Life After Film School: Fellowships + Labs

SFTV in Conversation: Spring 2020

In this spring’s SFTV In Conversation series, hear directly from industry pros as they offer strategies and insights for new film graduates.

January 29, 2020 | Fellowships + Labs: The Many Benefits and Tips on Applying

Participating in fellowships and labs is a great way to get your work out into the world, learn from seasoned pros, and make important industry connections (plus ease the transition from film school to real-world). Come hear from decision-makers behind some of the top programs to learn what they have to offer and get some tips on how to craft a successful application.

Meet the Panel

three ladies fellowships labs - Life After Film School: Fellowships + Labs

Dea Vazquez, Project Involve Manager | Film Independent

Dea Vazquez joined Film Independent in 2014 and oversaw the application process and coordinated day-to-day operations for the Artist Development labs and programs. Currently, she serves as Project Involve Manager, the signature mentoring program that fosters the future generations of visual storytellers with the goal of a more inclusive industry. Before joining Film Independent, Dea was the Coordinator at The Murtha Skouras Agency, a top Below-the-Line talent agency representing award-winning cinematographers, production designers, editors, costume designers, and producers, where she tracked all feature projects in development and pre-production in both the independent and studio spaces, and prior to that, the in-house Production Coordinator at Colibri Films, a commercial production company for the Hispanic Market. She holds a BA in English Literature from Boston University.


Melissa Verdugo, Manager of Programs | Women In Film

Melissa Verdugo is a versatile Producer in the Television, Film and Live Event space. She got her start in Theater Production and Arts Education before moving to the live comedy space as the Director of Corporate Booking for LEG Live. She soon combined her backgrounds to become a Talent Manager for Levity Entertainment, building a strong roster of Stand Up Comedians and Comedic/Broadway Actors over the course of 6 years before moving on to Producing full time. Her credits include producing over 20 Stand Up Specials for Comedy Central, HBO, Netflix and Showtime, numerous pilots for Travel Channel and Food Network, National Campaigns for Taco Bell, Dr. Pepper, and Angel Soft with Deutsch LA, and the inaugural year of the Cabo Comedy Festival. Melissa is currently the Manager of Programs at Women In Film Los Angeles and strives to tell scripted and non-scripted stories that positively impact our world.


Cathleen Young, Executive Director | Humanitas

Cathleen Young came to HUMANITAS by way of her 20-year career as a Hollywood television writer. She has written 13 two-hour network movies for ABC, NBC, CBS and Lifetime. She was a staff writer on two network series, MacGyver and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Young won the HUMANITAS Prize and a Christopher Award in 1995 for her ABC Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation A Place for Annie, which was a WGA Award finalist and nominated for an Emmy. Young’s other credits include CBS Movies of the Week Everything to Gain, Her Own Rules and Lifetime’s Navigating the Heart. The daughter of two newspaper reporters, Cathleen has also written for Working Mother Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, and The Chicago Sun Times. St. Martin’s Press published Young’s biography of Isabella Rossellini, Quiet Renegade.