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The 1497 Features Lab is designed to elevate and develop screenplays by writers of South Asian descent, while providing career support. We want to empower writers in the South Asian diaspora to write whatever stories they feel compelled to tell, unbounded by genre, cultural content, geographic location, or any other stereotypical expectation. Then we want to challenge the gatekeepers in the American film and television industry to bring those stories to light.


We believe in a holistic approach to foster writers' creative and career journeys. As a result, the selected Mentees will move through a multi-tiered process in the 1497 Features Lab:



Mentees' scripts undergo a rigorous development cycle during the Lab, consisting of feedback from multiple perspectives and guidance from a Script Consultant who focuses on the emotional journey of the screenplay.





Mentees are each assigned a Pod (comprised of an established filmmaker Mentor, producer, and industry rep, and a 1497 Features Lab alum) with whom they can continue interrogating their scripts while receiving advice and insight to launch or further their careers. 



During the Lab, Mentees will also attend masterclasses and seminars on various professional development topics. Following the Lab, all Mentees and Lab Alums will participate in a daylong Pitch Day to pitch their films to a slate of producers, financiers, and other industry professionals. 


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The 2023 Features Lab Mentors will be Academy Award nominee Mira Nair, Geeta Malik, and Minhal Baig. Read about this year's lab in The Hollywood Reporter


  • Applications for the 2023 Features Lab will open April 12, 2023 exclusively on Coverfly

  • Applications will close on May 7, 2023 at 11:59pm PT

  • Announcements: June 25- Semifinalists,    August 11- Finalists,  September 22- Mentees

  • The Features Lab will be an intensive, in-person retreat October 18-23, 2023 in Malibu, California, USA


  • Must be of South Asian descent

  • Must be 18 or older at the time of application

  • Must be eligible to be in the United States for the duration of the Lab

  • Must have a completed draft of a narrative feature screenplay with an anticipated budget less than $5 million


  • Application fees are waived April 12-18, after which there is a fee: $25 April 19-25, $50 April 26-May 1, $70 May 2-7

  • For the Lab, 1497 will reimburse 50% of travel expenses (RT, economy) and cover 100% of all accommodations, food, and other costs

  • Lab alums whose screenplays are produced are required to include 1497 in a credit line and logo placement in the end credits and provide a producer fee tied to the production budget on a sliding scale. Visit our FAQ page for details.


  • ​​All applications must be submitted through our partner Coverfly, which requires applications to be completed in one sitting

  • Mandatory questions: basic contact and demographic information, artistic statement, logline, and script synopsis (in one pdf), and a full draft of a screenplay

  • Optional questions: letter of recommendation, links to past work, and additional information

  • If named one of the 10 Finalists, applicants will have the opportunity to submit an updated draft for scoring and participate in a virtual interview with 1497


  • Round 1: Applications (including the first 10 pages of the script) will be blinded, read, and scored by at least 2 members of the Round 1 Selection Committee

  • Round 2:  Semifinalists' applications (including the first 10 pages of the script) will be unblinded, read, and scored by at least 2 members of the Round 2 Selection Committee

  • Round 3: 10 Finalists' applications and full drafts will be read and scored by 5 members of the Round 3 Selection Committee and 1497, while Finalists participate in remote interviews with members of the 1497 team. All Finalists will receive feedback from those who scored their scripts, regardless of whether or not they're chosen to be one of the 3 Mentees.


  • Check out our FAQ page for more information!

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