2019 Feature Residency Participants

Women In Film and The Black List Writing Labs
2019 Feature Residency Participants

The Women In Film x Black List writing programs, encompassing an episodic lab and a feature lab, have just begun the 2019 feature residency. This program, a joint effort between both organizations, provides mentorship and career opportunities to six rising women screenwriters over the course of a year. The Residency kicked off with a three-day intensive this past weekend in a Los Angeles home sponsored by Airbnb, and included mentors and advisors such as:

  • Haifaa al-Mansour (WADJDA director, ReFrame Rise Fellow)
  • Jessica Bendinger (BRING IT ON)
  • Andrea Berloff (THE KITCHEN)
  • Aline Brosh McKenna (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”)
  • Scott Myers (Go Into the Story, the official blog of the Black List)
  • Liz Hannah (LONG SHOT)
  • Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith (LEGALLY BLONDE)

The participants will continue in mentorship, script work, and career development for the next twelve months. The Residency is supported by Airbnb and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

The 2019 Residency participants and their projects are:

Sylvia Batey Alcalá

SICK – When a violent contagion begins to spread, a director and actor take solace in their production of OTHELLO and fall deeply in love, even as the outbreak threatens to destroy what they’ve created.

Sylvia Batey Alcalá is an award-winning writer-director-actor-hyphen enthusiast, whose most recent film, THE SPECTACULAR SUMMER OF WEREDOG AND AMY, took home the Hollyshorts Audience Award. She has worked as a Writers’ Assistant on The CW’s “Legacies,” and lives in Eagle Rock with her husband and two dogs, Tesla and Indiana Bones.

Devi Gowni

THE LIMPING LADY – The true story of Virginia Hall, the legendary female spy from World War II, and her escape across the Alps with a wooden leg, several injured POWs in tow, and the Nazi army closing in behind them.

Devi Gowni is a writer, director, and political organizer who has worked with organizations such as March and Rally LA and Human Rights Watch to craft and execute campaigns centering around advocacy. Having worked at the intersection of storytelling and activism for most of her adult life, her aim is to tell powerful, inclusive, and commercial stories with lasting human impact.

Alyssa Lerner

JESSE IS A FRIEND – Jesse, a 17-year-old Filipina and awkward tomboy, is in deep unrequited love with her best friend, Roxanne. After Roxanne shows interest in a new girl, Jesse will have to move their semi-romantic friendship to the next level before Roxanne moves on without her.

Alyssa Lerner is a queer, Asian-American writer and director heralding from Poway, CA. Since receiving her M.F.A. in Writing for Film and TV from the University of Southern California, her work has garnered a number of accolades, including the Best TV Pilot screenplay award at the L.A. Comedy Fest, finalist placement at the NBCUniversal Short Film Fest, winner of the Inside Out Film Festival Pitch Competition, and the audience award for Best Short at the Frameline43 International Film Festival with her directorial debut BUBBLE.

Anya Meksin

TAMINEX – When a deadly pandemic plunges the city into an anti-immigrant panic, a young Iranian woman must go outside official channels and venture into the underbelly of a corrupt society to procure the only drug that can save her boyfriend’s life and her own—Taminex.

Anya Meksin is an award-winning writer-director whose work has been supported by Film Independent, IFP, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Open Society Institute, SFFILM, ScreenCraft, NYTVF, the Big Vision Creators Program, the Museum of the Moving Image, and the National Academy of Sciences. Born in Russia, Meksin immigrated to the U.S. as an asylum-seeking refugee before receiving a B.A. from Yale University and an M.F.A. from Columbia University, where she also taught non-fiction filmmaking.

Erin Rodman

MADAME – Based on the true life story of the legendary Madame Claude (Fernande Grudet), from her childhood in Nazi-occupied France to the origins of her brothel and its mid-century heyday. Serving illustrious clients such as Marlon Brando, Gianni Agnelli, and the Shah of Iran, in Paris and L.A., Madame Claude managed to elude authorities until third-generation police detective Martine Monteil, eager to boost her career, decides to take her down.

Erin Rodman spent many years rolling calls, making lists on buck slips, and reading on the weekends as a development assistant at DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox, and writing coverage as a story analyst at Parkes MacDonald, Netflix, and Paramount. She currently has a feature and two series in development at Stampede Ventures, co-wrote two episodes of the upcoming Miso Film/Viaplay series “Seizure,” and is a 2019 WritersForWriters Female Screenwriting Fellowship winner. Erin has an M.F.A. in screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University and a Master’s Degree in film and television theory from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

Bo Shim

TAKE CARE – Struggling to follow up her debut bestseller, a Korean-American novelist reluctantly returns home to care for her cancer-stricken brother. As she gets entangled in the chaos of the family she left behind, they all confront the ugly truth that facing mortality doesn’t necessarily bring out the best in people.

A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Bo Shim is a Korean-American writer based in Los Angeles. She has received the Alfred P. Sloan Writing Grant and the Writers Guild Initiative’s Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship in Screenwriting, and most recently participated in the inaugural Women In Film Production Program.

The 2019 Residency semi-finalists' projects are:

Susan Ashley

FINDING GRACE – Determined to prove he’s not just a mid-life crisis with a beverage cart, flight attendant Brett Parker returns home to care for his ailing father and confront a dark secret from his past. Once again, it’s the women in his life who guide him on his hilarious, if not pathetic, journey to adulthood at 48.


Haley H. Bartels

ANNE BONNY – Inspired by true events. A Nassau housewife flees her corseted life on land and runs away with a notorious pirate captain in hopes of finding freedom on the seas, but quickly learns that piracy comes with its own set of constraints.


Donna McNeely Burke

THE SONS OF MAY – A powerful and meticulously researched historical drama about a virtually unknown part of WWII, the never-before-told story of the 425,000 German soldiers interned in POW camps across the U.S. during WWII. The story follows young German corporal Dietrich Krieger from his surrender to his eventual salvation, as he struggles to survive persecution by his own Nazi officers. “A rich and engaging wartime drama… a memorable and evocative period piece with award season potential… a clever, exciting, inventive inversion of the traditional WWII POW film… a fairly undeniable piece of material that seems destined to attract serious production interest.” —The Black List


Christie Conochalla

FINDING YESTERDAY – A father who created a life of magic for his children, and the day which changed the course of their lives in this magical realism drama about two estranged sisters who come together and find a treasure map their father made which leads them on a the path to rediscovering the magic which died on one tragic day in their adolescence.


Karyn Folan

THE REVISIONIST – After her son’s sudden suicide, a career-driven novelist is given a supernatural opportunity to re-make her life’s choices in the hopes of saving him.


Natalie Frank

CHILD SUPPORT – Set against the surf culture of San Diego’s mythic and dangerous Windansea Beach in 2004, a 15-year-old girl follows a group of reckless teens down the path of alcohol, drugs, and petty crime as she struggles to cope with her parents’ divorce.


Lisa Jay

THE DOMOVOI – After hearing an old Russian fairy tale about a monster that lives in the oven and grants wishes, a young girl wishes her stepfather was dead. Events quickly spiral into a bloody mess of unintended consequences—and talking goats.


Jenny Kleiman

AMERICAN PRINCESS – Unable to connect with her peers, Ellie, a wealthy, unchallenged teen, finds deep friendship with her mentally-unstable father, but when he is institutionalized, she must navigate her own escape and plot his rescue from her new home, her babysitter’s trailer park.


Tricia Lee

MOTHER-DAUGHTER – A dramedy feature about a transgender teen who helps an undocumented Asian woman escape deportation; they form an unlikely friendship that helps them heal their relationships with their own families.


Chris Courtney Martin

PALE HORSE – When a reclusive author shelters a man who escaped captivity with her long-missing brother, they’re both tormented by the zealot responsible.


Caitlin McCarthy

A NATIVE LAND – A black Native American cop battles local prejudice, personal troubles, and her own police force while trying to uncover a serial killer on the loose.


Leslie Nipkow

SALT OF THE EARTH – In 1953, blacklisted film director Herbert Biberman and a company of Hollywood outcasts go to the desert where, despite a clueless crew, angry vigilantes, pissed-off Hedda Hopper, and a cast of zinc miners, they make America’s first independent film.


Deborah Puette

CASH FOR GOLD – Struggling to make ends meet, stay sober, and raise her son in the wake of her husband’s sudden death from a heroin overdose, a young mother takes work at a cash-for-gold shop owned by an Iranian family with whom she develops an unlikely connection, sending shock waves through their conservative small town.


Adva Reichman

PROJECT FOG – Nabila, an 8-months-pregnant Palestinian woman whose husband died in an Israeli prison wants to avenge his death. With the help of Hamas, she plans a terror attack in Israel. The premature birth of her baby makes her reconsider, but will Hamas let her off the hook?


Becca Roth

MARGO & PERRY – When an aimless twenty-something stumbles upon a young girl whom she believes to be the daughter she gave up for adoption as a teen, she becomes the girl’s babysitter and keeps her identity hidden.


Wallaine Sarao

HONEY – In the small Filipino community of Paradise Hills, San Diego, there’s a mix of devout Christians, drug dealers, racers, and wannabe gangstas. Honey—a devout, God-fearing, Christian—meets two friends who convince her to forgo her fears and join their R&B ’90s dance group. For the first time, she’s free, even in full make-up, a g-string, and daisy dukes. However, her dual lives collide when she finds out she’s pregnant.


Brandi & Shauna Sperry

LIKE FAMILY – When what was once an annual girlfriends vacation becomes overrun with perfect couples, the last single woman standing must weather the new status quo or risk sabotaging long-time friendships—and her own chance for love.


Alexandra Tran

BLACK GIRLS DON’T SWIM – A Muslim teen in rural Minnesota risks her life and everything her family has built to pursue her dream of competitive swimming.


Jill Von D

SONATA – A coming-of-age story about a young Asian-American girl fallen dangerously into a life of crime. Born into the only Asian family in a ’90s town, we follow Anna Cheng’s battles of the model-minority identity as a promising piano player and being a child of the West—a destiny yet to be carved.


Laurie Whitaker

WARRIOR GIRL – After a horrific accident kills her father, shatters her leg, and her Olympic gymnastic dreams, AMY, 15, is sent to live with an emotionally wounded stranger, her Native American grandfather, who, before his wife died of cancer, was a renowned healer on an Indian reservation.


Alison C. Wroblewski

THE FLASHLIGHT FARMER – Left with extreme debt, a young dairy farmer must save her livelihood and home while reconciling her husband’s recent unexpected death and her father’s recurring opioid addiction.