OUTFEST announces 2012 Screenwriting Lab Fellows




Los Angeles, June 1, 2012 – Outfest – the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing, showcasing and protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media – has announced the five fellows of its 2012 Screenwriting Lab. André Hereford, Erin Greenwell, Jonathan Roessler, Joshua Staman and Travis Matthews have been selected for this year’s program, which in its 10th year, is supported by a Grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“The fellows selected for the 2012 Outfest Screenwriting Lab are the most exciting up-and-coming writers focused on LGBT stories,” said Director of Programming Kim Yutani. “The lab mentoring process has helped dozens of writers hone their craft and we are excited to work with this exceptional group.”

Since 1997, over 2000 scripts have been submitted to Outfest Screenwriting Lab. What began as a screenwriting competition has expanded into a dynamic three-day, mentor-led workshop in Los Angeles for selected screenwriters. The authors of five screenplays participate in an intensive laboratory during which they will work closely with established writers. This year’s mentors are Barry Sandler, Guinevere Turner, Brian Dannelly, Patricia Resnick, and Tim Kirkman. Special guests include John August and Dee Rees.

To be held in June, with a public reading of their work during Outfest 2012, the lab will include sessions with other industry professionals, structured career development opportunities and participation in ongoing festival events. Past lab fellows have gone on to a variety of successes including: completed productions of KISS THE BRIDE by Ty Lieberman, UNDERTOW by Javier Fuentes-León and ELLIOT LOVES by Terracino. Lab fellows have also launched television careers, most notably, Gideon Raff, co-creator of Showtime’s Homeland.

Outfest will announce the line-up for its 30th Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival on June 4.


André Hereford (THE WELL)

Louisville native André Hereford moved to New York at 16 to attend NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. After Tisch, he landed at filmmaker Spike Lee’s production company 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, first as an assistant in Story Development; then, at 22, he was tapped by Lee to head the office as Director of Development. For seven years, he was responsible for finding and developing projects for Lee to direct and produce (SUMMER OF SAM, THE BEST MAN, 3 A.M.). He now co-heads production company Blitz Entertainment, which specializes in creating short-form promotional and entertainment content for such clients as Solidoodle, MSL Group, Foxwoods and Cinecittà Studios. Hereford is the director, producer and editor of several award-winning short films and videos, including OVER EASY, TERMINATED, and THE NAKED-BOY BUSINESS.


Erin Greenwell recently wrote and directed her feature film MY BEST DAY which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. She is the writer, director, and producer of BIG DREAMS IN LITTLE HOPE, which was released through Wolfe Video, and was noted as one of Outfest’s Five in Focus filmmakers. Her very first featurette, 21, was nominated for a Best First Feature Award at Frameline and ran at Bam Rose Cinemas as part of the Best of the NewFest series. Ms. Greenwell is also an established editor for film and television, and is currently serving as picture editor on the feature, CLUTTER starring Carol Kane. Erin formed Smithy Productions, a production company, with the aim to house various talents from the lesbian/ independent art community under the umbrella of narrative/ documentary storytelling. Her educational background includes a BFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and an MFA in Writing and Directing Fiction from the City College of New York's MFA Program.

Jonathan Roessler (UNDERSTAY)

Jonathan Roessler is a graduate of Vassar College and the MFA Film program at Columbia University where he helped produced the Sundance award-winning short film THE DAWN CHORUS. His thesis film, a high school satire entitled FIRST PERIOD, was finished with a music grant from ASCAP that provided for a 20-piece live orchestra. The film went on to win him the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Student Film Award. Since moving to Los Angeles, Mr. Roessler has written for television including Teen Wolf (MTV), Cupid (ABC), and The Beautiful Life (CW). He is currently writing Overnight, a new series for Sony International. He is repped by WME.

Joshua Staman (GIRL/FRIEND)

Joshua Staman grew up Jewish in Phoenix, AZ attending Catholic High School. As he matured, his parents told him “Don’t worry. It’ll all be good for material.” And they were right. Joshua Staman graduated from Columbia College Chicago and before the year was out, he was brought on as a screenwriter on the Chicago feature CHICAGO OVERCOAT and the Phoenix feature DEADFALL TRAIL, now available on Showtime and Netfilx. As he’s developed more features, he has canvassed for non-profit organizations such as Oxfam, Equality California, and specifically Doctors Without Borders where he raised $35,000 and helped launch the Los Angeles office for Public Outreach. He has several projects in the works; all of them stemming from his unique sense of humor and belief that nothing that is human can be alien.

Travis Mathews (BRONTEZ & RICK)

Travis Mathews is an award-winning filmmaker whose movies focus on gay men and intimacy. Informed with a Masters in Counseling Psychology and a background in documentary, he takes a thoughtful and naturalistic approach to filmmaking while maintaining a sense of humor about it all. In 2009 Mathews started an ongoing documentary series called IN THEIR ROOM about gay men and bedrooms. The first of several episodes was filmed in San Francisco, followed by Berlin in 2010. Subsequent episodes will be filmed in cities around the world, the next of which is London. During the making of the series Mathews wrote his first feature screenplay, I WANT YOUR LOVE, inspired by the small real-life narratives he was encountering with the men he was filming. Both IN THEIR ROOM and I WANT YOUR LOVE are currently playing festivals worldwide. Mathews plans to take his new script BRONTEZ & RICK into production in 2013 while continuing his In Their Room series in increasingly disparate cities.

About Outfest
Outfest celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2012 with a yearlong celebration honoring the organization's rich film history, innovative filmmakers and cultural legacy. The anniversary celebration includes the signature film festival, a major film restoration, a new logo, a new monthly screening series and a comprehensive social media campaign. Founded by volunteers on the campus of UCLA in 1982, Outfest has grown into an internationally recognized organization that works to promote LGBT equality through the arts. For three decades Outfest has brought together film lovers, artists, celebrities and entertainment industry professionals to create a world-class forum for stories that reflect and often transform LGBT lives. Outfest has showcased over 5,600 films to audiences, reaching close to one million people, educated and mentored hundreds of emerging filmmakers and protected over 18,000 stories and images through the Outfest Legacy Project for LGBT Film Preservation, the only program of its kind in the world.