Film Independent 2013 screenwriting fellow Iram Parveen Bilal
Mobeen Ansari Film Independent 2013 screenwriting fellow Iram Parveen Bilal

Film Independent has announced the screenwriters selected for its 14th annual Screenwriting Lab. The Lab is an intensive five-week program designed to help writers improve their craft, via the tutelage of Lab Mentors, industry professionals who serve as guests speakers and one-on-one advisors. Full list of newly selected fellows below.

This year's mentors include writer-director Robin Swicord ("The Jane Austen Book Club," "Memoirs of a Geisha") and writer Jeff Stockwell ("Bridge to Terabithia," "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys"). Guest speakers include Destin Daniel Cretton ("Short Term 12") and Sian Heder ("Orange is the New Black")

The 2013 Screenwriters Lab participants and their projects are:


1.Broad Street Diner (written by Fred Thomas Jr.) - Three elderly male friends who meet daily at a neighborhood diner, find that 70 is the new 40 as they deal with friendship, new love, sickness and fatherhood, making it hard for them to retire from “Life.

2. Forbidden Steps (written by Iram Parveen Bilal) - A Muslim daughter struggles with the divisions between her passion for dancing and the will of her family.

3. Jamie and Jackie (written by Tarik Karam) - Jamie and Jackie is the story of a small time thief who lives the life of a ghost until the day he’s invited to play a strange game with a woman he meets at a hotel.

4. Jane (written by Natalija Vekic) - After her sister’s fatal back alley abortion, Teresa, a bright, but naïve 1960’s college student, joins “Jane,” an underground group who break the law and risk their lives to help women find access to safe abortions.

5. Love on the Tundra (written by Dana Turken) - Seemingly together, type-A Emily becomes obsessed with trying to “save” mentally ill Jacob, but in the process of helping him get better, begins to psychologically unravel herself.

6. The Murch (written by Elliott Williams) - An extremely smart boy from the Midwest moves to the projects of North Carolina and learns that there is a high price for trying to fit in.

7. Spa Night (written by Andrew Ahn) - Struggling to escape his crumbling family life, a closeted Korean-American teenager follows his desires and finds more than he bargains for at the Korean spa.

8. Sugar (written by Thymama Payne) - When a seasoned war correspondent is executed in a fancy Nairobi suburb, his 29 year-old lover is forced to confront corrupt politicians, Somali extremists and her own demons, in order to halt a coup d'état and expose the conspiracy behind his death.

9. Trauma (written by Edi Ibok) - A veteran discharged after a spontaneous act of violence struggles to reorient himself to home town life and must face emotional scars resulting from a sexual assault he experienced in the military.

10. Varenya (written by Shripriya Mahesh) - Varenya, a South Indian Hindu priest, accepts a young apprentice and is forced to question the doctrines of his religion.