Friday, February 23, 2018

The Black List and Women In Film Announce Participants and Mentors for Inaugural Feature Lab for Women Writers

Los Angeles, CA, February 23, 2018– This week, the Black List and Women In Film are hosting their first annual Feature Lab for Women Writers. During this week long, residential Lab, each writer will workshop one screenplay through a peer workshop and one-on-one sessions with professional screenwriting mentors. Additionally, they will attend a series of events and screenings that will further expose them to the realities of a life as a professional screenwriter.

Mentors and special guests include Amy Baer (Founder, Gidden Media), Tonia Davis (VP of Film, Chernin Entertainment), Dana Fox (HOW TO BE SINGLE), Maryam Keshavars (CIRCUMSTANCE), Graham Moore (THE IMITATION GAME), Amanda Silver (WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES), Kiwi Smith (LEGALLY BLONDE), Scott Myers (Go Into The Story), Lindsay Doran (SENSE AND SENSIBILITY), Aline Brosh McKenna(THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA) and Franklin Leonard (Founder, the Black List). The Lab participants’ scripts will be hosted by the Black List website following the Lab and participants will have their final scripts read by industry executives.

The participating writers are:
Déjà Bernhardt // HALF ANGELS
Debbie Castanha // THE DROUGHT
Natasha Lewin // FREEDOM RIDES
Lise Pyles // BANNER HERO
Cat Youell // TUSSAUD

The 2017 Lab is supported by Verizon’s go90 – the premium mobile entertainment destination.

About the Participants
Traveling between her disparate homes in Bali, Indonesia and Austin, Texas, Déjà Bernhardt draws upon her mixed heritage finding inspiration to tell both narrative and documentary stories. Her films have screened in over 30 festivals globally and her 35mm graduate school film, THE MIDWIFE'S HUSBAND (2012), was nominated for a Student Academy Award.

Debbie Castanha lives in Santa Barbara, California, where she began screenwriting after mastering tardy notes to teachers and Christmas letters about her amazing family (who she’d leave in a heartbeat to pursue her screenwriting dreams). She is passionate about character-driven stories, and her script THE WATER TOWER was a quarterfinalist in the 2017 Nicholl Fellowship.

Jessica Ellis is an AFI graduate and writer/director of upcoming feature WHAT LIES WEST. Jessica also worked as a story editor for digital series LOCAL AIR, and can be found screaming about television regularly on Twitter at @baddestmamajama.

Natasha Lewin is the Chief Writing Officer for Zuckerberg Media—a multimedia production company founded by the creator of DOT and Facebook Live, Randi Zuckerberg. In 2017, Natasha won the Hollywood Fringe Diversity Scholarship and took home the SHORT + SWEET Award for her play CHATTER.

Texan Lise Pyles learned screenwriting while living in the Outback, after an article she'd written for Air&Space/Smithsonian Magazine seemed best suited as a movie. Now a Nicholl and AFF semi-finalist, she remains dedicated to screenwriting with her third feature script in the works.

Having grown up a sheltered only child in Orlando, FL, obsessed with Turner Classic Movies, Cat Youell paved her way to USC‘s School of Cinematic Arts where she completed her MFA in Film Production. A writer, director, and producer, Cat loves exploring the world and discovering little known true stories, particularly those about strong female characters with a dark twist.

About The Black List
The Black List, an annual survey of Hollywood executives' favorite unproduced screenplays, was founded in 2005. Since then, more than 319 Black List scripts have been produced, grossing over $26 billion in box office worldwide. Black List movies have won 51 Academy Awards from 264 nominations, including four of the last nine Best Picture Oscars and ten of the last twenty Best Screenplay Oscars. In October of 2012, the Black List launched a unique online community where screenwriters make their work available to readers, buyers and employers. Since its inception, it has hosted more than 40,000 screenplays and teleplays and provided more than 65,000 script evaluations. As a direct result of introductions made on the Black List, dozens of writers have found representation at major talent agencies and management companies, as well as sold or optioned their screenplays. In only three years, a half dozen films have been produced from scripts introduced on the website including Golden Globe nominated NIGHTINGALE, starring David Oyelowo. Currently, the Black List hosts over 3,500 scripts for consideration by over 3,500 film industry professionals ranging from agency assistants, to studio and network presidents, to A-list actors and directors. More information on the Black List is available at

About Women In Film
Women In Film advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries -- to achieve parity and transform culture. Founded in 1973, Women In Film supports all women working in film, TV, and digital media from emerging to advanced career. Our distinguished programs include: mentoring, speaker & screening series, production training program, writing labs, film finishing funds, legal aid and an annual financing intensive. We advocate for gender parity through research, media campaigns and ReFrame, a collaboration with Sundance Institute. Women In Film honors the achievements of women in Hollywood through the legacy series, annual Emmy and Oscar parties and our signature event, the Crystal + Lucy Awards. Membership is open to all media professionals and more information can be found on our website:

About go90
Verizon Media’s go90 is a premium mobile entertainment destination for the best in live sports and original content. go90 is part of Verizon's digital media network of video content and platforms, which includes AOL, HuffPost, Yahoo View, Yahoo Sports - and Complex Networks and more. go90 features 1,400 hours of originals from sought-after creators and talent and 25,000 hours of live sports and TV. go90 content can be viewed free from the app on iOSAndroid or at

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