The 2016 Cassian Elwes Independent Screenwriting Fellows, Kristina Zacharias and Terrell Garrett, spent a long weekend at Sundance with prolific independent producer Elwes (“Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”) — the first time in the three years of the fellowship program that not one but two entrants have been selected.
The experience is a prime opportunity for emerging writers with, as The Black List puts it, “an independent sensibility”: past fellows include Matthew Hickman, a former Santa Monica UPS Store employee now represented by WME and Writ Large, and Boston-based screenwriter
Mike Harden, whose script, “A Good Man,” has been optioned by Mutressa Movies.
Kristina Zacharias is an American writer who spent her early
childhood in Tunisia, Bangladesh, and Egypt before settling in the suburbs of
Northern Virginia. After graduating with a Film and Media Theory degree from
Virginia Tech, Kristina moved to New York City, where she discovered a passion
for screenwriting. While working full-time at NYU and writing, Kristina created
and produced a monthly performance series for local writers, musicians, and
comedians in Brooklyn. Kristina’s screenplay, “Restavek,” about a child slave in
Haiti, made the Nicholl Fellowship’s “Next 100” list and was a Second Rounder
in the Austin Film Festival’s screenwriting competition in 2015.
After studying English Literature
and Psychology at Asbury University and Georgia State University, Terrell
Garrett settled in Tyrone, Georgia and focused on writing stories. For the past
ten years, while working as a barista at Starbucks, Garrett wrote screenplays.
During this time, he was mentored by a retired screenwriter and used
bookseller who learned the craft from his own mentors, Waldo Salt, Ring Lardner, Jr., and Ian McLellan Hunter. Before Starbucks, Garrett waited tables, worked
in a print shop, and had a short stint as a video game designer.