Now Accepting Applications for our 2014 JT3 Artist Screenwriter/ Director Awards Program

We will award unrestricted grants to winners chosen by an independent panel of film industry professionals. The panel will consider a completed application form, short film, screenplay, and essay for each applicant.

For detailed requirements, download our Guidelines and FAQ.

The online application and written materials must be received by Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Those who submit the form and required written materials will be invited to submit films no later than June 3, 2014.

Applications will be accepted from residents of all New York City boroughs and the Washington, DC Metropolitan area (District of Columbia; Prince Georges County, MD; Montgomery County, MD; Arlington County, VA; Fairfax County, VA). Applicants must be ages 18 to 34 by October 10, 2014. To apply, please visit our awards application page.

This year, we will award one grant of at least $2,000 and additional grants of lesser amounts. Award-winning films will be screened at our Awards gala in the Fall of 2014.

Our 2013 JT3 Artist Program winners:

  • Johnny Nan Ma, JT3 Artist Award of Distinction
  • Zijian Yan, Spirit of Jesse Award
  • Bat-Sheva Guez, JT3 Artist Award
  • Jamie Sisley, Emerging Storyteller Award
  • Alexandra Stergiou, Emerging Storyteller Award

Awardee Award Short Film Screenplay

Johnny Nan Ma
JT3 Artist Award of Distinction Grand Canal (大运河) - A greek tragedy told in a chinese pop song. Tragic events of a boat captain trying to collect a debt to save his fleet of boats, as remembered by his ten year old son. The Great One & I - A ten year old Asian boy with dreams of becoming a hockey star, wants to change his name to something more western, but first he must write to his grandfather in China for permission.

Zijian Yan
Spirit of Jesse Award The Glitch - Forced to execute a criminal android, an engineer must decide whether her death truly brings justice. Cain - 30,000 B.C., Iberian Peninsula. When a Neanderthal man rescues a homo sapiens child, he unwillingly ushers in his tribe's destruction. .

Bat-Sheva Guez
JT3 Artist Award For a Day in Milan - Marty arrives in Milan to start a business with her Italian friend, Enrico. Enrico has everything planned out for a perfect day, the first day of a whole new life. But while grand plans go awry and dreams take a turn, there is always Milan, a city we watch from a hopeful dawn until evening. And How She Tried - Emily tries to navigate her way through a world where the rules don’t always make sense and where magic is mixed with the mundane. In her quest to find her way as an artist, sometimes the wrong turns look right.

Jamie Sisley
JT3 Art Emerging Storyteller Award Ladybug - A young man experiences guilt after causing a car crash that resulted in his girlfriend's death. Jezebel Angel - Starling Rhodes, an alt-country band of siblings, Sam, Charlotte and Tyler Rhodes can’t catch a break until their song, Jezebel Angel is found playing on a loop at the scene of a tragic accident, casting them into the spotlight and threatening to tear them apart.

Alexandra Stergiou
JT3 Art Emerging Storyteller Award The Soothsayer - A hot-shot scientist crosses ethical and emotional boundaries as she tests her mind reading device on a childhood friend. The Soothsayer is a sensuous sci-fi short about unrequited love and a relic lost beneath the sands of a quaint beach town. Roosevelt Ave. - During a sweltering New York City summer, hormones run high when an adolescent boy and girl become business partners on the busy Roosevelt Avenue.

Our Past JT3 Artist Program winners:

Awardee Award Short Film Screenplay

Andrew Brotzman
JT3 Artist Award My Mom and Dad - A childless couple discovers a puppy abandoned in their back yard and realize they love it just as much as they do each other. Nor’easter - A young, struggling priest encourages a family to declare a long-missing son dead but after they do, the boy returns, alive and well, tearing their island community apart.

William D. Caballero
Photo by Martine Bisagni
JT3 Artist Creative Vision Award The Inspiragenesis - Frustrated by a lack of inspiration, two young artists set out to find creative inspiration in this vibrantly animated music video. Ay...Que Familia - Through a series of flashbacks, an apathetic young man comes to terms with his boisterous Latino family.

Christina Choe
JT3 Artist Award of Distinction The Queen - Bobby, a Korean-American teenage outcast, is working at his parents' dry cleaners on prom weekend. When the prom queen and her boyfriend stop by with their dress and tuxedo, Bobby has his own prom to remember. Guess Who's Coming for Kimchee - A quirky, romantic comedy about a Korean-American performance artist who goes to extremes to hide her pregnancy with her African-American boyfriend from her traditional family.

Wendy James
JT3 Artist Award LaTonya - Tonya, 15, chooses to lose her virginity to her best friend. Little does she know, the experience will not be what she expected. BedStuy Project - Kahlil, 17, has been given a camera to tell the story of his life as a dropout growing up in Bedstuy, Brooklyn. Will he be able to find a job and help support his family?

Nikyatu Jusu
JT3 Artist Award African Booty Scratcher - Prom nears and things seem to be spiraling out of control for typically composed Isatu. West African tradition conflicts with American idealism as Isatu is forced to reassess her alliances. Say Grace Before Drowning - After meeting her African Refugee mother for the first time in six years, 8 year old Hawa is forced to co-exist with a woman teetering on the brink of insanity.

Chioke Nassor
JT3 Artist Award Breakup - Most movies focus on the beginning or end of relationships, but the middle is the best part. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Based on the Pulitzer Prize finalist novel of the same name, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, follows the true life of Dave Eggers struggles to take care of his 8 year old brother after losing both parents to cancer when he was 20.

Bridget Palardy
JT3 Artist Award of Distinction Middletown B-Boys - There are two break-dancing crews in Middletown, CT: One is run by a Christian church, and the other is headed by Buddhist passionate about the culture of hip hop. Spark - In a stifling future, restless teens rebel against an overprotective society.

Willi Patton
JT3 Artist Award The Big Fiddle - A conceptual drama exploring the nature of music in cinema, and specifically what happens when a character provides a live score that shapes and shifts the ways in which the other characters interact with each other. Monk Fish - A character study of a famous chef and how he deals with personal anguish and loss in private.

Himkar Tak
JT3 Artist Award of Distinction Medicine Man - Jimi, a 15-year-old kid from the projects in Brooklyn, New York, journeys deep into the Adirondack Mountains in search of a fabled plant that might cure his father of paralysis. Fight - Antone, a 19-year-old Latino from Brooklyn enters the Golden Gloves Boxing tournament as a long shot in hopes that winning it would make a better life for him and his family.

William Wonders III
JT3 Artist Spirit of Jesse Award Fear Itself - After a year in sabbatical a pastor returns to the same pulpit where he was shot by a young man. Just Say It - Eddie, an elementary school teacher always tells everyone in his life that he loves them, except his girlfriend, Samantha. She has given him an ultimatum-- finally tell her he loves her or lose her forever.

Our Mission

We believe that film is one of the most influential arts of our time. It reaches millions and some of its most impactful artists are screenwriter/directors who work from a palette of literary arts, photography, animation, visual arts, choreography, music, costume, and sound to stimulate, amuse, and inspire.

As a relatively new art, very few of these artists receive the support necessary to bring their unique messages to the general public. But for young filmmakers like Jesse Thompkins III, the willingness to accept these challenges comes from an enormous curiosity and connection with life. These young filmmakers have stories. They love and live stories and mold them into beautiful works of art that we may never see, unless we support their lives and their work.

Mission:  The Jesse Thompkins III Foundation for Young People in the Arts (JT3Art) invests in the development of emerging artists who best embody our namesake’s tenacity in the pursuit of their artistic passion. 

Art has the ability to revitalize and enrich world culture, yet emerging artists are often compelled to choose between advancing their artistic endeavors or supporting their basic needs.  Too many talented individuals have to give up on their dream before they have a chance to take flight.  We want to help change that.  Our goal is to assist these individuals so they can devote more attention to developing their artistic gifts.

Jesse and Judith Thompkins launched The Jesse Thompkins III Foundation for Young People in the Arts in memory of their son, a young filmmaker, who died on August 3, 2008 in a traffic-related accident in Brooklyn, New York.  His passion to write and direct was evident in the many short films he created during his lifetime.

Everything I write is informed by my own experiences and the experiences of the people around [me]. I take strands from here and there to make my rope. Then I tie my own knot. Problem is sometimes the knot doesn’t hold. I try to untie it and re-tie again and again until it holds.” – Jesse Thompkins III

“I urge parents to support the artistic visions of their children whether they pursue art as a profession or as a hobby. Art plays a critical role in our lives by providing education, motivation, and healing. Although I no longer have my son, I have the art through which he continues to communicate his most optimistic, loving, inspired, and humorous self. Our awards celebration, the young people we honor, the loyal donors and supporters, and the collaboration that made it happen are part of the legacy that my son, and other filmmakers and artists create with their work,” JT3 Art Chairwoman Judith Thompkins, Jesse's mom.

To learn more about our applications, please visit our awards page.

To read more about our award winners and view their films, please click here.

If you would like to learn more about the Foundation’s activities, plans, and finances, we encourage you to email us at

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