May 2023 in Arezzo
Lauren Kent Harris
Lauren is an award-winning producer, shooter and editor with over a decade in digital and commercial media. Before moving to LA to pursue production, she received a BA in Journalism from UT Austin and wrote for publications like Playboy, The Dallas Morning News and the Sydney Morning Herald. As a screenwriter Lauren has won or placed in several well known competitions such as the Screencraft Fellowship and Script Pipeline First Look contests, and is currently developing a one-hour thriller drama series with a production company. When not on set or in her edit bay, she enjoys surfing and collabing with her identical twin, Lindsay.
Dr. Vinita Mehta is a writer and trained clinical psychologist who specializes in depression, anxiety, trauma, and resilience. She was a news and documentaries producer at NBC News, PBS Nova, and Discovery before opening her private practice and blogging for Psychology Today. Her stories channel her expertise in human behavior and psychotherapy to explore how even the most broken characters can find the healing they desperately seek.
Vinita has been a HUMANITAS New Voices Finalist, and Tracking Board Top 100 Pilots and Winner of the Mentorship Prize. She was a 2021 CAPE New Writers Fellow, and is currently a Warner Bros. Discovery Access Writers Fellow. She is repped by Industry Entertainment.
Elaine is passionate about compelling stories and storytelling. Though she currently lives in Seattle (USA), she hails from a long line of southern storytellers. She has a master’s degree in communication and worked in global health at the University of Washington for many years … until she finally gave into her desire to write. She earned certificates in Literary Fiction at the University of Washington, studied Screenwriting at Shoreline Community College, and earned a certificate in Screenwriting & Filmmaking at The Film School (Seattle).
She wrote and produced “Legacy” a short, independent film about an idealistic young woman who is forced to face her competing values about the military. “Legacy” was screened at multiple film festivals, winning several awards. In addition to several screenplays, Elaine has written plays and short stories.
CJ has written since she could scribble ”no" on her mother's spotlessly clean dining room wall. She never stopped writing--a few paragraphs here, a page there, occasionally an entire story. Still, writing could never be a priority; she raised a family and taught full time, ignoring voices that pleaded with her to "write write write!" until a few years ago. The moment finally arrived. Daughters grown, CJ exchanged her classroom for a tiny, poorly lit storage room earmarked to become a darkroom. She dragged out boxes of STUFF, rolled in a wobbly desk and creaky office chair to settle into a space with a window that natural light couldn't manage to find. Determined to become a Real Writer.
As for accomplishments, she's most proud of the fact that she rode Coney Island's Cyclone thirteen times in under an hour without vomiting, fainting, or disowning the sibling who goaded her into it. If pressed CJ will brag about being a quarter, a semi- or a finalist in various screenplay competitions and festivals. A few notables include: the Nicholls Academy Fellowship, Francis Coppola's American Zoetrope, and the New York Film & Screenwriting Festival. In 2021 Stanford University's fiction anthology published one of her short stories. In 2022 the London Writers' Salon anthology published another.
Today CJ owns up to be a Real Writer, one with a universal and a unique worldview who has something to say.
Julia M. Saunder
Although her accent isn’t too thick, Julia M. Sauder hails from New Jersey, USA where she completed her first feature screenplay at age fourteen. After attending NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, she spent several years working in film and television production on both the East and West coasts. From the lovey-dovey romance to the cringe-fest horror, Julia writes in many genres. Be careful, she’ll warm your heart and eat it, too.
After graduating from UC Berkeley in Mass Communications Andrea moved to LA to dance for a living, which went over with the family about as well as you'd expect. It did allow her to see the world, but somehow segued into a career pulling all-nighters cutting post-production sound, where she seldom even saw the sun. These days she works below-the-line delivering on-set graphics for TV shows, and her chances of catching some daylight are looking up. She loves quirky character-driven projects, and prefers her humor dry, with a twist. Four of Andrea’s scripts have recently placed as finalist 19 times, 15 of those Top 10 or better. Her recent placements include overall winner of the 2022 Inroads Screenwriting Fellowship, as well as Top 10 in Final Draft Big Break, Shore Scripts, and two film festivals. Her projects have also placed in Cinequest, BlueCat, Page Awards, and AFF. One of her scripts was selected for a Coverfly Virtual Live Read, and she has attended the Cinestory TV Fellowship Retreat, Sidewalk Film Festival Narrative Lab, and Stowe Story Labs‘ Writers Lab.
Eliot was born in NJ and eventually moved to Denver, Colorado. He graduated with an MS from University of Illinois and he has worked in the environmental restoration business for most of his career. He dabbled in the internet ECommerce space for a while before it crashed. He has 2 sons, David and Andrew, who live in Brooklyn and LA respectively. When not writing or working, Eliot likes to ride bicycles, play golf, tennis, snow ski, fly drones, trout and bonefish fly fishing and riding motorcycles in the desert. Also loves watching great movies. I've never been to Italy before, but have traveled for business to England, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Australia and Colombia. Years ago I went to the premier of "Wild Wild West" in CA and met many actors (Will Smith, Kevin Klein) and then the post premier party catered by Wolfgang Puck. Hopefully some day that will be the premier of Cosmos Black.