Kevin Hart's Laugh Out Loud and the Sundance Institute have announced three fellows for their inaugural Women Write Now screenwriting fellowship program. The writers are Wilandrea Blair, Danielle Nicolet, and Moni Oyedepo.
As part of a new partnership between Laugh Out Loud and NBCUniversal, the projects from all three fellows will stream Peacock, and one fellow will receive a career-defining development deal. The three fellows were chose out of 672 submissions. Their projects will be directed by actress Gabrielle Dennis, Meagan Good and Bresha Webb, with production set to begin later this month.
Their projects are as follows:
- Buddy and Bernice
Writer: Wilandrea Blair
Logline: A nursing home’s famous funny man feels upstaged when his old comic nemesis moves in, reigniting their bitter rivalry. Knowing a hearty laugh could put each of them in cardiac arrest, their goal is to tell jokes that kill -- each other. (Directed by Gabrielle Dennis)
- Black Karen
Writer: Danielle Nicolet
Logline: On the advice of a therapist to treat her anxiety by, "thinking and behaving like happy people do", one Black woman notices that white people seem pretty happy… (Directed by Meagan Good)
- Take The Job
Writer: Moni Oyedepo
Logline: When Bri is offered a full-time job at the end of her internship, she's shocked by the one stipulation her employer has for the position. (Directed by Bresha Webb)
“When we started this program, it was alway with the intention of creating meaningful opportunity for Black women in comedy and changing the industry narrative around this talented and dynamic group of women who have traditionally been overlooked,” said Laugh Out President & COO and program Founder Thai Randolph. “What we’ve seen through this program is that there is no ‘pipeline problem.’ Danielle, Moni, and Wilandrea are three incredible writers who represent an unbelievably great pool of talent, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with NBCU to create more opportunity and visibility for these women.”
The three finalists will develop their scripts with guidance from Yamara Taylor (black-ish, Saved by the Bell) as well "as receive mentorship on both their projects and careers from a panel of mentors and creative advisors working across the industry." Other mentos during this process are Val Boreland (EVP, Head of Content Acquisitions, NBCUniversal Television & Streaming) Keesha Boyd (Executive Director, Multicultural Entertainment, Comcast / NBCU), Tiffany Brown (VP, TV Development, Hartbeat), Leigh Davenport (Writer + Executive Producer Run the World), Tabitha Jackson (Director, Sundance Film Festival and Public Programming), Staci R. Collins Jackson (CEO, The Collins Jackson Agency), Zainab Johnson (Comedian and Actor, Upload), Thai Randolph (President & COO, Laugh Out Loud), Folayo Lasaki (Head of Marketing & Communications, Laugh Out Loud), Bresha Webb (Actor, Writer, Run the World), Candice Wilson Cherry (Head of Production & Development, Laugh Out Loud), and Michelle Satter (Founding Senior Director, Artist Programs, Sundance Institute).
“To say that it was no easy task to narrow the list down to our three fellows would be a gross understatement, but the sheer talent of the writers made the process a joy” said Laugh Out Loud, Head of Production & Development Candice Wilson Cherry. “This program has been a reminder of how much untapped talent exists—talent that is poised for opportunity. With their incredible scripts, Danielle, Moni, and Wilandrea each brought to life impactful, funny stories that jumped off the page. We are thrilled to be rolling into the next stage of the program with this incredibly gifted group of emerging writers and look forward to bringing their visions to life.”
One of the women will get a development deal from NBCUniversal in partnership with Laugh Out Loud. Each writer will pitch their project to execs, with one being selected to develop a NBCUniversal project that's co-produced by LOL Studios.
“Developing diverse voices has long been a part of NBCU’s ethos and Laugh Out Loud and the Sundance Institute have been magnificent like-minded partners,” said Susan Rovner, Chairman, Entertainment Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “With Women Write Now, we’re able to use our platform to help support a new generation of Black women in comedy, taking an important step in ensuring more audiences see their lives reflected on screen.”
Projects will be produced by LOL Studios and premiere at a private screening at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Each writer will receive a $10,000 stipend, a four-night trip to the Festival, and a first look deal with LOL. The final shorts will premiere and stream on Peacock for an exclusive window before releasing wide on LOL Network.