Stowe Story Labs is pleased to announce the winner of the 2018 SAGindie Fellowship to the Labs:
Esra Saydam, Los Angeles (Drama/Romance, THE MESOPOTAMIAN).
THE MESOPOTAMIAN is about two EMTs navigating an unseen New York City; a city that is both intimate and lonely; their partnership is challenged both by what they see and by their disparate backgrounds. One of the two is a U.S. Vet of a dozen years of conflict in the Middle East and the other a Middle Eastern immigrant. Through their time together, they begin to piece together their love-lacking metropolitan lives.
Esra bridges the oceanic divide between her homeland Turkey and the United States. She is a filmmaker with a master’s degree from Columbia University's Graduate Film Program. Her first feature film, ACROSS THE SEA (2014), co-directed with Nisan Dag, won multiple awards in her home country as well at other international festivals such as Slamdance and the Milano Int. Film Festival. The film was distributed theatrically in Turkey and screens on Amazon Prime in the US. Esra’s work has been recognized by programs like EAVE’s Ties That Bind, Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab (Istanbul), Meetings on the Bridge, IFP Film Week, Global Media Makers/Film Independent and Cine Qua Non Lab. In 2018, Esra participated in the Berlinale Talent Program. Esra is as well the recipient of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Fellowship. As part of her screenwriting research for MESOPOTAMIAN, Esra completed a training and received her NY State EMT Certificate.
About being awarded the fellowship, Esra said “I am incredibly proud to have been selected as a fellow to Stowe Story Labs. I look forward to joining that community. As a filmmaker who has always been inspired by performances and the way cinema can capture them, I as well incredibly value the SAG Indie fellowship. This opportunity will allow me to bring all the rich faces and stories of New York City that touched my immigrant heart onto screen. Thank you.
SAGindie National Director Darrien Michele Gipson said, "we are pleased to partner again with Stowe Story Labs as they find and nurture emerging talents. Esra’s work strikes a chord and deserves to be out in the world. I look forward to working with her in Stowe this fall.
“We are thrilled to have Esra join us,” said David Rocchio, founder and president of the Labs. “She is an amazing filmmaker and story teller working to illuminate the human condition and spirit. Nothing is more important in these times. We look forward to helping her develop her work, and thank SAGindie for their continued support of the Labs.”