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Programs Fri 6.14.2024

Growing Showrunners: Meet Our Six New Imaginar TV Incubator Fellows

With DVD boxsets of landmark series like The Wire and Mad Men now gathering subtle layers of ambient cabinet-dust whilst the buffering wheel endlessly churns on your bug-ridden streamer of choice, it’d be fair to say that the so-called “Golden Age” of TV drama has passed. Of course, there were other golden eras of TV before Walter White broke bad or Lena Dunham’s Girls terrorized New York. And there will be golden eras again–full of unforgettable stories and distinct, signature creative perspectives.

Of course, at Film Independent we’re not just going to sit around and wait for the next big episodic storytelling residence to occur out of thin air. No, we’re actively working to make it happen–most recently via this year’s inaugural Imaginar TV Incubator. Or more specifically “The Imaginar TV Incubator for Fearless Latinx Creators, launched together with our partners at FX and in collaboration with NALIP, the National Association of Latino Independent Producers.

The Incubator supports Latinx creators of new episodic series, and provides an intensive series of workshops, conversations and individual meetings designed to equip our six new Fellows with support and insight into the current Hollywood landscape.

Where the imagination starts

“The Imaginar Creators are a reflection of the impressive talent and bold voices within the Latinx community,” says Angela C. Lee, Film Independent’s Director of Artist Development. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to work with these six writers to help them gain an even stronger foundation to successfully develop and pitch original television shows and build meaningful relationships with seasoned showrunners and executives.” 

“Our team at FX is excited to work with the outstanding fellows selected for this inaugural group of Fearless Creators,” said Kevin Wandell, SVP of Development for FX Entertainment. “With our partners at Film Independent and NALIP, we look forward to building new relationships with these artists and give them direct insight to the development process at FX as they create pitches for the next wave of groundbreaking drama series.” 

Following a four-day intensive focused on workshopping selected one-hour drama pilots, as well as deepening pitch skills and gaining access and insight into the FX development process, Fellows will pitch their original one-hour drama pilots to FX. A $3,000 grant is awarded to each participant, along with travel grants as required for selected Creators’ participation. 

The inaugural Film Independent Imaginar TV Incubator projects are:

  • Project: The Letters 
  • Creator: Daniela Bailes
  • Logline: After discovering her mother’s extensive correspondence with a notorious serial killer on death row, Violet finds herself entangled in family secrets when a similar murder occurs in her own backyard.
  • Project: Low Rent 
  • Creator: Marissa Díaz
  • Logline: A low-rent Tejana inadvertently confronts a criminal swampland poaching syndicate after coming to blows with her neighbor over a parking space.
  • Project: The Starfish Gentleman’s Club 
  • Creator: Jessica Gonzalez
  • Logline: Gifted–or cursed–with the ability to grow back body parts, sisters Lottie and Florence are forced to live as walking organ donors until Lottie flees to an underground speakeasy, seeking help from an old flame.<
  • Project: Superstar 
  • Creator: Eric Reyes Loo
  • Logline: At Interview Magazine in 1975, a young ambitious Latina navigates the Warholian world of sex, drugs and celebrity in pursuit of her own 15 minutes of fame.
  • Project: Los Cubanos 
  • Creator: George Pérez
  • Logline: A Cuban family, newly arrived in Union City, NJ as part of the 1980 Mariel Boat Lift, is coerced into becoming drug traffickers and assassins, echoing the past they left behind. 
  • Project: The Young Lords 
  • Creator: Eliana Pipes
  • Logline: In 1969 East Harlem, young Black and Puerto Rican activists create the Young Lords Party, taking daring political action to change their community. Then they fell apart.

Program advisors and guest speakers include Wendy Calhoun, Elaine Chin, Kelly Kulchak, Robbie Pickering, Loretta Ramos, Dailyn Rodriguez, April Shih and Veena Sud. Now, let’s meet our six new talented Imaginat TV Incubator Fellows…


Daniela Bailes

Daniela Bailes is a versatile scribe whose work travels across genres. She began her career in New York working at Elle magazine and learned to write scripts by breaking down classic Rod Serling teleplays at the Paley Media Center during her lunch break. Daniela recently worked on the Paramount science fiction series The Shift, created by Star Trek veteran and Hugo nominee Kathryn Lyn. Her horror script She Lives was included on the 2022 Latinx Black List sponsored by Netflix. She was also selected for the Rideback Rise Content Accelerator, and for Sundance’s 2023 Episodic Lab.


Marissa Díaz

Marissa Díaz is a Tejana writer, director and producer as well as the winner of McDonald’s Spotlight Dorado. She worked on Orgasm Inc: The Story of OneTaste, Girls, Generation and Welcome to Blumhouse Live. Her work has been supported by the Sundance Episodic Lab, Shondaland Women Directing Mentorship, Rideback Rise, PGA Create, The Black List and Film Independent’s FX Imaginar TV Incubator, Episodic Lab, and their CNN Original Series Docuseries Intensive. Marissa holds a BFA in Film & TV Production from New York University and an MFA from the Peter Stark Producing Program, where she was awarded the Stark Special Production Grant.


Jessica Gonzalez

Jessica Gonzalez is a Cuban American author and screenwriter who writes about angry girls and pretty monsters. She studied English at Florida State University and earned an MFA in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California. She was the showrunner’s assistant on season one of Diary of a Future President (Disney+). In Season Two she was the writers’ assistant & script coordinator, before being promoted to staff writer. Most recently, she was a story editor on Keep This to Yourself (NBCUniversal). She was also a Spring 2021 Las Musas Hermanas mentee for the manuscript of her first YA fantasy novel.


Eric Reyes Loo

Eric Reyes Loo is a Los Angeles-based TV writer/producer and playwright. His plays have been produced nationally. His most recent world premiere, Simple Mexican Pleasures, will open in San Francisco in April 2025. In TV, Eric leaped from Staff Writer to Co-Producer in his two years on the AwesomenessTV show Guidance. That led to writing for Netflix’s AJ and the Queen, co-created by Michael Patrick King and RuPaul. Since then, he has developed shows with the actress Laura Bell Bundy, RaqMar Entertainment and Hillman Grad.


George Pérez

Bilingual, Cuban-American George Pérez is a proud 2024 Film Independent Imaginar TV Incubator for Fearless Latinx Creators Fellow, as well as a recent Sundance Latine Fellowship recipient and Sundance Episodic Lab Intensive Fellow. His anti-sex-trafficking television pilot episode for The Life has been screened at the Harvard School of Public Health as well as at SeriesFest and ITVFest. Pérez is compelled to write stories that are Cuban-American specific but connect us all through deeper themes of overcoming adversity, the loss of innocence and the turbulent quest for personal freedom and expression in the face of intolerance.


Eliana Pipes 

Eliana Pipes is a playwright and screenwriter based in her hometown of Los Angeles. She was a staff writer on Season One of Spartacus: House of Ashur with Starz/Lionsgate. As a filmmaker, she’s been awarded the Academy Gold Fellowship through AMPAS, the Sundance Institute Latine Collab Scholarship, WAVE grant and Outfest x Colin Higgins Youth Filmmaker Award. Her play Bite Me premiered off Broadway with WP Theater and Colt Coeur, and Dream Hou$e premiered in a triple co-production across the east coast. Playwriting awards include the Alliance Kendeda Prize, KCACTF Steinberg Award and Leah Ryan Prize.


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