2021 Screenwriting Lab Fellows
TEXTS FROM YOUR EX (Episodic)
In this half-hour dramedy, a twenty-something alcoholic attempts to recover from her excruciatingly painful breakup, but when she finds out that her ex-girlfriend has gone missing, she teams up with an unlikely partner and sacrifices everything to investigate what happened.
Amanda Kohr (she/her) is a queer, award-winning playwright and writer from Virginia, where bisexuality was so “not a thing.” Her creative work is grounded in exploring interpersonal relationships, sexuality, mental health, and self-discovery with a mission to amplify feminist and queer storylines. Having grown up painfully confused about all things love and sex, Amanda strives to create stories that help demystify some of the messiest (and most common) human emotions and desires. Her theatre work has appeared throughout the country, and her plays have been workshopped with the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, the THML Theatre Company, and others. Her play “The Lighthouse” is a winner of The Fountain Theatre’s Rapid Development Program. In addition to writing scripts, Amanda is a sex and relationships writer, and her work has been featured in VICE, Refinery29, Betches, Hello Giggles, and more.
ONE BIG HAPA FAMILY (Animated Episodic)
When a gay, biracial high school band geek decides to make the most popular boy in school fall in love with him, he lets his witch-in-training younger sister perform a love spell. When her magic accidentally enchants his gym sock, he has to do what he can to cover the damage and still maybe get the boy of his dreams.
Chris (they/them/theirs) is a Los Angeles-based Filipino-Chinese writer, comedian, and performer. They’ve written and performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Second City, CBS Diversity Showcase, and they co-produce the hit sold-out variety show, “Gaysian AF.” Their sketch collaborations with CollegeHumor, DROPOUT, and other channels logged over 1 million views. You can catch them recurring on an upcoming reboot streaming on Peacock.
I LOVE YOU LIKE A BROTHER (Episodic)
A 16-year-old trans woman’s plan to come out at her Catholic high school is complicated when her estranged, pretentious brother moves back home after a near-death experience.
Non-binary writer & retired wizard Emma McIvor lives in Los Angeles, by way of Northeast Philadelphia. They have been writing since 6th grade when they went overboard on a vocabulary assignment. In 2008, their play Mittens Descending was produced by the Philly Fringe Festival and their script Judy is a Punk won “Best Under 25” in the Set in Philly screenwriting contest. They once helped Bill Pullman memorize a David Mamet play, standing in for Julia Stiles. They worked as an assistant teacher for the Autism Drama Program at Theatre Horizon in Norristown, PA. They studied comedy at UCBTLA and wrote for the iO West sketch teams Drug Money and Garden Party. Their recent short film Marsha’s Skeleton bravely confronts a question that has plagued man for eons: is it possible to see your own skeleton? Like, not a picture of your skeleton. Your actual skeleton.
BLACK MUD (Episodic)
In the wake of his grandfather’s death, history PhD student KHALIL goes down south to search for a legendary Confederate treasure buried on the land that his enslaved ancestors once worked. Little does he know that the slave master’s descendants are also looking for it and it’s a race to see who can find it first.
Jabari McDonald is a LA-based writer and producer currently serving as writers’ assistant on Green Lantern on HBO Max. Prior to this he was writers’ support staff on Upload (Amazon) and Space Force (Netflix). In 2020 he was a finalist in the Disney Television Writers Program and made it to the second round of the Sundance Episodic Lab. He recently participated in the Filmmakers Workshop through New York Stage & Film where he developed his pilot [Un]Supervised. He was named a 2018 American Black Film Festival | Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Network Film Fellow for his short film, Dry Kleaners which premiered at ABFF in 2018. Shorts Jabari produced while in school have screened at the Austin Film Festival, RiverRun Int’l Film Festival, Salento Int’l Film Festival, and the Katra Film Series. He holds a MFA from Columbia University and a BA in Film & Media Studies from UC Irvine.
AGORA BOREALIS (Feature)
After a 13-year-old who finds a suicide note discovers the person who wrote the note is still very much alive, she embarks on a mission to convince him that life is worth living (without letting him know she’s found his note).
Kristin Slaney is a screenwriter and playwright from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, currently based in Brooklyn. Her writing is often set in and/or inspired by Nova Scotia, and ranges from dark comedy/dramedy to full-on comedy. Kristin has worked every strange job you can imagine, from “historical interpreter on brewery tour” to “June Carter Cash impersonator” to “document preservationist” (which involved gently piecing together old newspapers from the 40s in the basement of Columbia University). Her plays have been produced and developed by theatres in the US and Canada, including Manhattan Theatre Club, New York Stage and Film, Ship’s Company Theatre, and more. She has received two Sloan Foundation commissions, and she is an alum of the Obie Award-winning playwriting group Youngblood. Kristin received her MFA in playwriting from Columbia University, and has assisted on TV shows for Netflix and CBS, treating these positions as a kind of film school.
While managing her family’s local haunted house with her alcoholic father, Paul, 16-year-old Caity navigates the evaporating space between childhood and adulthood.
Lindsay (she/they) is a filmmaker living in Brooklyn, NY, centering her work around sexuality, addiction, trauma and family. They hold a BA in journalism & creative writing from CUNY Baruch College and an MFA in directing from Brooklyn College’s Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema.
Her work at Feirstein was nominated for the KODAK/UFVF Student Award and her thesis film, ‘What I See When I Look’, was a 2020 IFP Short Film Showcase nominee. It premiered at The Sun Valley Film Festival in April 2021 where it won the prize for Best Short Film.
Lindsay is in development on her debut feature, ‘CAITY’.
Natalie Jasmine Harris
For 17-year-old Celeste, senior year in her affluent Black community means following family tradition and becoming a debutante… but she longs for a different kind of coming out.
Natalie Jasmine Harris is a Black queer filmmaker based in NYC. Her creative work often exists within the coming-of-age genre, which she views as an essential tool to re-imagine liberation for young girls, the Black community, and LGBTQ+ individuals. Natalie received her BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in May 2020. Her thesis film “Pure” received The 2020 Directors Guild of America’s Student Film Award, and is currently on the film festival circuit. Natalie is now adapting the short film for “Pure” into a feature-length film of the same name that is a 2021 recipient of The SFFILM Rainin Grant and was selected to be a part of this year’s Gotham Project Market and Outfest Screenwriting Lab. Her short films have received recognition from film festivals/organizations that include BFI Flare, Outfest (2021 Emerging Director Award Recipient), The Future of Film Is Female, Black Film Space, and more.
NOVA CYPRESS BLACK
THE OTHER SIDE (Episodic)
When death separates a queer couple, they both indulge in addictive magic to find their way back to each other.
NOVA CYPRESS BLACK is a collage of Midwest tranquility, Southern hospitality, & East Coast grit. They write, dance, & teach from a Blackity Black queer AF womanist lens. NOVA is a slant rhyme. a silver lining. a fistful of sunflower seeds. This nomadic Libra writes their name in all caps as a reminder to take up space as a non-binary gem. NOVA pledges allegiance to liberation & sweet plantains. This MFA drop out is currently a TV writing mentee in Lena Waithe’s 2021 Hillman Grad Mentorship lab, a Gold member of Black Film Space, an Intimacy Coordinator in-training, & a new addition to Damn Write Originals; a Black-owned independent screenwriting label. NOVA currently resides in Atlanta, GA, where they sleep with a stuffed giraffe named Kwasi (her/she), existentially spiral in therapy, & get back on their skateboard every time they fall.
WATER HAS ANOTHER DREAM (Feature)
After suffering an injury, Liuming, a young Chinese competitive diver, sees his dream of being a world-class athlete shattered. As an escape, he takes part in a training program in America, unlocking a world of sex, kink, love. He matures rapidly with unavoidable growing pains.
Oates Wu, writer, director. He graduated from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) with an MFA in Film Directing. In 2020, he was named one of the top 10 directors by the China Films Directors Guild Young Directors Supporting Program. His feature script has been selected by Shanghai International Film Festival, FIRST International Film Festival (Xining, China) and the 2021 Academy Nicholl Fellowships. He has worked as a segment writer/director for the show Family Style which was produced by Warner Brothers’ digital platform Stage 13, and was distributed by HBO Max. His short films have screened at festivals around the world, including Seattle International Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Outfest and more.
Sav Rodgers & Taylor Gates
(he/him) & (she/her)
I Love You, Margot Robbie
Transgender teenage boy Felix McNeil’s high school start was nearly ordinary — breaking an arm, crushing hard, and juggling the inevitable woes of adolescence — but when a larger-than-life, boundlessly supportive A-list actress/imaginary friend falls into his world from a billboard, things take a turn for the extraordinary.
Originally from Kansas, Sav Rodgers is a filmmaker and writer whose work often centers on telling highly specific, surprising stories involving queer characters. He is the director of Chasing Chasing Amy, an upcoming feature documentary about the controversy of Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy among LGBTQ+ people and the profound, lasting impression on his own life. Sav delivered a TED Talk on the subject titled, “The rom-com that saved my life.” In 2017, Sav graduated from the University of Kansas. He is an alumnus of the Outfest and the LA LGBT Center’s OutSet Fellowship, TED Residency, and the Telluride Film Festival Student Symposium. His short films have screened at festivals like Slamdance, the Cleveland International Film Festival, and the American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase. Sav is the Founder and Executive Director of the Transgender Film Center, a nonprofit aiming to help trans creators bring finished films to audiences around the world.
Born and raised in Indiana, Taylor Gates is a queer writer and filmmaker who loves crafting coming-of-age stories filled with complex female characters and pop culture references. In 2019, Taylor made her debut as a writer/director in the OutSet Fellowship with a high school comedy short called “Academic Super Squad,” which premiered at Outfest later that year. The OutSet Fellowship also sparked her partnership with co-writer Sav Rodgers. Their co-written script “I Love You, Margot Robbie” was a finalist in the ScreenCraft Comedy Competition. Taylor’s other feature screenplay, a comedic coming-of-age murder mystery called “Bump, Set, Kill,” was a quarter-finalist in Issa Rae and Paul Feig’s Teen Movie Contest. Taylor is currently a mentor for WriteGirl LA, a nonprofit helping teen girls find empowerment through writing.
Applications for our 2022 Screenwriting Lab will open in late Spring. Please fill out the form linked below to be notified when submissions open.
Past Screenwriting Lab Fellows
Adam Baran – Jackpot (Lab screenplay)
Cheryl Guerriero – Palmer (Lab screenplay)
Darwin Serink – Thief of Sleep (in pre-production)
Dee Johnson – The Good Wife, Nashville, Rizzoli & Isles, ER
Fola Goke-Pariola – Paper Girls for Amazon Studios (In production)
Gary Jaffe – Our Last Summer (Lab screenplay. In production)
George Northy – G.B.F. (Lab screenplay), Charmed (2018)
Gideon Raff – Homeland, The Red Sea Diving Resort, The Spy
Jared Frieder – Three Months (Lab screenplay. In post-production)
Javier Fuentes-Leon – Undertow (Lab screenplay), The Vanished Elephant, Wild District, The Best Families
Jen Richards – Her Story
Jules Nurrish – Anchor and Hope
Julian Breece – When They See Us, The First Wives Club
Kase Peña – Trans Los Angeles, Brujas (In production)
Lauren Hadaway – The Novice (Lab screenplay. In post-production)
Louise Wadley – All About E (Lab screenplay)
Luther Mace – Survivor’s Remorse
Michelle Sam – On the Spectrum for Amazon Studios (In production)
Molly Manning – Hightown
Nancy Nyman and Heather McNama – Call Your Mother
Naomi Iwamoto – Twenties, Happy Together, Connecting…
Silas Howard – By Hook or by Crook
Travis Matthews – Interior. Leather. Bar., Discreet
Yen Tan – Pitstop (Lab screenplay)
Zackery Alexzander Stephens – Q-Force for Netflix (In production)
Abdi Nazemian – The Quiet, Almost Family, The Artist’s Wife
Álvaro Rodríguez – Machete, Seis Manos, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, Chicago Fire
Austin Bunn – Kill Your Darlings
Aziza Barnes – Snowfall, Teenage Bounty Hunters
Brian Dannelly – Saved!
Brittani Nichols – Suicide Kale, A Black Lady Sketch Show, Take My Wife
C. Jay Cox – Sweet Home Alabama
Chloe Keenan – Q-Force, Connecting…, Transparent
Don Mancini – Child’s Play, Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky, Hannibal (TV Series), Chucky (TV Series)
Don Roos – Single White Female, The Opposite of Sex, Happy Endings, Marley & Me, Younger, This is Us
Gabe Liedman – Q-Force, PEN15, Broad City, Transparent, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Kroll Show, Inside Amy Schumer
Guinevere Turner – American Psycho, Go Fish, The Notorious Bettie Page, The L Word, Breaking the Girls, Charlie Says
Guy Branum – The Mindy Project, Connecting…, Awkward., Chelsea Lately
Keisha Zollar – Astronomy Club, Spitting Image, Busy Tonight
Marcos Luevanos – Love, Victor, Charmed (2018)
Micah Schraft – Mrs. America, Jane the Virgin, Jessica Jones
Michael Urban – Saved!, Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf?
Michele Mulroney – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Power Rangers (2017)
Mikko Alanne – The Long Road Home, The 33, Mapplethorpe
Moisés Zamora – Selena: The Series, Star
Neil Landau – Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead; Melrose Place, Undressed
Patricia Resnick – 9 to 5, A Wedding
Patrick Tobin – Cake
Rose Troche – Go Fish, The Safety of Objects, The L Word
Tracey Scott Wilson – Respect, The Americans, Fosse / Verdon
Valerie Stadler – Producer and Founding Partner at Big Swing Productions
Anni Weisband – Producer at Khalabo Ink Society
Cora Olson – Talent & Literary Manager, Producer, Digital Distribution Strategist
David Ruby – Manager of Original Comedy at HBO Max
David Sigurani – Producer/Writer, SVP of Global Content at Blackpills. Producing credits include: The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula, Bonding
Derek Simonds – Writer. Credits include: The Sinner, The Astronaut Wives Club, When We Rise
Kirsten Schaffer – Executive Director at Women in Film
Kyle Schmitz – Vice President, Comedy Development at Warner Bros Television. Credits include: Shrill, AJ and the Queen, Fuller House
LaToya Morgan – Shameless, Parenthood, TURN: Washington’s Spies, The Walking Dead, Duster
M. Dickson – Producer/Writer for Disenchanted, Hoops
Mallory Schwartz – VP, Television & Film Development at Mythical Entertainment. Producer on Before You Know It
Shantira Jackson – Writer. Credits include: The Amber Ruffin Show, Busy Tonight, Saved by the Bell
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