In 2021, Hornitos Tequila and the Black List announced a Short Film Program to help new voices in the film industry get their foot in the door. After reviewing submissions for this program, they have selected five recipients who hope to turn screenplays into proof-of-concept shorts with mentorship from the Black List.

Black List and Hornitos Tequila Announce Grant Recipients of “Take Your Shot” Short Film Program

Recipients and their winning concepts include:

  • Ella Gale: Ella Gale grew up outdoorsy in Colorado before becoming a standup-comedy basement gnome. Ella’s proof of concept short film follows a struggling comedian who tries to win a local standup competition without losing her best friend after being infected by a demon who eats anyone she envies.
  • John Killoran: Hailing from Massachusetts, John (Johnny) Killoran is a writer and director with a number of feature and television credits to his name. Johnny’s short follows a nostalgia-obsessed man who finds himself transported to a world where seventh grade lasts forever.
  • Leslie Nipkow: Leslie Nipkow is a breast cancer survivor and the daughter of an Auschwitz survivor. As a result, she writes characters who battle overwhelming odds, whether it be institutionalized prejudice, natural disasters or their own rogue cells. Based on a true story, Leslie’s concept depicts a blacklisted film director in 1953 who defeats the odds in making a truly American independent film.
  • Steve Anthopoulos: Steve is a comedy writer and director, based in New South Wales, Australia. Steve’s proof of concept follows a socially awkward young man who is happy to live in a world ruled by robots but has their life upended when falling in love with a handsome anti-robot revolutionary.
  • Roland Esparza and Austin Savage: Roland and Austin are filmmakers, based in El Paso, Texas. Roland and Austin both have vast, authentic experiences in writing, art, comedy and film. Their short concept follows a subject who abandons a career in wrestling following the death of his best friend and takes up a career in music in an effort to win back his long-lost love.

The collaborative “Take Your Shot” Grant and Mentorship Short Film Program is the first-of-its-kind program for Hornitos, who joined forces with Black List to create this continuation of their successful The Shot Fund. This innovative investment platform empowers would-be trailblazers by providing funding opportunities that advance them into positions where they can continue their creative endeavors.

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