The 14th New York Television Festival wrapped its first summer edition today by awarding the off-kilter independent pilot Hammerhead its two top prizes.
The story of an up-and-comer in New York determined not to let his deformed head derail his ambitions captured the Overall Best of Fest Award and NYTVF Critics Award. The Best Comedy Project award went to Smüchr; Best Animated Project was Omega House (which also scored a development deal from Comedy Central); and Best Drama or Dramedy Project was Paint.
After the fest’s shift from its traditional fall arrival, a move aimed at synchronizing with the industry’s development cycle, organizers said the summer fest hosted 620 development meetings, the most in its history. In all, 75 companies took part in the festival, a cross-section of networks, studios, agencies and digital platforms. The festival screened 59 pilots, recognizing top projects in 16 categories.
In its third year, the NYTVF Scripts competition featured 21 selections, with The Curse and Granted tying for Best Comedy Script and Ticker winning in the Best Drama Script category.
“Independent television hasn’t only arrived – it is stronger than ever,” said NYTVF Founder and Executive Director Terence Gray. “Each year, I am floored by how much the quality of the work submitted by the independent television community continues to improve – having received more than 3,300 submissions for the third year in a row. I’m honored that our partners have embraced the Festival as a go-to venue for new and diverse stories, voices and talent during their development process, and proud to be part of an incredible team that has brought opportunities to indie artists by arranging nearly 2000 networking and pitch meetings between them and industry execs over the past three years alone.”
In addition to the above, New York Women in Film and Television awarded a platinum membership to Martha Williams in recognition of her work on Run for Your Life, and the Hollywood Radio and Television Society Script Competition winners – Tara Tomicevic for Bianca (Drama) and Julia Monahan for Teej & The Explorers (Comedy) – were recognized at the fest. Winners of the Hulu Pitch deal and OneX Comedy Collective Alumni Initiative will be announced at a later date.
Here is the full list of winners, with loglines provided by the festival:
2018 WINNERS – INDEPENDENT PILOT COMPETITION
Overall Best of the Fest Award:
Hammerhead – Created by Dean Imperial (New York, NY)
An ambitious, driven, and deceptively cunning young man with a deformed forehead leaves his father’s home after graduate school determined to climb the ladder of success in New York City.
NYTVF Critics Award:
Hammerhead – Created by Dean Imperial (New York, NY)
Best Animated Project:
Omega House – Created by Marc Sloboda (Chicago, IL)
After surviving the nuclear apocalypse, four mutated frat brothers set out on a journey across the wasteland to figure out what the heck happened.
Best Comedy Project:
Smüchr – Created by Niccolo Aeed and Marina Tempelsman (New York, NY)
Emily, a customer support representative for an online dating company, will make all the lonely people in America couple up like penguins – or she’ll die trying.
Best Drama/Dramedy Project:
Paint – Created by Michael Walker (New York, NY)
Three young artists live in Brooklyn, struggling to make it, not only in the art world, but in life.
Best Short-Form Comedy Project:
susaneLand – Created by Susane Lee and Andrew Olsen (Los Angeles, CA)
A dark comedic anthology series revolving around the awkward and surreal misfortunes of a young Asian American woman.
Best Short-Form Drama/Dramedy Project:
Avant-Guardians – Created by Alesia Etinoff (Los Angeles, CA)
When the woke-ish Guardian Angel to the future 3rd Black President goes a little off her rocker, she’s mandated by God to visit a no-nonsense Therapist Angel.
Best Unscripted Project:
Rooftop Kings – Created by Carmine Famiglietti and Peter Fragliossi (Queens, NY)
An inside look at a subculture hiding in plain sight on the rooftops of New York City: This is Goodfellas, with pigeons.
Best Actor in a Comedy:
Ryan Harrington and Isaac Himmelman in Brooklyn Moving Company (New York, NY)
Best Actress in a Comedy:
Tessa Hersh in Smüchr and 2some (New York, NY)
Best Actor in a Drama:
Sam Gilroy in Hammerhead (New York, NY)
Best Actress in a Drama:
Deja Harrell in Seeds (Chicago, IL)
Best Direction Drama:
Midnights – Directed by Alvaro Donado (Paterson, NJ)
Best Direction Comedy:
The Passage – Directed by Kitao Sakurai (Los Angeles, CA)
Ghost Girl – Edited by Alexandra Gilwit and Charlotte Prager (New York, NY)
Alive in Denver – Written by Michael Levin (Los Angeles, CA)
2018 WINNERS – NYTVF SCRIPTS
Best Comedy Script (Tie):
Granted – Written by Alison Barton and Bonnie Dennison (Los Angeles, CA)
Annie, an insecure astronaut, mistakenly summons a genie (named Jinnie) whom she can’t stand. The two are bound to each other until Annie can find true fulfillment or Jinnie can find true love. Two nearly impossible tasks… even with unlimited wishes.
The Curse – Written by Jesse David Fox and Halle Kiefer (New York, NY)
Alex has the perfect life on paper: a cool new job in New York, awesome friends, and, most importantly, a mature long-term relationship. In other words, it’s just about the worst time to find out that her family is under a century-old sex curse.
Best Drama Script:
Ticker – Written by Connie O’Donahue and Jeremy Nielsen (Rivertown, WY)
In a future where people sell years off the end of their lives for money and corporations decide who lives and who dies, a rule-following paramedic and his impulsive partner struggle to save society by overthrowing the system.
2018 NYTVF DEVELOPMENT DEALS AND NETWORK AWARD WINNERS
Audible Pitch Deal:
The three below will receive a development grant to further develop their concept with Audible:
- Don P. Hooper for “BK Time Skippers”
- Kaitlin Fontana and Carolyn Bergier for “Peace”
- Gordon Rayfield for “Boomer”
Comedy Central Development Deal:
Omega House – Created by Marc Sloboda
Red Arrow Studios Development Award:
The Gary Gold Story – Created by Greg Ash
TOPIC Pitch Deal:
Damian Gomez for “Hyphenated”
truTV Comedy Breakout Initiative:
We Don’t Want to Scare You, But… – Created by Tessa Greenberg and Moujan Zolfaghari
WE tv Pitch Deal:
Richard Knight, Carrie Jean Knight, and Anna Boyter for “Now Serving Seconds”