Currently Closed. Subscribe to receive a notification when the next season opens.
1497 Features Lab
Reads in Coverfly
Active Since 2020
The 1497 Features Lab is designed to change South Asian representation in the American entertainment market.
Currently Closed. Subscribe to receive a notification when the next season opens.


1497 is a nonprofit organization committed to supporting and uplifting talent of South Asian descent to challenge their historical exclusion from and underrepresentation in the American film and television industry. Our name signifies the last year that the area now known as South Asia (consisting of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) was free from colonization.
The 1497 Features Lab consists of a Retreat, Pitch Day, and additional professional development opportunities all intentionally designed to elevate and develop screenplays by writers who will further 1497's mission to change South Asian representation in the American entertainment market, while providing career support. We want to empower writers in our community to write whatever stories they feel compelled to tell, unbounded by genre, cultural content, geographic location, or any other stereotypical expectation. Then we want to challenge the gatekeepers in the American film and television industry to bring those stories to light.
We believe in a holistic approach to foster writers' creative and career journeys. As a result, the three selected Mentees will move through a multi-tiered process in the 1497 Features Lab:

  • Script Development
  • Mentorship
  • Connecting with Industry


In order to be considered for the 2024 Lab, applicants must:
-be 18 years of age or older at the time of application
-be eligible to be in the United States for the duration of the Lab
-have a completed draft of a narrative feature screenplay with an anticipated budget less than $5 million

Selection Process

-Round 1: submissions will be blinded, then read (including first 10 pages) and scored by at least 2 members of the R1 Selection Committee.

-Round 2: Semifinalists' submissions will be unblinded, then read (including first 10 pages and optional materials) and scored by at least 2 members of the R2 Selection Committee.

-Round 3: 10 Finalists' submissions and full drafts will be read and scored by 5 members of the R3 Selection Committee and Team 1497, while Finalists participate in remote interviews with members of Team 1497. All Finalists will receive feedback from those who scored their scripts.

-THREE MENTEES will be selected for the 2024 Features Lab. The Lab Retreat will be an intensive, in-person gathering October 23-28, 2024 in Malibu, California, USA and the Lab Pitch Day will take place in Spring 2025 (specific date and location TBA).


  • Script Development: Every Mentee's script undergoes a rigorous development cycle before and during the Lab Retreat, consisting of feedback from multiple perspectives (from the four members of their Mentor pod) as well as guidance from a Script Consultant who focuses on the emotional journey of the screenplay. Adrienne Weiss was the Script Consultant for the 2021, 2022, and 2023 Labs; she worked with the Mentees and actors to activate key scenes to highlight the psychological life of the main characters, which informed rewrites.

  • Mentorship: Mentees are each assigned a Mentor pod (comprised of an established filmmaker, producer, industry representative, and 1497 Features Lab Alum) with whom they meet 1:1 during the Lab Retreat to continue interrogating their scripts. These pods will help recognize gaps in the Mentees' scripts while offering advice and insight to launch or further the Mentees' careers. Past Mentors include Gurinder Chadha, Aneesh Chaganty, Maryam Keshavarz, Deepa Mehta, Nisha Ganatra, Mira Nair, Geeta Malik, and Minhal Baig. 

  • Connecting with Industry: During the Lab Retreat, Mentees also attend master classes and fireside chats on various professional development topics. Following the Lab, Mentees will rewrite their scripts and participate in a practice pitch session with industry guests for feedback. Then in the spring following the Lab, Mentees join Lab Alums to participate in a daylong Pitch Day to pitch their films to a slate of producers, financiers, and other industry professionals.

  • Lab Costs: Since the 2024 Lab will be an intensive, in-person retreat, 1497 will reimburse 50% of airfare (round trip, economy class) and cover 100% of all accommodations, food, and certain other costs from the moment Mentee lands at the airport to attend the Lab to the moment Mentee arrives back at the airport after the Lab ends. In addition, Lab alums whose screenplays are subsequently produced are required to include 1497 in a credit line and logo placement in the end credits and provide a producer fee. This fee is tied to the production budget on a sliding scale and will contribute to 1497's mission to support new generations of emerging filmmakers. Visit our FAQ page for more details.

2024 Semifinalists on Coverfly

See Other Placements


Aug 8th
Sep 16th


At the program's request, Coverfly will automatically remove your title page for you if you include one when submitting to this program.

The 1497 Features Lab Terms and Submission Agreement can be found HERE. Submitting your application constitutes an acknowledgement that you have read and agree to all of these rules and conditions.

Please visit our website for further details about 1497 and the 2024 Features Lab - we look forward to reading your application!