your empathy for problems other people - including white women - may ALSO be facing.

  • Anon | February 3, 2014 9:26 PMReply

    "travel and accommodations are their responsibility."

    Doesn't anyone else think this part his a little bit unreasonable? Time Warner is a multibillion dollar corporation, I don't see why they can't pay to fly FOUR people out and give them a decent hotel to stay in. I'm not trying to take anything away from this great opportunity they're giving, though. It's just bizarre, that's all.

  • AnonyNony | February 4, 2014 5:35 PM

    Nope - what's bizarre is your assumption about this industry. HBO is not in the deep pocket business. Like MOST corporations, every subsidiary in the TW corp is run independently. That's how they keep track of what's most profitable, within the corp. That's econ 101. Furthermore, all producers have been tightening up the bottom line over the past few years. If you want to get paid in this town, you'd better he already holding on to something you want to sell.

    And no, I'm not associated in any way w/ Time Warner or this website. Just been working in the biz a long time.

  • Robert Task Smith | February 3, 2014 7:55 PMReply

    Because you choose to engage in same sex behavior, doesnt make you diverse. Youre still a regular white guy when the lights turn o.

  • Joe | February 4, 2014 12:15 AM

    Robert Task Smith wins "BEST ANSWER OF THE DAY". Yo, I'm totally stealing that, dude.

  • Julian | February 3, 2014 4:38 PMReply

    The important fine print for this contest: "For the purposes of the HBOACCESS program, diversity is defined as those who identify as Asian Pacific American, Sub-Continent Asian Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and women. "

  • Heathbar | February 4, 2014 5:38 PM

    Heath, have you seriously never heard of the Gay Mafia in the biz? I invite you to google it.

    And while you're at it, look up Geena Davis' recent guest column in the Hwd Reporter on the 17% ceiling women still face everywhere in the industry.


  • UM HEATH | February 3, 2014 11:47 PM

    I'm pretty sure White gays already have a show on HBO--it's called "Looking." Not to mention Modern Family. Not to mention that show with the guy from Will & Grace. Not to mention everything.


  • Heath | February 3, 2014 7:46 PM

    I guess being a white, gay filmmaker doesn't make me diverse enough. LGBT Filmmakers are not included.
    Yes, read the fine print: What is the definition of diversity?
    "For the purposes of the HBOACCESS program, diversity is defined as those who identify as Asian Pacific American, Sub-Continent Asian Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and women."

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