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ATX TV Festival Announces Pitch Competition Finalists


EXCLUSIVE: ATX TV Festival has announced the finalists for this year’s Pitch Competition.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

Clue Castle by Nell Kessler, (Diplo)rable by Shatha Yas, Golden by Darren Bluestone, Good Grief by Zavior Phillips, Live From New York by Carolyn Getches and Hilary C. Gish, Mourning Wood by Garrett Williams, Oakdale Country Club by Toni Adeyemi, Rats! by Candelaria Duran and Robert Daniels, Seasick by Libby Glenn and Taylor Kerr, and Swallows by Nathan Pearson.

Find details about each of the Top 10 finalists’ pitches below. ATX TV Festival will be held in Austin, Texas, from May 30 to June 2.

“Working with the Pitch Finalists has become one of my favorite parts of what I do,” Emily Gipson, co-founder and co-president, ATX TV Festival said in a statement. “I love getting to know each of them throughout the year and diving into their projects, as well as figuring out the best next steps, collectively and for their individual series. Having Canva as a partner in this process has only elevated the support we are able to provide for these writers, giving them additional tools to showcase their projects to potential producers and buyers.”

The Pitch Competition, which is sponsored by Canva, was developed to help up and coming TV writers find the support and tools they need to move forward in their careers. During Season 13 of ATX TV Festival, the finalists will pitch their shows to a panel of industry professionals in front of a live audience.

The winner will receive a script read and general meeting with at least three ATX TV Pitch Judges or ATX TV Panelists for feedback, as well as pitch mentorship with a showrunner or executive and three general pitch meetings.

Additionally, there will be a runner-up who will receive two general meetings with ATX TV Pitch Judges or ATX TV Panelists for feedback.

All 10 of the finalists are able to take part in the festival’s year-round Pitch Program, which allows them to gather monthly with industry leaders including showrunners, executives, and managers for career advice and insight. They will also be involved in a mentorship program to help them hone their pitches and get further guidance.

Here are more details about each of the finalists’ scripts:

Kessler’s Clue Castle is a half-hour comedy in which a lost 20-something gets a job at her cousin’s escape room company and finds an unlikely community in her nerd-culture coworkers as they navigate the highs and lows of a low-paying service job.

Yas’ (Diplo)rable is a half-hour dark comedy about the worst place with the best reputation: the United Nations, and the vendetta of Hana El-Husseini, Iraq’s first woman ambassador to the UN. Hana is ready to give up her crusade when Iraq wins a key Security Council vote.

Bluestone’s Golden is an hour-long young adult drama that asks the question, when a high school perfectionist with mounting addictions volunteers at a budget-starved retirement center for Alzheimer’s patients, will she find sanctuary or iniquity?

Phillips’ Good Grief is a half-hour ensemble comedy that follows an overeager funeral home director and his dysfunctional staff of mortuary misfits as they face mortality every single day and learn that it’s hard to make a living… especially when you’re dealing with the dead.

Getches and Gish’s Live From New York is an hour-long drama that is set when Lorne Michaels left SNL in 1980 [and] only one person was audacious enough to replace him: Jean Doumanian. Live From New York will finally tell the true story of the woman who revolutionized late night forever.

Williams’ Mourning Wood is a half-hour comedy in which, after being rattled by the loss of his partner, a caged young New Yorker tackles his grief in the only place he can find: an elderly queer support group.

Adeyemi’s Oakdale Country Club is a half-hour comedy following the Morrisons, a working-class Black family [that] unexpectedly inherit a Georgia country club as reparations, facing comedic workplace misadventures and sabotage from the deceased benefactor’s heir.

Duran and Daniels’ Rats! is a half-hour animated comedy in which New York City appoints an overzealous new Rat Czar, [so] a blindly ambitious young rat named Jenny and her anxious best friend Bobby must unite the city’s vermin to take down the powerful Department of Sanitation before their species faces total extermination.

Glenn and Kerr’s Seasick is a half-hour comedy in which a hoity-toity beach club serves as the setting for an epic rivalry between queen bee board member Gayle and club manager Debbie, who are former childhood best friends.

Pearson’s Swallows is a half-hour dramedy following the daughter of an Atlanta restaurateur family [who] comes crawling back to the family company when her romantic/business partner cheats on her — only to find that she won’t be easily welcomed back into the fold without some unthinkable concessions.



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