WIF | Black List Writing Labs

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ABOUT THE EPISODIC LAB

The Black List and Women In Film will invite six to eight promising non-professional television writers who identify as women to the Lab. The Lab will run twice weekly for four weeks beginning on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 and will consist of script development, peer workshopping sessions and Master Classes with established writers and industry executives. Lab participants will have their final pilots read by agencies and networks. Advisors and Master Class teachers include Monica Beletsky (“Parenthood”), Carly Wray (“Westworld”), Sono Patel (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), Glen Mazzara (“The Dark Tower”), and many others.


ABOUT THE FEATURE RESIDENCY

This year, we’re thrilled to announce that The Black List and Women In Film will invite six promising non-professional screenwriters who identify as women to participate in a one-year residency, kicking off with a weekend intensive in the Los Angeles area the weekend of July 19, 2019. Over the kickoff weekend, writers involved in the Lab will workshop one feature screenplay through one-on-one sessions with screenwriting mentors and in peer workshops. Throughout the following 12 months, writers will be supported through arranged meetings with representation, production companies, and fellow writers to elevate their projects and career trajectories. Writers will also be invited to exclusive Black List and Women In Film events through the end of June 2020.

Participants of the 2019 Black List | Women In Film
Episodic Lab:

Kim Garland

THE RESURRECTED – When a dead body comes back to life and then escapes from a Manhattan funeral home, the determined Funeral Director must track down the body to clear herself of wrongdoing. 

Kim Garland was raised in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC, of Puerto Rican descent, and grew up as part of a funeral home family that lived above their funeral home. She worked her way through college covering the night shift at her family’s business and graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Creative Writing (and a whole lot of stories about the dead). She’s written and directed several films that have screened at film festivals and comic cons across the country. Kim focuses on dark stories set in dark worlds with a particular love for Horror, Sci-Fi, and Thrillers.

Robin Hayes

GOAT – ​In the American territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Captain Owen Arthur Bradshaw and his descendants fight to claim their inheritance of a sugar plantation from a clan of billionaires while great events in history unfold between 1917 and 2017.

Dr. Robin J. Hayes is an award-winning filmmaker who directed the documentary BLACK AND CUBA (Amazon Prime, iTunes, Roku). A Yale alumnus who studied at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she produced the Off-Off Broadway play 9 GRAMS, which was directed by Emmy/Obie winner S. Epatha Merkerson. The Ford Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities funded Hayes’ work. Her book A LOVE FOR LIBERATION is forthcoming on University of Washington Press. Hayes is currently developing several projects including the Screencraft Film Fund semi-finalist, INSIDE EXILE, about iconic Black Panther Party leader Kathleen Neal Cleaver.

Rosette Laursen

OH MONICA – A scandal erupts At Freedom High when incoming freshman Monica Lewinsky develops a crush on popular School President Bill Clinton, and the rest is history class.

Rosette Laursen was born in a hut in Kauai and raised all over California.  She was a professional ballet dancer for years before having the epiphany that she could combine her three favorite things – writing, TV and comedy – into a profession. She immediately quit dance and started studying screenwriting at UCLA Extension while working as an assistant at a variety of entertainment offices and on television shows. Rosette is very happy to no longer be dancing on her toes for money, but has applied the aggressive discipline she learned from dance to her writing endeavors.

Jude Roth 

HOMEFRONT – Homefront follows a group of female veterans struggling to salvage their lives in America’s South who, after tragedy strikes amid their ranks, sets out to help vets throughout the country.

At the age of nine, Jude Roth dabbled in crime by stealing stacks of notebooks because she desperately needed to write – but couldn’t TELL anyone. (Now she tells EVERYONE!) Growing up in the “Plastics Capital of the World,” she experienced the effects of big business on small-town America, inspiring her to write personal stories amid political/bigger backdrops. She’s pleased her scripts have been finalists in Sundance Episodic Lab and HUMANITAS New Voices programs, and earned her spots on the acclaimed WeForShe WriteHerList and The Black List featured category. (And she’s also very sorry about the whole STEALING thing.)

Anna Salinas

INSIDE CUNT –  When a depressed 20-something suddenly starts intercepting Russian spy signals through her vagina, she’s pulled into a dangerous world of global intrigue.

Anna is latinx writer/filmmaker/comedian and the creator of the viral Instagram webcomic “Bad Comix by Anna,” which chronicles her struggles with anxiety, depression, and cheese. She is a regular writer/performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade and one half of the all-latina sketch duo John Baxter — whose comedy videos have been featured in various publications including Mashable, WhoHaha, and Vulture. Anna holds an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA and is a 2018 Sundance New Voices Lab fellow.

Gillian Weeks 

POLITICAL SCIENCE- A mother and daughter, both fallen politicos, battle for power in the dirtiest swamp of all: the political science department of an elite college.

Gillian Weeks has turned to narrative film and television writing after a decade in the documentary space. In 2018, the Tribeca Film Institute award Gillian a Sloan Grant to write her first feature, THE NEW MIRACLE, which chronicles the invention of IVF. A year later, she was selected as a 2019 Sundance Institute Fellow for the same project. In addition to writing Miracle, Gillian is now developing several original drama series. Before writing full-time, she oversaw series development for Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions, helping create series including Netflix’s SALT FAT ACID HEAT and THE FAMILY, Showtime’s ENEMIES, and AMC’s forthcoming HIP HOP. Gillian graduated with a BA in Political Economy from Williams College and Oxford University.

Haley Bartels

“Barbary” – San Francisco, 1896: A shy postmortem photographer and a brazen actress are led to a grisly murder scene and must brave the city’s Barbary Coast—a viper’s nest of corrupt politicians, Chinese tongs, and dangerous brothels—to unravel a series of killings that hit increasingly close to home.


Lynda Brendish

“The Woodhill” – The true story of Victoria Woodhill’s radical 1872 bid for the presidency, 50 years before women had the vote—and the sex scandals, hubris, and patriarchal powers-that-be that prevent her success.


Vanessa Bretas & Julia Lucas

“Help” – Follows the burgeoning, unlikely friendship of a first-generation part-time babysitter, and undocumented full-time domestic worker, and their wealthy employer. The series unravels the upstairs/downstairs narrative to reveal the more complicated intimacy of domestic work.


J.A. Campanelli


Monisha Dadlani


Annelise Dekker-Hernandez

“Please Help Me” – Two college students coming to terms with their own mental health issues and dealing with them in dramatically different ways move in together, becoming each other’s unlikely support system as they try to enjoy the (alleged) best years of their lives.


Andi Delott


Chastity Dotson


Casey Gates Frey

“The Bump” – In an alternate-present reality where all men have become barren (turns out, cell phones in pockets were a bad idea), couples must audition for a reality show called “The Bump” to compete for the greatest prize of all: insemination.


Laura Germano

“Hissy Fit” – After the harrowing death of their bandmate, an all-female punk band repurposes their trauma into “protest music” as they rise through the ranks of the misogynistic punk scene and attempt to publicly destroy those who have wronged them. But not all causes are noble, and not all secrets stay buried.


Julia Harter


Ellie Hayden

“Relative Distance” – When Earth’s scientists finally crack faster-than-light travel, a disparate team of experts take on the mission to recontact humanity’s long-isolated colonies—relics of a bygone age of one-way space travel.


Lauren Jacques


Chelsea Javier

“Halloween Club” – Set in 1998 Los Angeles, a young woman takes a job at a year-round Halloween outlet, where she secretly investigates the store’s dark past, including an unresolved murder, with help from a group of eclectic employees.


Kelsey Joseph


Michela M. Smith

“Bury the Lede” – As she struggles to investigate her principal’s mysterious murder, Nellie Cruz, 17, and her ragtag student newspaper staff battle fake news and Nellie’s own teenage urge to believe rumors.


Shani Am. Moore

“War & Peacekeepers” – A rookie U.S. lawyer treks to Africa to solve the mystery of her brother’s death, but the conflict she encounters puts her at risk of the same fate.


T. Siena

“Border Dogs” – In an old mining town near the border, a mixed-race Coyote/pawn shop owner must become ruthless to protect his family from the border agents, drug lords, and vigilante patriots who have converged on his native land.


Elizabeth Stamp


Kim Tran


Lindiwe Mueller-Westernhage & Dale Watson

The Women In Film x Black List writing programs kicked off the 2019 feature residency with a three-day intensive in a Los Angeles home sponsored by Airbnb. The program provides mentorship and career opportunities to six rising women screenwriters over the course of a year. The kickoff weekend included mentors and advisors such as: Haifaa al-Mansour (WADJDA, 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 Residency is supported by Airbnb and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Participants of the 2019 Black List | Women In Film
Feature Residency:

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.

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


Christine 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 the path to rediscovering the magic that died 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 eight-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 makeup, 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 he 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.