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Film Independent Announces 2018 Screenwriting Lab Participants

Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television Awards $10,000 Screenwriting Lab Fellowship (May 01, 2018)

LOS ANGELES, May 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards and LA Film Festival, is pleased to announce the seven screenwriters selected for its 20th annual Screenwriting Lab. This intensive four-week workshop is designed to facilitate each writer's unique voice through the development of a single feature screenplay. Eighty-five percent of this year's participants are from communities underrepresented in film and over half the participants are women.

Fellows will workshop their projects over the course of the Lab under the guidance of Creative Advisors Rodrigo García (Nine Lives, HBO's In Treatment), Pamela Ribon (Moana, Wreck-It Ralph 2) and Jeff Stockwell (Bridge to Terabithia). Additional guest speakers and advisors include Andrew Ahn (Spa Night), Script Consultant Ruth Atkinson, Jelani Johnson of CAA and Virgil Williams (Mudbound).

"We are extremely proud that Film Independent's 20th Screenwriting Lab is made up of seven bold, visionary writers whose diverse perspectives represent our continued commitment to fostering inclusion in the film industry. We look forward to nurturing their projects in the Lab and their careers as artists in the long term," said Jennifer Kushner, Director of Artist Development at Film Independent.

For the seventh year, Film Independent will present the Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television Screenwriting Fellowship. This year's Fellowship is being awarded to Margaret Hedderman who will receive a $10,000 grant to support the development of her script, The Code of the West, through the Screenwriting Lab.

Past Screenwriting Lab projects include Spirit Award Winner Andrew Ahn's Spa Night, which premiered in competition at Sundance and won the Grand Jury prize at Outfest; Chloé Zhao's Spirit Award nominated Songs My Brothers Taught Me, which premiered in competition at Sundance and in Directors' Fortnight at Cannes; and Robbie Pickering's SXSW winner Natural Selection.

Film Independent Artist Development programs promote unique independent voices by helping filmmakers create and advance new work through its Filmmaker Labs (Directing, Documentary, Episodic, Producing and Screenwriting), Grants Program which awards over $800,000 annually to filmmakers, the Fast Track finance market, Fiscal Sponsorship and Project Involve, celebrating 25 years of mentoring the next generation of visual storytellers and working toward an inclusive industry.

For more information on Film Independent's Artist Development programs, please contact Jennifer Kushner, Director of Artist Development, at 323 556 9375 or visit

The Film Independent Screenwriting Lab is supported by Artist Development Lead Funder Time Warner Foundation. Sponsors include Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Writer's Guild of America, West.

Suggested Tweet: The 20th @FilmIndependent Screenwriting Lab is comprised of seven bold, visionary writers who represent the future of a more inclusive film industry. Learn more here:

The 2018 Screenwriting Lab participants and their projects are:

Title: At Risk
Writer: Jenny Halper
Logline: A ten-year-old budding scientist becomes obsessed with a turtle he believes has been alive since the time of the dinosaurs as his sister's AIDS diagnosis turns his family into pariahs in their small New England town. Based on Alice Hoffman's novel.

Title: Bury Me on Gold Mountain
Writer/Director: Li Lu
Logline: In 1872, a young Chinese woman fights to survive after being sold to an unknown man in a remote Idaho gold mining town.

Title: Hombrecito
Writer/Director: Miguel Nuñez
Logline: A romantic little fella leads a peasant revolt against the abuses of a foreign cotton company. On his odyssey to defend their right to the land, Hombrecito has kung-fu fights, is stalked by a ghost, and ends up as a misfit cowboy.

Title: Juveniles
Writer/Director: Joshua James Richards
Logline: Teenage love and rebellion in a juvenile correctional facility. 

Title: SOAD
Writer/Director: Ayten Amin
Logline: 12-year old Rabad lives in Zaqazig, a small conservative town in Egypt. After her older sister, Soad falls down an online rabbit hole with tragic consequences, Rabad embarks on a journey looking for answers.

Title: The Code of the West
Writer: Margaret Hedderman
Logline: A directionless musician takes her young son on a road trip to find his father – whom he imagines is a John Wayne-esque figure. They find him on a New Mexico ranch that's under threat from energy development. The boy tries to save the day. 

Title: Zenith
Writer/Director: Ellie Foumbi
Logline: An adopted Black Mennonite leaves the rural White community she was raised in and travels to an inner-city neighborhood to find her biological mother. In the process, she discovers what it means to be Black.

For Film Independent Logos visit

About Film Independent
Film Independent is the nonprofit arts organization that champions creative independence in visual storytelling and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent's Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff and constituents is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a Member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional or a film lover.

In addition to producing the Spirit Awards, Film Independent produces the LA Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent's Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year- round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent's signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry.

For more information or to become a Member, visit

Contact: Alia Quart Khan, Film Independent
Tel: 323 556 9387 or [email protected]

Ryan Collins, Ginsberg/Libby
Tel: 323 645 6800 or [email protected]


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