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 provide 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 across the diaspora.
In partnership with prominent local and international organizations, the inaugural Fellowship class launched in Kenya in Fall 2021 and completed the program in Spring 2022. Our first cohort consisted of five experienced live-action film and television writers with exceptional writing credits who participated in a consecutive ten week hybrid (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 we are expanding to Ghana in 2023!
Starting in April 2023, our Ghana cohort will focus on live-action feature film writers in the territory. Applications are currently available.
Please return here for updates and follow us on social media.
In East Africa, we are planning the kick-off of two cohorts: one for film and one for television writers in 2023, doubling the size of our inaugural cohort. This 2023 East Africa Cohort will begin in Q2 or Q3 2023. Applicants residing in designated East African countries will be welcome to apply. Details to follow shortly. Please return here for updates and follow us on social media.
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 a trip for the Fellows to a film festival in North America or other region (limitations and restrictions apply).
The 2022 Kenya Cohort attended the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) in Miami in June 2022 and, due to Covid-related factors, the 2022 Sundance Film Festival virtual edition including virtual events hosted by The Blackhouse Foundation.
Classes: 2 days per week, 1.5 hours each day (tentative)
Coursework: An award-winning writer-director of film, television, and video games developed 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. In addition, through a series of 1:1 and panel discussions, Fellows will have the opportunity to meet and hear directly from experienced industry executives, producers, and writers on key industry issues and opportunities.
Sessions will be scheduled in the evenings on Mondays and Tuesdays, each week. Each Cohort will run for approximately sixteen consecutive weeks, with some flexibility at the instructor and Program Manager’s discretion.
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