Filmmaker Andy Froemke (above) has won a $10,000 grant for a script abut a real-life outlaw hero.
In Hollywood, they say getting your movie made depends on who you know. But not in the case of Andy Froemke of Lindstrom, Minn., who just won a $10,000 residency from the Knight Foundation for "The Lowrie Gang," a script that was up against nearly 100 others in a blind competition.
Funded by the Knight Foundation and IFP Minnesota, the grant stipulates that a panel of industry insiders read every script without knowing anything about who wrote it, ensuring a decision based solely on merit. Panelists included "Juno" producer and Academy Award nominee Mason Novick.
Froemke's story is based on a real-life Robin Hood type, Henry Berry Lowrie, a Native American who led a band of outlaws to stand up to the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina after members of the white supremacist group killed his father and brothers. Eight other finalists will also receive mentorships and classes to support their efforts.
Froemke actually wrote two of the finalist scripts; the other one is a small-town mystery called "Split Rock Light."
"They were so wildly different that the panelists couldn't believe they both came from the same guy," said IFP MN director Andrew Peterson.
The Knight grant puts screenwriters back in the spotlight after the locally based McKnight Foundation (similar name, completely separate outfit) changed its own similar grant program a few years ago to include all of the media arts.
“Screenplays are more like blueprints of a film, so they can be at a disdvantage next to applicants who are showing fully realized works of art,” Peterson said. “We wanted to create something where they’re being judged only against each other.”