The Writers Lab: Info and WIFTA discount

WIFTA members can get a discount and application fee is only $30!                                      Email for letter confirming membership.



Writers Lab 2016: Call for Submissions

The Writers Lab, produced by IRIS and New York Women in Film & Television and funded by Meryl Streep, is now open for submissions of screenplays by women over the age of 40 (birthdate on or before 4/14/76)!

Regular Deadline – Thursday, March 31, 2016
Fee: $50.00
Late Deadline – Thursday, April 14, 2016
Fee $65.00

Member Fee: $30.00 – Deadline April 14, 2016
NYWIFT, other WIF chapters, and WGA members
(Members of other Women in Film chapters must provide proof of membership via a letter from their chapter’s staff or Board President.)


Applicants must be women who were born on or prior to April 14, 1976, and must be US Citizens or Permanent Residents. The Lab seeks submissions from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural groups. Submissions must be full-length narrative screenplays in English. (No TV scripts, shorts or documentaries.)

The following materials are required for your application and must be submitted electronically:
1) A PDF of a feature-length narrative screenplay.
2) Contact information, logline, brief personal statement, and short synopsis.
3) Payment via Paypal or with a Credit Card


The Writers Lab brings 12 women screenwriters over the age of 40 with promising scripts together with outstanding professional female filmmakers for an intensive four-day screenwriting retreat of one-on-one meetings, panel discussions and other activities designed to inspire the artists; to prompt rigorous creative exploration; and, through revision, to cultivate first-rate cinematic stories.

We seek a broad selection of screenplays across all genres of fiction. Scripts by more than one writer will be considered, but all writers must be female, and only one writer can attend the Lab. We welcome submissions from professionals, amateurs, and everyone in between who has a story to tell and a cinematic vision. Selections are based on the script’s artistic merit and craftsmanship, not the applicant’s level of professional experience, though The Writers Lab is not a screenplay writing workshop for novices.

The 2016 Writers Lab will take place September 22 to 25, 2016, outside of New York City. Presented by IRIS and NYWIFT, The Writers Lab is presented with additional support from The Writers Guild of America, East.

The 2015 inaugural Writers Lab received more than 3,500 submissions and international recognition, becoming a beacon for women filmmakers everywhere. The weekend itself was an exceptional, deeply inspiring experience for everyone involved. Mentors included Jessica Bendinger (Bring It OnAquamarine), Gina Prince-Bythewood (Secret Life of BeesBeyond the Lights), Caroline Kaplan (Time Out of MindPersonal Velocity), Meg LeFauve (Inside OutThe Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys), Darnell Martin (Cadillac Records, I Like It Like That)Lydia Dean-Pilcher (The LunchboxThe Reluctant Fundamentalist), Mary Jane Skalski (Win WinThe Station Agent), and Kirsten Smith (Legally BlondeTen Things I Hate About You).


The Writers Lab is dedicated to developing promising feature scripts of cinematic scope and imagination, in all genres, by women screenwriters over the age of 40, as part of the movement to amplify the female voice in narrative film. We are committed to female storytellers, yet do not limit our search to stories about women. It is the consciousness of the storyteller that will take us into new territory.


IRIS is a collective of women filmmakers founded by Kyle Ann Stokes, Nitza Wilon and Elizabeth Kaiden to champion the female voice in fictional narrative film. IRIS built this lab for female storytellers, targeting the development stage of filmmaking in order to address the gender imbalance in the film industry and ensure that women have an impact through their work on both sides of the camera.

New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT)
New York Women in Film and Television supports women calling the shots in film, television and digital media. NYWIFT energizes the careers of women in entertainment by illuminating their achievements, providing training and professional development, and advocating for equality. The preeminent entertainment industry association for women in New York, NYWIFT brings together nearly 2,000 women and men working both above and below the line. NYWIFT is part of a network of 40 women in film chapters worldwide, representing more than 10,000 members. NYWIFT is a nonprofit 501c3 public charity.


Questions? Call: 212-679-0870 or

Former WIFTA President Fran Burst Terranella to be honored

Black Women Film Network 2016 Untold Stories Winners include Fran Burst Terranella, who served as WIFTA president not once, but twice!


She will be honored by the Black Women Film Network on Friday, March 11 at 11:00AM, at the “Untold Stories” Luncheon. The luncheon will take place at the Intercontinental Buckhead (3315 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta GA 30326), where several VIPs will be honored for their career achievements and “untold” secrets to success. The event also serves as a fundraiser for scholarships for students entering the film and television industries.

Fran Burst Terranella is an EMMY-winning independent film and television Director and Producer. Her award-winning work spans 4 decades and totals more than 700 productions – from television shows, commercials, PSAs and documentaries to branded entertainment, corporate marketing and motivational projects and fundraising, identity and special event projects for nonprofits.

A multi-faceted Director with the ability to quickly build rapport with everyone who appears in front of her camera, Fran has just completed her first narrative feature film – “The 12 Lives of Sissy Carlyle.” In this darkly comic independent film, Sissy Carlyle – determined to experience a life less ordinary – creates fantastic, sometimes absurd, always exciting alternative lives for herself in her secret journals.

Fran’s documentaries have aired nationally on ABC, TBS and PBS and her narrative and documentary work has garnered more than 100 honors including Tellys, CINE Golden Eagles and recognition at film festivals from New York, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta and Los Angeles to Australia, Scotland, Spain and Canada.

As co-president of the Georgia Production Partnership, 2006-2009, Fran worked closely with GPP and legislative leadership to gain passage of Georgia’s very successful 2008 entertainment tax incentive. She continues to serve GPP as Chair of the Speakers Series and the Festivals Committee.

Along with being a founding member of Atlanta Film Society and Women in Film and Television/Atlanta (WIFTA), Fran was president of WIFTA in 1978 and 1980.    A former Board member of NATAS Southeast, Fran also is a member of the Producers Guild of America and Women in Film/ Los Angeles.

As a senior faculty member at the Art Institute of Atlanta from 2000-2014, her teaching specialties include directing and producing fiction and non-fiction, scriptwriting, project development and portfolio preparation.

An avid advocate for clean water, clean air, protection of wildlife and green space and reversing climate change, Fran has created more than 40 projects that inspire and empower viewers to keep life on our planet sustainable. A former board member of Keep Atlanta Beautiful and a current member of the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Advisory Board, Fran has actively volunteered her time as a media consultant and filmmaker to CRK and other environmental organizations and initiatives for more than 20 years.

For more information on the luncheon and summit:

Recap: Pop-Up Event with “Devious Maids” Director Mary Lou Belli

On Saturday, February 20, “Devious Maids” director Mary Lou Belli shared her expertise with WIFTA members and guests from the industry. Mary Lou surprised the attendees with a request – to move the chairs from a standard lecture set-up to a more comfortable and intimate circle.

Mary Lou explained her career path and then dove into an acting exercise, advising the participants to say simple lines such as “Go Away” to the person sitting next to her using various intents, tones and inflections. Mary Lou first provided some directing advice to the participants and then allowed others to suggest direction.

Following the acting and direction section of the event, Mary Lou fielded questions from the guests. The event was a great opportunity for people from all backgrounds to gain more insight into the process for directors on set, as well as how to incorporate instructions from a director as an actor.

Member Comments:
“Mary Lou Belli’s directing workshop was as insightful as it was inspiring. I learned REAL techniques to use behind and in front of the camera as well as how to better fit into my local filmmaking community.” -Velissa Robinson

“Mary Lou provides a truly interactive experience tailored for every group. Whether you’re a director, producer, writer, or actor, you’ll benefit from her insights and have a blast.”Read more about the event on the WIFTA Reel Focus Blog here.

Visit her website at:

Are you camera ready?



This will be a great experience to work and bond with members!  We had lots of fun when we did this in December.  We got exposure for WIFTA and raised $ for GPB’s excellent programming.  Join us!

  • Date: Sunday, March 20, 6:30PM to 11:30PM
  • Volunteer Check In Time: 6:15PM   
  • Training will begin at 6:45PM for the new phone bank computer system for in-taking donation.
  • Volunteer Participation Includes: In the GPB TV studio at out phone bank taking calls from members, viewers and listeners with an in-studio time of 7:15 PM.
  • Location: GPB Studios @ 260 14th Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30039
  • Dress: Camera-ready! Comfortably, casual or business attire, organization t-shirts (no logo or advertising shirts for other organizations other than WIFTA)
  • Everyone will receive:
  •  Catered meal
  •  Opportunities to win great raffle prizes
  •  Free parking
  •  Training


Volunteer Today by emailing

General membership meeting this Wednesday!

Join us for an update on 2016 WIFTA plans and a presentation on tax tips:  

The Bottom Line for Above the Line and Below the Line!

Please join us at the GPB Studios at 260 14th St from 7:00 – 9:00 pm as we gather to discuss all the excitement in Atlanta over WIFTA’s plans for 2016!  Free for members – $20 for guests:  cash or check at door.

  • Meet your new Executive Director:  Susan Moss
  • Hear about our Actor, Producer and Writer track programming plans
  • Join in the discussion about future board members
  • Help us explore options for increasing membership
  • Mark your calendars for meetings, mixers and fundraisers

Whew!  And after all that – our tax experts will talk about ways to save time and hassles in preparing your taxes!

Our guest speakers:

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Kristy Clabaugh

A CPA and Firm Development Coordinator at Whaley Hammonds Tomasello, P.C., Kristy specializes in the film and entertainment industry. Kristy is highly motivated by opening doors for her clients as well helping them grow their businesses. She provides accounting and consulting services to production companies who need to meet expenditure requirements to qualify for state film tax credits. Kristy is a member of many local organizations, as well as the AICPA, Georgia Society of CPAs, and Georgia Production Partnership.  Kristy and her husband Erik, Film and Moving Image Studies Ph.D ABD, live in McDonough with their two sons.

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Will Tomasello

A CPA and Partner at Whaley Hammonds Tomasello, P.C., Will provides tax and consulting services for a wide range of businesses including the film & entertainment industry. His client base in the production industry is vast and spans across the nation. Will has served on numerous boards and authorities including the Clayton County Housing Authority, Clayton County Chamber of Commerce, Southern Regional Hospital, Community Capital Bank and the United Methodist Church of North Georgia.

Will and Kristy’s CPA firm, Whaley Hammonds Tomasello, P.C. (WHT) has 3 locations in Metro-Atlanta.  WHT provides film & entertainment industry services to production companies, film studios, independent filmmakers and video game producers.  The firm’s services include:

  • Issuance of comfort letters
  • Audit, accounting & assurance
  • On-site production accounting
  • Tax return preparation and consulting
  • Maximizing domestic production activity deduction (DPAD) calculation
  • Royalty, licensing and profit participating reporting
  • Consulting
  • Forensic accounting
  • Business valuation
  • CFO services



Lisa A. Wright

Lisa is a CPA with over 17 years of experience in the Accounting Industry. Her experience began at Deloitte & Touché, LLP, an international accounting firm. Another significant experience is her tenure at H.J. Russell & Company, a Black Enterprise 100 Company, where she was the Personal Financial Manager for Herman J. Russell Sr., founder and Chairman.

Lisa levied her knowledge to developed her own accounting and business advisory firm, L.A. Wright and Associates, LLC.  One of her specializations is the entertainment industry. She has served as Director of Finance for an amphitheatre whose roster of artists included Luther Vandross, Elton John and Boyz to Men. She has worked with various entertainers such as Edwin Hawkins, Takes Six and Micah Stampley. Her skills were also utilized by Central City Productions, the producer of the Stellar Awards. Promotions for artists is also a skill that she possesses. She is a member of the Georgia Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs.  Lisa served as the Treasurer for WIFTA for 2009-2010. And currently serves as the Treasurer for the Black Women In Film Network as well as for GPP.  In addition, Lisa has worked with various non-profit organizations as a financial consultant and or Board Member.
Contact Information:
L.A. Wright & Associates, LLC
2910 Evans Mill Road, Suite B-304
Lithonia, GA 30038
Cell phone: (404) 455-7631

General Membership Meeting

Tax Tips:  The bottom line for above the line and below the line

  • “Can I deduct my cable bill?”
  • “Would I be better off incorporating?”
  • “Is my agent’s fee an allowed expense?”
  • “What’s the difference between a professional and a hobbyist?”

These are the kind of questions that may be keeping you up at night lately.  Our first general membership meeting will feature tax tips and answers to your important tax questions from seasoned professionals who focus on the entertainment industry.

Also, meet WIFTA’s first Executive Director and hear about the exciting plans your Executive Committee has for 2016!

  • Wednesday, February 24th, 2016
  • 7:00 – 9:00 pm
  • GPB Studios:  260 14th St, 1st floor, Atlanta 30318

Members free; $20 for non- members


A WIFTA Pop-Up program for Directors, Producers and Actors:

A Conversation with Mary Lou Belli – A Devious Maids Director


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She also:

  • Has won multiple Emmy awards
  • Has over 20 years of experience in directing television
  • Is co-author of three books: The NEW Sitcom Career Book, Acting for Young Actors and Directors Tell The Story
  • Has judged at multiple film festivals including Newport Beach Film Festival and the Sapporo Short Film Festival
  • Is a part-time instructor at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts
  • Directed o a groundbreaking and award winning webseries

Mary Lou Belli on IMDb

Saturday, February 20th
11:00 am – 1:00 pm

GPB Studios – 1st floor
260 14th Street N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30318

Cost: Free for Members
$20 for Non-Members


The GA Film Office Needs Our Help

Please help create a photo montage of Georgians working in the film and television industry and holding signs of support. It’s one thing to say it, but another to show the faces of the people whose lives have changed for the better as a result of our tax incentive.

Please post single photos or group shots today on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #gafilmday. Please thank legislators for supporting the industry and say how the Georgia film industry has impacted you.


Thank you. I bought your first house thanks to the industry. #gafilmday

Thank you. I’m now a crew member and a vendor.  #gafilmday

Thank you. I invested in a new business that supports the industry. #gafilmday

Also, please add the hashtag #wiftatlanta, so that legislators will see WIFTA’s participation as well.

Lastly, please send photos to, and forward this message to anyone working in our industry.

We would love to have you come to the Capitol to share your stories with passing legislators, but because we know a lot of people will be working. The photo montage will provide an opportunity to educate people about the impact of film and television production in Georgia and how it continues to generate money for the state and jobs for residents.

WIFTA Announces Its First Executive Director

Women in Film & Television Atlanta (WIFTA) announced today that Susan Moss has been named the organization’s first executive director.  

Moss has nearly twenty years of experience in a wide variety of creative management roles, including marketing for NASCAR, film and video production, and legal experience with Kilpatrick Townsend. An Atlanta native, Moss is also a member of the Georgia Production Partnership (GPP) Executive Board, an independent producer and SAG-AFTRA actor.

“Susan’s diverse background creates a strong foundation for our organization while allowing her to fully identify with our membership,” said Cheryl Jenkins, President of WIFTA Board of Directors. “We are excited to have a strong leader on board who will further strengthen and grow our chapter.”

Moss will work closely with WIFTA’s Board of Directors to implement strategic planning and create new opportunities for members. She will head the organization’s fundraising campaigns as well as perform leadership and management functions.  

“With the truly sensational opportunities that lie before the women of Atlanta at this time in the industry, I am delighted to be a part of WIFTA,” Moss said.  “As Executive Director, I will not only act as a leader, but also as a peer to members.  I am passionate about furthering and connecting women within the industry in Atlanta as our city continues to climb to the top of the entertainment field.”

How to Win a Regional Emmy

Join us for a special program where SE EMMY Winners share their experience on putting together an award winning EMMY Entry.

0120 EMMYOpportunity to network with WIFTA and NATAS members.

Qualified WIFTA members will get the opportunity to judge categories.

Register Today


Are  you qualified?

A peer judge is defined as any person with a minimum of two years of professional experience in the field of television program production, programming, or allied media who is directly engaged in or supervises the discipline they’re being asked to judge. Potential judges may also include professionals in allied fields, who by the specific nature of their work are uniquely qualified to make judgmental decisions concerning particular areas of television or media production. Examples of peer judges include: television and multi-media writers, producers, directors; programming, production and news executives; craft persons; advertising agency executives and creative directors involved in programming decisions; print journalists (who have hands-on television production experience); sports professionals; college university educators who represent journalism/film/television/media; and former broadcast journalists.

To judge, teachers must either teach the specific crafts being judged, or have had professional experience performing the craft being judged.

Writing newspaper or magazine columns and/or articles about television or media does not qualify a person as a peer in any category. Television critics are not peers.

Whenever a current job title does not obviously qualify a judge as a peer, the judge should list, on the judge’s certification section of the ballot, his/her previous experience, which qualifies him/her as a peer for the programs or crafts being judged.

Sign up to judge at the event!!!