Screenwriters’ Lab

Produced due to the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Hamptons International Film Festival’s Screenwriters’ Lab is an intimate gathering 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 2015 edition will take place April 10-12, 2015.

Each year, we seek a broad selection of screenplays addressing a wide subject matter. Additionally, in collaboration with the Sloan Foundation‘s initiative in furthering the public understanding of science, we encourage writers to submit screenplays that explore science, technology, mathematics, invention, and engineering in fresh and innovative ways. Selected writers who explore these issues will be invited back to the Festival in October to have scenes from their scripts performed in a staged reading featuring accomplished actors.

The mentors advise in a one-on-one creative laboratory setting, while additional events bring the participants together with board members, sponsors, the local artistic community, and other friends of the festival. With scripts from past writers produced year after year, the Lab continues to be a safe and inspiring place for artists to find and hone their creative vision.


Four recent projects from the Lab have gone on to be produced: Destin Cretton’s Short Term 12, which won both the Audience and Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival; Justin Schwartz’s The Discoverers, which had its world premiere at HIFF and continues to play at Festivals around the world; Sara Colangelo’s Little Accidents, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival; and Claudia Myers’s film Fort Bliss, which recently enjoyed a national release.

Recent mentors at the lab include Oren Moverman (The Messenger); Michael Cunningham (The Hours, Evening); James Vanderbilt (Zodiac); Mark Heyman (Black Swan); Rob Siegel (The Wrestler); Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson, Sugar, It’s Kind of a Funny Story); Hawk Ostby (Children of Men); Billy Frolick (Madagascar); J.D. Zeik (Ronin); J. Robin Baitz (People I Know, The Substance of Fire); Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, The Last Days of Disco); Ira Sachs (40 Shades of Blue, Love is Strange); Andy Bienen (Boys Don’t Cry); Jeff Sharp (Producer, You Can Count on Me, Evening); Lawrence Konner (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire); Maria Maggenti (The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love); Sabrina Dhawan (Monsoon Wedding, Cosmopolitan); 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.).


Screenwriters and projects selected for the 2014 Lab:
♦ Christina ChoeNancy — a serial imposter’s ongoing lies have tragic consequences
 Michael SladekPhantom Limbs — based on the novel by Timothy Schaffert, in which two emotionally wounded sisters seek to unravel the central mystery of their lives
 Ben Nabors and Michael TyburskiPalimpsest — examines the subtle forces at play in our urban lives
 Evan SchwartzTelevisionaries — an inspirational drama about genius, deceit and the controversial birth of the most influential invention of our time

The 2014 mentors:
 Jamal Joseph — a Professor of Professional Practice and the former Chair of Columbia University’s Graduate Film Program
 Lawrence Konner — who has a long and distinguished career as a screen and television (The SopranosBoardwalk Empire) writer
 Robert Siegel — screenwriter (The Wrestler), director, and former editor-in-chief of The Onion
 Susan Stover — producer of such films as High Art and Laurel Canyon

Please check back soon to meet this year’s participants.