Screenwriting Lab Fellows

DEONDRAY GOSSFIELD (Los Angeles, CA), began his career as a classically trained and award-winning actor. His acting credits include Roswell, ‘Parenthood, The Hughley’s, The Nathan Lane Show, Sister Act, and the international Coca Cola commercial, “Rollercoaster”. Disillusioned with the lack of LGBT images of color in media, he and his husband, Quincy LeNear Gossfield penned and directed the GLAAD Award-winning series, The DL Chronicles, a critically acclaimed anthology about African American men who lead double lives. With the success of the series, he soon became one of the most sought after director/producers in the indie film circuit, which eventually led to producing hit shows like Kocktails with Khloé (fyi), The Roast of Justin Bieber (Comedy Central), America’s Best Dance Crew (MTV), The Sing Off (NBC), Family Dance Off (ABC), and Face Off (SyFy). The Gossfields made history when they were married live on television at the 2014 Grammy Awards during Macklemore’s performance of “Same Love”, officiated by Queen Latifah and Madonna. Deondray and his husband are currently gearing up for the launch of their online streaming channel, &Seen, a portal that will feature provocative, cutting-edge programming tailor made for LGBT POC. They Don’t Care About Us Up Here is Gossfield’s very first feature film.

THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT US UP HERE- In 1984’s crack-infested South Los Angeles, a closeted teen and his baby sister use his self-written fairytale to confront their reality and save their mother from drug addiction.

LAUREN HADAWAY (Los Angeles, CA) is a debut writer/director who has worked in the film industry for years, with credits as a sound editor for Quentin Tarantino, James Wan, Zack Snyder and others. Because of her background in sound, she is focused on the sonic experience of film as much as the visual. Lauren hails from Possum Trot, Texas, and graduated summa cum laude from SMU, where she was a collegiate rower.

THE NOVICE An obsessive novice rower climbs the ranks of her cutthroat team, pushing herself to physical and mental extremes to rub shoulders with, and ultimately become, the best.

NAOMI IWAMOTO (Los Angeles, CA) is a Japanese American writer-director. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Political Science and Asian American Studies. Prior to completing her MFA at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, she wrote for LA Weekly and Los Angeles Magazine. Her debut short film, Lost & Found, visited film festivals worldwide and was included in the inaugural Women Behind the Lens showcase at Paramount Studios. Most recently she completed Ryan Murphy’s Half Foundation Director Program and the 2017-2018 CBS Writers program. Naomi is currently represented by Paradigm Talent Agency and Industry Entertainment.

RICE, FISH, AND LACROIX A young female doctor decides to come out to her Japanese family, only for her dad to beat her to it.

MICHELLE SAM (Los Angeles, CA) Michelle Sam is a writer, filmmaker, and actress. She currently writes for Woke Brown Feminist, an online magazine, and is also a member of Women of Color Anonymous (WOCA), an all women of color sketch comedy group, at Upright Citizens Brigade Sunset. Her first short film that she wrote and directed, Missed Connections, starring and executive produced by Angelica Ross (Pose, Her Story, and Transparent), has screened at over 20 film festivals around the world. She holds a BA in Sociology and Visual and Dramatic Arts from Rice University, and has also studied at the Gaiety School of Acting in Ireland and Central School of Speech and Drama in England.  She is also an alum of iO Chicago and Second City Chicago. In addition, Michelle is part of the Hillman Grad Network and writing group, created by Lena Waithe to support up-and-coming content creators in the film and TV industry. Keep a lookout for her web series coming in the summer of 2018, African Black Sheep. You can follow Michelle Sam on Instagram @themichellesam.

SANKOFAA Ghanaian American teen is sent to an all-girls boarding school in Ghana, where she explores her sexuality and forms an unlikely friendship with a sixty-something widow.

KIM WASHINGTON (Los Angeles, CA) is a screenwriter, actor, and producer with a passion for writing stories about marginalized people with a magic realist lens. After spending a decade working in international development, she left her career in 2015 to pursue her passion in filmmaking. Since then, her work has been featured at the Urban World Film Festival (2016 Finalist), America’s Rainbow Film Festival (2016, Finalist), Artist Alliance Short Screenplay (2016, Finalist), Los Angeles Cinefest (2016 Semi-Finalist) and Oaxaca Film Festival (2017 Selected).  Her long-term vision is to own and manage a film company that produces art house films for underrepresented audiences.

TAKE THE L- A young black queer woman struggles with invisibility in the tech world, coupled with the demands of adult life, as they find themself falling in love for the first time.