ABOUT THE CAST
Stephanie Beatriz plays Det. Rosa Diaz on NBC’s Golden Globe Award-winning comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
Beatriz’s standout performance as ‘Detective Rosa Diaz’ has earned rave reviews and numerous awards, including the 2018 Imagen Award for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series and a 2015 Screen Actors Guild Nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. In season six, she marked her directorial debut – the episode, which featured a relevant #MeToo storyline, received praise from fans and critics alike.
Beatriz will next star in John Chu’s upcoming film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s play, IN THE HEIGHTS, set to release June 26, 2020 by Warner Bros. She will star as ‘Carla’ along a star-studded cast that includes Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera, Leslie Grace, Dascha Polanco and Jimmy Smits, to name a few.
Other notable film credits include: 2017 SXSW Audience Award-winning film, THE LIGHT OF THE MOON, George C. Wolfe’s drama YOU’RE NOT YOU opposite Hilary Swank; Destin Daniel Cretton’s drama SHORT TERM 12 opposite Rami Malek and Brie Larson; and John Lee’s PEE-WEE’S BIG HOLIDAY. She recently voiced ‘Sweet Mayhem’ in THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART.
As a bisexual Latina, Beatriz is known for her outspoken advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights and queer representation in the entertainment industry.
Aldis Hodge can next be seen playing the iconic role of Jim Brown in Regina King’s directorial debut One Night in Miami that will be released by Amazon next year. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival where it received an overwhelmingly positive response and critical acclaim.
NewLine announced that Aldis has been cast as Hawkman opposite Dwayne Johnson and Noah Centineo in the DC Comic Black Adam. Production is set to begin early 2021.
He recently wrapped filming Leverage and will return to work this Fall on his new Showtime Series City On A Hill opposite Kevin Bacon produced by Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Tom Fontana and directed by Michael Cuesta.
Additional film credits include, Universal’s The Invisible Man opposite Elisabeth Moss and the independent feature Clemency opposite Alfre Woodard which won the 2019 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature Film. Clemency had an incredible award run and received multiple nominations. Aldis won a Virtuoso Award for his work in the film at the 2020 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
He also starred in Brian Banks directed by Tom Shadyac and the Paramount Players Feature release of What Men Want opposite Taraji P. Henson and Tracy Morgan. The film grossed over $70M Worldwide. Aldis also appeared in the Academy Award-nominated Twentieth Century Fox feature, Hidden Figures and the cast received an ensemble award for the 2017 SAG Awards. He also starred opposite Tom Cruise in the Paramount feature, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.
Aldis is perhaps most well-known for his role as MC Ren in Universal Pictures’ Straight Outta Compton.” The film gained critical acclaim and was nominated for various awards including a 2016 Screen Actors Guild Award in the category of Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, a 2016 Producers Guild Award, as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Straight Outta Compton received African American Film Critics Association awards in the categories of Best Picture and Best Ensemble and an NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Motion Picture.
Other work includes the Disney feature Magic Camp, the 4th season of the hit Netflix Series Black Mirror and as the lead in a new Netflix anthology Medal of Honor and the series Underground for WGN America. opposite Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Christopher Meloni.
Hodge was seen in the Fox Searchlight eco-terrorism thriller The East and Twentieth Century Fox’s A Good Day to Die Hard the latest instalment of the Die Hard franchise.
Aldis started his career at three years old as a model for print ads and commercials until he made the transition to the small screen when he and his brother Edwin Hodge were cast on Sesame Street and later on stage when they joined the Tony-winning revival of Showboat on Broadway. Hodge also appeared in several movies including Die Hard with a Vengeance, Bed of Roses, The Stone House, Edmond, The Lady Killers and Big Momma’s House.
Additional television credits include, Friday Night Lights, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Girlfriends, American Dreams, City of Angels, Bones, CSI, ER, Cold Case, Charmed” and Boston Public.
Hodge was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina and raised in New York. In addition to acting, Hodge writes scripts for film and television, designs luxury timepieces and is an avid artist and painter. He currently resides in Los Angeles.
MICHAEL PEÑA has set himself apart in Hollywood as an actor whose immense range has allowed him to work with many high-profile directors, alongside scores of well-known actors, and in dozens of the most awarded films of his generation.
Peña was last seen in Blumhouse’s feature adaptation of the popular ABC series “Fantasy Island” and in the live-action film “Dora the Explorer” based on the popular animated series with Eva Longoria and Isabela Moner. He was also recently in Clint Eastwood's “The Mule” and the critically acclaimed anthology series “Narcos: Mexico” on Netflix, where he portrayed real-life DEA Agent Kiki Camarena.
Peña also starred alongside Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon in “12 Strong,” starred in the Netflix thriller “Extinction” opposite Lizzy Caplan, appeared in “A Wrinkle in Time,” with Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine, had a memorable role in the David O. Russell film “American Hustle,” and co-starred in Marvel’s “Ant Man and The Wasp” and “The Martian,” both of which crossed the $500 million dollar mark in international box office sales. Peña was also recently heard in “The LEGO NINJAGO Movie” and “My Little Pony: The Movie,” seen in “Collateral Beauty,” starring Will Smith, “War on Everyone,” opposite Alexander Skarsgard, as well as the Comedy “CHiPS” with Dax Shepard. In 2012, he was seen in the critically acclaimed “End of Watch,” which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. For his performance as Officer Zavala, Peña was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and the film was recognized by the National Board of Review as one of the Top 10 Independent Films of the year.
Peña earned notable recognition for his performance in Paul Haggis’ provocative Oscar-winning film “Crash,” and has had significant roles in films such as David Ayer’s “Fury” with Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf, “Everything Must Go,” alongside Will Ferrell and Rebecca Hall, “Gangster Squad,” opposite Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling, “The Lucky Ones,” co-starring Rachel McAdams and Tim Robbins, Jody Hill’s comedy “Observe and Report” with Seth Rogen, Robert Redford’s political drama “Lions for Lambs” with Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep, “Cesar Chavez,” in which he starred as the famous civil rights leader and labor organizer for Diego Luna’s English language directorial debut, and Werner Herzog and David Lynch’s psychological thriller “My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done,” starring Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe and Chloë Sevigny.
Peña’s other noteworthy film credits consist of Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center,” Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby,” Gregor Jordan’s “Buffalo Soldiers,” Antoine Fuqua’s “Shooter,” Brett Ratner’s “Tower Heist,” and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Babel.”
On television, Peña also starred in the HBO film “Walkout,” based on the true story of a young Mexican-American high school teacher who helped stage a massive student walkout in the mid-1960s. Peña received an Imagen Award for Best Actor for his performance.
Raised in Chicago, Peña began acting when he beat out hundreds of others in an open call for a role in Peter Bogdanovich’s “To Sir, With Love 2,” starring Sidney Poitier.
Lou Diamond Phillips
Lou Diamond Phillips is currently starring in the FOX series “Prodigal Son,” having recently starred on the acclaimed Netflix series, “Longmire,” based on the Walt Longmire mystery novels by Craig Johnson. Other recent credits include Amazon’s “Goliath,” FX’s “You’re the Worst,” CBS’ “Blue Bloods,” and recurring roles on Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and Netflix’s “The Ranch.” He received an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Drama or Comedy” for his roles in both Amazon’s “Conversations in LA” and History Channel’s “Crossroads of History.”
Recent film credits include Warner Brothers’ “The 33,” “Created Equal” directed by Bill Duke, and Sundance Festival favorite “Filly Brown,” for which he was named Best Actor at the Imagen Awards.
As a director, Phillips recently helmed episodes of AMC’s hit series “Fear the Walking Dead,” “Longmire,” and ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Phillips is also an author. His novel “The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira,” with illustrations by his wife Yvonne, will be published October 20th. He has co-written the screenplays for ‘Trespasses,’ and HBO’s ‘Dangerous Touch.’ He wrote the Miramax feature ‘Ambition.’ He recently produced his play ‘Burning Desire,’ a romantic comedy in two acts, which received its world premiere at The Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury, Connecticut. Phillips was also asked by his good friend, novelist Craig Johnson, to write the forward to his collection of short stories ‘Wait For Signs.’
Originally born in the Philippines, Phillips was raised in Texas and is a graduate of University of Texas at Arlington with a BFA in Drama.
Taylor can be seen in the A24 feature WAVES opposite Sterling K. Brown and Lucas Hedges, for which she won the Breakthrough Actor Award at the Gotham Awards and was honored with the Virtuoso Award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. She was also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female for her performance in WAVES. She can also be seen in the features DR. BIRD’S ADVICE FOR SAD POETS and WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS. She was the lead in the Sony feature ESCAPE ROOM and is Judy Robinson on the hit series LOST IN SPACE on Netflix. Taylor is also the new face of Chanel.
Taylor made her directorial debut with her short documentary film THE HEART STILL HUMS which she co-directed with her friend Savanah Leaf. The film follows six pregnant women in Sacramento seeking resources to raise their children. The film won Best Documentary Short at the Palm Springs International ShortFest, and the Jury Award for Best Documentary Short at the Black Star Film Festival.
Abel recently produced the feature WHAT LIES BELOW, a thriller starring Ema Horvath (LORD OF THE RINGS mini-series) and Mena Suvari (AMERICAN BEAUTY). The film was sold to Vertical Entertainment (CAPONE) and XYZ Films (THE RAID). Abel also worked on Clint Eastwood’s GRAN TORINO as a voice actor, an assistant to casting, and as a 2nd Unit on the exclusive Blu-ray documentary GRAN TORINO: NEXT DOOR. He worked as a script consultant for Oscar-winner Lynne Littman on her screenplay adaptation of Anne Fadiman’s National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.” Abel won the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting for the war-drama screenplay THE TIGER'S CHILD that he co-wrote with his brother Burlee Vang. Abel holds an MFA in Cinema & Television Production from USC. He's currently an Assistant Professor of Entertainment Producing the Biola University's School of Cinema & Media Arts.
Burlee is an award-winning author and poet. His books include “The Dead I know: Incantation for Rebirth” (Swan Scythe Press, 2010) and “How Do I Begin? A Hmong American Literary Anthology” (Heydey, 2011). His writing has also appeared in many reputable literary journals and anthologies, including “20 Something Essays by 20 Something Writers: Best New Voices of 2006” (Random House, 2006) and “New California Writing” (Heyday, 2011). In 2006, Burlee founded HAWC (The Hmong American Writers’ Circle) to promote and nurture creative writing within the Hmong community. His long-time efforts were highlighted in The New York Times (“A Hmong Generation Finds Its Voice in Writing”). Burlee won the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting for the war-drama screenplay THE TIGER'S CHILD that he co-wrote with his brother Abel Vang. Burlee holds an MFA in Fiction Writing from California State University of Fresno and a BA in English from the University of California, Davis.
ABOUT THE FELLOWS
James Acker grew up in New Jersey and he’s based his entire personality off that fact. He received his Bachelor’s in Screenwriting & Playwriting from Drexel University, an engineering school, and uses it in the following ways. While his writing has never been published publicly, he did get a joke into Nickelodeon Magazine back in ‘03.
James is excited to continue writing young adult stories with confident queer voices. Like a bisexual John Hughes. When he’s not writing, James lives in Los Angeles with his wonderfully supportive partner and his two recurring stress dreams.
Born and raised in San Luis Obispo, CA. At an early age, her dramatic nature…challenged her mother. Because of this, her mother introduced her to theatre, where she thrived—and her mother enjoyed a well-deserved break.
She danced, sang, and acted her redheaded angst away performing in community theatre and professional theatre. She continued her education at Southern Methodist University where she received a BFA in Theatre. Upon graduation, her mother passed away from pancreatic cancer, drawing her back to the West Coast. In LA, she continued doing theatre, performing as Rizzo in a European tour of GREASE, and was a back-up singer with the Brian Setzer Orchestra.
In 2005, she swapped coasts to make her Broadway debut in GOOD VIBRATIONS. She was in the original Broadway cast of LEGALLY BLONDE, the first national tour of DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, and the show that began her writing career, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. While playing the Madeline Kahn role, she had over an hour offstage in between scenes. So, as a method to stay awake, she started writing. Little did she know it would awaken a whole new part of her. Drawn back to LA, after her father passed away from cancer, she wrote her first feature, which was a semi-finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship.
She continues to act appearing in Glow, Superstore, Hart of Dixie, American Housewife, Lethal Weapon, Atypical, I’m Dying up Here, Fresh Off the Boat, Chance, Burn Notice, The Bridge, Bunk’d and more. She is also the proud co-creator of her band Totsy, which she sings lead for.
She was one of five writers invited to take part in the 2019 HBO sponsored Women in Comedy Festival Pitch Fest. She also won the Shore Scripts Competition for her feature MOONFLOWER.
Most recently, Tiffany Haddish's company, She Ready, optioned her original script ALMOST NORMAL. She also attached Heather Graham to her pilot COMPULSIVE, as well as Jacki Weaver to her feature THE WONDER YARD.
She is a proud Fellow for the 2020 Nicholl Fellowship for her feature LEMON.
Beth strives to write stories that increase empathy. She loves telling stories that inspire someone to consider the “other side” of things, perhaps giving them a new perspective. She wants to give a voice to those who don’t have one and tell stories that haven’t been told. She hopes that her stories will inspire people to treat those they don’t “understand” with a little more kindness. She strives to always include the three “H’s” in her writing; honesty, hilarity and heart.
Vanar Jaddou is a Chaldean screenwriter from Detroit—part of an ancient, Aramaic-speaking people from the war-torn villages of northern Iraq. His love of film was born in his father's small video store, where he binged VHS tapes in lieu of cable TV. Today, Vanar is influenced by countless authors and filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Billy Ray, and Cormac McCarthy. Vanar's most recent work, GOODBYE, IRAQ, is an action thriller inspired by the nightmarish worlds of forgotten civilizations and fallen heroes, where fractured voices can speak freely without fear. Like the characters he creates, Vanar continues to test himself both on and off the page, knowing that often times, our most difficult challenges and daring feats stoke our most remarkable efforts.
Writer/director Kate Marks comes from a long line of tricksters and grew up listening to tall tales. Her tricky films PEARL WAS HERE (60 million YouTube views), MANIC (NYTVF Best Drama Award), 7 DAY GIG (Barbara Boyle Award), MIRACLE MAKER (Queens World Film Festival Best Short), and HOMEBODY (Cal Arts Beutner Award) have played at numerous festivals including Tribeca, Slamdance, Edinburgh, Austin, Nashville, Atlanta, Palm Springs Short Fest, Side Walk, Mill Valley, Cleveland, New Orleans and more. Her work has also broadcast on PBS and HBO Go. She is a Jerome Hill Artist Fellow (2020), FIND Screenwriting Fellow (2020), HBO Access Directing Fellow (2016), and Project Involve Fellow (2013). She shadowed Tim Van Patten on three episodes of HBO’s PERRY MASON and Scott Ellis on one episode of HBO’s DIVORCE. Additionally, she has taught filmmaking for community organizations such as LACMA, ArtworxLA, Urban Arts, DreamYard, and the Skirball Center. Kate is a graduate of Brown University and the MFA film-directing program at Cal Arts. She started out writing and directing plays in NYC where the New York Times named her a “superb director.” She is currently writing and directing branded content while developing her scripts THE COW OF QUEENS and GONE TO THE MISCHIEF. Additionally, Kate is an organizer, a stilt-walker, and a reckless dancer.
Jane Therese is a Fellow for the 2020 Academy Nicholl Fellowships, a recipient of the 2019 Athe-na IRIS Screenwriting Lab, a member of NYWIFT, NPPA, WIA, as well as an award-winning screenwriter and photojournalist. She is a native of Southern California, but now resides along the Delaware River in Bucks County, PA. Her writing and photojournalism delve into the origins of social customs and beliefs. During her career, she has traveled to Haiti documenting the effects of the Duvalier regime, worked with indigenous people throughout the world and displaced families in America, and shepherded the project, Breaking the Silence of Autism. Her photos and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Newsweek, Trenton Times, and in international publica-tions in Japan, Paris, and London. She attended F.I.T. and left two weeks before graduation to begin her career. She went on to study at Hunter College in pursuit of understanding psychology and kinetic behavior. She continues to dedicate her work to those who remain unheard.
The Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting is an annual international screenwriting competition established to identify and encourage talented new screenwriters. Up to five $35,000 cash prizes are awarded annually. The Nicholl Fellowships were established in 1986.
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