Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards and LA Film Festival, is pleased to announce the screenwriters selected for its 18th annual Screenwriting Lab. The Screenwriting Lab is an intensive five-week program designed to help writers improve their craft, and take their current scripts to the next level in a nurturing and challenging creative environment. During the Lab Fellows participate in individualized story sessions, are advised on the craft and business of screenwriting, and are also introduced to established screenwriters, producers and film professionals who serve as guest speakers and creative advisors. This year’s creative advisors, guest speakers and mentors include Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi (The Invitation, Ride Along) and Jeff Stockwell (Bridge to Terabithia, Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys)Jane Anderson (Olive Kitteridge, How to Make an American Quilt ), Meg LeFauve (Inside Out, Captain Marvel), Jessica Sharzer (Nerve, American Horror Story) and Script Consultant Ruth Atkinson.

Past Screenwriting Lab projects include Andrew Ahn’s Spa Night, which premiered in competition at Sundance and won the Grand Jury prize at Outfest this year; Chloé Zhao’s Songs My Brothers Taught Me, which premiered in competition at Sundance and in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes; and Robbie Pickering’s SXSW winner Natural Selection.

“We are thrilled to include each of these filmmakers and provide critical creative support and feedback to further develop their unique voices and help realize the full potential of their stories,” said Jennifer Kushner, Director of Artist Development at Film Independent.

For the fifth year, Film Independent will present the Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television Screenwriting Fellowship.  This year’s Fellowship is being awarded to alumnus Evan Romansky who will be awarded a $10,000 grant to develop his script, Detroitus through the Screenwriting Lab.

The Film Independent Screenwriting Lab is supported by Artist Development Lead Funder Time Warner Foundation. Sponsors include Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television, National Endowment for the Arts, and The Writer’s Guild of America, West.

Film Independent Artist Development promotes unique independent voices by helping filmmakers create and advance new work. Programs include the Filmmaker Labs (Directing, Screenwriting, Producing and Documentary); Fast Track finance market; Grants & Awards; and our signature diversity program Project Involve, which for 23 years has helped launch the careers of artists from communities underrepresented in film. Film Independent Fellows receive year-round support, including access to the Film Independent Forum, Directors Close-Up and the LA Film Festival. For more information on Film Independent Artist Development, please contact Jennifer Kushner, Director of Artist Development, at 310.432.1275.  Additional information and an application form can be found at

The 2016 Screenwriting Lab participants and their projects are:

Title: Cantering

Writer, Director: HIKARI

Logline: Yuma is a paraplegic comic book artist hidden away from society under her mother’s smothering care. When she chooses animating in the adult comic book world, Yuma is forced to discover a new identity, a purpose in life and embarks on a romance with a mysterious wheelchair taxi driver.


Title: College Girl

Writer, Director, Producer: Joshua Tate

Logline: While attending a postsecondary program for adults with intellectual disabilities, a young woman with Down syndrome questions her place in the world in the face of impending motherhood.


Title: Dark Web

Writer: Mark Eaton

Writer, Producer: Ron Najor

Logline: An I.T. specialist is forced to go off the grid to save her own life after she is manipulated into hacking and exploiting a large software company.


Title: Detroitus

Writer: Evan Romansky

Logline: After tricked into contributing to the death of his best friend’s wife, a petty criminal must find the men who set him up before the former, a Detroit internal affairs investigator, uncovers the secret.


Title: Girl With Child

Writer, Director: Maria Abraham

Logline: A lonely teenage girl in Ecuador travels with her toddler to visit her ill, troubled mother and searches for a new home and family to belong to along the way.


Title: OpenEnded

Writer, Producer: Felicia Pride

Logline: Set in a gentrifying Washington D.C., an emerging Black painter is forced to reexamine life when his best friend dies and the woman he's lost returns for the funeral.


About Film Independent
Film Independent is a nonprofit arts organization that champions creative independence in visual storytelling and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff and constituents is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a Member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional or a film lover.

In addition to producing the Spirit Awards, Film Independent produces the LA Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year- round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry.

For more information or to become a Member, visit