Carlos López Estrada’s Antigravity Academy Sets Screenwriter Fellows

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Carlos López Estrada and his production banner Antigravity Academy have announced the inaugural class of fellows for its Screenwriters Camp. The incubator program, which Variety exclusively announced last year, is designed to develop and package features from first-time emerging filmmakers.

More than 700 filmmakers applied for the program and the six selected fellows are: A.J. Riggins (“Look at Toine”), Alexandra Qin (“Thirstygirl”), Andrés Pérez-Duarte (“The Last Supper”), Carrie Carusone (“Somebody Said Nobody”), Jay Pendarvis Jr. (“Brother’s Keeper”) and SM Goldberger (“Your Heart is a Hummingbird”).

The Screenwriters Camp is being run by Abiram Brizuela, former director of artist community at the Sundance Institute, with López Estrada serving as artistic director, and backed by independent film financier and Unapologetic Projects co-CEO Chris Quintos Cathcart.

“The undeniable talent and creativity displayed in the hundreds of applications we read confirms that more programs like this are desperately needed,” stated López Estrada and Brizuela announcing the inaugural class. “Only by empowering these early-career filmmakers will our industry truly change for good. We are extremely honored to support these six filmmakers in bringing their films to life and are working tirelessly to create more initiatives to reach even more emerging artists.”

The Screenwriters Camp begins with a weeklong intensive, running from May 24-29, in Lake Arrowhead, Calif., followed by five monthly virtual workshops and a month of “industry exposure.” Upon completion of the program, participants will have a new draft of their screenplay, a first-look deal for production financing from Unapologetic Projects and Antigravity’s commitment to help bring the projects to market.

[Pictured: Antigravity Academy Screenwriters Camp Fellows (clockwise from top left) Jay Pendarvis Jr., Alexandra Qin, Andrés Pérez-Duarte, A.J. Riggins, SM Goldberger and Carrie Carusone.]

USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Ganek Immersive Studio Launches Immersive Showcase

USC School of Cinematic Arts has set a special showcase to demonstrate the groundbreaking VR, XR and AR projects emerging from the state of the art studio.

SCA associate professor and studio director Jordan Halsey announced plans for the special event, which will take place on Thurs., April 4 and will feature a slate of projects in various stages of production and development.

“We take immense pride in presenting the innovative work underway at the studio. The selected projects underscore the bleeding edge and imaginative efforts of our talented students, poised to profoundly impact and shape the future of immersive storytelling and experiences,” states Halsey. “At SCA, our primary goal has always been exceptional storytelling and our students continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible by leveraging the technology available and expanding their creative abilities to transport us into uncharted realms.”

The Ganek Immersive Studio is the first of its kind at the university level and commenced operations in the fall of 2022, thanks to the support of David and Danielle Ganek and the Ganek Family Foundation.

Adds David Granek: “Seeing the School of Cinematic Arts come to life through these projects and the brilliant storytellers behind them continues to inspire and influence the limitless possibilities of the immersive experience. We look forward to the groundbreaking work that will play a role in the film industry for years to come.”

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