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Outfest Announces Their 2022 Screenwriting Lab Fellows

05/12/2022

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Outfest Announces Their 2022 Screenwriting Lab Fellows

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05 December 2022

United States

The ten selected emerging LGBTQIA screenwriters will take part in the week-long lab

Outfest - the Los Angeles-based nonprofit that uplifts global LGBTQIA creators in the entertainment industry by providing career support and curating the exhibition and preservation of queer and transgender stories - has selected ten queer and transgender writers from diverse backgrounds for their 2022 Outfest Screenwriting Lab. The selected fellows will workshop feature-length and pilot scripts during a week-long lab, taking place virtually from Monday, December 5 to Friday, December 9. The 2022 Outfest Screenwriting Lab is run in partnership with Netflix's Fund for Creative Equity.

Created in 1997 as a screenwriting contest, the Outfest Screenwriting Lab has since become the cornerstone of Outfest's artist development and education programs. Beyond workshopping their scripts, this year's cohort will attend industry panels and be mentored by distinguished LGBTQIA showrunners, writers, producers, studio and network executives, and screenwriters. Some of the industry leaders participating include lvaro Rodriguez (Seis Manos, American Rust), Brian Boone (CAA), Chloe Keenan (Single Drunk Female), Cole Galvin (Netflix), Jeffrey Richman (Modern Family, Uncoupled), John August (Big Fish), LaToya Morgan (Parenthood, Shameless), Mercedes Valle (DCs Legends of Tomorrow), Sanaz Yamin (Day Zero Productions), Ryan O'Connell (Special), and Will Graham (Mozart in the Jungle, A League of Their Own), among others.

With support from Netflix, Outfest expanded access to the program by waiving submission fees for all applicants and will be providing career sustainability grants to help financially support each of the fellows. Through this expanded access, the Outfest Screenwriting Lab received a record number of over 900 submissions, more than double the amount received in 2021.

This year's fellows include: Bri J. Hernandez, Donovan Tolledo, Estevan, James Acker, Joseph Sackett, Katie Heaney, Paloma Riojas, Riya Saxena, Rub n Mendive and Vernon Jordan, III.

The Outfest Screenwriting Lab is a testament to the power of community, said Outfest Educational Programs Manager Kieran Medina. An all LGBTQIA experience, the entire Lab is for us, by us. Across 25 years, Outfest has created a community of creative and professional support where queer, trans and nonbinary storytellers and stories can be held with care and understood in full bloom.

Outfest's Screenwriting Lab is a critical part of the organizations larger vision of cultivating belonging for queer, trans and nonbinary creators by facilitating mentorship to support a sustainable creative journey, said Outfest's Artist Development Director Martine McDonald. It's care-driven storytelling like this that transforms our communities, creative industry and wider world.

The Lab is also providing industry support to thirteen additional Notable Writers, which include Adelina Anthony, Adina Kruskal, Chasey Ridgley, Drew Burnett Gregory, Ernesto Mart nez, Gerard Shaka, Joseph Pellegrino, Kate Imy, Nathan Pearson, Nick Janaye, Robert Cunningham, Sebasti n Rea and Stevie Wain.

The Lab was developed this year by Outfest board members Zackery Alexzander Stephens, Kyle Schmitz, Ranard Caldwell and Valerie Stadler, along with former Outfest board member Cora Olson, Outfest Educational Programs Manager Kieran Medina and Outfest Director of Artist Development Martine McDonald.

Outfest Artist Development Director Martine McDonald and several of the 2022 Outfest Screenwriting Lab Fellows are available for interviews upon request.

About This Years Fellows and Their Projects

Bri J. Hernandez (they/them) Bri J. Hernandez is a 23-year-old Latine writer and director. Working since they were sixteen, Bri has spent the past seven years developing their skills as a creator by producing their own projects utilizing art, theatre, and film. As an advocate for many social rights issues, Bri has prioritized creating material that fosters new conversations and helps amplify the voices of queer people of color. Their work primarily focuses on coming of age, friendship, and identity. They currently live in Austin with their two best friends and their cats.

BOYS IN BANDS (Feature): A closeted teenage transgender boy must keep his secret life as a male garage band singer away from his traditional Latino family.

Donovan Tolledo (he/him) Donovan Tolledo is a NYC-based writer and producer born in Saudi Arabia and raised in the Philippines and Chicago. His written work often centers around the Asian-American experience, tackling immigration, sexuality, and masculinity. He received his MFA from Columbia University in May 2022. His work at Columbia has screened at Newfest, and his thesis short Fat Lip received support from Panavision New Filmmakers Program, was nominated for a National Board of Review student grant, and is currently on the film festival circuit.

FAT LIP (Feature): Nerdy Asian-American middle schooler, Benjie, falls for a rebel sk8er boi. To gain his attention, Benjie must ditch his immigrant geek persona and transform into a radical, emo, all-American teen.

Estevan (he/him) Estevan is a queer, first-generation Mexican-American writer, director and actor born and raised in South-Central Phoenix, Arizona. Estevan writes human experience dramas that explore sexuality, nostalgia, and otherness. He is the co-host of the comedy podcast Your Gay Cousins with Michael & Estevan. Most recently, he wrote on Love In Gravity, a queer anthology audio drama series. Previously, Estevan was the writers' assistant and co-wrote an episode of the character-driven sexual assault drama, Long Slow Exhale (Spectrum). He was also the Writers
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