1497 Writers Lab brought in top filmmakers to mentor another class of under-represented South Asian screenwriters for its second edition.
Little America director Deepa Mehta, Late at night coxswain Nisha Ganatra and Minhal Baig from Hala will help the greenhouse feature film scripts at the Hollywood Talent Incubator. Founded by Adeel Ahmed, Kamran Khan and Lipica Shah, the lab aims to support and develop talent of South Asian descent in order to reduce their under-representation in the US film and television industry.
“The American film and television industry must include our voices, not just the stories we are allowed to tell. We are extremely happy to bring this program back with such an amazing group of mentors and advisors to help pave the way for new voices from the South Asian community, ”the founding trio of 1497 Writers Lab said in a statement. The inaugural Lab had as mentors play it like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, Aneesh Chaganty and Iranian-American director Maryam Keshavarz.
Mehta’s drama The water won an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Drama in 2007, and his last feature film, Funny boy, was acquired by ARRAY Releasing and is available on Netflix. Ganatra won a Golden Globe for her work on the TV show Transparent and also directed The high note. Baig has global deal with Amazon, drops Sundance hit Hala which was produced by Jada Pinkett-Smith and published by Apple TV +.
The second 1497 Talent Incubator will return with script development and mentoring via a feature lab to be held virtually and in person in New York City in 2022. Adrienne Weiss, seasoned scripting consultant and Sundance director, will initially assist to develop the scenarios before the talents are matched. with a mentor to work one-on-one.
The final step is to help industry advisors create career roadmaps with the goal of attracting new South Asian talent to the Hollywood pipeline for future creators and executives.
Applications for the 1497 Writers Lab are open until October 31.