Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and Los Angeles Film Festival, has announced the names of the 9 screenwriters selected for the 16th annual Screenwriting Lab. For five weeks, participants focus on creativity and professionalism, workshopping their writing while building the skills to thrive in the business side of film.
The students will be mentored by a team of industry professionals, including James Ponsoldt (“Smashed,” “The Spectacular Now”), Kirsten Smith (“Legally Blonde”) and Jeff Stockwell (“Bridge to Terabithia,” “The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys”). In addition to these creative advisors, writers will get the chance to hear guest speakers, including Damien Chazelle (“Whiplash,” “The Last Exorcism Part II”) and Richard Levine (“Boss,” “Nip/Tuck,” “Masters of Sex”).
The lucky 2014 Screenwriters Lab writers and projects are:
1. “At First” (Vera Miao) – Anna, a woman recovering from the death of her girlfriend, and Sam, a transgender man guarding his own secrets, throw themselves into one long night together through the vibrant and diverse L.A. neighborhood of Echo Park, figuring out what it means to love and be loved, without the fantasy of ever after.
2. “Dizzy Izzy” (Jonathan Parks-Ramage, Marla Mindelle) – After a much-publicized breakdown, former child star Izzy Love returns to her small Kentucky hometown to rebuild her life. While her mother shoves Izzy back in the spotlight via a trash-tastic reality show, Izzy begins a secret romance that could topple her mother’s plans.
3. “Hesperia” (Heika Burnison, Mike Ott) – When 16-year-old Brandon Waters goes missing in the California desert, his older brother Phil will stop at nothing to find out what happened to him, and in the process uncovers the dark secret past of the strange town where Brandon has been squatting.
4. “Pills” (Andrew Bluestone) – Susan Hoffman’s world is shaken to its core when she falls in love with Jeff, a charismatic man who breathes new life into her otherwise stagnant routine of caring for her Parkinson’s afflicted husband.
5. “The Space Between” (Philiane Phang) – An amateur female bodybuilder’s quest to becoming the best is complicated by her bedridden father and financial debt.
6. “The Sparkle Panthers” (Sarah Carbiener and Erica Rosbe) – To win the prize money that will fix her dad’s house, Alexis, a tomboy gamer, reluctantly agrees to compete in a video game tournament with an all-female team and ends up learning what she’s been missing by avoiding girls her whole life.
7. “Three Faces Of Hunger and Thirst” (HF Crum) – Based on a true story, Three Faces of Hunger and Thirst depicts the 116 minutes leading up to the assassination of visionary Mexican presidential candidate, Colosio, told from the POVs of three would-be assassins.
8. “Transformation Awaits” (Rachel Goldberg) – When a quirky shut-in gets a feisty new neighbor – a transgender woman in an abusive relationship – the two begin a strange friendship that allows them both to break free.
9. “Up With The Joneses” (Rani DeMuth) – When an eccentric mother leaves her family to pursue a career in performance art, the family struggles to find meaning in their lives, especially when the mom returns home.