HBO Announces Recipients Of 2019 HBOAccess Writing Fellowships

HBO announced the eight writers selected, out of over 3,000 submissions, to participate in the 2019 HBOAccess Writing Fellowship. The prestigious 8 month program offers master classes and ongoing mentorship with an HBO executive as writers develop a pilot script for HBO. 

“Selecting our fellows is always an exciting time for us,”  says Kelly Edwards, SVP of Talent Development, HBO. “This process introduces us to so many incredibly talented, emerging writers. We know they all have bright futures ahead of them.” 

Past participants of this program have gone on to work on HBO series such as David Simon’s The Deuce,  Josh Whedon’s The Nevers, and Misha Green’s upcoming Lovecraft Country.  Most recently, 2016 Directing Fellow Kevin Lau signed an overall deal with HBO. Pilots written by Katherine Craft, Claudia Forestieri, Stephanie McFarlane and Bryce Ahart from the 2017 class and directed by 2018 directing fellows Carey Williams, Thembi Banks, and Ryan Zaragoza were selected for screenings at South by Southwest and the Tribeca Film Festival.

The Access Writing Program runs every other year, alternating with HBO’s Directing Fellowship. The next application window will open on Wednesday, February 3, 2021.

Submissions for the 2020 HBOAccess Directing Fellowship will open on Wednesday, February 5, 2020.


The winner of the 2019 Turner/ABFF Writing Contest for his drama script LYZ, Darnell Brown began his storytelling career publishing a book of thought-provoking, socially-conscious poetry. Darnell is a native son of Chester, Pennsylvania, and a graduate of The University of the Arts who writes both comedy and drama as well as directs. 

Writer/Director Melody Cooper is winner of the 2018 Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay at the Urbanworld Film Festival with her thriller NORTHERN CROSS. A Sci-Fi and Horror writer, she is the recipient of fellowships from AMC Networks Shudder Labs, NY Stage & Film, and the Writer’s Lab, and won the Tangerine Entertainment Fellowship at Stowe Story Labs. Her supernatural feature script THE SOUND OF DARKNESS was a 2018 Athena List Finalist. Her short documentary, DETAINED, was Winner of 2018 IndieFest Award of Recognition. 

Danielle is a graduate of the John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television MFA program at USC where she was a Grillo-Marxuach Family Fellow and participant in the inaugural Development Master class with Brian Grazer. She’s a 2019 Universal Writers Program Finalist, a 2018 Fox Writers Lab Finalist, a 2018 Austin Film Festival Second Rounder, and has made the 2018 Young & Hungry List and Hit List. Danielle has worked as a Writers’ PA on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and a Writers’ Trainee on Apple drama series, Swagger. 

An actor, writer, and director, Elaine’s produced works include winning the Grand Prize and Audience Vote of the NewFilmmakers LA On Location Project, an Honorable Mention at the NBCUniversal/YOMYOMF Interpretations contest, and having two films accepted to Academy qualifying festivals. She is currently writing and starring in the digital series DOXXED which recently screened at the Women in Comedy Festival and Dances with Films. 

Lucy Luna is a Mexican writer and director living in Los Angeles. While Lucy’s short film, We’re All Here, is finding success in the festival circuit with garnering six awards to date, Lucy continues to develop feature and television projects, focusing primarily on the horror, thriller, and drama genres. She's currently penning a script for Mexican producer Gerardo Gática.

Eddie is a Cuban-American writer, actor, and Emmy-winning producer from Miami, Florida. An alumnus of The Second City in Chicago, Eddie's credits include the 2016 CBS Diversity Showcase, the 2017 NBC Late Night Writers Workshop and the 2018 NBC Spotlight Showcase. He has produced content for Broadway Video's Más Mejor and curates Heraldo Presenta, a monthly all-Latinx variety show. His recent short film, Dreamer, was an Imagen Award finalist and named one of Vulture's Best Comedy Videos of 2018.

Jessica D. Shields is a multidisciplinary writer and filmmaker originally from Atlanta. She is the recipient of the 2019 HUMANITAS Prize College Drama Fellowship. Jessica was a Film Independent Project Involve Screenwriting Fellow (2018) during which time she penned the short film Wednesday, currently a finalist for the HBO Shorts Competition at ABFF 2019. She holds an MFA in Screenwriting & Directing from Columbia University and is an alumna of Vanderbilt University.  

A native of Toronto, Canada, Ivan Tsang is an MFA Graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in Screen and TV Writing. Ivan has written for Wong Fu Productions, KevJumba, Jubilee Media, Jeremy Lin, ISA TV. His work has had over 100 million views. He is also the proud owner of a Pug named Russell.