Film Independent has selected six women from underrepresented communities for its fifth annual Episodic Lab, also naming the recipient of this year’s grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
The writers selected, who will hone their original pilots during their time in the Lab, are Carmen Brie, Marissa Díaz, Razan Ghalayini, Steph Ouaknine, Lisa Sanaye Dring and Anna Vecellio.
Vecellio is also the recipient of the $10,000 Alfred P. Sloan Episodic Grant, and will use these funds to support the development of her pilot, Mary Mallon, uncovering the true story of the Irish-born cook otherwise known as Typhoid Mary.
This year’s Episodic Lab will be a two-week virtual program helping to further the careers of its Fellows by introducing them to industry veterans, including showrunners, creative producers and executives, who can offer guidance on both the craft and business of writing episodic content. A final networking and pitch event will offer them the opportunity to introduce themselves and their work to studio and network executives.
2021 Episodic Lab Creative Advisors and Guest Speakers include: Daniel Barnz, Sarah Carbiener, Cindy Fang, Seb Gibbs, Manal Hammad, Karen Horne, Carole Kirschner, Kimi Lee, Glen Mazzara, Vera Miao, Ildy Modrovich, Chris Mundy, Sue Naegle, Rammy Park, Robert Patla, Robbie Pickering, Kelly Kulchak, Loretta Ramos, Evan Romansky, TJ Ross, Ellen Shanman, Jiah Shin, Kendrick Tan, Sheila Hanahan Taylor, Eliza Wheeler, and Rebecca Windsor.
Netflix returns this year as the Lab’s Founding Sponsor, and will provide participants with the chance to shadow writers’ rooms, among other opportunities.
“In our first five years of the Episodic Lab, we’re proud to have supported an incredibly inclusive group of writers who have gone on to find representation, staff, sell shows and set-up deals,” said Angela C. Lee, Associate Director of Artist Development. “This year’s cohort continues in that tradition by being our first all women class of Fellows. We are thrilled to help nurture their careers through the program and introduce their work to the greater industry.”
Past Episodic Lab Fellows include April Shih, who recently struck an overall deal at FX Productions; Kimi Lee, whose show $ugar sold to Hulu, following a four-way bidding war to Hulu; Motherland: Fort Salem scribe KD Davila; Stephanie Adams-Santos, who has written on The CW’s Two Sentence Horror Stories; and Henry “Hank” Jones, who has worked on Freeform’s Grown-ish.
Additional information on 2021 participants’ projects can be found below.
Writer: Lisa Sanaye Dring
Logline: When their mother dies, three vastly different third-generation Japanese Americans must come together to run the family restaurant and forge a new meaning of family.
Title: Known Associates
Writer: Razan Ghalayini
Logline: Known Associates is a half-hour comedy that follows Dima Baconi and her family as they navigate the bizarre experience of becoming targets of an FBI investigation.
Title: Mary Mallon
Writer: Anna Vecellio
Logline: Based on a true story. NYC, 1906. An ambitious doctor discovers the first typhoid carrier in America, sparking a conflict that will cement the name “Typhoid Mary” in history forever.
Title: Renaissance Girls
Writer: Carmen Brie
Logline: At the dawn of the Harlem Renaissance, the new President of a Negro women’s college struggles to stay afloat amidst the challenging social and racial climate of a post-WWI America.
Title: The Get
Writer: Steph Ouaknine
Logline: The Get is a one hour drama set in the world of ultra-Orthodox Jewish divorces – and the women taking the law into their own hands.
Title: The Real & Magical Diaries of Luna Icaza
Writer: Marissa Díaz
Logline: Luna inherits her grandmother’s magic on the night of her quinceañera and uses her new power to tame the ancient Mexican mythological creatures that come to destroy her hometown.
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