Film Independent Selects Seven Participants for 2019 Episodic Lab

Contact: Melanie Bates, Film Independent
Tel: 323 556 9338 or

Seanna Hore, Ginsberg/Libby
Tel: 323 645 6800 or


Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Awards $10,000 Episodic Grant

LOS ANGELES (September 3, 2019) — Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, announced today the writers selected for its third Episodic Lab. The Film Independent Episodic Lab is supported by founding Sponsor Netflix. Additional support is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

“We’re thrilled to welcome these dynamic new voices whose original series explore identity, family, community, sexuality and technology in authentic and innovative ways,” said Jennifer Kushner, Director of Artist Development at Film Independent. “We look forward to supporting the creative and professional development of this exciting group of writers.”

The Lab is an intensive program that helps to further the careers of its Fellows by introducing them to industry veterans who offer guidance on both the craft and business of writing episodic content. Through personalized feedback from experienced showrunners, creative producers and executives, Fellows will gain the tools to revise and refine their pilots and navigate a changing industry landscape.

Each Fellow will be paired with a Creative Advisor with whom they’ll work one-on-one and in group sessions to develop their project. Additionally, guest speakers will screen and discuss their own work to offer insights into the creative process and industry best practices. A final networking and pitch event will offer Fellows the opportunity to introduce themselves and their work to studio and network executives.

Film Independent will also present the Alfred P. Sloan Episodic Grant, a $10,000 development grant to support a pilot that explores science and technology themes or that depicts scientists, engineers and mathematicians in engaging and innovative ways, to Justin S. Leefor his project Welcome to the Scene. As part of his Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, Lee will receive a science advisor to support the development of the series.

“I’m honored to be awarded the Alfred P. Sloan development grant,” said filmmaker and grant recipient Justin S. Lee. “Welcome to the Scene, takes place during the internet piracy revolution in the 90s — the Wild West era of the digital age that served as the technological birthplace for many innovations we use today.The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s support will be crucial to portraying this historic time period faithfully and accurately.”

The 2019 Episodic Lab Creative Advisors and guest speakers include: Sarah Carbiener (You’re The Worst),Linda Yvette Chávez (Gentefied), Tze Chun (Gotham), KD Davila (Salvation), Producer Elizabeth Guber Stephen, Hank Jones (Family Reunion), Marvin Lemus (Gentefied), Colleen McGuinness (Forever), Vera Miao (Two Sentence Horror Stories), Evan Romansky (Ratched) and Beth Schacter (SEAL Team).

Film Independent Artist Development programs promote unique independent voices by helping filmmakers create and advance new work through Project Involve; Filmmaker Labs (Directing, Documentary, Episodic, Producing and Screenwriting); Fast Track finance market and Fiscal Sponsorship, as well as through Grants and Awards, which provide over one million dollars annually to visual storytellers.

For more information on any of the Labs or the projects that have been developed in them, please contact Angela Lee, Senior Manager of Artist Development, at 323 556 9362. Additional information and an application form can be found at

The 2019 Episodic Lab participants and their projects are:

Title: Be Here Now
Writer: Katie Micay
Logline: In a time when it’s increasingly difficult to live in the present, a family must come together to live in “the now” when one of them is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Title: Lesbian Bed Death
Writers: Emily Carlton, Leyah Titford
Logline: A young lesbian, living in a rat-infested flatshare with her queer flatmates, challenges her preconceptions about what a lesbian relationship can be, by exploring the outer limits of queer sex and dating.

Title: Magical Illism – Akilee’s Heal
Writer: Damon Colquhoun
Logline: When a frustrated community worker discovers a portal that heals the mind, he uses it to turn his troubled neighborhood into the idyllic place of his dreams but gets more than he bargained for.

Title: Oh Country
Writer: David Harry Yoon
Logline: A struggling Korean-American punk rocker grapples with the trappings of viral celebrity after he drunkenly creates alter-ego, Levi Wrangler, country music’s first Asian superstar.

Title: Undertow
Writer: Kimi Lee
Logline: Set in a working-class neighborhood in western Oahu, three disparate souls––a precocious teenage girl, a disgraced Honolulu detective, and a rehabilitated ex-con––race to unravel the harrowing web of lies surrounding the disappearance of a 22-year-old cam-girl.

Title: Welcome to the Scene
Writer: Justin S. Lee
Logline: In the early days of internet piracy, a reclusive Chinese-American high school student turns to cybercrime to pay off his family’s debts — forcing him to balance life as a teenager with pulling heists and taking on hardened killers.


Film Independent is the 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 Film Independent Presents, a year-round screening series for its members that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

Through 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