Contact: Alia Quart Khan, Film Independent
Tel: 310 432 1287 or

Ryan Collins, Ginsberg/Libby
Tel: 323 645 6800 or



Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television
awards Screenwriting Lab Fellowship, including a $10,000 Grant

LOS ANGELES (August 29, 2017) — 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 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.”

Film Independent Artist Development promotes unique independent voices by helping filmmakers create and advance new work through its Filmmaker Labs (Directing, Documentary, Episodic, Producing and Screenwriting), Grants Program which awards over $800K annually to filmmakers, the Fast Track finance market, Fiscal Sponsorship and Project Involve, Film Independent’s signature diversity program, that this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.

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 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.

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 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.



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