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Breaking news, press releases and statements from the Writers Guild of America, East

Wednesday June 3, 2020

Writers Guild of America, East and FilmNation Entertainment Announce Inaugural Writers for the Inclusive ‘New York Screenwriters Workshop’

NEW YORK, NY (June 3, 2020) – The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and FilmNation Entertainment today announced the seven writers selected to participate in the inaugural New York Screenwriters Workshop, a six-month intensive program that focuses on professional development for diverse, emerging screenwriters in the greater New York City area.

The seven writers selected for the program are Beanie Barnes, Kiara C. Jones, Alessandra Lacorazza, Jiwon Lee, Christopher Radcliff, Tererai (Teri) Rusike, and Rebecca ScottYou can read bios of all the participants here.

The Workshop will provide the writers with meaningful access aimed at bolstering career sustainability. The mentors include Arianna Bocco (IFC), Kelly Carmichael (Freckle Films), Alex Dinelaris (BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE), JUDY), Scott Frank (LOGAN, MINORITY REPORT), Jim Hart (AUGUST RUSH, HOOK), Ryan Heller (Topic Studios), Caroline Kaplan (Cinereach), Malcolm Lee (THE BEST MAN, WELCOME HOME ROSCOE JENKINS), Doug McGrath (NICHOLAS NICKELBY, EMMA), Rebecca Miller (MAGGIE’S PLAN, PROOF), and Jim Taylor (DOWNSIZING, SIDEWAYS).

The New York Screenwriters Workshop will provide the seven writers with both a screenwriting mentor and an industry executive mentor while the writer completes a feature length screenplay during the run of the program. The Workshop will culminate with table reads of the participants’ works.  Throughout the program, writers will be primed on the business of entertainment by various screenwriters and executives representing various New York City-based film companies. The program was initiated by FilmNation Diversity Committee members Alison Cohen, Liz Siegal and Lucy Licht.

Malcolm Lee said, “I am happy to help new, underrepresented writers with unique voices who can bring forth the vast humanity of others. I have spent my entire career trying “to mainstream” stories of the Black American experience and the WGAE’s mentoring program is completely in lockstep with my goals. I am honored to be part of it.”

Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “Even during this pandemic, screenplays are still being written and projects are being developed. The Guild is thrilled to partner with FilmNation on a project that will open doors to under-represented screenwriters. The strides we make in creating opportunities for people to build careers despite historic exclusion helps build an industry that is both fair and sustainable. This program is an important part of the WGAE’s efforts to make the film and television industry more inclusive and equitable.”

FilmNation’s Liz Siegal and Lucy Licht said, “It’s been a privilege to get to know these writers during the selection process, we can’t wait to see the incredible work they will produce during the program. A diversity of voices is as urgent as it has ever been and we are thrilled to be able to provide a platform for these screenwriters to tell their stories.”

The Workshop accepted 100 applications to the program which were submitted via a lottery open to early career writers referred by partner organizations like the Austin Film Festival, Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at CUNY Brooklyn (alumni), The Black List, Blackhouse Foundation, The Dramatists Guild, Emma Bowen Foundation, NALIP, Screenwriters Colony, The National Black Theatre, NYWIFT Writers Lab, ReelWorks, Urbanworld Film Festival and the WGAE Indie Caucus.

FilmNation and WGAE are proud to continue their commitments to serving diverse, emerging talent and supporting New York City as a thriving hub of the entertainment industry.  WGAE also operates the Made in NY Writers Room, a television writing fellowship, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Small Business Services, which just concluded it’s second cycle.

Final Draft is serving as the exclusive sponsor of the 2020 Workshop. In addition to underwriting a portion of the Workshop, Final Draft will provide participants with software and other resources.

The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in film, television, news and new media. The Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit

FilmNation Entertainment is a leading producer, financier and distributor of independent films and television. Since being founded in 2008, the company has established itself as a home for specialty filmmaking with global appeal by focusing on a highly selective group of filmmakers and projects that emphasize both creative integrity and commercial potential. The company announced in early 2019 the launch of its UK-based television production company. The company has broadened its platform with strategic investments into other storytelling arenas, including podcasting, theatrical production as well as digital and short form content.

Consistently ranked as one of the highest-grossing independent international film distributors, FilmNation has intensified its focus on content creation in recent years, bringing to life award-winning box office hits that include Denis Villeneuve’s ARRIVAL starring Amy Adams and Kumail Nanjiani’s and Emily V. Gordon’s THE BIG SICK. FilmNation sold and internationally distributed four-time Academy Award winner THE KING’S SPEECH starring Colin Firth, Pedro Almodovar’s DOLOR Y GLORIA starring Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, THE IMITATION GAME starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and Lenny Abrahamson’s ROOM for which Brie Larson garnered the Academy Award for Best Actress. The company’s production and sales titles have garnered more than 45 Academy Awards nominations and 8 wins, including Best Picture for THE KING’S SPEECH.


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