NYU Production Lab Announces Six Projects for its 2024 Feature Film Development Studio

A grid featuring the headshots of the 11 participants in the 2024 Feature Film Development Studio
NYU Production Lab announces the filmmakers who were selected for the 2024 Feature Film Development Studio.

The NYU Production Lab has selected six projects for its 2024 Feature Film Development Studio program, a redesigned initiative that helps emerging artists address both the artistic and commercial elements required to create a market-ready script and investor package.

Six writers/directors who are NYU students or recent alumni and their producing partners are part of the initiative’s third class. The 2024 projects represent a diverse group of subjects and styles, and include a 1970s Soviet Union coming-of-age story, a political tale set in the hurricane-threatened Cayman Islands, and a pre-Civil War drama about a doctor performing experimental procedures on enslaved women.

From this month through September, 11 filmmakers will work with NYU Production Lab staff and industry professionals to workshop their feature-length scripts, create and polish business plans and pitch materials, and hone their presentation skills for investors. Among the presenters working with this year’s class are Academy Award nominated producers Taylor Shung (Past Lives) and Sara McFarlane (Red, White, and Blue). In addition to two weekend intensives, each writer will be paired with a professional screenwriter for one-on-one feedback. The fellowship ends Sept. 17 with a pitch session before a live audience and industry decision-makers.

The program aims to help the artists jumpstart their careers and gain footholds in the industry, says Liz Nord, Head of Programs and Creative Development.

“Our venture is unique among professional artist support programs because it focuses on the creative development and market readiness of projects, emphasizing both the artistic and commercial forces that drive the industry. We select projects that we believe will get made and seen, and we are incredibly enthusiastic about this year’s diverse, dynamic, and talented group of filmmakers,” Nord says. “I’m also excited that each of the projects features fascinating female protagonists, as recent box office successes show that audiences are hungry for characters and stories like these.”

Filmmaker Anndi Jinelle Liggett sits in a chair in a conference room with other participants gathered for the program's orientation session.

Anndi Jinelle Liggett ('Marley & Skyler') listens to a presentation at NYU Production Lab's 2024 Feature Film Development Studio orientation last month. Photo by Ajai Vishwanath.

One of the only feature film development programs affiliated with a university, the Development Studio has built a successful track record in its short lifespan. NYU Tisch Grad Film alum Elegance Bratton participated in an earlier version of the program with his feature film directorial debut, The Inspection, which premiered at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival and was theatrically released by A24. Writer and director Swetha Regunathan, a member of last year’s group for her feature film Burnout, made the 96th Oscar Best Documentary Short Shortlist as producer on Between Earth & Sky, directed by fellow NYU alum Andrew Nadkarni. Also from last year, writer and director Janey Feingold and producer Talia Light Rake (Mallie Adams is a Dyke) were selected for this year's Film Independent Fast Track program.

The 2024 projects were chosen for the strength and originality of the screenwriting, their market potential, and the Lab’s confidence in the filmmakers’ artistic visions, Nord says. More information on the program can be found here.

The 2024 Projects
Anoushka

In 1970s Soviet Russia, a teenaged misfit with a vibrant imagination and love of fashion gets in over her head when a black market arrangement toprocure stolen fabrics puts her and her family in grave danger. A stylish coming-of-age story told against the backdrop of the refusenik movement.
Writer /director Marina Michelson. Producer Lauren Lukow.

Marina Michelson, holding a microphone in a darkened room, gestures to a screen with an image from her film project. Michelson was presenting to the other participants at the Feature Film Development Studio orientation.

Marina Michelson gives a presentatino about her film, 'Anoushka,' at the 2024 Feature Film Development Studio orientation last month. Photo by Ajai Vishwanath.

Clare
After the untimely death of her brother, high school senior Clare finds her life spiraling out of control as she grapples with her grief, the end of her longtime childhood friendship, and an emotionally dangerous relationship with her high school French teacher, Mrs. Larsson.
Writer/director Lauren Minnerath. Producer Julia Kennelly.

Ivan
In the face of a looming hurricane and a resurgent political rival, a determined woman must weather both a family secret and the storm of her lifetime to become the Cayman Islands' first female Premiere.
Writer/director Jazz Pitcairn. Producer Brittany Suzanne Kelly.

Marley & Skyler
O
n a wild road trip across the American West, a budding filmmaker and a wannabe backup dancer chase their artistic dreams as embarrassing secrets unravel between them, testing their friendship.
Writer/director Nicole Cone. Producer Anndi Jinelle Liggett.

Rubber Hut
Rhode Island, 1992. An entrepreneurial ex-Pan Am stewardess opens a drive-thru condom shop in her Italian Catholic town. Overnight, Emanuella DelVecchio becomes the local lightning rod, a radical hero to the neighborhood teens and an unlikely threat to her tight-knit community.
Writer/director Hanna Gray Organschi. Producer Tara Sheffer.

The Peculiar Case of J. Marion Sims
1850. Alabama. Dr. J. Marion Sims is performing experimental surgeries on Black women without their consent. In this world where your body is not your own, 15-yr-old Maisey is sold to Sims and has to discover what makes him so peculiar in time to save herself from the man who would “heal” us all.
Writer/director Samantha Chamblee.

About the NYU Production Lab
The NYU Production Lab is a development center whose mission is to support the next generation of artists in designing and launching thriving careers in their industries. The Lab serves as an experiential-learning bridge for students navigating the transition from an academic classroom to their professional field. The Production Lab aims to serve students and alumni at all stages with a commitment to diversity and an intent to foster an inclusive artistic industry. The Lab strives to be at the forefront of cultural entrepreneurship, preparing today’s emerging artists for the jobs of tomorrow and expanding the arts ecosystem. Learn more at wp.nyu.edu/productionlab/

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