Hornitos Tequila and the Black List announce grant recipients

The Black List x Hornitos Take Your Shot Short Film Program

Hornitos Tequila, a leading premium tequila brand founded on the belief that nothing great ever happens without taking a chance, and producer and screenwriter hub the Black List today announced the five recipients of the Black List x Hornitos Take Your Shot Short Film Program. 

In April 2021, Hornitos Tequila and the Black List announced the program in support of amplifying new voices in the film industry. After reviewing submissions, Hornitos and the Black List have selected five recipients from around the world who have hopes of turning their screenplays into proof of concept short films with mentorship from the Black List. 

Meet the recipients: 

  • 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. 

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“We were so impressed by the impactful stories and visions that were shared by these selected grant recipients,” said Rashidi Hodari, Managing Director of Tequila at Beam Suntory. “Similar to that of Hornitos’ brand history, each of these recipients exemplify the act of taking a bold chance – in this case, to produce and create their short film – and we could not be more excited to support their journeys in doing so.” 

“This partnership with Hornitos celebrates those who have been taking their shot as storytellers for years by giving them the resources necessary to do exactly that,” said Franklin Leonard, Founder of the Black List. “We’re thrilled with this inaugural group of filmmakers and look forward to further supporting them in the coming weeks, months and years ahead as they bring their visions to life.” 

The Hornitos x the Black List’s “Take Your Shot” Short Film Program is a continuation of Hornitos’ The Shot Fund – a multi-year, investment platform dedicated to empowering today’s generation of shot-takers, taking shots at trailblazing ventures in their careers.


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