Arts & Entertainment

Sundance Institute announces 21/22 episodic writing fellows

PARK CITY, Utah — The Sundance Institute recently announced the nine fellows and eight projects selected for their 2021-2022 episodic program.

This year marks the Episodic Lab’s return to in-person activities at Sundance Mountain Resort, bookended by a digital pre-lab story development curriculum and its first annual Episodic Pitch Parlor hosted in Los Angeles in partnership with XRM Media.

The selected fellows are Aisha Bhoori (Pipe Dreams), Bridget McManus (The Family Pet), Corey Dashaun (Bottom Bitch), Elizabeth Palmore (Gives Good Death), Jeanette Lim and Marva Whitaker (Before the Apple), Jianna Maarten Saada (El Otro Lado), Mars Wolfe (The 1 & Only MJ Girls), and Meghan Ross (Here to Make Friends).

Four of the eight projects are live-action dramas, three are live-action comedies, and one is an adult animation.

Episodic Lab alumni include producers Katori Hall (PValley), Barry Jenkins (Underground Railroad), Rafael Agustin (Hipster Death Rattle), Desiree Akhavan (The Bisexual), and Heather Rae (Outer Range).

Past fellows have gone on to earn writing positions on shows including This is UsLittle AmericaDave, Snowpiercer, You’re the WorstBetter Call SaulSilicon ValleyFresh off the BoatAmerican Gods,  and The Americans.

“The Program is an entry point and sustaining force for early career writers with original series IP who have yet to be produced, several without literary representation or preexisting industry access,” the institute said in a statement.

“The Episodic Lab is a keystone immersive six-day experience that gives writers an opportunity to workshop their pilot and expand their writing skills.

“Under the guidance of accomplished showrunners, producers, and executives, the Fellows participate in one-on-one story meetings, case study screenings, panels, and simulated writers rooms, which provide creative and strategic tools to shape their pilots.”

Alumni have also set up or sold Lab projects at networks including HBO, Amazon, Hulu, FX, ABC, CW, AMC, TBS, and Netflix.

“This was a year of many firsts and I hope to continue reinventing new systems of support for bold creators who are going overlooked,” said Episodic Program Director Jandiz Estrada Cardoso, who oversees the Lab.

“Audiences and networks are insatiable, thirsting for untouched stories. So to any writer seeking to cut through and elevate their work, we have a mountain we can all scale together.”

Post Lab support focuses on navigating the business, which involves securing representation, staffing, and pitching skills. The Episodic Advancement Fund provides additional monetary support to fellows with grants for research, pitch desks, proof of concept videos, further development of the pilot post-Lab, and associated travel costs.

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