14th annual New York Television Festival

The first summer edition of the New York Television Festival (www.nytvf.com) is a wrap!  The 14th annual Festival was the most successful yet, with a record-breaking 620 development meetings taking place during the week between independent TV creators and industry executives, up from 600 last year. In fact, 75 companies were represented at the Festival this year – including executives from leading networks, studios, agencies and digital platforms who networked with and/or took pitches from the creators, writers, producers and directors invited to be Official Artists.

On the final day, the Festival held its annual awards reception at the Helen Mills Theater and Event Space, where winners of NYTVF’s pilot and script competitions were announced – along with recipients of deals from NYTVF’s development partners.  (See below for a full list of winners.)

With 59 pilots showcased throughout the week, NYTVF’s flagship Independent Pilot Competition (IPC) wrapped up by recognizing top projects across 16 categories. “Best of the Fest” honors and the NYTVF Critics Award were presented to Hammerhead.



In its third year, the NYTVF Scripts competition featured 21 selections, with The Curse and Granted tying for Best Comedy Script and Ticker winning in the Best Drama Script category.

"Independent television hasn’t only arrived – it is stronger than ever," said NYTVF Founder and Executive Director Terence Gray. "Each year, I am floored by how much the quality of the work submitted by the independent television community continues to improve – having received more than 3,300 submissions for the third year in a row.  I’m honored that our partners have embraced the Festival as a go-to venue for new and diverse stories, voices and talent during their development process, and proud to be part of an incredible team that has brought opportunities to indie artists by arranging nearly 2000 networking and pitch meetings between them and industry execs over the past three years alone."

It Girl Gay Assistant.jpg

It Girl Gay Assistant

In addition to the above meetings and awards reception, several events took place throughout the week at Helen Mills and the SVA Theatre, including: screenings and creator Q&As, keynote conversations, panels, networking events and parties. This included special events for new truTV original series Bobcat Goldthwait’s Misfits & Monsters and Paid Off with Michael Torpey; new HBO series Random Acts of Flyness; and events hosted by Audible, BYUtv, FKKS PC, Loeb & Loeb LLP, Red Arrow Studios, the Television Academy, Topic, WGA East.

The Festival kicked off with an opening weekend that featured the new Creator Bootcamp, presented in partnership with CBS Entertainment Diversity and Inclusion on Saturday, and the returning NYTVF Writers Room, keynoted by Sarah Schneider and Chris Kelly, former co-head writers of Saturday Night Live and writers and executive producers of Comedy Central’s The Other Two. 


Overall Best of the Fest Award:

Hammerhead – Created by Dean Imperial (New York, NY)

An ambitious, driven, and deceptively cunning young man with a deformed forehead leaves his father's home after graduate school determined to climb the ladder of success in New York City. 

NYTVF Critics Award:

Hammerhead – Created by Dean Imperial (New York, NY)

Best Animated Project:

Omega House – Created by Marc Sloboda (Chicago, IL)

After surviving the nuclear apocalypse, four mutated frat brothers set out on a journey across the wasteland to figure out what the heck happened.

Best Comedy Project:

Smüchr – Created by Niccolo Aeed and Marina Tempelsman (New York, NY)

Emily, a customer support representative for an online dating company, will make all the lonely people in America couple up like penguins – or she'll die trying.

Best Drama/Dramedy Project:

Paint – Created by Michael Walker (New York, NY)

Three young artists live in Brooklyn, struggling to make it, not only in the art world, but in life.

Best Short-Form Comedy Project:

susaneLand – Created by Susane Lee and Andrew Olsen (Los Angeles, CA)

A dark comedic anthology series revolving around the awkward and surreal misfortunes of a young Asian American woman.

Best Short-Form Drama/Dramedy Project:

Avant-Guardians – Created by Alesia Etinoff  (Los Angeles, CA)

When the woke-ish Guardian Angel to the future 3rd Black President goes a little off her rocker, she's mandated by God to visit a no-nonsense Therapist Angel.

Best Unscripted Project:

Rooftop Kings – Created by Carmine Famiglietti and Peter Fragliossi (Queens, NY)

An inside look at a subculture hiding in plain sight on the rooftops of New York City: This is Goodfellas, with pigeons.

Best Actor in a Comedy:

Ryan Harrington and Isaac Himmelman in Brooklyn Moving Company (New York, NY)

Best Actress in a Comedy:

Tessa Hersh in Smüchr and 2some (New York, NY)

Best Actor in a Drama:

Sam Gilroy in Hammerhead (New York, NY)

Best Actress in a Drama:

Deja Harrell in Seeds (Chicago, IL)

Best Direction Drama:

Midnights – Directed by Alvaro Donado (Paterson, NJ)

Best Direction Comedy:

The Passage – Directed by Kitao Sakurai (Los Angeles, CA)

Best Editing:

Ghost Girl – Edited by Alexandra Gilwit and Charlotte Prager (New York, NY)

Best Writing:

Alive in Denver – Written by Michael Levin (Los Angeles, CA)


Best Comedy Script (Tie):

Granted – Written by Alison Barton and Bonnie Dennison (Los Angeles, CA)

Annie, an insecure astronaut, mistakenly summons a genie (named Jinnie) whom she can't stand. The two are bound to each other until Annie can find true fulfillment or Jinnie can find true love. Two nearly impossible tasks... even with unlimited wishes.

The Curse – Written by Jesse David Fox and Halle Kiefer (New York, NY)

Alex has the perfect life on paper: a cool new job in New York, awesome friends, and, most importantly, a mature long-term relationship. In other words, it’s just about the worst time to find out that her family is under a century-old sex curse.

Best Drama Script:

Ticker – Written by Connie O'Donahue and Jeremy Nielsen (Rivertown, WY)

In a future where people sell years off the end of their lives for money and corporations decide who lives and who dies, a rule-following paramedic and his impulsive partner struggle to save society by overthrowing the system.


Audible Pitch Deal:

The three below will receive a development grant to further develop their concept with Audible:

●        Don P. Hooper for “BK Time Skippers”

●        Kaitlin Fontana and Carolyn Bergier for “Peace”

●        Gordon Rayfield for “Boomer”

Comedy Central Development Deal:

Omega House – Created by Marc Sloboda

Red Arrow Studios Development Award:

The Gary Gold Story – Created by Greg Ash

TOPIC Pitch Deal:

Damian Gomez for “Hyphenated”

truTV Comedy Breakout Initiative:

We Don’t Want to Scare You, But… – Created by Tessa Greenberg and Moujan Zolfaghari

WE tv Pitch Deal:

Richard Knight, Carrie Jean Knight, and Anna Boyter for “Now Serving Seconds”

In addition to the above, New York Women in Film and Television awarded a platinum membership to Martha Williams in recognition of her work on Run for Your Life, and the Hollywood Radio and Television Society Script Competition winners – Tara Tomicevic for Bianca (Drama) and Julia Monahan for Teej & The Explorers (Comedy) – were recognized at the Festival. Winners of the Hulu Pitch deal and OneX Comedy Collective Alumni Initiative will be announced at a later date.

Event News, v6Shruti Sadana