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Franklin Leonard

Founder and CEO, The Black List

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Franklin Leonard

Franklin Leonard is a film and television producer, cultural commentator, and entrepreneur. 

He is the founder and CEO of the Black List, the company that celebrates and supports great screenwriting and the writers who do it via film production, its annual survey of best-unproduced screenplays, online marketplace, live staged script readings, screenwriter labs, and film culture publications. 

More than 400 scripts from the annual Black List survey have been produced as feature films earning 250 Academy Award nominations and 50 wins including four of the last thirteen Best Pictures and eleven of the last twenty-four screenwriting Oscars. 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 been a juror at the Sundance, Toronto, Guanajuato, and Mumbai Film Festivals and for the PEN Center Literary Awards. He's been one of Hollywood Disruptor, 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." 

He was the recipient of the 2019 Writers Guild of America, East (WGAe) Evelyn Burkey award for elevating the honor and dignity of screenwriters. He is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). 

He is a frequent conference and corporate speaker including keynote appearances at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Bloomberg, 99U, TBWA/Media Arts Lab, Warby Parker, Betterment, and the Chautauqua Institution. 

His TED talk has been viewed more than 1.6 million times.