Women in Film and The Black List Set Projects for Feature Lab and Residency Program

Gregg DeGuire/WireImage; Taylor Hill/FilmMagic
Women in Film's Kirsten Schaffer and The Black List's Franklin Leonard

Seven women screenwriters will participate in the joint effort that will provide mentorship and opportunities for their respective projects over the course of a year.

Women in Film, Los Angeles and The Black List have set the participants of the ‚Äč2020 Feature Lab and Residency.

The program is a joint effort between WIF and The Black List that provides mentorship and opportunities to seven screenwriters over the course of a year. Also included: script and professional development sessions that will, at first, be offered virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The residency is supported by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

"I very much look forward to the year that doing two writing labs with WIF with only women participants makes no rational sense, because women represent at least 50 percent of the working screenwriters in film and at every level of television. We clearly have a long way to go, and so, until then, are committed to our ongoing work with WIF, this year’s Lab, and the success of all of the women who were selected," says Black List founder Franklin Leonard.

The participants include:

Katy Berry's Popcorn, about 16-year old Jemma Bauer who gets her dream job at the local movie theater only to learn the true price women pay for male approval. Berry is a New York based comedian, writer, and musical improviser who has traveled the world performing at venues including The Kennedy Center and multiple sold out Edinburgh Fringe Fest runs, and was recently featured in The New York Times for her improvised cabaret show, Electric Bitch.

Elizabeth Chatelain's Sundogs, which tells the story of a woman who takes her 12-year-old daughter with her to work on the North Dakota oil fields following the death of her father. But after the oil industry’s decline begins and Alex loses her job, she must decide which is more important: their family farm, or her fragile relationship with her daughter. Chatelain is an award-winning writer and director from North Dakota. Sundogs participated in the Berlinale Script Station, the Hedgebrook Screenwriter's Lab, and was an Academy Nicholl Fellowship Semi-Finalist.

Zoe Cooper's Danny Corpse Walker, about a Native American woman who must walk 300 miles with her sister's corpse in order to perform a proper burial on their home reservation following an apocalyptic event. Cooper, said to love dark comedy and all things horror, lives in Los Angeles.

Laci Dent's The Girl, about a 13-year-old who begins to experience peculiar bodily symptoms. She and her mother find themselves at the center of a dark practice tied to their ancestry and the Baptist church in rural Louisiana. Dent is a writer, filmmaker and production designer from New Orleans who received her MFA in directing from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television where she earned the Gina Prince Bythewood/Mara Brock Akil Four Sisters Screenwriting Award and founded the genre-driven production company Nite Cloud Films.

Caroline Guo's The Year of the Sheep, about a young Chinese woman who brings her Asian-American girlfriend to meet her conservative family in the countryside over Chinese New Year. The unexpected guest forces them all to reconsider their relationships, values and the meaning of home. Guo is a Chinese-American writer and director from Atlanta. A graduate of Northwestern University, Guo wrote and directed the award-winning short film, The Test. She lives in Los Angeles and works for Macro. 

Michelle Steffes's Mad, which tells the story of Henry, a charming, off-kilter hatter living in Victorian London, who falls in love with Kitty, a brilliant, poetic noblewoman. He must find a way to win her heart and free them both from restrictive social convention while battling the effects of mercury poisoning and an increasingly consuming madness. Steffes is an award-winning writer-director who earned a spot in the short film and feature animation branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Steffes previously worked in development for Gary Ross, has participated in AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women and is a current fellow in Disney’s 2018-2020 TV directing program.

Krenée Tolson's Finding Phoebe, about a teenage girl who sets her sights on becoming a spoken word poet in the underground poetry scene in Baltimore Maryland in 1997. Her pursuit of her dream turns into a story of survival when her sexual abuser, and mother's boyfriend, is released from prison. Tolson is a writer/producer/actor born and raised in Baltimore and currently living in L.A.