EXCLUSIVE: The Gotham Film & Media Institute today named Ahya Simone, Bré Rivera and Paige Wood (Female Queen Chronicles), Ariel Zucker and Daryl Paris Bright (GYNO), Chy Chi (Hot dish), Stacie E. Hawkins (night watchmen), Connor Austin Jones (On the line), Maïa Nikiphoroff (The rise of Elisa Lynch), Lauren Ciaravalli (SLUT), Lori Webster Fore (soul city), David Barker, Jerónimo Rodriguez and Jay van Hoy (Wiring Utopia), and Edith Rodriguez (Youth) as fellows and projects for its Gotham TV Series Lab 2022, which runs today through May 13.
The Gotham TV Series Lab provides teams of up-and-coming creators, writers, and producers with the knowledge, resources, and mentor support needed to craft strong pitches and create solid development strategies. The five-day program is made up of workshops, panels and case studies, with a particular focus on the inner workings of the writers room and emerging market trends.
This year, for the first time, two of the 10 projects included came from the Expanding Communities program, through recommendations from partner organizations, Gyno and Night Watchers. Expanding Communities is dedicated to providing resources, community space, and industry access to people with disabilities, as well as Black, Indigenous, PoC, and LGBTQIA+ creators in the film, television, and audio industries.
“We are proud to announce the newest cohort of our fourth annual Gotham TV Series Lab, which provides writers and creators new to television with first-hand mentorship opportunities with industry experts,” said said Gotham executive director Jeff Sharp. “This year’s selections feature ambitious projects with exciting world-building concepts and powerful, self-assured characters representing the continued vitality of this ever-expanding art form. We are so grateful to be able to help these incredible creators to reach their target audience.
The Gotham TV Series Lab operates under the artistic direction of Senior Director, Episodic and International Programming, Gabriele Capolino. The 2022 Lab is guided by Lab Heads Neerja Narayanan (Creative Producer, Sony Pictures International Productions) and Rae Benjamin (CEO/Founder, In the Cut; Screenwriter, Netflix’s The Witcher).
All 2022 Fellows will automatically participate in the 44th Gotham Week Project Marketplace, where they will pitch their projects to industry decision makers. Below is more information about the .projects selected for this year’s lab.
- Female Queen Chronicles – An aspiring musician, CHANEL, and her trans girlfriends – ERYKAH and AMIRAH – are trying to make a name for themselves and live in the city of Detroit. Ahya Simone (creator), Bré Rivera (creator), Paige Wood (creator)
- GYNO (Expanding Communities Fellow)– Connected by a trusted gynecologist, GYNO is an anthology episodic that follows fictional Los Angeles strangers as they navigate their lives, reproductive systems, and everything in between. Ariel Zucker (Creator, Writer Executive Producer), Daryl Paris Bright (Creator, Writer, Executive Producer)
- Hot dish – A struggling feminist porn writer working at a toxic, male-dominated, ultra-thin restaurant in Los Angeles, falls into a secret relationship with the new chef that angers hostile co-workers. Chy Chi (creator, writer)
- night watchmen (Community Expanding Fellow) – A socially anxious teenager discovers she has powers when her parents are kidnapped by a demonic witch. In order to save her family, she must face her innermost fears and join a gang of supernatural vigilantes called the Night Watchers. Stacie E. Hawkins (creator, screenwriter)
- On the line — Once-famous 18-year-old sprinting prodigy Myles D’Vine struggles to get back to the line as he faces the physical and mental reality of his life, on and off the track. Connor Austin Jones (creator, executive producer)
- The rise of Elisa Lynch — A historical satire inspired by the life of Elisa Lynch, who left the palaces of Paris for the jungles of Paraguay in the middle of the 19th century. Maia Nikiphoroff (creator, screenwriter, executive producer)
- SLUT – When Lia, a smart but sheltered virgin, takes a stand after being shamed, she finds herself the unlikely leader of the popular, rebellious, foreign girls who are fed up. As they come together to change their school’s culture, each teen embarks on a unique journey to find their identity, power, and sexuality. Lauren Ciaravalli (creator, screenwriter)
- soul city – When a catastrophic hurricane hits a small town in North Carolina, a curious connection between the case of an escaped convict and that of a missing black girl reveals a hidden black utopia long considered lost. Lori Webster Fore (creator, screenwriter)
- Wiring Utopia — In revolutionary 1970s Chile, a team of young idealists and an eccentric British cybernetician race against putschists to create an electronic nervous system that can save the country – and change the world. David Barker (creator, screenwriter), Jerónimo Rodriguez (screenwriter), Jay van Hoy (executive producer)
- Youth – When the secretly atheist black sheep of the family returns home after the death of her twin brother, she is forced to replace him as youth pastor at her parents’ Chicago church. Edith Rodriguez (creator, screenwriter)