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Monday October 28, 2019

WGA East and FilmNation Entertainment Launch Inclusive ‘New York Screenwriters Workshop’

NEW YORK, NY (October 28, 2019) – The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and FilmNation Entertainment today announced The New York Screenwriters Workshop, a six-month intensive launching in 2020 that focuses on professional development for diverse, emerging screenwriters in the greater New York City area. The Workshop will provide writers with access to mentorship, meetings and projects aimed to bolster career sustainability. Final Draft is serving as the exclusive sponsor of the 2020 Workshop. In addition to underwriting a portion of the Workshop, Final Draft will provide participants with software and other resources. The program was initiated by FilmNation Diversity Committee members Alison Cohen, Liz Siegal and Lucy Licht.

The New York Screenwriters Workshop will provide up to eight writers with both a screenwriting mentor and an industry executive mentor while the writer completes a feature length screenplay during the run of the program, March through August 2020. The Workshop will culminate with table reads of the participants’ works and a dinner with leaders of the New York film industry.  Throughout the program, writers will be primed on the business of entertainment by various screenwriters and executives representing various New York City-based film companies. Up to 100 applications will be accepted to the program by either a lottery for early career writers or a referral of writers by partner organizations.

FilmNation and WGAE are proud to continue their commitment to serving diverse, emerging talent and supporting New York City as a thriving hub of the entertainment industry.  WGAE also operates the Made in NY Writers Room, a television writing fellowship, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Small Business Services, currently in its second cycle.

Mentors for the Workshop include Alexander Dinelaris, Academy Award-winning co-writer of Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Douglas McGrath, Academy Award-nominated co-writer of Bullets Over Broadway, Kelly Carmichael, producer of Theresa Rebeck’s forthcoming 355, James V. Hart, co-writer of Contact, and Jim Taylor, Academy Award-winning writer of Sideways, the latter of whom said, “I am excited to be a part of this Workshop, which brings together two organizations that have demonstrated a true commitment to making the film industry more inclusive. I look forward to mentoring an up-and-coming screenwriter as she/he/they develop new work and launch their career in this highly competitive and often exclusionary industry.”

Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “The Guild is thrilled to partner with FilmNation on a project that will open doors to under-represented screenwriters. The strides we make in creating platforms for people to succeed after years of exclusion helps build an industry that is both fair and sustainable. This program is an important part of the WGAE’s overall efforts to make the film and television industry more inclusive and equitable for all people.”

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the WGAE and cannot wait to experience firsthand the development through mentorship we know this workshop will provide,” said Alison Cohen, a member of FilmNation Entertainment’s Diversity Committee. “New York has a longstanding history of harboring fresh and unique voices, and we’re honored to play a role in making access to the entertainment industry a much more inclusive process than ever before.”

Applications for the New York Screenwriters Workshop will begin to be accepted on November 1, 2019 at Accepted writers are required to commit 10 hours per week, from March 2020 until August 2020, and to writing and participating in programs at the FilmNation or WGAE offices. Writers who cannot be in NYC on a daily basis for the duration of the program, which will require participants to prioritize Workshop programs two to three evenings a week, should not apply.

Participating referring organizations include Austin Film Festival, Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at CUNY Brooklyn (alumni), The Black List, Blackhouse Foundation, The Dramatists Guild, Emma Bowen Foundation, NALIP, Screenwriters Colony, The National Black Theatre, NYWIFT Writers Lab, ReelWorks, Urbanworld Film Festival and the WGAE Indie Caucus.

The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in film, television, news and new media. The Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit

FilmNation Entertainment is a leading producer, financier and distributor of independent films and television. Since being founded in 2008, the company has established itself as a home for specialty filmmaking with global appeal by focusing on a highly selective group of filmmakers and projects that emphasize both creative integrity and commercial potential. The company announced in early 2019 the launch of its UK-based television production company. The company has broadened its platform with strategic investments into other storytelling arenas, including podcasting, theatrical production as well as digital and short form content.

Consistently ranked as one of the highest-grossing independent international film distributors, FilmNation has intensified its focus on content creation in recent years, bringing to life award-winning box office hits that include Denis Villeneuve’s ARRIVAL starring Amy Adams and Kumail Nanjiani’s and Emily V. Gordon’s THE BIG SICK. FilmNation sold and internationally distributed four-time Academy Award winner THE KING’S SPEECH starring Colin Firth, Pedro Almodovar’s DOLOR Y GLORIA starring Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, THE IMITATION GAME starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and Lenny Abrahamson’s ROOM for which Brie Larson garnered the Academy Award for Best Actress. The company’s production and sales titles have garnered more than 45 Academy Awards nominations and 8 wins, including Best Picture for THE KING’S SPEECH.


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