Sundance Institute Sets Fellows for Episodic Lab

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The Sundance Institute has eight new fellows.

The institute revealed today the latest crop of participants for its episodic program, inviting Britt Adams, Gianmarco Giacomelli, Naomi Ko, Ricardo Pérez González, Samantha Clay, Stephanie Adams-Santos, Sylvia Batey Alcalá and Tea Ho to join the six-day immersive program.

The episodic lab brings together fledgling writers with an original series IP that has not yet been produced and offers them the chance to work under the guidance of established showrunners, producers and executives. The 2022 installment begins today and will see the eight fellows workshop their pilot and participate in story meetings, case study screenings, panels and writers’ rooms.

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Creative advisors this year include Daniel Chun (The Office), Shalisha Francis (The Wilds), Dara Resnik (The Horror of Dolores Roach), Erica Rivinoja (Clone High) Sanjay Shah (Central Park), April Shih (Fargo), Brandon Sonnier (S.W.A.T.) and Graham Yost (Justified). Industry mentors include Alec Strum (Epix), Irene Lee (Netflix), Carrie Gillogly (AMC+), Neil Thomas (MRC Television), Dante Di Loreto (Fremantle), Erika Kinnear (Extracurricular), Candace Rodney (Dreamville) and Kathryn Tyus-Adair (Starz).

The lab is overseen by Michelle Satter, founding senior director of artist programs, and Jandiz Estrada Cardoso, episodic program director. The Sundance Institute Episodic Program is made possible by founding supporters Lyn and Norman Lear and Cindy Harrell Horn and Alan Horn with additional support by AMC+, Epix, MRC Television, Netflix, the Harry and Florence Sloan Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Starz.

“This cohort is profoundly honest and devilishly entertaining on the page,” offered Cardoso in a statement. “Their characters rattle so much emotion out of me, each catapulting into unexpected directions, that beg for a wide audience embrace. The next several days mark a turning point for our Fellows creatively, and it’s an honor to assemble the best collaborators in the business to take up the torch of dedicated support.”

More about the participants and selected projects is below.

North Carolina native Adams enters with Onyx, a project that centers on an underground intelligence agency that combats the injustices against Black people using disguises, fake identities and coercion tactics. She’s a multi-hyphenate who has guest-starred on shows on ABC, Netflix, CBS and more.

Giacomelli, described as an ex-Catholic screenwriter with an MFA from the AFI Conservatory, enters with To Kill a Pope. The project follows an exiled English mercenary wrestling with a crisis of faith who embarks on a mission to assassinate the Pope in exchange for absolution and the chance to reunite with his lost love.

Ko comes with The 20-Year Curse, a project that follows Eunji Choi amid a 20-year generational family curse. To break it, she embarks on a journey with her father, Hae Su, that spans both the material and spirit world. Ko is a Korean American filmmaker, actor and performance artist based in Minnesota and Los Angeles.

González will participate with Orlando, described as an hour-long drama about three generations of Puerto Rican women on a uniquely messy journey of healing as they rebuild their lives in the wake of Hurricane María and the Pulse shooting. González is a queer Puerto Rican writer whose credits include Netflix’s Designated Survivor.

Clay comes to the lab with The Growth. It follows a homely and unpleasant alcoholic who develops a sentient back mole in the form of a gorgeous second head with a sparkling personality. The two must navigate life despite having different desires, but only one body. West Virginia native Clay has seen work showcased at the Groundlings.

Adams-Santos arrives with Sad Girl, centering on a young woman who discovers that she is ancestrally connected to a primal force of nature with equal capacities for creation and destruction. Adams-Santos is a Guatemalan American artist and writer whose work spans poetry, prose and screenwriting.

Alcalá’s project is Blue Neptune. It follows a vivacious spiritualist who uses astrology to investigate the disappearance of her wayward sister, only to discover a dangerous web of intrigue that will force her to re-examine everything she believes. Alcalá cut her teeth on CW’s Legacies before pivoting to family dramas Ordinary Joe (NBC) and Field of Dreams (UTV).

Ho’s project is Oriental Town, which follows a young Chinese American woman who learns that a historic “Oriental” neighborhood in her Midwestern town vanished long ago. She goes on a mission to dig up the past only to discover her family’s sordid role in its disappearance. Ho, a queer Viet refugee, is now a staff writer for Hulu’s We Were the Lucky Ones.

Sundance Institute Sets Fellows for Episodic Lab

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