New York Television Festival Winners Announced

6:30 PM PST 09/24/2011 by Marisa Guthrie
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
CAA's Adam Berkowitz, NYTVF founder Terence Gray, "Lost" co-creator Damon Lindelof and "Everybody Loves Raymond" creator Philip Rosenthal

The seventh annual awards event, featuring "Lost" creator Damon Lindelof as keynote speaker, is designed to give independent writers access to development executives.

NEW YORK -- The New York Television Festival (NYTVF) wrapped Saturday night by announcing winners of its independent pilot competition.

The festival hands out awards in 20 categories, including multiple development deals. It is designed to give independent writers access to development executives at networks. This year, participating networks included MTV, A&E and Sundance. Aspiring showrunners get to pitch their work and (hopefully) establish connections in the business.

This year's festival also featured a keynote Q&A with Lost co-creator and New York University grad Damon Lindelof

“There’s still that catch 22,” Lindelof told The Hollywood Reporter, “I can’t get an agent unless I have a job. But I can’t get a job unless I have an agent. So how the hell do you get in? Every single person who got in has a different story. But every single story has one thing in common: they knew somebody.”

Lindelof worked at CAA and then held a series of studio jobs (Paramount, Fox) before imposing upon a friend at ABC to get him a meeting with JJ Abrams, who was then working on ABC's Alias. Out of that meeting came a treatment for Lost.

The NYTVF aims to break down some of those barriers to entry for writers who may not have a friend with a development job at a network.

“This was a watershed year for the NYTVF and one that showed the independent television movement to not only be alive and well, but thriving,” noted festival founder and executive director Terence Gray.

The awards include development deals from FX, IFC, MTV and SyFy as well as the winners of the fourth annual comedy script contest at Fox, unscripted development deals at A&E, Sundance, MSN and SevenOne International as part of the festival’s inaugural “pitch” contest.

Winners of the NYTVF Pitch contest, which comes with a guaranteed development deal, are: Party Doctor from Jake Greene (Nashville, TN) for Sundance Channel; Carlos and the Games of Seduction from Greg Burke and Lou Perez (New York, NY) for MSN and Eyeboogie; A Week With My Father from Giacomo Knox (Los Angeles, CA) for SevenOne International and Red Arrow Entertainment Group.

Adulthood for Beginners, written by Robby O’Connor (New York City), is the winner of the Fox-NYTVF comedy script contest, which comes with $25,000 and a development deal with network.

A&E unscripted development pipeline finalists are: Tough Girl from Tim Smyth (New York, NY); American Genius from Phillip Hullquist (Nashville, TN); Pushing the Limits from Javier Bermudez (Los Angeles, CA); Surviving the Burn from Paul Lima (Burbank, CA); and Racetrack Dads from Donald Mann (Van Nuys, CA).

Independent pilot competition sponsored award winners are: Josh Jennings for Congress from Nathan Gotsch (Los Angeles, CA) for the FX There Is No Box Comedy Award; St. James St. James Presents: Delirium Cinema from Ross Patterson (Los Angeles, CA) for the IFC Out of the Box Award; Pound Dogs from Mike Salva (Nashiville, TN) for the MTV Voice and Vision Animation Award; and Odessa from Al Thompson (New York City) for the SyFy Digital Studio Imagine Greater Award.

For a complete list of winners go to www.nytvf.com. Video trailers available at the NYTVF’s official YouTube channel

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