Screenwriters Lab

The Hamptons International Film Festival’s Screenwriters Lab, now in its 19th year, is an intimate gathering that takes place each spring in East Hampton, New York. The Lab develops emerging screenwriting talent by pairing established writers and creative producers with up-and-coming screenwriters (chosen by HIFF in collaboration with key industry contacts).

The mentors advise in a one-on-one creative setting, while additional events bring the participants together with board members, the local artistic community, and other friends of the festival. Additional events throughout the weekend include a networking cocktail reception with other artists and writers, as well as a Master Class given by a celebrated screenwriter. With scripts from accepted writers produced year after year, the Lab continues to be an inspiring and safe place for artists to find and hone their creative vision.

The 19th Annual HIFF Screenwriters Lab (April 5-7, 2019) is now accepting submissions online through Withoutabox. We welcome feature length scripts of all types and about all subject matter.

  • Earlybird Deadline: November 27, 2018 (passed)
  • Regular Deadline: December 11, 2018 (passed)
  • Late Deadline: January 2, 2019
  • WAB Extended Deadline: January 15, 2019
2018 Screenwriters Lab. Photo © Richard Lewin

2018 Screenwriters Lab. Photo © Richard Lewin

Three alumni projects, all from female filmmakers—NANCY by Christina Choe, AND BREATHE NORMALLY by Ísold Uggadóttir, and DEAD PIGS by Cathy Yan—won awards for their world premieres at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. AND BREATHE NORMALLY and DEAD PIGS screened at HIFF 2018, and AND BREATHE NORMALLY won the 2018 Brizzolara Family Foundation Award for Films of Conflict & Resolution

Submit on Withoutabox


Since its inception, over fifty screenplays have taken part in the annual HIFF Screenwriters Lab. A number of recent projects in the Lab have gone on to be produced and distributed and to screen at festivals around the world such as Sundance, South by Southwest, Karlovy Vary, AFI Fest, Locarno and the BFI London Film Festival. Selected highlights include SHORT TERM 12, with Brie Larson, Lakeith Stanfield, and Rami Malek, which won the Grand Jury and Audience Award at SXSW; THE DISCOVERERS, starring Griffin Dunne and Ann Dowd; LITTLE ACCIDENTS, featuring Elizabeth Banks and Chloe Sevigny; FORT BLISS, starring Michelle Monaghan and Ron Livingston; and 2010 Sundance Film Festival Closing Night film TWELVE, starring Ellen Barkin and Emma Roberts.

Recent mentors at the lab include Alex Dinelaris (BIRDMAN); Nicole Perlman (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY); Debra Granik (WINTER’S BONE, LEAVE NO TRACE); Oren Moverman (THE MESSENGER, LOVE AND MERCY); Michael Cunningham (THE HOURS, EVENING); James Vanderbilt (ZODIAC, TRUTH); Robin Swicord (THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON); Mark Heyman (BLACK SWAN, THE SKELETON TWINS); James V. Hart (CONTACT, HOOK); Rob Siegel (THE WRESTLER, THE FOUNDER); Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (HALF NELSON, MISSISSIPPI GRIND); Sabrina Dhawan (MONSOON WEDDING, COSMOPOLITAN); David Siegel (WHAT MAISIE KNEW); Alec Sokolow (TOY STORY); Hawk Ostby (CHILDREN OF MEN, IRON MAN); Billy Frolick (MADAGASCAR); J.D. Zeik (RONIN); J. Robin Baitz (PEOPLE I KNOW, THE SUBSTANCE OF FIRE); Ted Griffin (OCEAN’S ELEVEN); Whit Stillman (METROPOLITAN, LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP); Ira Sachs (LITTLE MEN, LOVE IS STRANGE); Andy Bienen (BOYS DON’T CRY); Jeff Sharp (Producer, THE YELLOW BIRDS, EVENING); Lawrence Konner (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire); Maria Maggenti (THE INCREDIBLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF TWO GIRLS IN LOVE); Gregory Widen (HIGHLANDER, BACKDRAFT); Mark Christopher (54); Maggie Greenwald (SONGCATCHER, BALLAD OF LITTLE JO); Laurie Collyer (SHERRYBABY); Lawrence Lasker (SNEAKERS, WAR GAMES); Chap Taylor (CHANGING LANES, NATIONAL TREASURE); and Dylan Kidd (ROGER DODGER, P.S.).



Melissa Mathison 300x200Established in 2016, the Melissa Mathison Fund, named for the late Hollywood screenwriter, supports the annual Lab. In particular, the Fund is instrumental in ensuring that female voices are showcased for years to come. Learn more and donate today!

Donate-Button-200