Franklin Leonard

Franklin Leonard

Conscious Kingmaker

Los Angeles, CA

@franklinleonard

TOPICS
Diversity
Race
Art
Leadership

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Chances are, you’ve sat in a dark theater and fallen in love with a film that never would have seen the big screen if it weren’t for Franklin Leonard. He is a film and television producer, cultural commentator, and entrepreneur, as well as the Founder & CEO of the Black List, a well-known force in Hollywood for finding the best unproduced screenplays by writers of color and getting those films made. More than 400 scripts from the annual Black List survey have been produced as feature films earning 300 Academy Award nominations and 50 wins, including four Best Pictures and nearly half of the screenwriting Oscars awarded since 2007..

Franklin has worked in feature film development at Universal Pictures and the production companies of Will Smith, Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella, and Leonardo DiCaprio. He has also been a juror at the Sundance, Toronto, and Guanajuato Film Festivals and for the PEN Center Literary Awards.

He was named one of Hollywood Reporter’s “35 Under 35’” Black Enterprise magazine’s “40 Emerging Leaders for Our Future”, and Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.” In 2019, the Writers Guild of America, East presented him with the Evelyn Burkey award for elevating the honor and dignity of screenwriters. Leonard is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and hosts their interview program, “A list with Franklin Leonard.” He served as an advisor for the 2022 Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Exhibition “In America.” He is a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Executives branch of the Academy Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

His TEDx talk “How I Accidentally Changed the Way Movies Get Made has been viewed more than 1.75 million times. He speaks widely about culture-shifting, art-making, and a world where the narratives that surround us are as rich and varied and beautiful as the worlds within us.

Leonard is outspoken about the lack of diversity in Hollywood—not just when it comes to who appears onscreen, but also in terms of what kinds of stories get told.
--The Atlantic


Franklin Leonard’s anonymous survey has launched careers, recognized four of the past eight Best Picture winners, and pushed movie studios to think beyond sequels and action flicks.
--The Atlantic
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