By Ramzi De Coster | Indiewire September 5, 2013 at 5:39PM
Film Independent, the parent organization of the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, has selected 10 screenwriting fellows for its 14th annual screenwriting lab. The intensive five-week program aspires to encourage the writers to refine and improve their craft while instilling in them the professional and creative knowledge to take their current screenplay projects forward.
This year's returning mentors include writer/director Robin Swicord ("The Jane Austen Book Club," "Memoirs of a Geisha") and writer Jeff Stockwell ("Bridge to Terabithia", "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys"). Guest speakers Destin Daniel Cretton ("Short Term 12") and Sian Heder ("Orange is the New Black") are expected to contribute their knowledge of the practice and industry.
The Selected 2013 Screenwriting Fellows and their Current Screenplay Projects:
1. Broad Street Diner (Fred Thomas Jr.) - Three elderly male friends who meet daily at a neighborhood diner, find that 70 is the new 40 as they deal with friendship, new love, sickness and fatherhood, making it hard for them to retire from "Life."
2. Forbidden Steps (Iram Parveen Bilal) - A Muslim daughter struggles with the divisions between her passion for dancing and the will of her family.
3. Jamie and Jackie (Tarik Karam) - Jamie and Jackie is the story of a small time thief who lives the life of a ghost until the day he's invited to play a strange game with a woman he meets at a hotel.
4. Jane (Natalija Vekic) - After her sister's fatal back alley abortion, Teresa, a bright, but naive 1960's college student, joins "Jane," an underground group who break the law and risk their lives to help women find access to safe abortions.
5. Love on the Tundra (Dana Turken) - Seemingly together, type-A Emily becomes obsessed with trying to “save” mentally ill Jacob, but in the process of helping him get better, begins to psychologically unravel herself.
6. The Murch (Elliot Williams) - An extremely smart boy from the Midwest moves to the projects of North Carolina and learns that there is a high price for trying to fit in.
7. Spa Night (Andrew Ahn) - Struggling to escape his crumbling family life, a closeted Korean-American teenager follows his desires and finds more than he bargains for at the Korean spa.
8. Sugar (Thymaya Payne) - When a seasoned war correspondent is executed in a fancy Nairobi suburb, his 29 year-old lover is forced to confront corrupt politicians, Somali extremists and her own demons, in order to expose the conspiracy behind his death.
9. Trauma (Edi Ibok) - A veteran discharged after a spontaneous act of violence struggles to reorient himself to home town life and must face emotional scars resulting from a sexual assault he experienced in the military.
10. Varenya (Shripriya Mahesh) - Varenya, a South Indian Hindu priest,
accepts a young apprentice and is forced to question the doctrines of