EXCLUSIVE: Outfest will expand its Screenwriting Lab this year, in partnership with Netflix.
The Outfest Screenwriting Lab was established in 1997 as a screenwriting contest, and has since become the cornerstone of the organization’s education and creative development programming. It will this year provide 10 LGBTQIA+ screenwriters with one-on-one mentorship from top industry showrunners, executives, and writers who will offer professional development, scriptwriting support and insight into the latest trends within the industry, having supported eight scribes in 2021.
The week-long intensive lab will take place virtually in October and will thus be accessible to storytellers across the globe, with applications opening today. Outfest is expanding access to its program with support from Netflix, by waiving submission fees for all applicants and providing grants to help financially support each of the selected screenwriters.
Netflix’s partnership with Outfest on its Screenwriting Lab comes as part of its Fund for Creative Equity—an effort to help create more behind-the-camera opportunities for underrepresented communities within the TV and film industries. Showrunners Jaclyn Moore (Dear White People), Alvaro Rodriguez (six hands), Micah Schraft (Mrs America) and Mikko Alanne (The Long Road Home) will be joined as mentors by writers Eduardo Cisneros, Chuck Hayward and MW Wilson, with executives Manny Jaquez, Bianca Quesada, David Ruby, Andrew Wang and Julie Waters, and industry reps Biz Hurst, Clifford Murry, Cora Olso, and Martin To also participating.
“Everyone knows that a great film, a great series, a great story begins with the screenplay. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Screenwriting Lab was Outfest’s first foray outside of our namesake festival,” said Outfest Executive Director, Damien S. Navarro. “The expanded partnership with Netflix allows us to further expand the reach and impact of this heralded program.”
“Working with Netflix to provide further financial assistance for creators, whether it is removing the financial barrier to apply or by giving out grants to each of our screenwriting fellows, helps us further deliver on Outfest’s mission to empower LGBTQIA+ storytellers,” added Outfest Artistic Director Faridah Gbadamosi. “We are excited to continue building up the next generation of Hollywood’s storytellers.”
One of the only global LGBTQIA+ arts, media and entertainment organizations, Outfest is currently in its 40th year of operations. The non-profit’s tentpole film festival programs and digital channels include the Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival, Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival, and the OutMuseum. Its mentorship and education programs and courses also include Outfest InFusion studio days, Fusion Workshops, OutSet Young Filmmakers Project, and the Outfest Anthony Meindl Trans Acting Fellowship. More information on how to apply for the Outfest Screenwriting Lab can be found here.