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The 1497 Features Lab consists of a Retreat, Pitch Day, and additional professional development opportunities designed to elevate and develop screenplays by writers who will further 1497's mission to change South Asian representation in the American entertainment market, while providing career support. We want to empower writers in our community 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 three selected Mentees move through a multi-tiered process during the 1497 Features Lab:



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





Mentees are each assigned a Mentor pod (comprised of an established filmmaker, producer, industry rep, and 1497 Features Lab Alum) with whom they meet 1:1 during the Lab Retreat to  continue interrogating their scripts and receive advice/insight to launch or further their careers. 



During the Lab Retreat, Mentees attend master classes and fireside chats on various professional development topics. Following the Lab, Mentees join Lab Alums to participate in a daylong Pitch Day to pitch their films to a slate of producers, financiers, and other industry professionals. 


Read about this year's Mentors in Deadline!


  • Applications for the 2024 Features Lab open April 19, 2024 exclusively on Coverfly

  • Applications close on May 25, 2024 at 11:59pm PT

  • Announcements: July 1- Semifinalists,  August 8- Finalists,  September 16- Mentees

  • The Features Lab Retreat will be an intensive, in-person gathering October 23-28, 2024 in Malibu, California, USA

  • The Features Lab Pitch Day will take place in Spring 2025 (specific date and location TBA)


  • 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 19-May 5, after which there is a fee: $25 May 6-11, $50 May 12-18, $70 May 19-25

  • For the Lab Retreat, 1497 will reimburse 50% of airfare (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 more information.


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

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

  • Optional: letter of recommendation; links to past work; any additional information you'd like us to know

  • If named one of the 10 Finalists, applicants will have the opportunity to submit an updated draft for round 3 scoring


  • Round 1: submissions will be blinded, then read (including first 10 pages) and scored by at least 2 members of the R1 Selection Committee.

  • Round 2:  Semifinalists' submissions will be unblinded, then read (including first 10 pages and optional materials) and scored by at least 2 members of the R2 Selection Committee.

  • Round 3: 10 Finalists' submissions and full drafts will be read and scored by 5 members of the R3 Selection Committee and 1497, while Finalists participate in remote interviews with members of Team 1497. All Finalists will receive feedback from those who scored their scripts.


  • Check out our FAQ page for answers and more information!

  • If your question isn't answered on the FAQ page, please email

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