Film Independent Taps 10 Fellows for Screenwriting Lab

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Film Independent has selected 10 fellows for its 14th annual Screenwriting Lab, the non-profit that produces the Spirit Awards and Los Angeles Film Fest announced on Thursday.

This year’s honorees and their projects are Fred Thomas Jr. (“Broad Street Diner”), Iram Parveen Bilal (“Forbidden Steps”), Tarik Karam (“Jamie and Jackie”), Natalija Vekic (“Jane”), Dana Turken (“Love on the Tundra”), Elliott Williams (“The Murch”), Andrew Ahn (“Spa Night”), Thymaya Payne (“Sugar”), Edi Ibok (“Trauma”), and Shripriya Mahesh (“Varenya”).

The Screenwriting Lab, which is sponsored by the Writers Guild of America, West, is a five-week intensive workshop designed to help budding scripters move their current projects forward.

Fellows are advised on the craft and business of screenwriting by guest speakers and one-on-one advisers. This year’s mentors are writer-helmer Robin Swicord (“The Jane Austen Book Club,” “Memoirs of a Geisha”) and scribe Jeff Stockwell (” Bridge to Terabithia,” “The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys”); guest speakers include Destin Daniel Cretton (“Short Term 12”) and Sian Heder (“Orange is the New Black”).

The Loyola Marymount University of Film and Television (SFTV) will partner with Film Independent for the second year to award a $10,000 grant to an LMU alum in the program, Eli Ibok, to further develop his script.

After the intensive program has wrapped, Film Independent provides its fellows with year-round support, including access to the org’s annual film education offerings and the L.A. Film Fest, as well as the opportunity to join the Independent Writers Caucus of the Writers Guild of America, West.

Recent projects developed through the lab include Robbie Pickering’s “Natural Selection,” which garnered several awards at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival, and Minh Nguyen-Vo’s “The Buffalo Boy,” which was Vietnam’s foreign-language entry to the 2005 Oscars.

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