L.A. Skins Fest Launches Native American Feature Film Writers Lab

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The arts initiative also has selected the 2018 class for its TV writers lab, now in its third outing

After a dozen years in existence, L.A. Skins Fest has unveiled its first-ever Native American feature film writers lab.

Applications are due June 1 (early deadline May 25, late deadline June 8) for the 10-week program that will run from August to October in Los Angeles. The inaugural lab, sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, the Walt Disney Company, HBO and Turner, will launch with five writers participating in daily workshops, peer sessions and a series of events and screenings.

According to the WGA's 2016 Hollywood Writers Report, just two Native American writers were employed in film in 2014 (the latest year for which data is available), compared with 1,494 white writers. Native Americans accounted for 1.2 percent of the U.S. population in 2014 but in film represented just 0.1% of writers, making them the demographic group with the most disproportionate underrepresentation by a factor of 12 to 1.

The L.A. Skins Fest also has named the 2018 class for its Native American TV writers lab:

Siena East (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma/Pueblo)
Erik Fritts-Davis (Keweenaw Bay Band of Ojibwe)
Jason Marcus (Iroquois)
Sonya Oberly (Nez Perce)
Riley Page (Oglala)
Vladimir Perez (Taino)
Jade Puga (Guachichil/Huastec/Lipan Apache)

The seven writers were selected out of more than 100 applicants for the five-week total-immersion program that will be guided by The Flash producer Gabriel Garza. At the end of the lab, the participants will have a completed TV script and will take creative meetings with Skins Fest's corporate partners. The TV writers lab is sponsored by Comcast NBCU, CBS Entertainment Diversity, Netflix, HBO, UTA and Turner.

"Due to the incredible success of our annual TV writers lab, we have created the Native American feature film writers lab to accommodate the growing demand for indigenous voices," L.A. Skins Fest executive director Ian Skorodin said in a statement. "We are excited to develop new writers and offer new opportunities for our community."