Sundance Institute Announces 2021 Screenwriters Lab Fellows
Fifteen emerging storytellers from Chile, India, Kenya, Tunisia and the U.S. will convene digitally for Sundance Institute’s January Screenwriters Lab, taking place online via Sundance Co//ab from January 11 -15, 2021. The Fellows will work to further develop twelve original projects, in collaboration with an experienced group of Creative Advisors.
The projects and fellows selected for the 2021 January Screenwriters Lab from Grad Film are:
Cris Gris holds an MFA in directing and screenwriting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her films have screened internationally in festivals including La Semaine de la Critique, Festival de Cannes. She’s known for moving between acting, writing and directing and landed her first leading role in the feature independent drama Fish Bones. Gris’ music videos have been nominated by MTV Latin America for Video of the Year. Her short San Miguel received the Spike Lee Film Production Fund, the HFPA Fellows Fund, and was named a 2019 NBR student grant winner. Her latest short, Pia & Mike premiered at the Morelia International Film Festival. Gris is also a directing fellow for the 2020 Film Independent program Project Involve and is currently developing her first feature film and a television show.
Mary Ann Anane (writer) and Cris Gris (director)
After moving to the working-class part of the Hamptons, a Latinx teen employed as a housecleaner for the elite explores identity and sexuality in the shadows of gentrification and inevitable loss.
Sontenish Myers is a Jamaican-American writer-director based in Harlem, New York. She is a graduate of NYU's Graduate Film program where she’s now an adjunct professor. Her short film, Cross My Heart, won the Alexis Award for Best Emerging Student Filmmaker at the Palm Springs International Shortfest and the Vimeo Staff Pick Award at Hamptons International Film Festival. Stampede, her debut feature, was accepted into the 2019 HIFF Screenwriting Lab, Film Independent Screenwriting Lab and IFP Week 2019. It is also a selected script on the Black List 2019, and a recipient of SFFILM’s Rainin Grant and Tribeca All Access Grant.
On a southern plantation in the 1800s, Lena is an 11-year-old slave with telekinetic abilities she cannot yet control. When she is separated from her mother and moved into close quarters with the volatile Master’s wife, Lena must grapple with the danger of her gift as well as its potential power.
Tony Koros is a New York-based Kenyan screenwriter, director and producer. He is a recipient of the 2020 Tribeca Film Institute Sloan Grant, the Cine Qua Non Lab Fellowship 2020, the Martin E. Segal Production Grant and the 2019 Hollywood Foreign Press Association grant. His latest short film, Tithes & Offerings, premiered in competition at the 2019 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and has since been acquired for distribution by CANAL+. His previous short films have screened at over 70 international film festivals including the Palm Springs International Shortfest (where he won the Alexis Prize in 2017,) Clermont-Ferrand 2018, FESPACO 2017, and he won the Sembene prize at the Zanzibar International Film Festival. He holds an MFA in Filmmaking from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Neon Tilapia (Kenya/U.S.A.)
Tony Koros (writer/director)
When a dangerous water-weed threatens to take over his lake and livelihood, a fisherman in rural Kenya forms an unexpected alliance with his estranged granddaughter to fight back using glowing, genetically modified fish. As strange lights appear in the lake, chaos erupts in the village, and the two are challenged to reach a new understanding of each other.
Alyssa Loh is a writer and filmmaker whose essays on technology, surveillance, and visual culture have appeared in Artforum, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and The American Reader, where she served as deputy editor. She sits on the Editorial Board of the history journal Lapham’s Quarterly and has held creative residencies at dispersed holdings (NYC) and Mildred’s Lane (Beach Lake, PA). She co-created the ensemble film Twelve Theses on Attention for the 2020 Glasgow International. Loh is a joint MBA/MFA (filmmaking) candidate at NYU. She holds a BA from Princeton in literature and creative writing, where she won the Ward Mathis Prize for best short story, and was selected by Toni Morrison for participation in her Atelier program. Recipient of the 2021 Alfred P. Sloan Development Fellowship.
Alyssa Loh (writer)
1958. In a purported attempt to “redeem” nuclear weapons, the American government embarks on a plan to blast a new harbor into the Alaskan coastline using five thermonuclear bombs — one of them 10 times the size of the weapon dropped on Hiroshima. A Native village next to ground zero must join forces with a young American scientist to face down the government and save their home from destruction. Inspired by true events.