Project Greenlight is a television series focusing on first-time filmmakers being given the chance to direct a feature film. It was created by Alex Keledjian, developed by Eli Holzman and produced by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Sean Bailey, and Chris Moore through their production company LivePlanet, along with Miramax Films. Project Greenlight first aired on HBO for two seasons before moving to Bravo for season three.
Season 1 (2001)
The script contest ran from September 2000 to March 2001. Over 7,000 screenplays were submitted, and Pete Jones was selected as the winner for Stolen Summer, which he then filmed on location in his hometown of Chicago during the summer of 2001. The first season of Project Greenlight, chronicling the selection of Jones's script and the filming of the movie, aired on HBO from late 2001 through early 2002. Stolen Summer premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2002, then went on to a limited theatrical release which brought in just under $140,000.
Season 2 (2003)
For its second run, the contest was split into two categories: writing and directing. The winners were chosen on January 18, 2003. Erica Beeney won the writing contest for her script The Battle of Shaker Heights, and Kyle Rankin and Efram Potelle won the directing contest. The film stars Shia LaBeouf, Elden Henson, Amy Smart, and William Sadler. The series aired in the summer of 2003, detailing the production of the film in Los Angeles. The Battle of Shaker Heights opened in limited theatrical release on August 24, 2003, earning just under $280,000 during its box office run.
Season 3 (2005)
Script submission began and ended during February 2004. After two seasons on HBO, the series moved to Bravo and season three began airing on March 15, 2005.
The selected screenplay was a horror script entitled Feast written by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton. The director was John Gulager. The film stars Balthazar Getty, Krista Allen, Jason Mewes, and Eric Dane and was produced by Dimension Films and Neo Art & Logic.
The film ran for a special late night showing on September 22 and September 23, 2006, almost a year after its premiere. The DVD was released on October 17, 2006, earning just under $690,000 during its box office run. The film spawned two sequels: Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds and Feast 3: The Happy Finish
It was announced in April 2014 that Project Greenlight will return to HBO for a fourth season. Affleck said, "'Project Greenlight' was ahead of its time. Now that technology has caught up to the concept, we thought it was a perfect time to bring it back."
On October 3, it was announced that The Farrelly Brothers would serve as mentors to the director or directing team chosen by the judges to win the reality competition of the remaining finalists. Originally, ten finalists were to be chosen for the final round, but due to ties in voting and judging, there are now thirteen finalists remaining.
According to the Weekend Australian, Affleck and Damon have "always talked about exporting the concept" of Greenlight to other countries, with the United Kingdom, India, and Australia lined up as possible destinations.
In 2005, Project Greenlight Australia was launched with Pay-TV Movie Network in partnership with Screentime producing the show and offering the A$1,000,000 financing to the winning film. The entries were received online with last entries being accepted on February 14. The screenplay selected from the 1200 submissions was Solo by Morgan O'Neill.
Awards and nominations
- Primetime Emmy Award
- 2002: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program: Season 1: Nominated
- 2004: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program: Season 2: Nominated
- 2005: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program: Season 3: Nominated
- Bibel, Sara (April 30, 2014). "'Project Greenlight' Returns to HBO, with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon Executive Producing". TV by the Numbers (Press release). Retrieved April 30, 2014.
- Elavsky, Cindy (May 11, 2014). "Celebrity Extra". King Features. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
- Solo (2006) at the Internet Movie Database
- Project Greenlight Australia - Series 2 at the Internet Movie Database
- http://www.screenwest.wa.gov.au/printFriendly.cfm?objectid=61E1798A-65BF-EBC1-2A13524D05488786, ScreenWest WA
- The View from Greenhaven (2008) at the Internet Movie Database
- Project Greenlight (2001) at the Internet Movie Database
- Project Greenlight 2 at the Internet Movie Database
- Project Greenlight 3 at the Internet Movie Database
- Project Greenlight at the Internet Movie Database
- Screentime announces Project Greenlight Australia
- Paul McDermott announced as host