Bill and Carol Mechanic Endowed Scholarship for Film Studies

A generous endowment by MSU Alumni Bill and Carol Mechanic has allowed us to offer scholarships to Film Studies majors. Applications are open for a $1500 award and other cash prizes. Click on the Application Link below to access the form and other details of the awards. Please note that any scholarship funding we offer may impact your current financial aid. We will work with MSU’s Financial Aid Office to minimize this impact. We aim to award and distribute scholarship funds this spring into your student account. To be eligible, you must be a Film Studies major. Applications are evaluated based on financial need and academic standing in the program.

The scholarship fund has been given in loving honor and memory of Bill and Carol Mechanic’s parents—Jack and Anita Mechanic, June and Larry Silverman and Gary and Nora Whitener, who strove to excel in whatever opportunity or challenge they faced. Scholarships are offered to those students who love the art of film and exemplify the great Midwestern values of hard work and persistence, to foster learning, achievement and a path to a better world.

Applications are due March 29, 2024:

Scholarship Application

Eligibility: major in Film Studies.

For further information: contact  Professor Kaveh Askari, 

Carol Mechanic has worked as senior vice president of programming at Showtime, as well as at HBO and on numerous film and television productions. She is from Royal Oak and graduated MSU in 1973.

Bill Mechanic is the chairman and CEO of Pandemonium Films and former chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment. He’s produced numerous films, including The New World, Coraline, and Hacksaw Ridge. He graduated MSU in 1973 with a BA in English.9

2023 Mechanic Scholarship Awardees

Nithya Balakrishnan
Autumn English
Taja Carroll

Tobias Zajac
Summer Groenke

Laurence Allen Tate
Film Writing Award

Have you written an essay dealing with LGBTQ+ issues in cinema, queer film theory, or critical analysis of an LGBTQ+ film? Have a screenplay dealing with LGBTQ+ concerns? If so, you may be eligible for the The Laurence Allen Tate Film Writing Award ($1,000).

To apply to this competition, please email your essay or screenplay (by attachment) to Professor Bill Vincent, Professor of Film Studies, Please note in your email your major, your year, and the course for which you wrote the essay or screenplay. Deadline 31 March 2023.

Open to majors and minors in Film Studies and to minors in Fiction Filmmaking and in Documentary Production.


Laurence Allen Tate (1945–2008) earned a B.A. in English from Michigan State University, where he was co-founder and assistant editor for the weekly student publication, The Paper. After graduation, Tate moved to the San Francisco area and was involved in the Gay Men’s Health Collective of the Berkeley Free Clinic and San Francisco’s HIV/AIDs hotline service, Project Inform, from 1989-1993. He later moved to Washington D.C. to work at the National HIV/AIDS Prevention Program at the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Known early for his film criticism and anti-war essays, he wrote and spoke primarily about AIDS-related issues and the experience of being gay in America after 1981. A member of the Cherokee Nation, he was a member of Native Americans in Philanthropy, and a former member of the board of the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center.

2021 Laurence Allen Tate Awardees

Winner: Mary Telly, for the short script “Ho’omau.”

Honorable Mention: Morgan Hollemans, for her essay, “Politicization of the Gaze: How bell hooks Paved the Way for Rafiki.”

Honorable Mention: Devin Martin for the excerpt from his script, “Wither.”

2020 Laurence Allen Tate Awardees

Winner: Sarah Kutchinski, for the screenplay “Williams & Proctor.”

Honorable Mention: Olivia York, for her essay, “Gay Intimations in Hitchcock.”

2019 Laurence Allen Tate Awardee

Winner: Veronica Samaha, for the screenplay “ Death is a Drag.”

Fiction Film Screenplay Contest

a closeup of a page from a screenplay

Have a great 15-25 page script you want to see made into a film? Interested in seeing your work go from the page to the screen? The Fiction Filmmaking Minor is looking for great scripts to produce in the capstone course. The winning script will have the script produced in 2024/25. Submission info below.

What we are looking for:

1. A good story with a unique voice.
2. Well-developed characters that go through a change – a clear character arc.
3. A strong Protagonist with several supporting roles, or an ensemble cast.
4. Multiple rich locations
5. Strong visual storytelling (Visual plotting, emotion, contrast and symbolism)
6. A sense of world building (even down to earth locations should give us a sense of space, time and distinct style)
7. Something that is realistically producible within Michigan.
8. Keep in mind that Michigan weather during the school year is unpredictable! Snow is a given.
9. Genre is open

Submissions are due August 16. All entrants receive a full read.

Screenplays must be between 15 – 25 pages and written using proper screenwriting format. 

Submissions must be uploaded with a title page that includes contact information.

Upload your script as a PDF file with the file title of your script like so: myscripttitle.pdf

You may submit a script as a team of writers or a single writer.

Scripts must be the original work of the writer(s).

By submitting your script, if chosen as the winner you agree to release the production rights to the Fiction Film Capstone class, including the rights to adapt, modify, and make changes to your original script.

Submit your script here (must use MSU e-mail to login)