Film Independent Unveils Episodic Lab Participants with Generous Grants and Support - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Thursday, February 15, 2024

Film Independent Unveils Episodic Lab Participants with Generous Grants and Support

Film Independent Unveils Episodic Lab Participants with Generous Grants and Support

Netflix Returns as Founding Sponsor
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Awards $20,000 Grant
MPAC Hollywood Bureau Awards $10,000 Grant

Film Independent, the trailblazing nonprofit arts organization behind the prestigious Film Independent Spirit Awards, has announced the eight talented writers chosen for its highly anticipated seventh edition of the Episodic Lab. Amongst the distinguished group are Desdemona Chiang, Giovanni Maldonado Chinea, Robert Cohen, Catherine Durickas, Myles Hawthorne, Azza Malik, Robert ToTeras, and Ioana Uricaru. These writers have been handpicked for their original and compelling television pilot scripts, marking the beginning of an immersive two-week journey aimed at fostering their creative growth and career development.

The Episodic Lab, known for its intensive program tailored to empower writers in the episodic space, offers participants invaluable mentorship from seasoned industry professionals. Through personalized guidance and feedback from esteemed showrunners, producers, and executives, the Fellows will fine-tune their pilots and gain invaluable insights into navigating the dynamic landscape of episodic content creation.

"We’re thrilled to support a diverse cohort of talented writers who are crafting stories that resonate deeply with audiences. The Episodic Lab provides a unique platform for nurturing their creative voices and propelling their careers forward," remarked Dea Vazquez, Associate Director of Fiction Programs at Film Independent.

This year's Episodic Lab boasts an impressive lineup of Creative Advisors and Guest Speakers, including industry luminaries such as Wendy Calhoun, Linda Yvette Chávez, Kelly Kulchak, Glen Mazzara, James Ponsoldt, and many more. Their collective expertise promises to enrich the Fellows' experience, equipping them with the necessary tools to thrive in an ever-evolving industry.

Continuing its steadfast support, Netflix returns as the Founding Sponsor of the Episodic Lab, reaffirming its commitment to fostering diverse storytelling voices. As part of their sponsorship, Netflix will pair each Fellow with an executive Industry Advisor, offering invaluable mentorship opportunities to navigate the complexities of the entertainment industry.

In a significant recognition of their talent and potential, Film Independent is proud to announce the recipients of two prestigious grants. Robert Cohen and Ioana Uricaru have been awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant, receiving a $20,000 grant to further develop their pilot, "Overcast." The Sloan Episodic Lab Grant, aimed at integrating science and technology themes into dramatic narratives, underscores the Foundation's dedication to advancing public understanding of these critical subjects.

Expressing their gratitude, Cohen and Uricaru shared, "We are honored and excited to receive the support and recognition of the Alfred P. Sloan development grant. Our series 'Overcast' delves into the heart of difficult questions about science, morality, and politics, set in the American Deep South of the 1960s. The Foundation's support is essential for telling this story, ensuring that a fascinating piece of American and science history receives the visibility it deserves."

Additionally, Azza Malik has been awarded the MPAC Hollywood Bureau Writing Fellowship Grant, receiving a $10,000 grant for her pilot, "Dear Azza." This grant, presented by the MPAC Hollywood Bureau, aims to elevate stories by and about Muslims in the entertainment industry, amplifying diverse voices and narratives.

Reflecting on her achievement, Malik expressed, "I'm honored to receive the MPAC Grant for 'Dear Azza.' This project is a love letter to Sudan amidst war, exploring the lives of three Sudanese sisters navigating faith, love, and societal upheaval. Grateful for MPAC's support in championing a Sudanese story; global awareness of our identity is more crucial now than ever before."

The Episodic Lab continues to serve as a launchpad for emerging voices in television, with past Fellows making significant strides in the industry. Notable alumni include April Shih, Kimi Lee, Henry "Hank" Jones, and KD Dávila, whose accomplishments underscore the impact of Film Independent's Artist Development programs.

For over 40 years, Film Independent has championed creative independence in visual storytelling, fostering a culture of inclusion and empowerment. Through its various initiatives, including Project Involve, Documentary Producing Lab, and Screenwriting Lab, Film Independent remains dedicated to supporting diverse voices and nurturing the next generation of storytellers.

For more information on Film Independent's Episodic Lab visit

For more information, visit or follow @SloanPublic on Twitter and Facebook.

They are the real deal.  For over four decades, Film Independent has been a driving force in the independent film community, championing creative independence and fostering diverse storytelling voices. 

Through its signature programs, including Project Involve, Global Media Makers, and the Episodic Lab, Film Independent empowers filmmakers from underrepresented communities and provides a platform for their work to be seen and celebrated. Additionally, Film Independent produces the annual Spirit Awards, honoring achievements in independent filmmaking.


No comments:

Post a Comment