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IFP Announces Ten Projects Selected For Inaugural IFP Screen Forward Labs

by Erik Luers on November 9, 2015

Brooklyn, NY  (November 9, 2015) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) announced today the projects selected for the first annual Screen Forward Labs, IFP’s yearlong fellowship for content creators with story-driven, serialized projects. The program kicks off today, running November 9-13 at IFP’s Made in NY Media Center.

Inspired by the successful IFP Filmmaker Labs that focus on helping directors complete, market and introduce audiences to cutting edge first-features, the Screen Forward Labs will support innovative content creators with $10,000 worth of services and support over the course of a year. Under the leadership of Amy Dotson, Head of Programming, and Holly Kang, IFP Screen Forward Labs Producer, the Labs will provide participants with the knowledge, resources and mentor support necessary for developing strong pitches, securing financing, creating marketing strategies and finding unique avenues for the distribution of their work.  Individualized attention for each project will also be paid to building sustainable audiences, as well as long-term strategy for their ongoing careers.

“We are excited to introduce the first IFP Lab for web based creative content.  The landscape for storytelling is expanding exponentially as new distribution platforms evolve and as technology advances, providing more opportunities for content creators, artists and filmmakers to showcase and hone their craft,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director of IFP and the Made in New York Media Center.  “We hope to meet this demand and nurture the creative community in this rapidly changing industry.”


About IFP Screen Forward Labs 

The Lab is open to innovative media creators with story-driven, serialized projects created on all platforms and formats including web series, VR, or app based work (Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, etc.). All projects must have at minimum representative sample visual content (a completed episode, demo, excerpt) already in place, and cannot have already launched their project publicly.

As part of IFP’s ongoing commitment to diversity, the Screen Forward Labs also seek to ensure that at least 50% of the participating project teams have an inclusive range of races, genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities and physical abilities in key creative positions. This year, 60% of the directors are women, and 40% of the projects were developed outside of the traditional media hubs of New York and Los Angeles.

The Screen Forward Lab week will culminate with all projects presenting and pitching to investors, online distributors, network executives and tech companies.


Post-Labs, all content creator teams will receive a free, six-month residency at the Made in NY Media Center as well as ongoing individualized access to classes, workshops and support from industry and creative mentors.

This inaugural year of the Screen Forward Labs is made possible by a generous grant from the Time Warner Foundation.


About IFP Screen Forward Mentors

The Labs provide multiple levels of mentorship throughout the process, to be overseen by 2015 Lab leaders Michael Gottwald, producer (High Maintenance), Ingrid Jungermann, writer/director (The SlopeF to 7th), Saschka Unseld, Animation Director & Creative Director, Oculus Story Studio, and Jennifer MacArthurBorderline Media. Additional mentors and workshops consist of leaders from major digital industries and strategists including: Above Average, Conde Nast Entertainment, Google Creative Lab, IndieGogo, Vimeo, Vox Media, You Tube, etc.


About IFP Screen Forward Lab Projects 

The ten selected projects represent a mix of genres ranging from comedy, drama, thriller to experimental.  Formats include live action, animation and cross-platform storytelling.

2015 Screen Forward Lab and Lab Fellows are:

195 Lewis (Drama) A diverse group of young women navigate the realities of being black and queer in New York City.  Chanelle Aponte-Pearson (Director/Writer), Yaani Supreme (Creator/Writer), Rae Leone Allen (Creator/Writer), Terence Nance (Writer/Producer)

Awkward Celebrity Encounters (Animated) Independent filmmaker Caveh Zahedi (I Am Not a Sex Addict) tells a different awkward celebrity encounter story in each episode.  Caveh Zahedi (Director/Creator/Writer/Producer), Arnold Barkus (Producer)

Barbara and the Cake Boys (Drama) Set in a group home for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Northern California, residents grapple with the introduction of a new member of their household, Barbara, a vivacious artist with a wry wit and an intellectual disability, who manages to disrupt almost every routine they’ve established in the many years they’ve lived together.  Erica Milsom (Director/Creator/Writer), Todd Shaiman (Producer), Adam Habib (Director of Photography)

Butch and Nellie Take the Rap Game (Comedy) Fresh off the bus from Baltimore, Butch and Nellie arrive in Los Angeles ready to win “So You Think You’ve Got the Voice.”  Instead, they encounter a series of failures culminating in a 3000% fucked up audition.  It looks like they are going to have to build their gay rap empire brick by brick, glitzy TV shows be damned!  Conor Fetting-Smith (Director/Creator/Writer), Lindsay Villareal (Producer)

Chinafornia (Animated) Unable to pay the $10 trillion it owes China, the U.S. devises a plan: to give China the state of California. Ellie Lee (Director/Creator/Writer/Editor), Nneka Bennett (Animator)

A History of the Middle East (Experimental) The tale of a Syrian woman, who upon losing her home in the 2011 uprising, goes back in time and into the future to remake history through dance. Susan Youssef (Director/Creator/Writer/Producer/Editor), Man Kit Lam (Producer/Editor), Nadine Toukan (Producer)

Namaste Bitches (Comedy) An original comedic series about the “underbelly of the yoga world.” Mary Gillen (Director/Writer/Producer), Summer Chastant (Creator/Writer/

Producer/Executive Producer), Nandita Argarwal (Executive Producer)

On the Lig (Comedy) Set against the backdrop of high-society parties, receptions, and black-tie events, Dara and his friends, struggling Irish artists in New York, mooch their way through life by attending any event to kick start their careers and fill up their stomachs.  Niall McKay (Director/Creator/Writer), Marissa Aroy (Producer)

The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes (Experimental) Brain scientist, Dr. Sheri Myes, survives a bombing, but is forever changed. Isolated by her obsessions and blind to the love, hate and self-interest that surrounds her, she endures various obstacles in her quest to raise the level of human consciousness.  Nancy Andrews (Director/Creator/Writer/ Animator/Composer), Michole Briana White (Actress)

Zero Point (Sci-Fi Thriller) Consumed by the strange and abrupt death of her son, a woman investigates the cause of a mysterious disease she believes threatens to wipe out an entire generation.  Gregory Bayne (Director/Creator/Writer/Producer/DP/Editor), Christian Lynbrook (Creator/Writer/Producer)




About IFP

The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) champions the future of storytelling by connecting artists with essential resources at all stages of development and distribution. The organization fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community through its year-round programs, which include Independent Film Week, Filmmaker Magazine, the Gotham Independent Film Awards and the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, a tech and media incubator space developed with the New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.

IFP represents a growing network of 10,000 storytellers around the world, and plays a key role in developing 350 new feature and documentary works each year. During its 35 year history, IFP has supported over 8,000 projects and offered resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers, including Debra Granik, Miranda July, Michael Moore, Dee Rees, and Benh Zeitlin. More info at

For more information on IFP, please contact:

Amy Dotson, Deputy Director & Head of Programming, IFP (212) 465-8200 x203

Holly Kang, Producer, Screen Forward Labs, IFP (212) 465-8200 x207