This is both a monumental win for representation in a male-dominated space and a much-needed victory for feature film sales amid the pandemic.
All six female-identifying screenwriters who participated in an inaugural screenwriting lab co-founded by actress Margot Robbie have sold their scripts to major buyers across the entertainment industry. Designed to help women writers break into the action and franchise film market, The Lucky Exports Pitch Program was created by Birds of Prey screenwriter Christina Hodson and Morgan Howell of Hodson Exports in collaboration with Robbie, Josey McNamara, and Tom Ackerley of LuckyChap Entertainment. It ran from November 4 to December 6, 2019, giving six female-identifying screenwriters the exposure and experience needed to sign on to big studio and/or franchise jobs.
Margot Robbie and Christina Hodson's all-female screenwriting lab has pulled off an incredible feat — and it could be the start of a game-changing wave at the movies. https://t.co/8HJmNcwcbI— Collider (@Collider) October 14, 2020
According to Variety, all six women writers in the room — Faith Liu, Sue Chung, Eileen Jones, Charmaine DeGraté, Dagny Looper, and Maria Sten — marked their first major sale following the workshop with commitments for distribution. Their scripts were bought by some big names in the industry, including Universal Pictures, Thunder Road, Sony Pictures and Blumhouse, and New Line. The successes achieved by everyone involved with the first Lucky Exports Pitch Program is both a monumental win for representation in a male-dominated space and a much-needed victory for feature film sales now that the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the theatrical market.
The six projects include five feature films and one television series, reports Collider, that fall in traditionally male-dominated genres like action, science fiction, and Westerns. The writers started from scratch — in most cases no more than a logline or title — and worked together with guidance from their patrons and guest speakers to develop pitches for their original action ideas. Hodson Exports and LuckyChap Entertainment are attached to produce each project, which reportedly sold in a week-long roadshow to major buyers across the industry. Here's a brief breakdown of each writer's project:
1. Sue Chung's Sanctuary: Acquired for distribution by Universal, the feature is a gritty action thriller with an immigration story at the center. Chung is represented by Aaron Kaplan and Lindsay Perraud / Kaplan Perrone.
2. Charmaine DeGraté's Protégé: A lethal spy games ensemble thriller, which is in negotiations with Thunder Road. DeGraté is represented by Josh Goldenberg / Kaplan Perrone.
3. Eileen Jones' Highwayman: The film is a high-octane western at the height of the California Gold Rush and is in development as a feature at New Line. Jones is represented by David Boxerbaum / Verve.
4. Faith Liu's Grinders: A teen slasher centered around a group of bio-hacking college kids. The feature is in development and has been acquired for distribution by Sony with development by Blumhouse. Liu is represented by Nicky Mohebbi / Verve.
5. Dagny Looper's Hijacked: An action rom-com about a cruise ship wedding gone wrong. It is in development as a feature at Warner Bros. Looper is represented by Amar Hansen / Anonymous and Michael Chung / Verve.
6. Maria Sten's Legacy: A high-concept heist drama set in the criminal underbelly of New Orleans. It is now being developed as a television series. Sten is represented by Grandview.
"The LEPP room was an incredible experience, and we could not be more proud of all that the writers have accomplished," Hodson Exports and LuckyChap said in a joint statement, reports Deadline. "They worked tirelessly during the program to develop their pitches and seeing how those ideas resonated with buyers and collaborators across town has been a wonderful reward. We are so excited to be backing these writers as they embark on their first studio feature jobs."