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  • Writer's pictureKids In The Spotlight

KITS Launches Nationwide Screenplay Competition for Foster Youth

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

As the country shelters in place to flatten the COVID-19 curve, KITS acknowledges

that now, more than ever, is the time to ensure that the cognitive, creative, and social needs of underserved foster youth are being met. To that end, on Monday, April 27th, Kids In The Spotlight (KITS.) will take one of its biggest leaps forward by launching its first national screenplay competition specifically created for transitional-age (18 to 22) foster youth.

Each entry will be judged by high-profile industry professionals, and the winning script will be turned into a short film that is produced by professional filmmakers. Before the competition begins, KITS will offer a free, five-week virtual screenwriting Course that will teach foster youth the fundamental elements of story, how the themes and lessons from stories can be used to influence and inspire, and how to navigate screenwriting software to begin their journeys as competent storytellers.


Celebs and entertainment industry professionals from a cross-section of disciplines have joined the effort to serve as judges. Emmy Award and Golden Globe-winner Ty Burrell, actress and Kellee Stewart, and actor-director Mo McRae—have confirmed their participation and will read submissions alongside a few of the organization’s other dedicated team of ambassadors.

The blue panel of judges will also include entertainment industry insiders such as: Mary Lou Belli, actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Kiki Melendez, NAACP Hollywood Bureau Director Robin Harrison, Hollywood Foreign Press Association Representative Lilly Lui, former KITS Awards Executive Producer, T. Faye Griffin, and KITS alum Mary Montoya, a star of the HBO documentary, "Foster."

For those unfamiliar with Kids In The Spotlight, Inc. for the past decade the organization has used its 10-to-15-week Screenwriting & Filmmaking program to help hundreds of local foster youth rediscover their voices and confront their traumatic experiences. Now, the organization aims to use this competition to expand their reach and mitigate the trauma of foster youth outside of their region. “Every state is impacted by the foster care system,” said Kids In The Spotlight founder, Tige Charity. “We are committed to being a social justice change agent that provides foster youth with a platform to be heard and celebrated, and we aim to show the world how arts therapy can be the perfect tool to bring harmony

and hope into the lives of the underrepresented.”

The KITS National Short Screenplay Competition will be a unique and interactive experience that teaches foster youth how to channel their imaginations to reframe the realities of their world during this trying and uncertain time.

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