The Lab will take place February 28 and March 1, 2019, during the 9th Annual Athena Film Festival.

Now in its third year, this two-day lab consists of intensive script development with seasoned mentors. It is designed for female writers who have not yet had a feature-length fictional script produced. Screenplays must include one or more strong female characters in leadership roles at the center of the story and must be feature-length narratives.

2019 Lab Writers

ACTIVATED by Cara Greene Epstein
High achiever Dr. Marla Barkoff is used to being the best, but when she and her son are struck with a mysterious disease, she’s forced to re-examine what is truly best for her patients, her family, and herself.

DRIVING WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED by  Molly Powers Gallagher
Grappling with the reality of her mother’s terminal illness and her failure to get into college, Hanna and her cousin board a bus on a Hail Mary journey to find her estranged father – with her mom and her math teacher (it’s complicated) hot on their tails.

FISHER by Heather Upton
Inspired by Amy Fisher, a bold teenager in 1990s Long Island plots to murder her boyfriend’s wife. It does not go as planned.

LET ’ER BUCK by Maren Curtis
An ambitious ranch girl finds a community and an identity for herself among a band of rowdy, rabble-rousing, rodeo women who defy social norms in the early 20th century.

SURFACE by  Gemma Crofts and Catherine S. McMullen
As nuclear war rips the world apart, humanity retreats underground, leaving AI to run the war above. Based on the short story The Defenders by Philip K Dick.

THE INFORMANT by Ambarien Alqadar
When her father was sentenced to 15 years in solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit, Ayesha grew up parenting her two younger siblings. Failing at the job, she invents a desperate plan to bring him back – becoming an FBI informant.

TRINN BEGINS  by Danielle Milton
A traumatized but hardened woman scrapes up money to move to a safer neighborhood, only to discover sadistic human traffickers are already there. As the conflict builds, she faces a choice: move again – or fight.

WHITNEY POINT by Divya Subramanian
A Muslim-American college student and a self-described redneck find common ground in rural New York State, but their bond is tested by the prejudice that surrounds them.

2019 Lab Mentors

Michael Arndt wrote the screenplays for Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and Toy Story 3 (2010). He also received shared screenplay credit for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), Oblivion (2013), and Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens (2015). He lives in New York City.

Laurie Collyer is a writer/director living in Brooklyn, NY. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, alumnus of the Sundance Screenwriter’s and Director’s labs, and the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinefondation residence for emerging filmmakers, Collyer has been making movies and television for 18 years.

Shinho Lee,  is an alumnus of the American Film Institute’s Screenwriting Program. Lee co-wrote The Chaser, directed by Hong-Jin Na; Sayonara Itsuka (Saying Goodbye, One day), based on the bestselling novel by Hitonari Tsuji; adapted While The Women Are Sleeping (the critically acclaimed short story by Javier Marias); and wrote Last September for Terence Chang. Lee’s screenplay The Red Snow was the Grand Prize Winner of The 2003 Harley-Merrill International Screenwriting Award and The 2002 CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacific in Entertainment) Foundation’s New Writers Award sponsored by The 20th Century FOX. Lee is currently co-writing a sci-fi film with Julie Taymor and developing an action-thriller TV series set in Asia and Europe. He is also an accomplished playwright. He teaches screenwriting in the Dramatic Writing Department, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.

Ligiah Villalobos is a Writer, Producer, Consultant, Educator and Lecturer. She is best known for the independent feature film Under the Same Moon, (La Misma Luna), which she wrote and executive produced. More recently, Villalobos was a Cultural Consultant on the Academy Award-winning Pixar movie, COCO. She is also the recipient of the Humanitas Prize, for writing the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, Firelight. Villalobos has developed projects for multiple studios and networks, including ABC, NBC, ABC/Family (now Freeform), F/X, Showtime, BET, HBO, and Sesame Street, among others. The latest being, a half-hour pilot for STARZ titled The Dirty Girls Social Club, based on the NY Times bestselling book. Villalobos co-wrote the 2016 Lifetime TV Movie, The Real MVP, based on the life of Kevin Durant’s mother. She was the Head Writer for three seasons on Nick Jr.’s hit children’s show Go, Diego! Go! Villalobos currently sold an animated TV series to the Disney Channel titled Adelita y Señorita and she is writing on two Netflix children’s series, Super Monsters and the upcoming series, StarBeam. She is also a writer and associate producer on the animated feature film Koati, currently in production.