Stowe Story Labs Sets 2022 Launch Fellows; Filmmakers Receive Creative Development Funds And Mentorship

Stowe Story Labs on Wednesday unveiled this year’s Stowe Launch fellows. This is the second year of the pilot program, which serves as Stowe Story Labs’ advanced development program for top emerging screenwriters and filmmakers.

Launch incubates and develops feature films and television projects to help fulfill Stowe Story Labs’ mission of bringing screenwriters, filmmakers and creative producers together with seasoned, working industry professionals to get work made and seen.

This year’s fellows, Ahmed Qaid and Elizabeth Dwyer, will each receive guidance along with an $8,500 curated development fund to support the advancement of the work.

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Qaid is a Yemeni American writer and photographer whose work is dedicated to exploring the complexities of Arab and Muslim individuals within contemporary America. His film Couples is a drama feature set in the early 1990s and follows a young, newlywed Yemeni couple emigrating to San Francisco in search of a new beginning and who quickly find themselves drifting apart due to economic hardships, homesickness and unattainable aspirations.

Dwyer is a queer woman who specializes in writing “unconventional” love stories that looks at the world through more than just the lenses of “happy” or “sad.” Her film When Ani Met Jo Met Chris is a recurring meet-cute set over the course of a decade. Two queer women cross paths through the years, and we watch as their acquaintance turns to friendship then turns to love.

“I want to congratulate Ahmed and Elizabeth for being selected into Launch and for their beautiful stories,” said David Rocchio, the founder and director of Stowe Story Labs. “We selected Ahmed and Elizabeth because the team felt we could help advance these works and we loved the stories and the artists intent. The U.S. does not have publicly funded development support for independent film, and I am proud Stowe Story Labs is helping to pick up that work for deserving artists and projects. I can’t wait to see these projects evolve and get made,” he said.

Stowe co-founder David Pope said, “powerful and engaging stories can be found in a multitude of places, and I am proud to see Stowe Story Labs move into its 11th year continuing to seek and support diverse voices wherever they may be. Through the expansion of the screenwriting process, exposure to industry practices, and development of community, the Stowe Story Labs programs will continue to encourage storytellers to find their voice and present themselves and their work to screen industries and audiences,” he said.

Participants are selected based on the quality of their applications, their work with Stowe in other programs, the work itself, and Stowe’s assessment of its ability to help the artist advance the project. Stowe is also dedicated to inclusivity and nurturing new and typically underrepresented voices, which plays a role in the selection process. 

Selections were made by Stowe’s senior team of Rocchio, David Pope, and the Launch team of Shari Lynette Carpenter and Bryce Norbitz.

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