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ColorCreative.TV, the company set up by writer/actor/producer Issa Rae (Insecure) and producing partner Deniese Davis, along with European pay TV giant Sky’s production and distribution arm Sky Vision and New York production firm Talos Films have picked The Awoken by Katelyn Howes as the winner of their new talent initiative Fresh Wave!
The initiative is described as “a writing competition designed to give emerging and underrepresented writers an opportunity to pitch an original television series idea and see it go from script to screen.”
The Awoken, a sci-fi drama chosen from more than 2,000 entries, follows Alabine Rivers, a teenager who was cryogenically preserved in 2017 only to be resurrected in 2103.
“Alabine is forced to join an underground network of rebels fighting for the basic human rights of The Awoken – others like her who have been frozen and then resurrected – who are ruthlessly hunted down by a regime that has restricted scientific advancement and technology and returned the country to an agrarian distopia,” according to a show description.
The protagonist also struggles to piece together flashbacks and memories of Max, a fellow activist and the love of her life who she assumes she left behind in the 20th century.
Golden Globe nominee Rae unveiled a roughly 10-minute “taster” of a pilot of The Awoken, which is produced by ColorCreative.TV and Talos and funded by Sky Vision, at an event for press and buyers in Los Angeles. Fresh Wave! was launched by Rae and Insecure co-producer Deniese Davis to “find the next breakout writer.”
Managing director of Sky Vision Jane Millichip said: “Sky Vision is committed to developing and showcasing diverse new talent worldwide. Katelyn has conceived a remarkable idea and delivered it with true sophistication. With Issa and Denese’s writing expertise, the production skill of Talos Films, and Sky Vision’s backing, I’m sure The Awoken will have huge international appeal.”
Millichip told THR that the competition’s goal was to find new voices that are “not in that narrow echo chamber that so many of us in the media find ourselves.” She said there were many great entries, with The Awoken being “a really interesting and very human story about alienation” and struggles with technology and social mobility that is set in a “future that is not full of flying cars” and not “all shiny.” Calling it “a very clever parable for the world today,” she said the project is “universal” and “fantastically commercial as well.”
She expects “quite a lot of interest” in the project, Millichip said.
Sky Vision in 2016 backed Talos in its launch. Said Talos co-presidents Elli Hakami, a former MTV executive, and Julian Hobbs, formerly with History: “We believe The Awoken does what all great science fiction does, it moves the heart as well as the mind. It also give us a lens into our present by looking into the near future.”
Rae, who recently earned her second Golden Globe nomination for her comedic work on HBO’s Insecure, said of the initiative: “Providing a platform for underrepresented voices is extremely important to me, particularly with so many polarizing views dominating the mainstream right now. I’m so pleased that Fresh Wave! has produced not just a fantastic winner in Katelyn [Howes, creator of The Awoken], but a wealth of new voices amongst the other finalists, showing that there is a huge amount of diverse young talent out there ready to light up our screens.”
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