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Sundance Institute Announces the 2023 Episodic Pitch Parlor Fellows


LOS ANGELES, CA - The Sundance Institute Episodic Program announced the Fellows selected for the second annual Pitch Parlor, presented by NBCUniversal, taking place today, March 9, 2023 in Los Angeles. The nine Fellows are Britt Adams (Onyx), Gianmarco Maximilian Giacomelli (To Kill a Pope), Naomi Ko (The 20-Year Curse), Ricardo P rez Gonz lez (Orlando), Justin Calen-Chenn and Giancarlo S nchez (KNOCKTURNAL), Elissa Blount Moorhead and Ericka Blount Danois (fiftyTwo), and Nicole Saad (American Grand Prix). Project genres this year range from heartfelt intergenerational comedy to espionage thrillers and genre-bending horror.

Pitch Parlor is an industry facing curation of Episodic Program Alumni, who are ready to showcase pitches based on their original series ideas to producers, studios, and networks. Participating Industry Mentors who provided key guidance in the Fellows' creative project development include Erika Kennair (Extracurricular), Karim Zreik (Cedar Tree Productions), Kesila Childers (Powderkeg), and Shana C. Waterman (Royal Ties).

The Episodic Program brings together writers with unproduced, original series IP. The Episodic Lab, taking place each fall in Utah, is a six-day immersive experience that allows writers to work closely under the stewardship of established showrunners, producers, and development executives. The Lab is overseen by Founding Senior Director of Artist Programs, Michelle Satter, and Episodic Program Director, Jandiz Estrada Cardoso.

All of the content this year bolts out the gate with heroic characters, some against extreme odds which is fitting for a post-pandemic audience, said Episodic Program Director, Jandiz Estrada Cardoso. One simple and human anthem of these shows is their infallible pursuit of self-defined victory, in territories as basic as family or as savage as folklore.

The Sundance Institute Episodic Program is made possible by Founding Supporters Lyn and Norman Lear and Cindy Harrell Horn and Alan Horn. Leadership Supporters are AMC Networks, MGM+, MRC Television, Netflix, The Harry and Florence Sloan Foundation, The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and STARZ.

Episodic Lab Alumni include producers Katori Hall (P-Valley), Barry Jenkins (Underground Railroad), Tanuj Chopra (Delhi Crime Season 2), Desiree Akhavan (The Bisexual), and Heather Rae (Outer Range). Past Fellows have gone on to earn writing positions on shows including Ms. Marvel, The Staircase, This is Us, Dave, You're the Worst, Better Call Saul, Silicon Valley, Nancy Drew, Marvel's Armor Wars, One Of Us Is Lying, Sweet Tooth, and The Americans. Alumni have also set up or sold Lab projects at networks including HBO, Amazon, STARZ, Disney+, Hulu, FX, ABC, CW, AMC, TBS, and Netflix.

Additional information on the projects and writers chosen for the 2023 Episodic Pitch Parlor can be found below.


Britt Adams with ONYX: In a social climate of unrest, an underground intelligence agency combats the injustices against Black people using disguises, fake identities, and coercion tactics.

Britt Adams, a multi-hyphenate from North Carolina, writes genre-bending political satire with distinctive humor and adrenaline. In addition to writing and producing her own series, as a performer, she has guest starred on various shows for networks including Netflix and CBS, and is recurring on ABC's The Rookie: Feds.

Justin Calen-Chenn and Giancarlo S nchez with KNOCKTURNAL: An unlikely alliance is forged when an American ex-con, now aspiring journalist, travels to Amsterdam and pairs up with a volatile European female kickboxer to unravel the inner workings of the city's most secretive criminal organization, who have been supplying vulnerable immigrants a new insidious monster-creating drug called knock.

Formerly homeless until adopted by a Black man from South LA, Justin Calen-Chenn allegedly lived a shadier life before writing. Credits include Netflix's Brothers Sun starring Michelle Yeoh and Peacock's Bel-Air. He has sold multiple projects to studios alongside Higher Ground, 87North, Matt Jackson, Chernin, 50 Cent and more.

Giancarlo S nchez is a Colombian-Argentinian writer/director born and raised in Amsterdam. Giancarlo began in music videos before directing features including Dutch Academy Award winner Horizon. In television, he directed euro-sensation Mocro Maffia and the pilot of Netflix's first Dutch Original Ares. Currently, Giancarlo is the creative director at Topkapi Films.

Ericka Blount Danois and Elissa Blount Moorhead with fiftyTWO: fiftyTWO is a 30-minute dramedy series that follows the fish-out-of-water adventures of two diehard New Yorkers: a Baby Boomer grandfather (PopPop) and his Gen Z granddaughter (Kai), as they become unlikely roommates and navigate what they think is a sleepy southern town.

Ericka Blount Danois has written for The New York Times, Vibe, ESPN, Essence magazine, The Washington Post, and more. She is the author of Love, Peace, and Soul, about the history of Soul Train. She directed research for the documentary Time Is Illmatic, about rapper Nas. Her music journalism archives are housed at Indiana University.

Elissa Blount Moorhead's work explores the poetics of quotidian Black life. Her directorial projects include; Jay Z's 4:44, Back And Song, an experimental 4-channel film, and PBS/Firelight Media's Masters In The Making series. She is the author of P is for Pussy, an illustrated children's book, and is featured in How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance.

Gianmarco Maximilian Giacomelli with TO KILL A POPE: An exiled English mercenary wrestling with a crisis of faith embarks on a mission to assassinate the Pope in exchange for absolution and the chance to reunite with his lost love.
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