SeriesFest’s international independent pilot competitions offer episodic creators the opportunity to showcase their work at our annual festival each June. This past June we (virtually) screened an amazing selection of pilots from creative voices from all over the world, vying for the top prize in the categories of Independent Pilot: Drama, Independent Pilot: Comedy, Independent Pilot: Unscripted, Digital Short Series and Late Night. An esteemed jury from various sectors of the entertainment industry, including award-winning actors, producers, production executives, and media, were then tasked with determining the best of the best. Read on to learn more about this year’s Best Pilot Award winners and the creators that brought these incredible stories to life.
Best Pilot: IPC Drama
Story of You
Pilot/Series Description: When Jayne, a pregnant kindergarten teacher in the middle of her own affair discovers the man who raised her isn't her father, the story of her life begins to quickly unravel.
Creator(s): Raleigh Cain
Producer(s): Raleigh Cain, Anthony DiMieri
Director(s): Caleb Wall, Raleigh Cain
Writer: Raleigh Cain
Cast: Raleigh Cain, Pete Gardner, Holly Gagnier, Allie Jennings, Joseph Stromberg, Peter Murphy, Sara Silva, Laurie Cummings, Michelle Roselle, Blaine Kirk
Best Pilot: IPC Comedy
Pilot/Series Description: Everyone Together, a comedy series, follows two dysfunctional families from different cultural backgrounds as they clash and bond over a new major family milestone each season.
Creator(s): Jessica Kaye, Steven Klein, Kelsey Ledgin
Producer(s): Katelyn Howes, Jessica Kaye, Steven Klein, Eric Ledgin
Director(s): Lauren Ludwig
Writer: Kelsey Ledgin
Cast: Jessica Kaye, Steven Klein, Emily James, Reza Sixo Safai, Iman Nazemzadeh
Best Pilot: Unscripted
Pilot/Series Description: Racist Trees follows the complex story behind a row of Tamarisk trees that have been the center of a long-standing battle between Black residents and the Palm Springs City Council. With conflicting reports surrounding their origin, ignored maintenance, and suppression of property values, a media firestorm propels this community into the national landscape, inciting unprecedented behavior from both sides.
Creator(s): Sarah Ullman, Mara Tasker
Producer(s): Saba Zerehi, Mara Tasker, Sarah Ullman
Director(s): Yoko Okumura
Writer: Yoko Okumura, Sarah Ullman
Cast: Jennifer Carroll Foy, Josh Crandell, Sarah Ullman, Mara Tasker, Jessica Pantoja, Olesia Saveleva, Kara Johnson, Kelsey Norton
Best Pilot: Late Night
Pilot/Series Description: It’s the year of the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Except, the internet exists, and Puritan Style Guru Sarah Winsley's online channel has made her a New World celebrity. When a panic of evil bedevils the community, Sarah can't be sure what’s ailing her—is she bewitched or is she a witch?
Creator(s): Alice Victoria Winslow
Producer(s): Leland Montgomery, Maya Taylor, Andrew Keutmann, Christine Haggerty, Par Parekh
Director(s): Alice Victoria Winslow
Writer: Alice Victoria Winslow
Cast: Alice Victoria Winslow
Best Pilot: Digital Short Series
Pilot/Series Description: When Joy’s fairytale romance abruptly ends on her 35th birthday, the TICK-TOCK of her biological clock becomes deafening. It coaxes her into romantic misadventures and provokes hallucinations. From dating services to fertility treatments, Freeze explores the conflicts between Joy and her own biology in an era of unparalleled female choice.
Creator(s): Maya Albanese
Producer(s): Maya Albanese
Director(s): Maya Albanese
Writer: Maya Albanese
Cast: Adrian Grenier, Nora Zehetner, Chris Parnell, Mindy Sterling, Rick Overton, Kel Mitchell, John Ennis, Jazzmun Crayton, C.C. Sheffield
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