NRDC, The Black List, The Redford Center, And The CAA Foundation Announce Recipients Of NRDC’s 2024 Climate Storytelling Fellowship

EXCLUSIVE: NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the Black List, the Redford Center, and the CAA Foundation today announced the recipients of the 2024 NRDC Climate Storytelling Fellowship and the Hollywood creatives who will mentor them. Along with new partner NBCUniversal, the organizations also announced the opening of the submission window for the 2025 cycle of the fellowship.

Now in its fourth year, the first-of-its-kind fellowship supports screenwriters in the revision of their feature or television screenplays that reflect our climate and environmental crises and engage with its impacts.

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2024 Fellows, Mentors and Projects

Out of a record-breaking 456 submissions, Elizabeth Chatelain, Marcus Tappan, and writing pair Sasha Stewart and Casey Rand have been selected for their unique and captivating portrayals of the climate crisis. Each fellow, or writing team, will receive a $20,000 grant and be paired with an entertainment industry professional who will provide mentorship and creative support to further develop their screenplays.

This year’s fellowship recipients will be mentored by Brit Marling, Daniel Scheinert, and Mike Schur.

In addition to creative mentorship from these writers, recipients will receive counsel from NRDC’s environmental experts on climate issues highlighted in their script, and NRDC’s Rewrite the Future program will advise on effective approaches to developing climate themes.

Additionally, revised scripts may be reviewed by prominent studios, agencies, and production companies, including Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Hyperobject Industries, Yellow Dot Studios, Participant, United Talent Agency (UTA), WME, and NBCUniversal.

Mentors from the 2022 and 2023 cycles include Pamela Adlon (Better Things), Dorothy Fortenberry (Extrapolations, The Handmaid’s Tale), Roxane Gay (World of Wakanda, Bad Feminist), Sarah Treem (The Affair, House of Cards, In Treatment), Scott Z. Burns (An Inconvenient Truth, Contagion, Extrapolations), and Naren Shankar (The Expanse).

“Good stories can change the way we think, feel, and respond to the most important issues of our time—and climate change is no different,” said Katy Jacobs, Director of Entertainment Partnerships at NRDC and founder of the NRDC Climate Storytelling Fellowship. “We’re thrilled to support these writers who are engaging with the climate crisis across genres in innovative ways. Stories that explore the complexity of our human reaction to the crisis are critical to helping us process our reality and can inspire us to build a better future.”

“The NRDC and the Black List share a belief that storytelling has a unique ability to inspire action on a global scale,” said Black List Founder Franklin Leonard. “It’s a real honor to be partnered with them to address this most pressing issue of our time in a way that also supports writers.”

More information on the winning fellows and projects:

Bill on Earth by Sasha Stewart and Casey Rand – pilot: Bill on Earth is a half-hour, live action workplace comedy about an alien who poses as an oil executive to investigate Earth’s natural resources and quickly discovers humans are killing the planet and everything on it. Now, he must decide whether to help humans fix their climate change problem or kill them all in order to save their planet. Tough call.

Sasha Stewart is a Writers Guild Award-nominated writer and producer who creates work with joy, a positive impact, and the chance to eat craft services. She most recently wrote on the limited-series dramedy Dying for Sex (FX). TV credits include Amend: The Fight for America (Netflix), The Fix (Netflix), and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (Comedy Central). She participated in the 2019 Comedy Think Tank at the Climate Story Lab, the 2021 Stand Up for Climate Change Comedy Show, and the 2023 “Save the Humans” climate comedy event. She contributes to The New Yorker, and McSweeney’s.

Casey Rand is an award-winning writer and creative director. Most recently, she served as the Chief Creative Officer of the Potential Energy Coalition, a nonprofit creative collective trying to shift the narrative on climate change. AdWeek has named her one of the most culturally influential creatives in the world, and a “Woman Trailblazer,” alongside Tracee Ellis Ross and Kamala Harris (she can’t believe it either). Her humor writing has appeared in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Reductress, The Rumpus, and more. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their very bad dog.

Nubarium by Marcus Tappan – pilot: Low on cash, two island potheads accept a job from a mystical cyber-terrorist. But there’s a price to pay before getting paid.

Marcus Tappan derives great satisfaction from making people laugh. After acquiring some writing skills and student debt at the University of Pennsylvania, he ventured off to Los Angeles to get his foot in the door. As a Page at NBCUniversal, Focus Features, and currently an assistant at Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Marcus is learning just how heavy that door is. Now working on his first animated project, the starving artist dreams of the day where he can enjoy a Wendy’s 4 For $4 out of pleasure and not because that’s all his weekly budget permits.

Sundogs by Elizabeth Chatelain – feature: When Alex’s father dies and their family farm slips into debilitating debt, she takes her 12-year-old daughter Jenny west with her to work on the North Dakota oilfields. But when the industry’s decline begins, she is forced to choose between the farm and her delicate relationship with her daughter.

A North Dakota native, Elizabeth Chatelain has directed several documentary and narrative shorts including My Sister Sarah, winner of the International Documentary Association’s Award for Best Student Documentary and a Student Academy Award Finalist. Her films have screened at festivals across the country and the world, including Interfilm Berlin and SXSW. Her feature project, Sundogs, participated in the Berlinale Script Station, was an Academy Nicholl Fellowship Semi-Finalist, and Showtime Tony Cox Screenplay Competition Winner. She also participated in the Women in Film/Black List Fellowship and the Women in Film/Sundance Film Financing Intensive Fellowship.

2025 Fellowship Cycle and Virtual Event

The groups—with the new addition of NBCUniversal—also launched the fourth annual cycle of the fellowship today, which will be accepting applications through December 5, 2024 at

Interested writers are encouraged to submit pilots or screenplays that engage with climate themes in compelling and unique ways. The fellowship seeks screenplays that engage with climate realities beyond dystopia and apocalypse and instead depict solutions and envision a better future. All qualifying scripts submitted before the deadline will receive one script evaluation and one free month of hosting for their scripts via the Black List.

Interested writers are also encouraged to join “Intersectionality in Climate Storytelling” a free virtual event on May 14, 2024, presented by the NRDC Climate Storytelling Fellowship, in partnership with Storyline Partners. Jacobs will be joined by Senior Vice President Megan Halpern of The Black List, Sanaz Alesafar of Storyline Partners and others for a conversation about the challenges and opportunities that come with writing climate narratives, as well as share information about the 2025 Fellowship.

“Now, more than ever, stories depicting the reality of the global climate crisis, and more importantly tangible solutions, are essential. We are proud of our continued partnership with NRDC, The Redford Center, and The Black List to provide resources and support to amplify the storytellers who are creating impactful content that can help spark dialogue, action, and necessary change for our communities,” said Adam Umhoefer, Executive, CAA Foundation.

“Over a thousand climate stories have come through this program over the past three years. It continues to be an honor and delight to be part of this community and this fellowship opportunity, intentionally designed to call in and support the creatives, the world-builders, the independent artists and dreamers, and ignite the creativity we so urgently need to imagine our way into a better future,” said Jill Tidman, Executive Director of The Redford Center.

“NBCUniversal is thrilled to support the NRDC Climate Storytelling Fellowship. We recognize that the entertainment industry has a big opportunity to educate and inspire audiences through climate-driven content, and we are excited to support creatives that are painting a vision of a more sustainable future,” said Kim Burnick, director of sustainable content and partnerships at NBCUniversal.

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