School of Film and Animation assistant professor Ambarien Alqadar’s feature-length screenplay was chosen for the highly selective Athena Film Festival in 2019. The Athena Screenwriters Lab is a prestigious opportunity in the independent film industry.
The lab, held in New York City and Los Angeles, is headed by the Women and Hollywood initiative, which promotes female representation in key industry roles. It has an international call and receives thousands of entries for consideration.
Alqadar’s screenplay for “The Informant” is based on her thesis short film, “Ayesha.” Her story depicts a young American-Muslim woman’s desperate efforts to free her falsely imprisoned father, while trying to keep her family together. The script was developed from real-life stories Alqadar gleaned from immigrant families in upstate New York.
“I was thrilled,” said Alqadar, a native of New Delhi, India, about her participation in the Athena Screenwriters Lab. “I met with Academy Award-winning writers who mentored me and who I am now in conversations with about production deals. It is extremely challenging to fund feature-narratives and this is a big step in that direction.”
Those meetings were with such critically acclaimed writer-producers as Ligiah Villalobos, renowned for her work on Pixar’s Academy Award-winning “Coco”; Michael Arndt, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter for “Little Miss Sunshine”; Laurie Collyer, known for her critically acclaimed film, “Sherrybaby”; and Shinho Lee, an award-winning professor and screenwriter of Korean descent whose 2008 film, “The Chaser,” was an official Cannes Film Festival selection.