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Outfest Launches 2020 Screenwriting Lab

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This year's writers feature a range of industry experience.

Outfest Launches 2020 Screenwriting Lab

Outfest has launched its 2020 Outfest Screenwriting Lab. The Lab has selected eight scripts that reflect Outfest's mission to advance the visibility of LGBTQIA+ stories and experiences in media. This year's writers feature a range of industry experience and showcase unique perspectives currently lacking in the film and television landscape.

The Outfest Screenwriting Lab started as a screenwriting contest in 1997 and has since become the cornerstone of Outfest's education and mentoring program, Outfest Forward. To address the unique circumstances of 2020 due to Covid-19, the Lab will take place completely over Zoom. On a positive note, this change provided Outfest with the ability to accept their largest cohort to date and extended the time frame of the Lab to five days. Fellows will meet with top industry showrunners, executives, and writers who will offer professional development and discuss trends within the industry.

This year's Fellows include: Johnny Alvarez, Courtney & Hillary Andujar, Carlton Daniel, Jr., Gary Jaffe, Raul Martin, Damon Royster, Cody Stickels & Kea Trevett, and Leandro Tadashi.

The Lab features an impressive list of LGBTQIA+ industry leaders that will meet with the Fellows over the five days. This year's panelists include showrunners LaToya Morgan (Into the Badlands, Shameless), Derek Simonds (The Sinner), and M Dickson (Hoops, Disenchanted), alongside writers Mikko Alanne (The Long Road Home), Shantira Jackson (Saved By The Bell, The Amber Ruffin Show), Abby McEnany (Work in Progress), Micah Schraft (Mrs. America, Jessica Jones), and Tracey Scott Wilson (The Morning Show, The Americans). Executives David Ruby, Anni Weisband, Manny Jaquez, Kyle Schmitz, and Mallory Schwartz are also slated to speak during the lab.

Outfest has tapped some of their most accomplished alumnus as mentors this year including Jared Frieder (Three Months), Javier Fuentes-León (Contracorriente, Distrito Salvaje), Fola Goke-Pariola (Paper Girls), Silas Howard (Pose), Naomi Iwamoto (Connecting, Twenties), Jorge Molina, George Northy (G.B.F., Charmed), Jen Richards (Emmy nominated Her Story), Valerie Stadler, and Zackery Alexzander Stephens (Q-Force). They will provide one-on-one mentorship alongside LGBTQIA+ showrunners Gabe Liedman (Pen15, Q-Force), Moisés Zamora (Selena: The Series), Keisha Zollar (Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show), Alvaro Rodriguez (Machete, Seis Manos) and writers Aziza Barnes (Teenage Bounty Hunters, Snowfall), Guy Branum (Talk Show: The Game Show, The Mindy Project), Rhys Ernst (Adam), Chloe Keenan (Q-Force, Connecting), Marcos Luevanos (Love, Victor, Rutherford Falls), Brittani Nichols (A Black Lady Sketch Show, Take My Wife), Adrian Salpeter (Story of a Girl), Guinevere Turner (American Psycho, The L Word), Michael Urban (Saved!).

The Lab was developed this year by Outfest Board members Neil Landau, Cora Olson, and Valerie Stadler along with Outfest Screenwriting Lab alumni Zackery Alexzander Stephens, Outfest Deputy Director Kerri Stoughton-Jackson, and Outfest Forward Coordinator Sari Navarro.The 2020 Screenwriting Lab is sponsored by eMinutes Arts.


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