Film Independent,

Film Independent has selected six screenwriters for its 19th annual Screenwriting Lab. Under the guidance of Lead Creative Advisor Robin Swicord (Wakefield, Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Fellows will workshop these projects over the course of the Lab. Additional guest speakers and advisors include Sheila Hanahan Taylor (Final Destination Series), Meg LeFauve (Inside Out, Captain Marvel), and Script Consultant Ruth Atkinson.

Past Screenwriting Lab projects include Spirit Award Winner Andrew Ahn’s Spa Night, which premiered in competition at Sundance and won the Grand Jury prize at Outfest; 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.

“This extraordinary group of artists brings a breadth of fresh and dynamic voices to the 2017 Screenwriting Lab,” said Jennifer Kushner, Director of Artist Development at Film Independent. “We know they’ll enrich the Film Independent community, and we’re excited to offer them an opportunity to develop not only their projects but their filmmaking careers.”

For the sixth 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 Sam McGoldrick who will be awarded a $10,000 grant to develop his script Strawberry Fields through the Screenwriting Lab.

The 2017 Screenwriting Lab participants and their projects are:

Title: The Dance Crusader
Writer, Director: Marcos Davalos
Logline: After witnessing his father’s deportation, a gay undocumented Latino teen enters a dance competition determined to win a cash prize the top cash prize in order to keep his family together.

Title: The Dust
Writer, Director: Amanda Brennan
Logline: In 1930’s Oklahoma, when wheat prices drop and dust storms begin, one girl, at odds with her sexuality, believes she is the cause.

Title: Ghost Stories
Writer, Director: Michael Lei
Logline: During the height of the Cold War a mythical, shape-shifting room plays a pivotal role in the lives of several families desperate to escape across the Berlin Wall.

Title: Jawbone
Writer: Allison Lee
Logline: A Korean woman’s dreams come true after she undergoes drastic plastic surgery but everything begins to fall apart when she gives birth to a daughter who looks nothing like her.

Title: Strawberry Fields
Writer: Sam McGoldrick
Logline: At a CIA black site in Guantanamo Bay, a Muslim-American psychologist resorts to increasingly grave methods to dissect the mind of a terrorist suspect. As she pushes deeper into his troubled psyche, she discovers a growing darkness in herself.

Title: Valley of Exile
Writer, Director: Anna Fahr
Logline: In the arid valley of Eastern Lebanon, two Syrian sisters set out in search of their missing brother uncertain of where their own journey into exile will lead.

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