Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

SeriesFest Announces Winners of the Season 8 Pilot Competition

Jurors screened 56 pilots from creative voices around the globe and selected winners in various categories.

SeriesFest Announces Winners of the Season 8 Pilot Competition

SeriesFest, the award-winning international television festival and non-profit organization, revealed the winners of the Season 8 independent pilot competition at an awards presentation, presented by Hyde Park Jewelers, on Closing Night at The Cable Center in Denver, CO on Tuesday, May 10 . Esteemed jurors screened 56 pilots from creative voices around the globe at this year's celebration of episodic storytelling, and selected winners in various categories including "Best Independent Pilot, "Best Digital Short Series," "Late Night," "Audience Award" and "Pitch-A-Thon."

"The independent pilot competitions are at the heart of our mission. It is why we founded SeriesFest," commented Randi Kleiner, CEO and Co-Founder of SeriesFest. "It was to be a discovery platform for independent artists and give them the opportunity to get their voices heard and their projects seen by an audience and executives. Anyone who has made a pilot, especially during a pandemic, deserves to be honored."

At the awards ceremony, SeriesFest also announced the winners for two prestigious initiatives including the Level Forward Impact Award and Caz Matthews Fund. The Level Forward Impact Award, given to the episodic pilot and team who demonstrate, on top of their commitment to creative excellence, a thoughtful, thorough and deliberate approach to using storytelling as a means of leveling the playing field for underrepresented people including women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA and alternatively abled voices, was awarded to Jordan by Ebony Blanding. Supported by the Royal Bank of Canada, Ebony Blanding will receive a $5,000 cash prize and development deal with Level Forward. "Jordan" is the story when a tween mermaid enthusiast discovers an ailing water creature, she uses a magical wish to change the fate of their existence...and her own.

Caz Matthews, a Colorado-based supporter of SeriesFest and of the independent creators of television content who show their projects at the annual SeriesFest, awarded five official selections from the Independent Pilot, Digital Short Series, and Late Night competitions including Brownsville Bred, We're Doing Good, Chiqui, Muslim Girls: DTF, and Dot with a one-time financial donation from the Caz Matthews Fund subject to affording a producer credit to SeriesFest for that particular work. These recipients represent the independent filmmakers who have important stories to tell and have the desire to both create work as well as find distribution opportunities that further promote tolerance, acceptance and understanding of all cultures and persons in the general population. Caz is of the belief that these producers, directors, actors, directors, screenwriters, etc. are generally underfunded and/or encounter more challenges in securing financing to get their work made and distributed.

Additionally, SeriesFest announced three finalists for its Spotlight Your Town initiative partnered with National Geographic and Visible which aims to empower independent creators to use their art form to spotlight the timely political and social justice issues happening in their hometowns. "Spotlight Your Town" supports an inclusive group of unscripted storytellers creating authentic, community-driven stories that embody the breadth and diversity of the people and places they represent.

The finalists, revealed at SeriesFest Season 8 Red Rocks Centerpiece on Sunday, May 8, will take part in a workshop to help finesse their pitch, have an official pitch and interview with an esteemed jury to get further acquainted with the creators. The winning artist(s) will receive a $20,000 grant to be applied to their production as well as an opportunity to pitch to National Geographic Documentary Films and unscripted teams, as well as receive a six-month mentorship with Steve James. Additionally, a $10,000 grant will be awarded to a nonprofit organization that aligns with the cause of the winning artists' concept Finalists Include: South Shore Drill Team by Carlos Javier Ortiz (Chicago); Southmont Drive by Ashley O'Shay (Chicago); Revolutionary Hearts by A.K. Sandhu (Oakland, CA).


SeriesFest, a non-profit organization, champions and empowers artists at the forefront of episodic storytelling by providing year-round opportunities for creators and industry professionals to connect, collaborate, and share stories, which inspire and impact global audiences. Each June, SeriesFest culminates in a highly-curated and celebrated Denver-based festival and marketplace. Dedicated to showcasing innovative episodic content, the annual festival includes in-competition independent pilot screenings, panels, workshops, live reads, parties and network television premieres.

Follow @SeriesFest on Twitter.

Related Articles View More Denver Stories

More Hot Stories For You