Five Women-Driven Episodic Projects Selected At The North Fork TV Festival Pitch Forum

Nadine Cheung's ROOM FOR A POOL (Winner of pitch forum), Alison Klemp's VIGILANTE, and more selected.

By: Aug. 23, 2021
Five Women-Driven Episodic Projects Selected At The North Fork TV Festival Pitch Forum

The North Fork TV Festival's Pitch Forum has selected six next-generation creators of new television or digital series projects in association with The Gersh Agency and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

"These five projects were selected through an extensive application process," said program director Bryce Norbitz, who additionally runs artist development programs through the Tribeca Film Festival.

"We chose them because they have uniquely creative, forward-thinking, dynamic ideas and worlds, and really solid pilot scripts," Norbitz said of the all-women group of writers with an eclectic mix of life experiences that they bring to the page.

Nadine Cheung's ROOM FOR A POOL (Winner of pitch forum), Alison Klemp's VIGILANTE, Catherine Loerke's IN VITRO VERITAS, Mirella Christou's PUSH IT!, and Chloé Lexia Worthington and Maura Kanter's JULIE: LA SCANDALOUS LIFE OF JULIE D'AUBIGNY were selected to participate in the inaugural Pitch Forum.

L to R: Nadine Cheung, Catherine Loerke, Alison Klemp, Mirella Christou, Maura Kanter, Chloé Lexia Worthington

The festival spearheaded project development and pitch finessing at its Greenport, Long Island enclave. Roy Ashton, head of the TV Literary & Packaging Department at one of Hollywood's top agencies, Gersh, played an instrumental role in MAKING IT all happen. "We have picked up clients here - working clients, people that are making a living selling television shows and movies," said Ashton, who added that he hoped to scoop up new talent this time around as well.

Additionally, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation selected two projects which featured compelling and realistic themes and characters based in science, math, and technology. Those projects include "Push It!" written by Mirella Christou, and "In Vitro Veritas," by Catherine Loerke.

"Both 'In Vitro Veritas' and 'Push It!' tell compelling stories about smart, bold women dealing with the social, emotional, and scientific challenges of female reproduction," said Doron Weber, the vice president and program director at the Sloan Foundation.

While Loerke's pilot is about a modern-day protagonist struggling with infertility and delving into experimental IVF, Christou's pilot focuses on the under-the-radar women's rights activist who orchestrated and financed the creation of the revolutionary birth control pill. With Loerke's background as a doctor, and Christou's background as a journalist, each offered up unique portrayals of complex characters, rooted in a foundation of research.

Meanwhile, Klemp, an NYC-based stand-up comedian, was selected by The Gersh Agency for her pilot which revolves around a vengeance-for-hire service for survivors.

Cheung, a creative director at a New York-based ad agency and music journalist, was selected as the winner of the pitch forum for her pilot that delves into a North Fork real estate agent's unlikely alliance with a local pool salesman after a murder is committed.

History buff and actor Maura Kanter, and fellow actor/singer/writing partner Chloé Lexia Worthington's pilot originates from the ethos of their podcast which seeks to explore the lives of women in history, it hones in on the scandalous life of Julie D'Aubigny in 1680s France.

Each of these creators was invited to the forum with a series concept, treatment and pilot screenplay. The focus was on learning and mentorship, including one-on-ones with mentors, Q&As with experts and pitching training. The main event revolved around a live pitch to a curated audience and panel of industry experts.

Panel judges included Derek Nguyen (Writer, Director, Producer at The Population), Molly Breeskin (Executive, I Can & I Will Productions), and Maria Maggenti (Filmmaker, Writer and TV Producer). Each are experienced with both pitching and receiving pitches and were revved up in offering their high-level input on these pitches and projects.

The writers could each call upon workshop mentors and presenters for further insight into the development of their projects. They included: Mark Berger, President and Founder of Play Hooky Productions with Academy Award Winner Sam Rockwell, Partner at The Gersh Agency Roy Ashton, writer Neena Beber, writer/director/producer, and Molly O'Keefe, Executive, Paradiso, and writer/director/producer Jim O'Doherty.

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