Disability Representation Non-Profit Inevitable Foundation Selects Fall 2021 Screenwriting Fellows

Inevitable Foundation has selected its second round of screenwriting fellows. The non-profit, which aims to close the disability gap in TV and film, is presenting Shaina Ghuraya and writing partners Aoife Baker and Greg Machlin with a $25,000 grant and six months of tailored mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities. A press release announced the news.

Hundreds applied for the fall 2021 fellowship, which is designed for mid-career screenwriters with disabilities. “Inevitable’s commitment to diversity and intersectionality was highlighted in the latest round of candidates, with 57 percent identifying as female or nonbinary, 50 percent identifying as BIPOC, and 45 percent identifying as LGBTQIA+,” the source details. “Finalists went through a five-round review process where their work was vetted by professional disabled storytellers and the foundation’s board before Ghuraya, Machlin, and Baker were chosen as the latest fellows.”

“Mid-career disabled screenwriters face numerous barriers that make it exceedingly difficult to turn early breaks into thriving careers,” Inevitable founders Marisa Torelli-Pedevska and Richie Siegel said in a joint statement. “Our fellowship program, the only of its kind in the industry, is dedicated to helping mid-career writers make the jump from working on other people’s projects to developing their own, putting our fellows in positions of power. We could not be more excited to welcome Shaina, Greg, and Aoife into the program.”

Ghuraya, who is a wheelchair user, is a Netflix writing apprentice and a writer on “Boons and Curses.” She is a graduate of USC’s MFA Film and Television Production program and is a SFFilm Rainin Grant recipient. Particularly interested in creating diverse, intersectional comedies, Ghuraya is represented by Gotham Group.

“As a woman with a complex disability who needs 24-hour care and accessible housing, I know the huge cost of living with a disability,” she explained. “This fellowship is incredible — it gives me peace of mind knowing that my survival needs will be taken care of for a few months. This means I can focus solely on advancing my career and developing my own projects with the support of mentors, the other fellows and Inevitable Foundation.”

Baker and Machlin both identify as neurodiverse. They have written for the PBS children’s series “Pandemic Playhouse” and specialize in writing optimistic and diverse sci-fi/fantasy stories. Baker began their career as a costume designer before focusing on screenwriting, and Machlin is a playwright. They both are currently seeking representation.

“Inevitable Foundation’s screenwriting fellowship came at a much-needed time as the pandemic hit both of us hard in various ways,” Baker and Machlin stated. “Knowing that we now have the time and support to really hone our projects and take our careers to the next level is a joy and relief.”

Inevitable Foundation was launched earlier this year, and Shani Am. Moore and Kalen Feeney were named the inaugural screenwriting fellows. Moore has since taken a writing position on the upcoming BET show “Kingdom Business.”

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