The non-profit Stowe Story Labs run from September 12 – 15 at the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe, Vermont and bring emerging screenwriters, filmmakers and creative producers from around the world together with top industry mentors with the aim of getting good work made and seen.
PAGE is a long-running and leading international screenwriting competition dedicated to advancing the craft of writing and the careers of skilled and talented writers.
PAGE has partnered with Stowe Story Labs since 2013 to provide fellowships to the Labs. This year the partnership is providing two fellowships to the Labs. Past PAGE participants have found the Labs tremendously valuable, “We are thrilled for these two talented writers who’ve been selected as PAGE Fellows to this fall’s Stowe Story Labs, said Jennifer Berg, Administrative Director for PAGE. “Past PAGE participants have found the Labs tremendously valuable, and we expect and hope both Vanita and Nancy will have a similar experience and that the Labs will help them get their projects produced,” she said.
The 2015 PAGE Fellows are:
Vanita Shastry for her psychological drama SEPTEMBER SKY, about a young woman who physically escaped the 9/11 attacks unharmed but remains haunted by a coworker who perished, and Nancy Zafris for her historical drama THE COLORED WOMAN’S CHAPTER, set in 1939 and about a shy maid who leads her colored women’s social group in their effort to bring the celebrated singer Marian Anderson to their Ohio hamlet after hearing her famous concert at the Lincoln Memorial.
Program Director David Pope said, “I am very much looking forward to working with the PAGE fellowship recipients. The pool of applications for the fellowships was very strong and presented a rich diversity of voices and stories.”
“It was a very, very difficult process to select two projects from the pool of applicants,” said David Rocchio, founder and director of Stowe Story Labs, “but we are very pleased to be able to offer these fellowships to Vanita and Nancy. Their work offers fresh takes on complicated, important stories. They will be fantastic additions to the Labs,” he said.
Vanita Shastry is a New York-based filmmaker who recently graduated from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television with an MFA in film directing. While at UCLA, Vanita wrote, produced, directed and edited four shorts films which have screened at numerous festivals. She was also selected to participate in the course “Adaptation & Collaboration”, taught by James Franco. Through that class, Vanita directed one of eight short films (as part of a feature compilation) based on Robert Boswell’s book of short stories, The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards. Produced by Rabbit Bandini Productions, the short film Vanita directed was called Lacunae, starring Jim Parrack and Natalie Portman. During her time at UCLA, Vanita also received several teacher assistantships and financial awards, including the Motion Picture Association of America Award, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Award, and the DGA John Frankenheimer Memorial Fellowship (2013).
“I’m incredibly excited and honored to be awarded the PAGE Fellowship to this year’s Stowe Story Labs,” said Vanita. “Working with the Labs’ accomplished industry mentors will be an invaluable experience, and I’m thrilled for this opportunity to develop my story and strengthen my work as a filmmaker,” she said.
Nancy Zafris has been writing screenplays for the past few years. She is the author of four books of fiction. The former fiction editor of The Kenyon Review, she is currently the series editor of The Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants and has taught at many universities, including Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic as a Fulbright Fellow. “I’m really looking forward to the excitement of this new world at the Stowe Story Labs,” said Nancy about the Fellowship.