The Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its New Writers Fellowship program by inaugurating a class of seven writers.
The New Writers Fellowship Program is a off-studio professional development program that trains emerging writers to succeed in Hollywood. The program has a reputable track record, placing graduates on more than 50 shows across all major network, cable, and streaming platforms, in addition to those who have signed global deals.
“In CAPE’s research survey with the Geena Davis Institute, nearly 90% of Asian and Pacific Islander entertainment professionals we surveyed said they were often the only Asian or Pacific Islander person in the piece,” said Michelle K. Sugihara, Executive Director of CAPE. “It ultimately reflects what we see on screen and if we’re going to change the stories told by Hollywood, it starts with the writers.”
2022 CAPE Scholars join a network of distinguished alumni including April Shih (Dave), Julie Wong (Grey’s Anatomy), Kevin Lau (House Of The Dragon), Lauren Moon (Silk), Helen Shang (Lord of the Rings), Franklin Jin Rho (Pachinko) and many others.
The program is co-chaired by co-founders Steve Tao (SVP, Current Programming, The CW) and Leo Chu (Showrunner/Executive Producer, Ultra violet and black scorpion, Afro Samurai). The class of 2022, which includes all television writers, will participate in two months of virtual sessions including master lasses, panels, workshops, table readings, as well as work with individual script mentoring.
“The CAPE New Writers Fellowship has become what we have always aspired it to be. Now in its tenth year, CNWF has become the most recognized Hollywood writing program outside of studio writing programs,” Tao said.
“I’m thrilled that the writers whose careers we’ve launched over the past ten years are not just being part of the shows, but are now becoming showrunners and even returning as mentors for the fraternity,” Chu added. “However, there is still work to be done, and I look forward to shaping our new class of emerging writers.”
Biographies of the 2022 CAPE New Writers Fellowship participants are as follows:
Kirk Damato | Mentored by Rene Gube (co-executive producer, Hypermarket)
Kirk Damato is a Filipino American writer who is best known as the co-creator of CAKE ! SPACE CAKE, in which he also played the role of the puppeteer. You might recognize him from BuzzFeed, Funimation, or as a recurring panelist on CollegeHumor’s Nerd Trivia. uh, actually. Previously, Kirk performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, taught musical improvisation at the Magnet Theater and trained in puppetry with The Jim Henson Company. Originally from Florida, Kirk lives in Los Angeles with a quiet rabbit and two loud guinea pigs.
Sandra Hamada | Mentored by Monica Macer (Showrunner/Executive Producer, sugar queen)
Sandra Hamada is a Japanese-Mexican-American writer from Los Angeles who enjoys telling coming-of-age stories. Most recently, she was a writing assistant on Disney Channel’s Latinx superhero show, ultra violet & black scorpion, where she wrote her first television episode. After earning her BA from Pomona College, Sandra worked as a community organizer and political speechwriter, where she used the power of storytelling to help students and families reallocate millions of dollars to the most underfunded schools. from Los Angeles. In 2019, his pilot “Lucha Lopez: Illegal Alien” won 1st place in the UCLA TV Writing Contest. She is replaced by Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment.
Liz Fields | Mentored by Veena Sud (Showrunner/Executive Producer, The slaughter)
Liz Fields is an Asian-Australian-American writer and director who draws her socially relevant dramas and thrillers from the stranger-than-fiction situations she encountered as an award-winning journalist. Liz previously worked at VICE, where she interviewed everyone from drug dealers and priests to insurgent groups and celebrities; and somehow survived the 2016 election as a campaign item. She has since written and produced content for HBO, Netflix, Hulu, PBS, and more. Its pilot screenplays have also received finalist laurels in several screenwriting competitions, including the Austin and Atlanta Film Festivals.
Sowmya Ashokkumar | Mentored by Sunil Nayar (Showrunner/Executive Producer, Revenge)
Sowmya is a Los Angeles-based playwright, screenwriter and educator. Her work centers on women of color, queer people, and immigrants in stories of healing and joy from loss and grief. As a playwright, Sowmya was a semi-finalist in the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and a finalist in the 44th Bay Area Playwrights Festival. She is a member of EST/LA’s NewWest Playwrights Group, IAMA’s Under 30 Lab and a 2022 CAPE New Writers Fellow. She loves food contest shows, video chats with her niece and using those years vocal training to sing in his car.
Kat Jiang | Mentored by Julie Wong (supervising producer, Grey’s Anatomy)
Kat Jiang is a Chinese-American writer from the Boston area, where her early upbringing was heavy on the Revolutionary War and light on her comrades of color. She writes dramas and comedy-dramas about first- and second-generation teens and young adults, with a focus on immigrant family dynamics, upbeat queer romance, and mental health in non-white communities. Kat was a Nickelodeon Writing Program finalist in 2016 and sold an unreleased pilot. It is replaced by Culture Creative Entertainment.
Kiran Alamelu Subramaniam | Mentored by April Shih (co-executive producer, Fargo)Kiran Alamelu Subramaniam is an American Indian raised in Cary, North Carolina. After graduating from Meredith College in Raleigh, she went to DC for the Kennedy Playwright Scholarship. Kiran soon moved to Los Angeles and worked as an assistant in Hollywood while studying improvisation, writing and performance. Her work has been placed in various competitions and she is currently employed as an assistant showrunner on the Starz drama. upper town.
Matthew Dekneef | Mentored by Kyle Harimoto (executive producer, NCIS: Los Angeles)
Matthew Dekneef is a Hawaiian writer originally from Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. He attended Kamehameha schools and graduated from Chapman University. As a journalist, he served as editor of FLUX Hawaii, an arts and culture magazine focused on the Pacific Islands, and Lei, a platform for LGBTQ travellers. Most recently, he was a 2021 Susan M. Haas Fellow. He is replaced by 3 Arts.
This year’s speakers include: Miranda Kwok (showrunner/executive producer, The cleaning lady), Eric Kim (EVP, Current, CBS), Conrad Sun (Agent, Meridian Artists), Alex Tse (Showrunner/Executive Producer, Wu-Tang: an American saga), Shawn Parikh (writer, night yard) and more. Dana Ledoux Miller, co-host of Netflix’s untitled Thai Cave Rescue series, will also run a fictional writing room for the new class of Fellows.
Comcast NBCUniversal, The Walt Disney Company, Netflix, Sony, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Film Independent, Final Draft, Sony Pictures Entertainment and The Black List return as fellowship partners.