Four Graduating Screenwriters Paired with Accomplished AFI Alumni Mentors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, LOS ANGELES, CA, March 16, 2016 — On Monday evening, the AFI Conservatory hosted a reception to celebrate promising screenwriters and to mark the first year of AFI Writers' Room Ready. This new annual program aims to cultivate the next generation of television writers by pairing select AFI Conservatory Screenwriters from the year's graduating class and their original television pilot scripts with accomplished AFI alumni mentors working in the entertainment community.

After reviewing 20 original pilot scripts submitted by AFI Conservatory Fellows, a panel of working alumni selected four Class of 2015 recipients, which notably include three female writers.

The inaugural participants, their projects and AFI mentors are:

Brennan Elizabeth Peters (AFI Class of 2015), with her script "The Empress," will be mentored by Raelle Tucker (AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women, Class of 2003), whose credits include THE RETURNED and TRUE BLOOD. In "The Empress," a young woman in Tang Dynasty China uses every tool at her disposal to maneuver the social and political ranks, rising from common girl to one of the most powerful and effective rulers in the history of the world, Empress Wu Zetian.

Tegan Shohet (AFI Class of 2015), with her script "Paperhanger," will be mentored by Mikkel Bondesen (AFI Class of 1998), whose credits include BURN NOTICE and THE KILLING. In "Paperhanger," two brilliant, determined perfectionists on opposite sides of the law — a counterfeiter and a Secret Service agent — play a cat-and-mouse game where there can only be one winner.

Andy Siara (AFI Class of 2015), with his script "Life After Punk," will be mentored by Alex Herschlag (AFI Television Writing Workshop, Class of 1989), whose credits include HOT IN CLEVELAND and WILL & GRACE. In "Life After Punk," an idealistic musician starts a band with his family as a half-baked attempt to get both his life, as well as the sad state of modern music, back on track.

Christina Strain (AFI Class of 2015), with her script "The Fox Sister," will be mentored by Norberto Barba (AFI Class of 1990), whose credits include GRIMM and LAW & ORDER: SVU. In "The Fox Sister," 10 years after a shape-shifting fox demon slaughtered her entire family, an audacious young Korean woman tracks the creature down to a small town in Louisiana where she teams with a cynical American supernatural hunter.

About the AFI Conservatory
The AFI Conservatory offers a two-year Master of Fine Arts degree in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. Aspiring artists learn from the masters in a collaborative, hands-on production environment with an emphasis on storytelling. Proud supporters of the AFI Conservatory are American Airlines, the official airline of AFI and VIZIO, the official home theater sponsor of AFI. More info is at

Media Contact: Liza deVilla Ameen, 323.856.7885, [email protected]

AFI Writers' Room Ready Class of 2015 participants (L to R): Andy Siara, Tegan Shohet, Brennan Elizabeth Peters and Christina Strain