The International Writer's Lab (IWL) is a first of its kind creative accelerator whose core mission is to support global, emerging storytellers in the development of compelling stories across film, television, animation, gaming and beyond and help position participants on a path to propel their careers forward through increased awareness and preparedness.
Our vision is to create a premiere on-ramp for writers of exceptional talent to high value opportunities and exposure to the best in the global film and television communities, which will also benefit from greater diversity and inclusion of these dynamic storytellers. We also aim to create a bridge for collaboration between African and Hollywood-based African-American storytellers from both the historical and contemporary African diaspora.
With the help of key local and international partners (including LINK to partner page), the inaugural Fellowship class launched in Nairobi, Kenya in September 2021. The first cohort consisted of five (5) experienced live-action film and television writers with demonstrated credits who participated in a consecutive ten (10) week virtual and in-person program that helped them take their existing original ideas and accelerate them to the next level.
We are pleased to announce that we are doubling the size of our inaugural cohort, hosting ten (10) fellows in separate episodic (5) and film (5) divisions. The 2022 cohort will begin in Q3 2022.
Please return to this website for additional announcements and the kickoff of the Cohort II application process in the coming weeks.
The goals of the program are to provide: (1) hands-on, tactical skills and training; (2) expert guidance on writing for global audiences, pitching materials to Hollywood executives, and personal marketing; and (3) a pathway to tangible commercial opportunities.
Our aim is also to create a community through the Fellowship where each cohort can increase their range of networking amongst each other and across creatives and executives in the business. Ultimately, we want to assist in the development of a pipeline of highly skilled and sought-after creatives from around the world, beginning in Kenya.
The Lab is structured in two modules. The first module is similar to a Hollywood-style “writer’s room” where each Fellow works on their own project while also reading and providing feedback to help other participants improve their own work. The collaborative nature of the program ensures each participant receives the needed attention, feedback, and assistance to accelerate their project. The second module consists of more formal programming including sessions and discussions led by industry veterans on topics like Defining Your Voice & Developing Your Writing Muscle for International Audiences, Building Your Brand, Pitching 101, & Navigating Hollywood Post Fellowship to further assist participants in understanding the business and positioning themselves within it.
Mentors and Industry Executives: Throughout the program, Fellows are introduced to experienced, Hollywood-based writers, studio and streaming executives, agents and managers who can answer questions and provide perspective on their industry.
Pitch Program: At the end of the program, Fellows will be given the opportunity to pitch their projects to a panel of experienced distributors, agents and managers to receive feedback and advice.
Film Festivals: For broader professional development and networking opportunities, the IWL sponsors trips for the Fellows to film festivals in North America and other regions (some restrictions apply).
The 2021 cohort attended the American Black Film Festival in Miami in 2022 and The Blackhouse Foundation virtual events at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. The Fellows participated in the events and programming developed and delivered by the Foundation and the Sundance Film Festival itself. The Sundance Film Festival events were hosted virtually in 2022 due to COVID-related factors.
Classes: 2 days per week, 1.5 hours each day (tentative)
Coursework: An award-winning writer-director of film, television and video games has helped develop our curriculum with the goal of creating a high-impact program. The program will consist of a combination of in-class feedback and out of class exercises. Time outside of the classroom spent writing will be required as well. Participation in each session is considered mandatory.
Sessions will be scheduled in the evenings on Mondays and Tuesdays, each week. The course will begin in Q3 2022 and run for approximately sixteen (16) consecutive weeks, with some flexibility at the instructor’s discretion.
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