The Great Impasta

Institute History

  • 2021 Episodic Lab


Los Angeles — Sundance Institute announced today the 21 Fellows across 18 projects completing its first-ever multi-track Episodic Lab, designed as an immersive two-part experience hosted on Sundance Collab. This year, Fellows were divided into either the Idea to Pilot Track, in which they developed an original pilot from a nascent early idea to a completed original polished draft, or the Series Track, in which they workshop an existing original pilot and develop a professional series pitch to sell. This structural evolution of the Lab emerged in dialogue with the rapidly shifting ecosystem of the industry, including scaling demand for fresh content across networks, streamers, and platforms.Over the course of the restructured Lab experience, Fellows received customized, ongoing support from Creative Advisors, Industry Mentors, and Sundance Institute Feature Film Program staff, led by Founding Director, Michelle Satter with support from outgoing Episodic Program Director, Jennifer Goyne-Blake and Jandiz Estrada Cardoso who has now joined as the Director. Working with accomplished showrunners, the Fellows participated in one-on-one story meetings, craft workshops, and Writers’ Rooms, which together provided creative and strategic tools for successful work ahead. Creative Advisors who participated in the Lab included Jenny Bicks, Jacob Chase, Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, Danny Chun, Cheo Hodari Coker, Charles Eglee, Lee Eisenberg, Kevin Etten, Shalisha Francis, Katori Hall, Teresa Hsiao, Rochée Jeffrey, Kristi Korzec, LaToya Morgan, Erica Rivinoja, Peter Saji, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, Vera Santamaria, Sanjay Shah, Malcolm Spellman, Tatiana Suarez-Pico, Halsted Sullivan, and Graham Yost.After an initial fall gathering, Fellows reconvened with polished drafts of their Lab projects to participate in pitch sessions, panel conversations about the episodic landscape, and met with producers and creative executives to discuss next steps and career goals. Industry mentors included: Kesila Childers, Deniese Davis, Dante di Loreto, Marta Fernandez, Carrie Gillogly, Tiffany Hawthorne, Quan Phung, Candace Rodney, Justin Rosenblatt, Jeff Stern, Sarah Timberman, Kathryn Tyus-Adair, Yvette Urbina.Career advancement for past cohorts have expanded every year. Artists who have gone through the program include writers Katori Hall, Barry Jenkins, Desiree Akhavan, and Heather Rae. Other Fellows have gone on to staff shows including This is Us, Little America, Dave, Snowpiercer, You’re the Worst, Better Call Saul, Silicon Valley, Fresh off the Boat, American Gods, The Baby-Sitters Club, and The Americans. Many alumni have sold their Lab projects to networks including HBO, Amazon, Hulu, FX, ABC, CW, and AMC. 64% of Fellows from the 2018 and 2019 Episodic Labs were staffed and close to 75% of the selected projects have sold or been set up with producers. The COVID-19 pandemic dictated the shift to this year's first fully digital artist incubator allowing for longer lead development with more pathways for individualized support and touch points throughout the program.“Sundance Institute champions independent creators,” says Satter, “and we need to stay nimble and responsive across formats, media and narrative structures. By convening emerging talent together with established advisors, we aim to create sustainable careers in an ever-evolving industry. With the ongoing generosity and support of our Episodic team and Advisors, many of our writers have been staffed on shows, and a growing number are now developing their pilots at a variety of networks.”“This Lab is a destination for bold writers hungry to bring their independent perspectives and their rigor to develop stories for audiences who crave independent voices. I'm thrilled to lead the next evolution of Sundance’s mission to embrace these integral creators and support them in navigating the industry landscape of multi-episode storytelling. adds program Director Jandiz Estrada Cardoso.The projects and fellows selected for the Episodic Lab are:The Cavi
Desperate to leave their previous lives behind, a trio of street hustlers look to solve the clues behind an underworld myth called The Cavi, a West Coast tall tale that is said to lead to a hidden treasure for the ages.Justin Calen-ChennJustin Calen-Chenn was a homeless teenager when a fly-ass Black man took him under his wing. Growing up in a motel, he got involved in a life of street hustle and organized crime, but left that world behind many years later after witnessing a horrific incident in 2016. Justin is writing and/or producing projects with notables such as eOne, Miramax, Netflix, and more. He is recently teaming with Netflix on a spec feature and also staffing on a crime series, both which he must keep on the sly for now. Justin is repped by Grandview/CAA and is about his paper.A Dignified Death
A by-the-book former ICU nurse starts working at a hospice agency where she clashes with her rule-bending veteran supervisor, and learns what it really means to provide patients with a dignified death.Lauren GloverLauren Glover is a drama writer born and raised in Columbia, Maryland. She’s a registered nurse and worked for several years in the psychiatric, intensive care, and hospice fields. Lauren was a 2017 and 2018 Sundance Lab Finalist, spots she earned by submitting her historical drama pilot Kingdom and southern gothic pilot The Dirty Spoon. Lauren was chosen as fellow in the 2020 Sundance Episodic Lab with the submission of her half hour dramedy pilot A Dignified Death, which is based on her experiences working with hospice patients. Lauren is currently a writer on the upcoming HBO Max series Duster.Emotional
In 2003, a 14 year old Asian American freshman living in suburban midwest, discovers emo music and social media and begins a path of self discovery that blurs the lines between the cliques of his high school.Andrew Lopez is a Filipino & Korean writer, director, actor, and stand-up comedian from small town Iowa. As a writer, he is developing a tv show at FX with Hiro Murai, Nate Matteson and Christopher Storer producing. Andrew will also star. He developed a live-action feature based on an anime with Chernin Entertainment and Masi Oka producing. As an actor, Andrew acted in BLOCKERS. As a stand-up, he appears on Netflix’s JO KOY: IN HIS ELEMENTS. Andrew has directed for Comedy Central and is in post on a thriller short film he wrote and directed starring Sarah Yarkin, Jefferson White, and Jorge Lendeborg Jr.Fantasia for You
A failing writer and struggling choreographer hatch a plan to find financial security by fulfilling the role-playing fantasies of the Los Angeles ultrarich.Jessie BarrJessie Barr is an L.A.-based writer, director, actor, and producer. Her critically acclaimed debut feature, Sophie Jones, World Premiered in competition at Deauville 2020 and was acquired and released by Oscilloscope in 2021. Jessie's award-winning short, Too Long at the Fair, which she wrote/directed and stars in with Lena Hudson, and her award-winning series, OM City, which she wrote/stars in with Tom O'Brien have been lauded at festivals around the world including the Tribeca Film Festival. Next up, Jessie co-stars in The Beta Test, recently acquired by IFC. Jessie was previously supported by the Episodic Program as a Fellow in the 2020 Sundance Institute Episodic Makers Lab. She is repped by Management 360.Lena HudsonLena Hudson is a Brooklyn-based actor, writer, and director. Her work includes the solo clown-cabaret, Showwomanship, a musical odyssey about the greatest showbiz diva you've never heard of. Her short film Too Long at the Fair, which she co-wrote and directed with Jessie Barr, premiered at the LAShorts International Film Festival and can be seen online via Short of the Week and NoBudge. Lena also worked as a producer on the feature film ,Ghostwritten, starring Jay Duplass and directed by Thomas Matthews. Lena was previously supported by the Episodic Program as a Fellow in the 2020 Sundance Institute Episodic Makers Lab.fiftyTWO
When a die-hard New York Baby Boomer and his Gen Z granddaughter move to Baltimore and become unlikely roommates, they must navigate their new city and deal with their own questionable life choices.Elissa Blount MoorheadElissa Blount Moorhead is an artist exploring the poetics of quotidian Black life. She was awarded the USA Artist and Saul Zaentz Fellowships, Ford Foundation /Just Films/Fellowship, The Baker Award, and the Creative Capital Award. She is the creator of fiftyTWO, an episodic dramedy developed at the 2020-21 Sundance Episodic Labs. She is the director of As of A Now, PBS' Apologue for the Darkest Gods, MTV's 9 Things, and co- director of Jay Z's 4:44, and Back And Song with co-director Bradford Young. She has been recognized with the Sundance Institute | Comedy Central Comedy Fellowship.Ericka Blount DanoisEricka Blount Danois has worked as a music and culture writer, screenwriter, author, researcher, and producer. Her award-winning works include Love, Peace and Soul: The History of the Show Soul Train and the documentaries Time is 11/matic, Tupac (Untitled), and PBS's Finding Your Roots. Ericka's interview portfolio includes conversations with Fidel Castro, Earth Wind & Fire, Lenny Kravitz, and Andy Rooney. She is the recipient of a Ruby Award, Deadline Club Journalism Award for Columbia University, and an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Ericka was previously supported by the Episodic Program as a Fellow in the 2020 Sundance Institute Episodic Makers Lab. She has been recognized with the Sundance Institute | Comedy Central Comedy Fellowship.Gone But Not Forgotten
When an anguished mother uncovers a new lead that could solve the mystery of her missing son, she may end up crossing her wealthy Texas family when she turns to an investigative reporter to help solve the case.Stacy F. McDonaldA native Texan, Stacy F. McDonald earned a BA in English from the University of Texas at Austin and then moved to Los Angeles where she worked as an assistant to a VP of production, a story analyst, and a director’s assistant. She later earned her JD from Howard University School of Law and practiced transactional law in New York. Living in Los Angeles once again, Stacy recently served as the writers assistant on Season 4 of HBO's In Treatment and previously was the writers’ production assistant on the Netflix limited series From Scratch.The Great Impasta
In the world's first noodle noir, a hard-boiled rigatoni detective in the corrupt city of Los Angel Hairs struggles to sort fact from fiction as he unravels a dangerous case that could land him in hot water? Literally. Adult Animated Half-hour.


As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email