The Filmmakers' Workshop serves a specially curated group of film and TV writers each year. We focus on fresh, ambitious work and prepare writers for success in a competitive industry. Participants gather during the NYSAF Summer Season in the Hudson Valley, where they receive a table read of their script with professional actors, attend the readings of fellow writers, and receive one-on-one feedback from industry professionals. Six months later, a follow-up retreat allows for additional access to the NYSAF community and subsequent mentor support.
The 2023 Filmmakers’ Workshop is able to continue this season with the support and collaboration of the Writer’s Guild East (WGE).
Nancy Duff is an Austin Film Festival Josephson Entertainment Fellowship winner and was included on the festival’s “25 Screenwriters to Watch” list for her script COMPANY MAN. The sci-fi dark comedy landed on the annual Blood List as part of the "Fresh Blood Edition” honoring up-and-coming voices in horror, thriller, sci-fi, and dark comedy genres. While participating in the Universal Pictures Feature Writing Program, Nancy wrote two action feature screenplays under the guidance of producers at Chris Morgan Productions and Mandeville Films. Her latest feature, LONG LOST CHRISTMAS, premiered in 2022 on both the Hallmark Channel and Peacock streaming platform. For over a decade, Nancy has worked in visual effects, which has influenced her to ground her imagined worlds on the page, where she often infuses her stories with relatable themes of family and loss.
Nancy’s episodic work has been featured on the WriteHer List and is a ScreenCraft Fellowship winner. In 2022 she was a finalist in the Fox TV Incubator Program. With her latest work, SNARE, Nancy explores her southern roots and is excited to bring the project to New York Stage and Film. She is represented by Ryan Saul and Audrey Knox at The Cartel.
Harrison Hamm is a queer, Autistic, and mixed-race film/TV comedy writer whose stories are driven by LGBTQIA+ themes, irreverent humor, a little punk rock, and a touch of the surreal. Born to a “bootstraps-American” farmer-businessman and the Filipina immigrant version of Dolly Parton, Harrison grew up a total outsider in rural Tennessee. Outed and excommunicated from his Southern Baptist church at 15-years-old, Harrison learned the hard way that laughter is a powerful resource for healing and surviving on the margins. Selected as a screenwriting fellow in Diverso's The Minority Report 2022 and a 2022 Diversity Initiative winner at Roadmap Writers, Harrison has received industry mentorship from creative executives and showrunners, such as Charles Rogers (Search Party) and Jen Statsky (Hacks). Now LA-based and graduated from Loyola Marymount University with dual bachelors in Screenwriting and Gender & Sexuality Studies, Harrison has recently worked as Executive Assistant at Big Swing Productions, interned at Outfest, published poetry, and developed scholarship at the intersection of queer theory, disability justice, and inclusive pedagogy. Represented by Industry Entertainment, Harrison focuses on bold, “genre-queer” scripts that center marginalized characters on offbeat paths to self-discovery — always committed to intercultural dialogue and challenging power structures through humor and heart.
Drew Harper is a writer, researcher, and actor who lives in Los Angeles, interested in the confluence of American religious rituals and contemporary experience. Drew was a stage actor for many years. He worked as a journalist for Gayletter magazine in New York, and his writings on queer experience are published in VICE, Huffington Post, and mic.com. Drew’s book “Space At The Table: Conversations Between an Evangelical Theologian and His Gay Son” was co-written with his father, and their recording of the audiobook was nominated for an Audie award. This is Drew’s first collaboration on a screenplay. Having experienced both homelessness and addiction over the course of many years, Drew is humbled to be joining Atticus in creating the world of these characters.
Atticus Hoffman started his film career at Levantine Films, where he was a development assistant for producer Donna Gigliotti (Shakespeare In Love, Silver Linings Playbook). He then moved to the writing room of House of Cards, where he assisted Frank Pugliese and Melissa James Gibson, the show runners of the award-winning program.
Hoffman now lives and works as a filmmaker and script consultant in New York City. His current projects include Triptych, a proof-of-concept short horror film set to shoot February 2023, Last Day at Seventeen, a feature film adapted from the book of photography by Doug Dubois, and Good Days/Long Nights his directorial debut co-written with Drew Harper.
Summera Howell is a Los Angeles based filmmaker and graduate of UCLA’s department of Theater. 2015’s I WILL LOVE YOU, ALWAYS marked her writing / directing debut, followed by the shorts PERCHANCE, AVOWED, and CHARLESE. In 2021 her debut feature script BIG, STRONG, AND BRAVE placed as an Academy Nicholls Quarterfinalist, Austin Film Festival second rounder, and a Blacklist / Women in Film Feature Lab Semi-Finalist. In 2016, she was a SmashCut CineLab Film Fellow for her film AVOWED. Summera created and spearheaded a #MeToo PSA made by an all-female crew of sexual harassment survivors, garnering over 750,000 views via multiple platforms including NowThis, The Huffington Post, and USA Today. She was a finalist for Shondaland/ Seriesfest's mentoring program. Her shorts have played at festivals nationwide. Current feature scripts include comedy GET BEANIES OR DIE TRYIN' and feminist horror film THE TEACHING. Select acting credits include FX's AMERICAN HORROR STORY, MTV's TEEN WOLF, and Lena Waithe / Amazon's THEM.
ANNDI JINELLE LIGGETT
Anndi Jinelle Liggett is a writer, director, & producer based in Brooklyn, NY. She most recently won the Oscar-qualifying HBO Short Film Award for her magical-realist coming-of-age, "Jelly", narrated by André Holland. Her satirical short, "Clementine", was an official selection in 10 U.S festivals including the 2022 Laugh After Dark Film Festival where it won Best Film.
Currently, Anndi is completing her thesis year at NYU Tisch's graduate film program. In addition, she is a member of the 2022 Marcie Bloom Fellowship in Film, a 2021 BAFTA Scholar, a 2021 Fellow for Diverso's Minority Report and was an intern for HBO's Original Programming department. Prior to film school, she was the Executive Assistant to Al Roker, supporting him at both NBC's Today Show and Al Roker Entertainment.
Allyson Morgan is a writer, producer, performer, and the founder and Executive Director of the award-winning film and theatre collective F*It Club. Her short film Need For Speed (Dating) premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, her short film Sitting, made its world premiere at SCAD Savannah Film Festival and won "Outstanding Narrative Short" at Tallgrass Film Festival, and First Date, her newest short produced by 20th Digital Studio, is currently airing on Hulu in their "Bite Size Halloween" series and is set to release as a feature film by Hulu titled JAGGED MIND in June 2023. She has twice been selected for the iTV/Catalyst Content Festival pitch competition, as well as a participant in Seriesfest’s Pitch-A-Thon. She has also been awarded “Best Teleplay” at Omaha Film Festival, twice been a top ten Finalist for Cinequest, a Finalist at Stowe Story Labs, and a Semi-Finalist at Austin Film Festival. Additionally, she has been awarded an Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation commission, an NG Art Creative Residency in France, a Monson Arts Residency in Maine, a Wassaic Project “Haunted Mill” residency, and four times been awarded a Juno Leadership Residency through the Omega Institute. Allyson was a part of the Webby Award-winning producing team for Dave Holstein and Alan Schmuckler's musical podcast “Wait, Wait, Don't Kill Me,” and she also co-created and produced “Ghosted,” an AR experience which was awarded “Most Innovative Immersive Experience” at North Bend Film Festival. She has written two original novels for Tapas media, DON'T WANT TO REMEMBER YOU and THE PERFECT PLACE, reaching almost 400K views online. More: allysonm.com
CRAIG T. WILLIAMS
Craig T. Williams is a native New Yorker, and a writer/producer/editor at Red Wall Productions, a film production company he founded over twenty years ago with his wife and partner of 21 years, Rosalyn Coleman Williams. Together they have created over 50 film projects including features, documentaries and narrative short films.
Craig was part of the prestigious WarnerMedia Discovery Discovery Access Writers Program (formerly the HBO All Access Writers Program.) Chosen one of 20 writers from over four thousand applicants, he created an original 30-minute TV Pilot.
Craig has many scripts in various stages of development including the award winning one-hour TV pilot “How Ya Like Me Now,” about the ‘80s rap rivalry between Kool Moe Dee and LL Cool J, “Christmas In The Dreamhouse, a Movie Musical and a 30-minute dramedy inspired by his mother finding her long lost sister when they were both in their 60’s. His feature film “Unravel and Cut” has Academy Award Winner Viola Davis and Julius Tennon attached as Executive Producers.
Craig has taught writing for Film and TV at Wesleyan University. He’s a mentor for Women of Color Unite’s Mentorship Program, The Craft Institute, and for teen filmmakers at Reel Works Mentorship Program in Brooklyn. Craig single handedly runs the Facebook group, Black Screenwriters, with over twenty thousand members. Craig and his extraordinarily beautiful and patient wife Rosalyn have a spirited 18 year old son and they make their life in the heart of New York City.
G. Wilson was raised in the sin and excess of Las Vegas, and developed a tendency for the strange early on. After writing and producing a slew of warped comedy and horror content, he earned his MFA in Screenwriting from the AFI Conservatory. As a storyteller, G. Wilson believes in pushing the boundaries of convention and exploring the darker corners of the human psyche with an eye for absurdity. His creative process often involves drawing inspiration from real-life experiences and reimagining them through a twisted lens. His short films have been screened at over 35 international film festivals. His screenplays have placed in a number of competitions including the Austin Film Festival, Screencraft, Launch Pad, Cinestory, and Filmmatic. G.'s latest short film, “Dinner is Served,” is now streaming on Disney+. His next short film, “Ash Valley” is in post-production. He currently co-leads a creator’s room in Rob McElhenney's (It's Sunny in Philadelphia) new web3 venture, Adimverse.
Alexandra Cunningham is the creator, showrunner, and executive producer of “Fatal Attraction,” which stars Joshua Jackson and Lizzy Caplan and airs on Paramount +. Before that Cunningham most recently served as creator, showrunner, and executive producer of “Dirty John,” based on the hit LA Times podcast, which starred Connie Britton, Eric Bana, Juno Temple, Julia Garner, and Jean Smart and aired on Bravo and Netflix. Season two, “Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story,” starred Amanda Peet and Christian Slater and aired on USA and Netflix.
Cunningham has written and produced such shows as “Desperate Housewives”, HBO's “Rome”, the American remake of “Prime Suspect”, “Bates Motel”, “Aquarius”, “Chance” on Hulu, and “Physical”, which is about to air its 3rd season on Apple TV+. She graduated from Johns Hopkins and Columbia and was a Lila Acheson Wallace playwriting fellow at the Juilliard School.
Adam Higgs is a diverse writer currently on strike. Most recently, he was an Executive Producer on both the Netflix action comedy FUBAR starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the smash hit Amazon series REACHER. Previously, Higgs worked as a Co-EP and #2 on the CW series LEGACIES and the ABC series WHISKEY CAVALIER. Previous development includes the adaptation of the popular podcast THE ADVENTURE ZONE with Peacock. Other credits include CBS's SCORPION, Syfy’s HAVEN, and CBC’s REPUBLIC OF DOYLE.
MICHELLE DENISE JACKSON
Michelle Denise Jackson is a WGA Award-winning writer, producer, and storyteller whose stories center and celebrate people from marginalized communities doing the messy work of becoming their whole and free selves. Since 2019, she has written on some of the most popular and critically acclaimed shows of the Peak TV boom: GENERATION (HBO Max), PIECES OF HER (Netflix), WGA Award-winning limited series MAID (Netflix), NAACP-award winning drama series QUEEN SUGAR (OWN), and Apple TV’s flagship drama THE MORNING SHOW. She holds an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. In addition to working in writers’ rooms, Michelle has developed TV projects with Anonymous Content, Bad Robot, BuzzFeed Studios, Netflix, and HBO. She also serves as adjunct faculty in USC’s John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television.
Geetika Lizardi majored in English at Stanford and dreamed of being a writer, but due to her intense commitment to being a "good Indian daughter," she received an MBA instead and was recruited by Microsoft. She surprised her colleagues when she left a successful career and stock options to pursue her passion for screenwriting. Her first feature was optioned and adapted for musical theater in the UK. Her first TV spec landed her a staff writing job on the NBC comedy, OUTSOURCED. Geetika most recently wrote on Seasons 2 & 3 of the Netflix/Shondaland smash hit, BRIDGERTON.
On the development side, Geetika is pitching an original series with Universal TV and Keshet Studios, writing a feature for Film4 (UK) based on the hit novel, EROTIC STORIES FOR PUNJABI WIDOWS, and adapting a novel for Lilly Singh's Unicorn Island Productions. Geetika is a two-time winner of the WGA Writers Access Project, the only writer ever to win in both Comedy and Drama. She writes character-driven stories with heart, humor and substance.
Laura Marks is a PEN award-winning playwright, television writer, and comic book writer. She’s written episodes of Servant, Let the Right One In, The Good Fight, The Expanse, Ray Donovan, The Exorcist, and BrainDead, in addition to various projects in development. Her plays Bethany and Mine have garnered acclaim from critics and have been published and produced across the US and overseas. Her debut graphic novel, Daphne Byrne (with art by Kelley Jones), was published by DC Comics under Joe Hill’s horror imprint, Hill House Comics. She’s a graduate of Juilliard’s playwriting program, an alumna of New Dramatists and the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group, and a native of Kentucky, now living in New York.
Max Mayer is a Founder and Producing Director of New York Stage And Film. His film Adam featuring Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Alfred P. Sloan Award and was distributed by Fox Searchlight. As Cool As I Am starring Claire Danes, James Marsden and Sarah Bolger was produced by Wind Dancer and Identity Films and was distributed by IFC Films in 2013. His first feature film, Better Living starring Roy Scheider, Olympia Dukakis and Edward Hermann opened theatrically in New York and Los Angeles in 2000. Max has written screenplays: Adam, The Great Day, The Affix, Present Tense, The Doorman, co-wrote Runaway Lake with Sadik Grice and Intersection with Catherine Corpeny, and theatrical plays: The Sleeping Hippo, produced off-Broadway in 1997, Hand To Hand, produced by New York Stage and Film in 1994, and James And The Handless Maiden, produced in Los Angeles in 2002. For television, Max directed Episodes of NBC’s “The West Wing”, ABC’s “Alias” and was Associate Producer of CBS’s “Family Law” where he directed three episodes. Currently, Max is in development with two independent films, The Inn Between, co-written with Terry Walters, and Patriot Acts by Willy Holtzman. In a 25+ year career as a theatre director, Max has directed World or New York premieres of plays by John Patrick Shanley, Eric Overmyer, George F. Walker, Lee Blessing, Alexandra Gersten, Harry Kondoleon, Nicole Burdette, Richard Nelson, Quincy Long and Joanna Murray-Smith, with actors such as David Strathairn, Ethan Hawke, Frances MacDormand, Julianne Moore, John Spencer, Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, Jane Kaczmarek, Robert Sean Leonard, Mary MacDonnell, Kyra Sedgwick, John Mahoney and Patricia Wettig at theatres such as Steppenwolf, WPA, Second Stage, Atlantic, Malaparte, Long Wharf, Manhattan Class, Ensemble Studio and the Arena Stage where his productions have won multiple Best Production and Best Director Helen Hayes Awards. World premiere plays include: Lee Blessing’s Chesapeake (Drama Desk and Outer Critics’ Circle Award nominations for solo performer, Mark Linn-Baker), Supple In Combat by Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros, John Patrick Shanley’s The Dreamer Examines His Pillow, and George F. Walker’s Escape From Happiness among many others.. Max has a BA in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in Acting from NYU. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, documentary director, Rebecca Carpenter, daughter, Jude and step-daughter, Annika.
Janine Nabers is an Emmy nominated tv writer and is in an overall deal at Amazon Studios. She has been named one of Adweek’s Creative 100 in 2023. Most recently, SWARM, the culturally buzzy series she co-created and Executive Produced with Donald Glover debuted on the streamer. She is developing a series with Prentice Penny at HBO, executive producing QUILLS with Rob Williams and Javier Bardem at Searchlight, developing SYD at Annapurna as well as a project with Lucky Chap at Amazon. Janine was a Co-Executive Producer writing on seasons 3 and 4 of ATLANTA on FX. Other credits include HBO's WATCHMEN for which she won a WGA Award, Co-Executive Producer on AWAY for Netflix, and Marti Noxon’s DIETLAND for AMC, UNREAL for Lifetime, and all five seasons of GIRLFRIEND’S GUIDE TO DIVORCE at Bravo. Janine won the Yale Drama Series prize from over 1,600 entries from around the world for her play SERIAL BLACK FACE. A native of Houston, Texas, Janine is a graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellowship at Juilliard.
Charlie Stratton wrote and directed the feature film IN SECRET starring Jessica Lange, Elizabeth Olsen, Oscar Isaac, and Tom Felton. The film was released by Roadside Attractions and Sony Pictures International and premiered as an Official Selection at the Toronto International Film Festival. His current writing credits include SNOW MEN for Elevation, SOVEREIGN with WonderHill Studios which he is also directing, and GIOVANNI’S ROOM which he adapted from the James Baldwin novel with Lee Daniels directing.
Additional screenwriting credits include SEACOLE, which he also
directed, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sam Worthington, Sylvia Hoeks, and Rupert Graves, based on the life of Mary Seacole; DOCTOR AT WAR for Palmstar Films based on Eugene
Lazowsky’s heroic effects during World War II; HOPE’S WISH based on twelve-year-old Hope Stout’s remarkable Make-AWish story, and THE NAZI OFFICER’S WIFE for director Mike Figgis.
Stratton has directed and produced a variety of television shows as well as developed pilots for Freeform, ABCFamily, Gaumont, and Condé Nast Entertainment. He has been a writer and director mentor for New York Stage & Film, Cinestory, and Sundance.
Leslie Urdang is President of Mar-Key Pictures, a producer of film, theater
and television and a Founder and Producing Director of New York Stage
and Film Company.
Her feature films include “Beginners”, (Academy, Golden Globe, SAG, and
BAFTA Awards for Christopher Plummer, Gotham Award winner for Best
Picture) “Rabbit Hole” (Academy and Golden Globe nomination for Nicole
Kidman) “The Seagull” starring Annette Bening, Saoirse Ronan, Corey
Stoll, Jon Tenney and Elisabeth Moss, (2019 Women’s Image Network
Award), John Patrick Shanley’s “Wild Mountain Thyme” starring Emily
Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Jon Hamm and Christopher Walken, “A Midsummer
Night1s Dream”, starring Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Stanley Tucci,
Christian Bale, Calista Flockhart and Dominic West, “The Oranges”
starring Hugh Laurie, Allison Janney and Oliver Platt, “Thanks for
Sharing” starring Mark Ruffalo and Josh Gad, “The Family Fang” starring
Jason Bateman and Nicole Kidman, “Adam”, starring Hugh Dancy and
Rose Byrne, “Game Six” starring Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr and
Griffin Dunne, “Twelve and Holding” starring Jeremy Renner, “The Great
New Wonderful” starring Tony Shalhoub, Stephen Colbert, Olympia
Dukakis, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Narrows” starring Vincent
D’Onofrio, “Me and Veronica” starring Elizabeth McGovern and Patti
Wettig and “People I Know” starring Al Pacino.
Her current projects are a television series for MGM+ called “American
Classic” written by Bob Martin and Michael Hoffman and starring Kevin
Kline and Jon Tenney and the feature “Counting by 7s” starring Josh Gad.
Leslie has worked as a producer for Robert Redford’s company, Wildwood
Enterprises, Universal Pictures, Fox Searchlight and Fox 2000.
She is a Founder and Producing Director of New York Stage and Film,
which has developed and produced hundreds of new plays and musicals
including the earliest workshops of the musical “Hamilton”. Leslie created
“The Film and Television Workshop” program at New York Stage and film.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked in Washington
D.C. before going to the Yale School of Drama’s MFA program. Urdang’s
very formative experiences were her years spent studying dance at the
School of American Ballet and performing with George Balanchine’s New
York City Ballet. Urdang currently resides in LA with her husband actor/
director Jon Tenney.
Ray Utarnachitt was most recently a writer and executive producer on DC’S
LEGENDS OF TOMORROW. He is a Michigan native and like any good Asian
student, was pre-med at the University of Michigan for 3 years. Much to his
parents’ dismay, he switched tracks and graduated with a Film degree. Ray broke
into the business working in production on commercials, music videos, and
features. He has also written for PERSON OF INTEREST, THE TOMORROW
PEOPLE, THE FLASH, and SUPERGIRL. He is an alumnus of the Warner Bros.
Matt Williams is best known as the creator and executive producer of the hit series Roseanne and the co-creator and executive producer of Home Improvement, one of the most successful programs in television history. Williams joined The Cosby Show during its premiere season and worked as a writer/producer on the show for three subsequent seasons, during which time his work was honored with Emmy and Humanitas nominations, as well as sharing a Peabody Award for outstanding achievement in television writing. He also served as co-creator of the Cosby spin-off, A Different World.
In 1989, Williams formed Wind Dancer Production Group with principals Carmen Finestra and David McFadzean. Under the Wind Dancer banner, Williams co-created and executive produced Home Improvement, Carol & Company, starring Carol Burnette, Buddies with Dave Chappelle, Thunder Alley, Soul Man and Costello. Once again, his work received Emmy and Humanitas nominations, as well as winning numerous People's Choice Awards. He is the executive producer of the hit animated series for PBS Ready, Jet, Go!
In film, Williams produced and directed Where The Heart Is, starring Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd. He produced Nancy Meyer's romantic comedy What Women Want; executive produced the critically acclaimed drama Firelight with Sophie Marceau and served as co-writer and producer of Disney's award-winning Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken. Williams co-wrote, produced, and directed Walker Payne, and produced Bernie, The Keeping Room and As Cool As I am.
The application process for the Filmmakers' Workshop is currently accessible by recommendation only.
For inquiries and more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Miranda de Pencier
Aditi Brennan Kapil
Mary Stuart Masterson
John Patrick Shanley
Caroline Lai Hung Blair
Maria Agui Carter
Anderson John Heinz
Robin Rose Singer
Shawn Snyder &